The cost of gorilla trekking safari is relatively high compared to other wildlife encounters as we will discover in this article. Gorilla trekking is special because mountain gorillas look and behave like we humans. They live in families led by a dominant silver back 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.
The cost of gorilla trekking differs from your choice of services. It is important to note that the price of gorilla permits is just a fraction of the overall cost of gorilla trekking. You still have to consider transportation, accommodation, food, Visas, air tickets, packing lists, porters and tips for the Guides.
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. If you are interested in the gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi, 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.
The cost of accommodation: 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.
The cost of food: 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. In this case when you decide to move with us, all those costs will be on our budget provided we have reached the final payment agreement.
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 need to part with another $600.
If you decide that you want to experience more of the African countryside, then traveling by road from the airport is highly recommended. It will cost you about $70 a day excluding fuel and a driver. Expect to travel on the road for long hours. It takes between 8 and 10 hours of driving to reach Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable Park from Entebbe international airport.
For the best experience while tracking and watching the gorillas, 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.
Those who find the price of gorilla permits in Rwanda beyond their budget can choose to track the gorillas 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.
You will also learn that 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.
If you are traveling with heavy equipment, bags or video cameras, you will need to hire a porter to help you carry them while tracking the gorillas. Porters can also help you carry packed lunch and lend a hand during the difficult sections of the trek.
Sometimes hotel staffs, guides, rangers, waiters and waitresses go 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. Tipping during gorilla trekking is not compulsory and should only be paid after a service is rendered and you are happy with it.
The cost of gorilla trekking tours also depends on how many days you set aside for the activity. A 1-day gorilla tour in Uganda will cost about $1150 per person if traveling with someone. A 2 days Uganda gorilla tour will cost about $1350 per person if traveling on budget.
The 3 days gorilla tours in Uganda will cost $1350 per person if traveling on budget. Luxury gorilla tours can cost between $1600 to $7000 depending on the lodge you choose. These prices do not include air tickets, porters, tips, alcoholic beverages and any expenses that appear personal in nature.