Cost of gorilla trekking in East Africa : There are only 3 East African countries that offer Gorilla trekking in the whole world including Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The cost of gorilla trekking differs from country to country. It is important to note that the price of gorilla permits is just a fraction of the overall cost of gorilla trekking. The cost of gorilla trekking is relatively high compared to other wildlife encounters.
Gorilla trekking is one of the most thrilling wildlife activities in Africa. The experience is different from a game drive in the Serengeti national park, Masai Maraa national reserve or Kruger National Park. Gorilla trekking is special because mountain gorillas look and behave like we humans. They live in families led by a dominant silverback who dictates everything that is done by the group. Gorilla trekking is expensive because mountain gorillas are endangered and because of that many people want to see them. The high numbers of tourists interested in observing wild mountain gorillas has forced many governments to raise the price of permits. You can say the principle of demand and supply applies here – The higher the demand, the higher the price. However,demand is not the only explanation for the high cost of gorilla permits. There is a great need of funds to protect the primates, Cost of gorilla trekking in East Africa
If you are planning to do gorilla trekking in any of the three countries, you will need to acquire a gorilla permit. A gorilla permit is a document that allows you access to the gorillas. In Uganda, gorilla permits cost $700, in Rwanda $1500 and Congo $400. If you are an East African national, you can obtain a gorilla permit in Uganda for 250,000 shillings. 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.
For those who are interested in gorilla habituation experience in the Bwindi impenetrable national park of Uganda, you will have to pay $1500 for a permit. The Gorilla habituation experience is quite different from normal gorilla trekking. It takes the whole day and involves spending 4 hours with mountain gorillas instead of the one hour allocated to tourists during standard gorilla trekking.
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 like us or the authorities responsible for conservation 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 permit or gorilla tour at least 3 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 do not go through the stress of asking different tour companies if they have availability, Cost of gorilla trekking in East Africa
Other than the gorilla permits, when planning a safari in East Africa, you still have to consider transportation, accommodation, food, Visas, air tickets, packing lists, porters and tips for the Guides.