Mountain Gorilla trekking is the most thought after tour that every person on earth wishes to take part in but the question on everyone’s mind is how much does it cost to see gorillas? Why is gorilla trekking very expensive? To answer the questions, a gorilla tour cost can be determined by looking at certain factors and some of these may be constant, others may depend on the tour operator organizing the trip and lastly the client’s tastes and preferences. A person on budget pays less for a gorilla trip than a luxury client.
Mountain Gorilla trekking is carried out in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Congo. Most times gorilla tours are sold as a package inclusive of the gorilla permits, transport costs, accommodation costs, meals and guide fees. Let’s try and break down how one comes up with the total cost of the gorilla trip by stating the major determinants of the tour cost.
1. Cost of gorilla permits
For any person to be allowed to carry out the activity one needs a gorilla permit which is a document that allows a client to spend one hour with the mountain gorillas once found in their natural habitat. In Uganda a gorilla trekking permit costs USD 700 for foreign nonresidents, USD 600 for foreign residents and UGX. 250,000 for East Africans and a gorilla habituation permit costs USD 1500 which allows you 4 hours with gorillas in Bwindi.
In Rwanda a gorilla permit costs USD1500 regardless of your origin and in Congo it costs USD 400. Therefore, depending on the country you decide to do gorilla tour be sure that you need a gorilla permit. The gorilla permit cost is inclusive of one hour with gorillas, park entry fees, park ranger, guide fees and a gorilla trekking certificate in Uganda.
Getting to these national parks one needs transport means and so the cost of hiring a car, fuel and a driver is also added on the cost of the gorilla tour. Some of the national parks are far from the city Centre for example Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park is about 8/9 hours from Kampala/ Entebbe and 4 hours from Kigali airport. There are also chartered flights to these parks which take less time but expensive. Visitors who would wish to enjoy more need to use road transport as one passes through the countryside enjoying the nature and topography of the area.
There are different options of accommodations near the national parks where gorilla trekking is done. These lodges or camps range from budget to luxury. The accommodation prices per person and per night rooms range from 30$ to 1200$ in Uganda depending on one’s choice and level of comfortability while in Rwanda accommodation can start from USD.50 and goes up to USD 8000. Visitors are advised to book lodges near the starting point of gorilla trekking to avoid inconveniences of waking up so early or getting late for the activity. The visitor’s level and choice of accommodation may greatly determine the cost to see gorillas either in Uganda or Rwanda since the best experience is achieved when visitor stays next to the gorilla trekking point.
The above three are the major factors to consider when determining how much a gorilla tour costs but there are other indirect costs that a client may incur during the gorilla tour and some of these include
However, a gorilla tour includes or requires transport, gorilla permit, accommodation, meals and drinks like water which total up to gorilla tour cost for it to be complete. Basically for one to enjoy gorilla trekking experience without rush, one needs 3 days for a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda and 2 days for a gorilla tour in Rwanda. In Uganda and Rwanda, gorilla trekking experience is conducted in the same way but what differs is ones choice and budget.
How much does a gorilla Safari cost in Uganda?
The cheapest 3-day gorilla trekking tour in Uganda ranges from USD 1200 to USD1300 per person while a 3 days luxury Uganda gorilla Safari will start from $ 2800 upwards. This price will include a gorilla permit, private Transport guide fees and your level of accommodation.
How much is a cost for gorilla trekking in Rwanda?
In Rwanda a cheapest 2 days gorilla tour will be at around USD 1900 while a luxury 3 days Rwanda gorilla tour cost may start from USD: 2900 upwards. This price will include a gorilla permit, private Transport guide fees and your level of accommodation.
In order to cut or reduce costs, clients are advised not to travel alone so as to share the costs like transport and mark up for tour companies, alternatively travel during low season when some discounts are on, choose Uganda over Rwanda as Uganda gorilla permits are cheap over those in Rwanda, use a tour operator as they have the best knowledge of the area and they do their best to meet your tastes and preferences.