The current price of a Uganda gorilla permit is $700 per person per trek (2023) for foreign non-residents. Foreign residents pay $600, and Locals pay UGX 250,000 per person. A Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek (2023) for all international visitors.
Locals pay RWF 30,000; the permit is discounted at 30% if you visit other national parks like Nyungwe & Akagera. Other factors like accommodation, meals, and transport bring the average trip cost to about $490 per person daily, staying in a comfortable lodge with all meals.
The permit cost hikes the price of the entire trip, but when you get that out of the way, you are one step to seeing gorillas in Africa. Costs for other items in your quote can be dynamic considering your style of travel (budget or luxury lodging with meals), transport (public, private, or self-drive), and whether you want to use a tour operator to handle logistics or you are the do-it-yourself kind of traveler.
Many factors for a successfully continuous primate conservation program, like monitoring their health and protecting them from poachers, need regular financing. It is a truly massive undertaking with researchers, teams of rangers, trackers, guides, and a whole conservation management system run by the government’s conservation management body.
Almost 75 percent of the permit fees in Uganda finance the conservation program. The government retains 15 percent, sparing the last 10 percent for development programs for local communities surrounding the gorilla parks.
With the permit, you get a guided Rwanda gorilla trek excursion into the misty woods, ranger security, and a good enough assurance that you will see a gorilla family and spend an hour observing their familial and peculiar behaviour.
If you wish to spend more than the regular hour with the gorillas in Uganda, you must purchase a gorilla habituation permit of $1500 per person. According to many visitors, the habituation experience with intense, emotionally, and physically demanding moments with the gorillas is worth the price tag; you should try it if you can afford it.
During low seasons of the year, gorilla permits may be sold on a discount in Virunga National Park of Congo for as little as $250 dollars (This could change soon). A Virunga gorilla trek cost can be lower because of this generous discount. Rwanda may also have discounted permits for African Union Citizens, foreign residents, large groups, families and those taking part in other activities in the country.
Uganda has discounted gorilla permits for foreigners who are residents in East Africa. A Rwanda gorilla trekking cost is higher than in Uganda or Congo because of the price of permits.
A gorilla permit is a requirement for tracking gorillas. You cannot be allowed to take part in the activity without showing your permit to the park authorities. What is included in the price of a gorilla Permit? A gorilla permit includes interacting with the gorillas for one hour, park entrance and Ranger fees.
To book a gorilla permit, you need to go through your tour operator or one of the government authorities in the respective countries. In Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority issues out gorilla permits while the Rwanda Development board does the same in Rwanda. If you are planning on a safari in Congo, you can book a permit with the Virunga National Park website or through your tour operator.
It is important to book your gorilla tour at least 2 months in advance. If you are planning to travel in the peak season (June, July and August), we recommend that you do the booking at least 5 to 6 months before the trip so that you don’t go through the stress of asking different tour companies if they have availability.
One of the things you will have to consider while planning your gorilla tour is where to sleep. All the gorilla national parks have high quality lodges. Your choice of accommodation will depend on your budget. The good budget hotels cost anywhere between $50 to $130 dollars a night.
Good mid-range hotels go for between $150 to $200. The luxury hotels start from $300 to $5500 per night. You can book these hotels on your own if you are planning to do a self-drive but most travelers book the hotels through us.
Apart from accommodation and gorilla permits, you need to take into consideration expenses on food, drinks and particularly water. The hotels provide this but you are going to need water and food when out of the hotel or traveling. Food and drinks should cost you about $40 each day if you are traveling on your own.
If you are planning to buy expensive booze or cigars, you might have to plan for them separately. You should not worry about food, if you book your vacation with us. We shall take care of the food and water while at the hotel and when traveling between activities.
After securing the gorilla permits and identifying a lodge, the next thing that comes to mind is how to get to the gorilla parks. Air tickets to and from your country of origin can cost between $600 to $2500 depending on your choice of airline. If you are planning to book chattered flights from within the gorilla trekking country, you might need to part with another $600.
Should you find internal flights way beyond your budget or should you decide that you want to experience more of the African countryside, then traveling by road from the airport is highly recommended. Hiring a car in Rwanda and Uganda will cost you about $70 a day excluding fuel and a driver.
Expect to travel on the road for long hours especially if you are tracking in Uganda and Congo. It takes between 8 and 10 hours of driving to reach Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable Park from Entebbe international airport. The driving distance from Kigali International Airport to the Volcanoes National Park is 3 hours.
You will need to travel with a good camera, insect repellents, sunscreen, hiking boots, hand gloves, a pair of binoculars and a rain jacket. These are all hidden costs that need to be taken into consideration apart from the gorilla permit itself.
Gorilla trekking often involves crossing borders between Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. If you are planning to do gorilla trekking in Congo, expect to cross the Goma border post at a cost ($100 for the VISA).
Those who find the price of gorilla permits in Rwanda beyond their budget can choose to go for more affordable gorilla trekking in Uganda instead but arrive through Kigali to avoid traveling for 8 hours from Entebbe or Uganda’s capital Kampala.
Gorilla trekking from Uganda through Kigali involves paying a VISA fee of $50 at either the Katuna or Cyanika border crossings. The East African tourist visa can also be acquired at a cost of $100 for those who are combing safaris in different countries of East Africa.
Yellow fever vaccination cards are one of the key documents asked at the airport and while crossing borders. If you are planning to travel to most African countries, you need to consider the cost of taking the shot.
You will need to hire a porter to help you carry them while tracking the gorillas. The porters can also help you carry packed lunch and lend a hand during the difficult sections of the trek. Hiring a porter cost about $15 and they can be found at the park offices or during the briefing.
Sometimes hotel staff, Guides, Rangers, waiters and waitresses goes out of their way to make sure that your time with them was perfect and memorable. Out of courtesy, you might decide to show your appreciation for the work done by giving them tip. The amount depends entirely on you.