What is the Cost of Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda?
The Cost of Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is between USD $1,490 to $1,650 for a standard 3 day gorilla trek, the same package cost around $2,400 in Rwanda. How does this amount come about.
The Cost of a Gorilla Trekking Safari is mainly determined by the gorilla permit, accommodation options, distance to parks and transportation mode. When compared to other wildlife safari activities in Africa, gorilla trekking cost is quite high. This is what we shall be discussing below.
But, we even dig further, one might be wondering, why is Gorilla Trekking so expensive? Well, besides the popularity of the activity, Mountain Gorillas (silverback gorillas) are some of the endangered primate species that require our support in terms of finances, for conservation.
Mountain Gorillas are quite different from the lowland gorillas that can be found in zoos. These giant apes can only be found in their natural settings. There are only 4 parks in the whole world; Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Par in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo
Therefore, the major factor that inflates the cost of gorilla trekking is the Gorilla Permits. These are documents that every visitor must possess and show to park rangers in order to be allowed entry to the home of mountain gorillas. So, what is the cost of a gorilla permit?
The Cost of a Gorilla Permit
There are only 3 countries in the world where mountain gorilla trekking occurs and their gorilla permits cost differently. They are Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo.
The Uganda gorilla permit price is USD $700 for visitors from outside the East African Community and Uganda Shillings 300,000/- for E.A. citizens (i.e. Ugandans, Kenyans, Tanzanians, South Sudanese, Rwandans, Burundi and Congolese.
Rwanda Gorilla trekking permits costs USD $1,500 per foreign tourists and $200 for Rwandans and East African Residents. Gorilla Permits in Rwanda are issued by only Rwanda Development Board.
If you ever wanted to meet the gentle giants in Democratic Republic of Congo, their gorilla permits to Virunga national park costs only USD $450.
Note: The gorilla permits are just tickets of entry to the forests where mountain gorillas live. They do not include transportation costs, accommodation fares among other requirements. Let’s dig into other factors that make up the cost of gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda.
Accommodation Costs on a Gorilla Safari
After securing your gorilla permit, it is now time to focus on where you will spend a night before or after the trekking. Gorilla trekking process starts early in the morning and hence, your lodging location matters a lot. It is wiser to book a lodge within or near the gorilla parks.
The 2 countries we are focusing on here have variety of accommodation facilities from camping sites to budget lodges to high-end safari lodges. These lodges are strategically located within and outside the parks.
The cost of lodges for gorilla trekking in Uganda range from USD $10 to $40 for Campsites, USD $50 to $160 for budget lodges, USD $200 to $400 for Standard/midrange lodges and USD $450 to 2,000 for Luxury lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
In Rwanda, budget lodges cost between USD $80 to $200 per night, midrange cost between USD $220 to $500 and Luxury lodge ranges from USD $600 to $3,000 per night in Volcanoes National Park.
Tip: When choosing a lodge, always opt for those that are located not just within the park but also in the sector where your issued gorilla permit is meant to work. This is especially when you are going to trek gorillas in Bwindi. There are 4 sectors; Nkuringo, Ruhija, Rushaga and Buhoma sector.
Note: The prices shared are costed for 2 people sharing (double or Twin room) per night. This means you pay half of the money for the lodges except for camping.
Transportation Costs for a Gorilla Trekking Tour
The cost of transportation varies depending on how you arrive at the gorilla parks and where you start from. There are 2 ways to travel to where gorilla trekking happens in both Uganda and Rwanda, by air or road.
Usually, gorilla safaris in Uganda starts form Entebbe International Airport for international arrivals or Kampala city. There are special packages that start from Kigali city, Rwanda and rarely from Nairobi Kenya. Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda starts in Kigali city.
The cost of Transportation on a Uganda gorilla safari to Bwindi; flying, there are scheduled internal flights from Entebbe, Kajjansi Airstrip to Kihihi Airstrip, Bwindi at averagely USD $700 per person. For international flights, it is entirely upon your choice of Flights and start point.
There are no scheduled flights to Volcanoes national park, Rwanda although, you can book a chattered helicopter operated by Akagera flights to Ruhengeri Airstrip.
By Road; Rwanda has the shortest drive time to gorilla safari park which means the cost of gorilla trekking in Rwanda based on transportation is quite low. On the other side, it takes about 8 hours to drive from Kampala to Bwindi or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park hence higher costs on fuel.
To rent a car in Uganda or Rwanda cost about USD $50 per day for budget, $70 to $120 per day for standard safari vehicles and $200 for luxury / high-end safari cars. The costs are exclusive of fuel and driver costs.
Therefore, you need to carefully calculate the cost of fuel, car hire on top of accommodation and gorilla permit before packing for a gorilla trekking safari.
Note: Our gorilla trekking safari packages prices are all inclusive. So, you don’t need to calculate a thing.
This applies mostly for those who intend to do self-drive gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda or Rwanda because for those who book with us, food and drinks are covered for in the package costs.
Although lodges and hotels booked provide food (breakfast, Lunch and supper), you will need to pack some snacks and drinks for gorilla trekking exercise. You will also need to feast on something while travelling to and from gorilla safari destinations, especially in Uganda.
The cost of food is around $10 to $20 in both countries. At that much, you enjoy a hefty dinner whether local or international cuisines. Prices for alcoholic beverages differ from one place to another.
Note: For a complete African experience, always tryout on the local delicacies provided you don’t have any healthy issues that limits your diet.
Cost of Porters and Sedan Chairs
Gorilla trekking is quite challenging for the elderly and people with disabilities, so, it is wiser for them to rent sedan chairs at $400 to avoid trekking. To under better how these works, read our Gorilla Trekking for the elderly and People with Special Needs guide.
Porters are people from local communities who help visitors with their luggage. This can be your backpacker or camera equipment especially for those who are going on a gorilla photography safari and are carrying heavy items. As the journey gets going, the baggage gets heavier.
Other things that influence the Cost of Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda.
Visa Fees and Border Crossing: A single entry Visa for Uganda or Rwanda cost USD $50. You can as well get an East African Visa at USD $100 that allows you to cross borders of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya on a single Visa for 90 days. East African Registered Cars pay USD $30 for border crossing.
Packing list for Gorilla trekking: It should be noted that gorilla trekking is done in mountainous forests, therefore, buying hiking shoes, insect repellents, rain jacket and so much more will influence the cost of gorilla trekking indirectly.
Yellow Fever Vaccination Card and Covid-19 Certificate: Almost all African countries require Yellow Fever Vaccination Card on entry, and of recent, a Covid-19 certificate has also been added to entry requirements. It is cheaper to spend on both health certificates while still at your home country to avoid disturbances at Airports.
Tips: A token of appreciation may seem low but also counts when calculating money spent on a journey. There is no set amount of tip and it is not mandatory but, it is a motivation that encourages guides, park rangers and hotel workers to keep delivering with one heart.
Supporting Activities: Next to gorilla safari parks, there are some communities that offer amazing cultural experiences such as Batwa Community encounter that costs USD $20, Canoe riding at lake Bunyony at $20 in Uganda and Ibyiwacu cultural experience in Rwanda at $35. Extras activities add up to the cost of gorilla trekking too.
Tips to help you save on a Gorilla Trekking safari:
- Book your gorilla safari with a Local Tour Company. You will save time planning and it will also save you from hotels lodges comparison hustles.
- Travel in group. A group helps you reduce the cost of transportation, lodging and there is some gorilla permit discounts on large groups trekking gorillas in Rwanda.
- You can start and end your Uganda gorilla trekking safari in Kigali, Rwanda and save on transportation time and indirectly the costed.
- Visit in Low season, lodges tend to lower their rates during the rainy season (low season) when tourists are few.
- Avoid using chartered planes or private planes to gorilla hosting countries.
- Go to countries with cheaper gorilla permits; that is Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The cost of Gorilla Trekking can be high if you don’t plan well ahead and budget accordingly. The best way to keep low costs of gorilla trekking is to book with a tour company and also compare Gorilla Trekking Costs with different operators. Choose the moderate ones.
Our Top 5 Most Affordable Gorilla Trekking Safari Packages
3 Days Gorilla Trekking Tour
This is a Uganda gorilla safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park focusing on Mountain Gorilla treks and Batwa cultural experience. The 3 days Gorilla Trekking Bwindi Tour provides the best wildlife encounter with the endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, one of their.. View Tour
1 Day Gorilla Trekking Uganda
This is a special gorilla safari package for primates lovers eager to trek Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi but are time bound. Trekking mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National park on 1 day Gorilla Trekking Uganda Tour plan is designed to start and end in Kigali city, Rwanda for international tourists… View Tour
2 Days Gorilla Trekking Uganda
This is also from Kigali introduces you into the misty Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to enjoy a lifetime mountain gorilla trekking experience. The short Uganda gorilla safari takes 1 night and 2 days and you will be exploring any of Bwindi’s 4 gorilla safari sectors that is Ruhija, Nkuringo, Buhoma… View Tour
8 Days Rwanda and Uganda Wildlife Tour
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5 Days Uganda Gorilla and Cultural Tour
This is a unique safari experience leading adventurous tourists to the rarely visited Mgahinga National Park within the Virunga Conservation Area in south-western Uganda. Mgahinga is Uganda’s smallest National Park but the country’s second most popular gorilla trekking destination after Bwindi Impenetrable… View Tour