How Much Does A Gorilla Safari Cost In Uganda, Rwanda And Dr. Congo?
Gorilla Safari Cost In Uganda, Rwanda And Dr. Congo Mountain gorilla trekking is one of the best wildlife experience in Africa and the highlight tours to most of visitor who visits Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Therefore, someone would be right to say that mountain gorillas are the major reason as to why very many people visit these 3 destinations no matter the price of the gorilla safari. Every visitor who want to visit Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo for gorilla trekking tour asks this question of “How much does a Gorilla Trekking Safari / Tour Cost? Which is an interesting questions that has been discussed on different travel platforms such as lonely planet, trip advisor and safari bookings and many others but there has never been one exact answer to it. This is because there are many tour operators who arrange gorilla trekking tours in these 3 destinations and also each visitor has his/her own travelling style for example; some visitors prefer luxury style, the mid-range style, budget / standard style and others goes for camping style. Some visitors prefer private tours well as others like group tours, some visitors like flying tour and others prefer driving. Therefore, these differences in the visitors traveling styles and differences in the tour operator used by each visitor makes it hard to have one uniform cost for the gorilla trekking tour in Uganda, Rwanda and DR. Congo. However, the cheapest gorilla trekking safari for 3 days using mid-range accommodation facilities and safari van should cost from $ 1250 depending on the number of people for a visitor traveling on a budget / standard style but it can rise to as high as $ 4000 to $ 6000 per person for a super luxury. Please note that the above expressed costs about the Uganda, Rwanda and DR. Congo gorilla trekking tour are based on opinions of Africa Adventure Vacations Ltd and they are acting as guidelines so, for more information please contact us and well customized travel information basing on your travel needs.
You may be curiously asking yourself that why gorilla trekking tour is so expensive? And if it is worth the money. Here is the breakdown.
A Mountain Gorilla trekking permit in Uganda costs $ 700 USD and 75% of the money collected is used to support conservation activities of the mountain gorillas and their habitats. Mountain gorillas are amongst the 25 most endangered primates in the world so to protect them from getting extinct a lot of funds have to be injected to protect the still surviving population. The government takes 15% and 10% is meant for the local communities that are surrounding the parks as one way of engaging them in the conservation campaigns of the mountain gorillas. So, when you purchase the permit, note that the cost includes gorilla watching for an hour, park entrance fees, advance trackers and ranger fees.
Mountain Gorilla trekking is one of the most exciting wildlife activities in Africa which gives a very unique experience that is totally different from just a game drive in the Serengeti, Masai Maraa, Murchison falls, Kidepo valley, Queen Elizabeth, Akegera, Kruger National Parks and others. One may consider Gorilla trekking as special experience because of the behaviors and looks of mountain gorillas that are resembling those of humans. For example, they live in families with a hierarchy where the family is lead and protected by a dominant silverback which dictates everything that should be done by the family. Gorilla trekking is also expensive as a way to limit massive number of visitors for conservation purposes. The massive numbers of visitors interested in seeing mountain gorillas forced the 3 governments of where mountain gorillas are found to raise the price of permits following the principle of demand and supply.
The cost of gorilla trekking tour in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo
The cost of gorilla trekking tour differs from country to country. For example, the cost of Gorilla Trekking permit in Congo is $400 per person and during low seasons, permits are sold at a discount $250 dollars (This could change). In Uganda, the permit is sold at $700 USD for non-foreign residents, $600 to foreign residents with all legal documents and 250000 UGX for the Ugandans and East African residents. Lastly in Rwanda, a mountain gorilla trekking permit costs USD $1500 per person for Foreign nonresidents, East African Residents or Diplomats with working permit for any of the East African countries (Uganda, Kenya & Burundi) – USD$450, Rwandan foreign residents or Diplomats working in Rwanda – USD $375, East African Citizens (Uganda, Kenya and Burundi) USD$300 and Rwandan Citizens 30,000 FRW. Therefore, when you take analysis of the gorilla trekking permits in the 3 countries, you will find that in Rwanda is more expensive than the one of Uganda and Congo. So, when you are planning to do a gorilla trekking tour in Africa, the destination you choose will determine the price for your gorilla tour.
The cost of a gorilla trekking permit is unnegotiable and non-refundable and they are only sold by government owned authorities in each country. In Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is the responsible to regulate all the mountain gorilla activities and prices, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is the one concerned about all gorilla actives and in Congo, it is the management of Virunga National Park. A gorilla trekking permit is the first requirement for gorilla trekking therefore, before leaving your home to any of the 3 destination for gorilla trekking, you have to first confirm that you have your permit or it was secured by your local tour operator to avoid wasting your money and disappointments because without showing it to the park authorities, you not be allowed to take part in the activity. Mountain gorilla permits can be bought direct from the websites of the responsible authorities or through your tour operator and it is very important to book it at least 3 months in advance. If you are planning to travel in the peak season which include the months of (February, June, July and August, September and December), we would 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.
It is important to note that the price of gorilla permits is just a fraction of the overall cost of the mountain gorilla trekking tour. After you have paid for your gorilla permit, you still have to consider the cost of others such as accommodation including meals and drinks, transportation including fuel and driver guide, air tickets, entry visa fee, things to pack, porters and tips for the Guides and souvenirs or gifts.
The cost of other items for gorilla trekking tour in Uganda, Rwanda and DR. Congo
The cost of accommodation:
When planning for a gorilla trekking tour to Africa, one of the key things that you have to consider is where to sleep. All the gorilla national parks in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo have high quality safari lodges from where you can spend the night depending on your travel budget as these include camping grounds where you need to carry your lazy tent, budget/ standard accommodation facilities, Mid-range/ moderate facilities, Semi-luxury facilities and super luxury facilities. For guidance, when looking at camping, camping ground centers charge between $10 to $30 with your own tent, Budget safari lodges charges between $50 to USD70, Mid-Range Lodges charge between $80 to $120, Semi-luxury lodges change $150 to $200 while Luxury or Up Market Lodges charge from USD250.00 and above, all rates are based on per person sharing in a double/twin or triple room on full board meal plan (Breakfast/ Lunch /Dinner). The minimum of nights on a short mountain gorilla trekking tour in Uganda should be at least 2 nights which means 3 Day and 2 nights Bwindi Gorilla safaris from Entebbe international airport/ Kampala the Capital city of Uganda. However, you can start your gorilla trekking tour to Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park from Kigali international airport or Kigali city and this can be 2 Days and 1 Night gorilla trekking safari. For Congo also 3 Days and 2 Nights from Kigali or Goma international airports to Virunga and national park. In Rwanda, 1 night is enough. This means 2 days and 1 night gorilla trekking tour from Kigali international airport or Kigali city to Volcanoes national park. Therefore, the standard of accommodation property that you choose will contribute much to the overall costs of your gorilla trekking tour.
When you book accommodation by yourself, we would recommend you to choose the one that is located close to the park information offices you have been assigned. If you choose the one that is far, you may miss the trek. So, this is why it is very important to arrange your gorilla tour through Africa Adventure Vacations or any other reputable tour operator. You can determine a reputable tour operator by reading through the comments that were made by earlier visitors he/she served on different travel platforms such as Trip advisor, Safari bookings, Tourradar, Lonely planet and many others before you make a decision.
The cost of food and drinks:
When you are planning for a gorilla trekking tour to Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, you need to consider the expenses for food and drinks. When you book full board meal plan, you will be provided to 3 meals per days that is (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner) at your safari lodge or hotels however, this could not be inclusive of drinks such as water, sodas and other alcoholic drinks so you have to plan for them and the en-route meals. The price of food and drinks can be planned around $30 per day if you are traveling on your own. When you book your gorilla trekking tour through a tour company, you should not worried about food and bottled drinking water because they will take care of them while at the hotel / Lodge and when traveling between activities.
The cost of transport:
After securing your gorilla permits, identifying a lodge, getting the total price of your meals the next thing is how to get to the gorilla parks. You can access gorilla parks by chartered flights and hiring safari vehicle within the gorilla trekking country.
Chartered flights are quicker and less tiresome mostly used by visitors who do not like long hours’ drives and with limited time to spend on their gorilla trekking tours. If you wish to trek gorillas in Uganda but having limited time or you do not like to drive for long hours, this is the best option though it is slightly compared to hiring a vehicle. It can cost around $600 for a return ticket when book a scheduled domestic flights operated by Kajjansi Executive Aviation (KEA) from Kajjansi airstrip and Aerolink from Entebbe international airport to Kihihi airstrip few kilometers to Bohoma gorilla trekking sector or you can book a private charter flight from Kajjansi Executive Aviation from Kajjansi Airstrip or Aerolink from Entebbe international airport to Kihihi airstrip gorilla trekking in Buhoma and Ruhija sectors and Kisolo airstrip for gorilla trekking from Nkuringo and Rushanga trekking sectors in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park and the price for a private charter, depends on the number of people. The higher the number of people, the lower price per person and vice versa. The flying time from either Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Kihihi and Kisolo airstrips is 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Hiring a safari vehicle for a self-drive and this should be 4WD which can navigate through bad roads mostly when it rains. Most of the roads going to the gorilla parks off the main roads are not in good conditions. Driving is the most common mean that is used by most of the visitors and it is the best way to explore more of the countryside and we recommended it if you have enough time at least 3 days. Hiring a safari car in Uganda and Rwanda will cost you about $100 per day excluding driver allowance and fuel. Fuel in Uganda, may cost you around $200 depending on the current price of fuel on the market and your gorilla trekking sector for example, when you track gorillas from Ruhija and Buhoma sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, the used is less compared to when you track gorillas from Rushanga and Nkuringo sector or Mgahinga gorilla national park because these are found in hilly areas that will require you to drive in low gears which consume a lot of fuel. When you decide to hire a driver, the daily driver allowance cost $40 to $70 per day and may tips at the end of your tour. However, when you choose driving, you should expect to drive for long hours especially when you are going to track gorillas in Uganda and Congo. In Uganda, it takes between 8 and 10 hours to drive both Mgahinga gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable forest national parks from Entebbe international airport or Kampala city. In Rwanda, the driving time from Kigali International Airport or Kigali city to the Volcanoes National Park is only 3 hours and if you going to track gorillas in Virunga National Park in Congo, the best driving route is from Kigali airport or city and then drive to the border of Congo and Rwanda a journey which takes about four hours. So, the price of a mean of transport you choose contribute a big part on the costs of your mountain gorilla trekking safari in Africa.
Organizing a tour on your own in an unfamiliar and developing country can be difficult and you may not fully enjoy. Therefore, we would advise you to get a reputable local tour operator to arrange everything for you. In conclusion, the cost of gorilla trekking tour in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo depends on the number days you set aside for the activity, number of people travelling with you, accommodation style and means of transport to use. Traveling alone is more expensive because you take costs of everything alone but when you get a travel partner, you share costs of transport, accommodation, fuel and driver guide.