Gorilla Documentaries- Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo

Mountain gorilla filming in Uganda is controlled and managed by Uganda wildlife authority and it’s a must to book in advance at least 4 months

Gorilla Filming In Uganda, Rwanda And DR Congo

Are you looking for gorilla filming in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo? Out of the 4 gorilla subspecies, mountain gorillas are the most visited in the world. Gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience are very famous wildlife activities. Each thousands of visitors visit Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo with an intention of seeing primates in the wild. Gorilla tourism contributes out 400 million USD in three countries of which 10% goes to the local community. During standard mountain gorilla trekking, tourists are given one hour to be with these primates as they observe their behaviors, take photos and record videos with out any other extra charges.

Some travelers come to see mountain gorillas with an aim of filming, recording videos or making documentaries of primates. These documentaries are always more detailed and of good quality than those taken by some tourists during gorilla trekking activity. Filming gorillas is done well trained content creators and other wildlife documentary companies or foreign press. Filming mountain gorillas is allowed in all countries because it’s one way of promoting tourism to the worlds as well as raising resources for conservation. Gorilla documentaries also aid in promoting global awareness about the status of endangered mountain gorillas.

A gorilla filming safari needs more time and it’s more expensive than gorilla trekking. It’s a special experience from gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation because the filming crew does not mix with other travelers except for park guides.

For one to do gorilla filming, they must have required documents. Uganda, Rwanda nd DR Congo have slightly different policies and requirements but with some similarities as we shall see below:-

Mountain gorilla filming in Rwanda – The volcanoes national park

In Rwanda, the only place to find mountain gorillas is volcanoes national park. Volcanoes national park has about 250 mountain gorillas with 10 habituated gorilla groups. Rwanda development board is the body responsible for managing volcanoes national park. The body is also responsible for approving of gorilla filming tours in the country. Filming gorillas in Rwanda is very expensive costing you about $5000 excluding 8 gorilla permits, transportation, meals and accommodation. Gorilla filming activity requires one top buy a gorilla permit which is $1500. The cost of 8 gorilla permits is $12,000. You should remember that Rwanda development board needs you to pay an additional fee of $2000 which is later refunded after sharing a copy of your film/documentary. This means for one to do gorilla filming in Rwanda they need a total of $19,000 to make a gorilla documentary in Rwanda.

After knowing about the total budget of filming mountain gorillas, you should start now looking at transport, accommodation, VISA as well as clearance of equipment with customs at the airport. You can deal with a trusted tour operator to help you with these bookings and also with procedures of getting the approvals. It’s advised you book gorilla filming 4 months before the actual activity for the park authorities to prepare a reserved gorilla group

Gorilla filming in DR Congo- Gorilla documentaries in Virunga and Kahuzi Biega national park.

In DR Congo, gorilla filming can be done in Virunga National Park where you find mountain gorillas and Kahuzi Biega National park where you find eastern lowland gorillas. Eastern lowland gorilla filming can also be possible in Maiko national park and Usala forest. DR Congo has about 200 mountain gorillas and more than 3,500 eastern lowland gorillas. Gorilla filming can be best done in DR Congo because the parks receive less visitors which enables them to enjoy the undisturbed wilderness in privacy. Gorilla filming is very expensive in DR Congo than in Uganda and Rwanda.

The country has no established system for allowance of gorilla filming. You can apply at any of the national parks and waiting for communication. Although there is no established system of approving gorilla filming, it’s very important to note that unauthorized filming without military or government approval can result into confiscation of equipment and arrest. Just like Uganda and Rwanda, you need to book your permit and clear filming equipment in advance. You can use any trusted tour operator to arrange for you a gorilla filming trip.

The fact that all national parks in DR Congo are located in the eastern part of the country and there are civil wars and unrest, you should expect heavy security deployments and many armed rangers escorting you to spot these primates. If you start fearing DR Congo, remember there are thousands of tourists that visit the country but go back safely with the best experiences in Africa.

Filming mountain gorillas in Uganda – Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi impenetrable national park

Uganda is lucky that mountain gorillas can be seen in 2 national parks that is Mgahinga and Bwindi impenetrable national park. Uganda has the highest number of mountain gorillas in the whole world with about a half of the total population found in Bwindi national park. Uganda has 20 habituated gorilla families with 19 in Bwindi impenetrable national park and one in Mgahinga national park. Because the country has the highest number of mountain gorillas, it makes it the best country to trek gorillas in the Africa. Uganda having the biggest number of gorilla families it makes it easy for film crews to have a choice of the group they want to film and the park they want. Mgahinga national park has a very large gorilla group and more than 3 silverbacks.

Mountain gorilla filming in Uganda is controlled and managed by Uganda wildlife authority and it’s a must to book in advance at least 4 months before the actual filming day for better planning. Uganda wildlife authority is also responsible for all national parks in Uganda. But the first step to be done when you want gorilla filming is to apply for a medical card from Uganda media Centre before every member of the film crew must have this card. The Uganda media Centre is a separate entity from Uganda wild authority.  The Uganda media Centre would like to know your names, address, nationality, passport and the purpose of the visit as well as how many days you will stay in the country. This approval from the Uganda media might take 3-5 days. Any trusted gorilla tour company can help you to get the form Uganda media Centre and they will be able to guide you on how to complete the filling correctly.

After getting the form from Uganda media, you then need to write a letter to Uganda Wildlife Authority with information about your filming company, the purpose of the filming company and the national park you want to go visit. After all information has been received, scanned and sent back, the filming company will enter into a written agreement with Uganda wildlife authority before being given a permit to document to mountain gorillas. A trusted tour operator can always help you to get the official form Uganda wildlife authority.  The form will be sent to Uganda wildlife authority to come up with the final cost of the gorilla filming tour. Uganda wildlife authority will need a letter from you to confirm that you have chooses that tour company to help you with processing the filming permit.

On arrival in Uganda, the gorilla filming crew must show up their equipment at the airport for clearance. If you are intending to use a drone, you must get another approval from Uganda people’s defense forces and the aviation authority.

Cost of gorilla filming in Uganda?

Gorilla filming in Uganda costs about $4200 dollars per hour and this money excludes gorilla permit for $700, transport and accommodation. The filming crew must pay for 8 gorilla permits that is $5600 regardless of how many individuals are in the crew. There is also payment of 5% of total gorilla filming fee which is a separate additional fee charged for environment effects, monitoring and research. And finally you will be required to pay $1000 which will later be refunded after you have shared a copy of the film with Uganda wildlife authority. The total cost of a gorilla film is about $12000.after all this you will then think about accommodation, transport, Uganda media center and clearances at the airport.

For one to have more time with the gorilla, we encourage them to go for gorilla habituation experience. The habituation takes you a whole day and 4 hours with gorillas. The habituation is for $1500 and they will give you all the hours you need to be with gorillas unlike standard gorilla trekking. The gorilla habituation experience is only done in Bwindi impenetrable national park in south western Uganda

Additional information about making gorilla documentaries

Gorilla filming packaging list is the same as that of gorilla trekking. The crew must have good quality camera, good hiking shoes, long sleeved cloths, insect repellents, rain coat, a hat, sun glasses and walking sticks. For excess luggage porters will be available to help you carry equipment and bags at a fee of $15. The minimum age to take part in gorilla filming is 15 years of age, you must keep a distance of 7 meters with gorillas, avoid use of flash cameras, avoid littering in the pack, avoid smoking or eating near the gorillas and avoid over keeping eye contact with gorillas.

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