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As of 2024, the Uganda gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla Parks costs US$ 700 per person for foreign nonresidents, US$ 600 per person for foreign residents and UGX 250,000 per person for East African citizens. 

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is far cheaper than gorilla trekking in Rwanda, even though both countries offer equally fantastic experiences. 

Rwanda gorilla permit cost US$1500. But even while Uganda is the far more affordable option than Rwanda, a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda is still an expensive adventure when compared to other Africa safari experiences. This is partly because besides the gorilla permit price, there are several other additional costs to a Uganda gorilla trekking safari.

Gorilla Trekking Permits

Nobody is permitted to trek gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks without a permit. Gorilla permits in Uganda are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

The permits must be bought for the park where you wish to go gorilla trekking. You must also purchase a permit for a particular day.

You can book your gorilla permit directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority, but we strongly advised you to book it through a reputable local Uganda tour operator.

You need to book your gorilla trekking permits in Uganda well in advance to ensure you are not disappointed. Read more about Uganda gorilla permits.

How much is gorilla trekking permit in Uganda?

The gorilla permit cost takes the lion’s share of the gorilla trekking safaris cost. Currently the permit for gorilla trekking in Uganda cost:

  • US$700 for a foreign non-resident
  • US$600 for a foreign resident
  • Uganda Shillings 250000 for the East African Citizen

Travelers who want to spend more time with gorillas can book a permit for gorilla habituation experience which cost:

  • US$ 1500 for a foreign non-resident
  • US$ 1000 for a foreign resident
  • Uganda Shilling 750,000 for the East African Citizen

Additional Costs Explained

Uganda gorilla trekking Cost

1. Accommodation Cost

You cannot take part in gorilla trekking in Uganda without staying at least 1 night within the area. As such, the type of accommodation facility you choose, also determines your Uganda Gorilla trekking cost. For every kind of traveler, from budget, mid-range to luxury, there are viable options to choose from at every park. 

Let’s look at what options you have per person, per night, inclusive of meals.

  • Budget accommodation costs between $50 to $100
  • Mid-range  accommodation costs between $100 to $500
  • High-end accommodation costs between $600 to $1500

2. Transport Cost

If you are planning to book a domestic flight from Entebbe Airport to an airstrip near Bwindi or Mgahinga, you might need to part with $450. The flight takes about 1½ hours.

Should you find domestic flights way beyond your budget or should you decide that you want to experience more of the African countryside, then traveling by road from Entebbe or Kampala is highly recommended. The road trip from there to the gorilla parks takes about 8 to 10 hours. Hiring a car in Uganda will cost you about:

  • US$40 – US$60 per day for small 4×4 car
  • US$80 – US$100 per day for medium 4×4 car
  • US$200 – US$300 per day for a safari 4×4 Land Cruiser

These prices do not include fuel for the car and the driver. In many cases, the price may include a driver/guide, but it’s advisable to talk to the operator before making payment. Maintenance, certification and insurance of the vehicle are the responsibility of the owner or tour operator.

4. The cost of food & Drinks - Water

Yes, lodges and hotels offer this but you are going to need food and water when out of the lodge traveling. Water and food can cost you about $30 each day if you are traveling on your own. You should not worry about food, if you book your Uganda safari with a tour company. The company should take care of the water and food while at the hotel and when traveling between activities. You can read a related article about the cost of a Uganda safari.

Uganda gorilla trekking Cost

5. Cost of items on the gorilla safari packing list:

For the best experience while trekking mountain gorillas, you will need to travel with;

  • A good camera
  • Hiking shoes or boots
  • Insect repellents
  • Hand gloves
  • A rain jacket

These are all hidden costs that need to be taken into consideration apart from the gorilla permit itself. Read more about the items recommended on the gorilla trekking packing list.

4. Porter Fees

The porter fees also add to the Uganda gorilla trekking cost. Gorilla trekkers are encouraged to take porters for several reasons.

First, they carry your bags, and when you are approaching gorillas, they will remain with your packed lunches and all items you might not need.

Second, they will give you a push or a pull during your trek in the forest. This extra effort is to enable you to achieve your dream of viewing these endangered mountain gorillas.

The other significance of taking a porter is that by doing so, you are contributing to community development since most of these porters are school dropouts or continuing students that need this money to finance their education.

A gorilla trekking porter costs a minimum of $10.

5. Tips

Tips are an appreciation of good service rendered to you by your safari guide, gorilla trekking guide, waiters and porters. It’s not a must that you have to do this.

Tipping in Uganda during gorilla trekking is not compulsory and should only be paid after a service is rendered and you are happy with it.

The amount depends entirely on you. However, as a responsible Tour Company, we recommend that you put some small funds aside for tipping.

6. Visa Costs

Most nationalities pay US$50 for a Uganda single-entry visa. If you will also be traveling to Rwanda or Kenya (Tanzania is not included in this visa) you can get an East African tourist visa which coast US$100.

7. Company Markup

On top of the above costs, tour companies puts between 10-20% of the total gorilla trekking cost as fixing or service fee. It is part of the profit as well as helping the company to book all services such as gorilla permits, accommodation and making telephone calls to check availability.

3 day gorilla trekking Uganda Cost Estimates

So, looking at the above and putting all factors into consideration, the cost of a typical 3 day gorilla trekking Uganda tour package can be broken down as below;

  • Budget Gorilla trekking trip: permit $700 + car rental $150 + fuel+ $200 + Guide 150 accommodation $150 which totals to $1350.
  • Mid-range Gorilla trekking safari: permit $700 + car rental $300 + fuel÷ $250 + Guide 150 + accommodation $450 + which totals to $1850.
  • Luxury Gorilla trekking tour: permit $700 + car rental $750 + fuel $350 + Guide 200 + accommodation $900 which totals to $2900.

That is the gorilla safari price estimate for 1 person traveling alone on a private Gorilla trek. The cost can slightly or considerably change depending on the number of people.

FAQs About Uganda Gorilla Trekking Cost

trekking gorillas in Uganda

1. Why Is Gorilla Trekking So Expensive?

  • Mountain gorillas are highly endangered with just over 1000 left on Earth.
  • And due to shared DNA, our virus and illness can easily spread to them. This has forced governments to raise the price of gorilla trekking permits.
  • It is important to note that if the Uganda gorilla trekking permit cost was reduced considerably, too many people would be attracted to visit the gorillas hence affecting the overall well-being of the few habituated gorilla families.
  • Also gorilla conservation needs significant investments in infrastructure, rangers, research, and scientists. This requires money.
  • And part of the money collected from gorilla trekking permits is used to fund activities related to protecting these endangered giants.
  • In general, 15% of the income from gorilla permits goes to the government, 10% to the local communities to limit poaching, and 75% to gorilla conservation.

What is the cheapest way to go gorilla trekking?

  • Book your Uganda gorilla safari with a Local Tour Company
  • Travel in group. A group tour helps you reduce the cost of transportation and accommodation.
  • You can start and end your Uganda gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda and save on transportation time and indirectly on the cost.
  • Visit in Low season months of October, November, May and April. Lodges tend to lower their rates during the low season when tourists are few.
  • Opt for short gorilla safaris like a 3 day Uganda gorilla trekking tour
  • Avoid using chartered planes or private planes to gorilla trekking destinations

Read more about the cheapest way to see gorillas

Ready to Start Planning Your Uganda Gorilla Safari?

The important thing to remember is that the above costs are guidelines only. Your Tulambule Uganda safari consultant is an expert at tailoring a gorilla safari according to budget and interests. Don’t be shy to find out what you can get for your money – you may be very pleasantly surprised!