How much does gorilla trekking cost in Uganda?
In this article we discuss everything about Uganda gorilla trekking price, including:
- Cost of a gorilla trekking permit
- Why gorilla trekking so expensive
- Other costs involved in Uganda gorilla safaris
- Supporting activities
- Plus related Uganda gorilla tours & safari Packages
1. Cost of Gorilla Trekking Permit
There are two gorilla safari parks in Uganda, including Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Nobody is permitted to trek mountain gorilla families in these park without a permit. Gorilla permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
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 trekking permit directly from UWA, but you are strongly advised to book your Uganda gorilla permit through a reputable local tour operator like Tulambule.
As we discuss in our complete guide for trekking gorilla in Uganda in 2023, you need to book your gorilla permits in Uganda well in advance to ensure you are not disappointed. The gorilla permit cost takes the lion’s share the Uganda Gorilla Trekking Cost.
How Much Is Gorilla Permit In Uganda?
Current the Uganda gorilla permit cost US$700 for a foreign non-resident, US$600 for a foreign resident and Uganda Shillings 250000 for the East African Citizen.
The cost is per person per day.
Note: The gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda costs $1500 per person per day.
Why Is Gorilla Trekking So Expensive?
A gorilla trek is one of the top wildlife safari experiences in Africa.
Gorilla trekking is special because mountain gorillas look and behave like we humans. They are our close relatives, sharing about 97% of our DNA. And high numbers of travellers are interested in seeing these majestic apes in the wild.
But 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.
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.
Note: Mountain gorilla trekking is possible only in Uganda (Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks), Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) and Congo (Virunga National Park).
2. Accommodation Cost
You cannot take part in gorilla trekking in Bwindi or Mgahinga 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.
Because gorilla tourism is a significant tourist attraction in Uganda, many private entities have invested in building accommodation facilities around gorilla parks.
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
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Cost
It is also very important to consider seasonal offers when planning your accommodation.
It may considerably hike or lower the price of a Uganda gorilla safari. For example, during the peak seasons (June to September and December and February), accommodation prices usually go up because there are no rains and most tourists chose to travel during this time.
However, during the low season, when the tropical rains are heavy, prices for gorilla safari lodges and camps and lowered to attract more travellers.
So if you are a budget traveller, take advantage of the low season offers to cut down your Uganda gorilla trekking cost. Getting the best accommodation that fits your budget can be daunting for a first time trip to Africa. It doesn’t have to be.
Tulambule is locally on the ground to help you make the perfect choice for a good meal and perfect night-sleep in the pristine jungles of East Africa. We have a list of vetted accommodation choices you can choose from to help you plan your gorilla tour with minimal stress.
Tip: When choosing accommodation, 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 particularly when you are going for Bwindi Gorilla trekking tours. There are four sectors; Nkuringo, Ruhija, Rushaga and Buhoma sector.
3. The Cost Of Food | Uganda Gorilla Trekking Cost
Besides accommodation and gorilla permits, you need to take into consideration expenses on food, drinks and particularly water in your Uganda gorilla trekking cost. The lodges provide this but you are going to need water and food when out of the hotel or traveling.
Food and drinks cost you around $40 each day if you are traveling on your own. But if you are planning to buy expensive cigars or booze, you might have to plan for them separately.
You should not worry about food, if you book your vacation with us or any other tour company. We will take care of the food and water while at the hotel and when traveling between activities.
4. Transport Cost | Uganda Gorilla Trekking Cost
Another important factor to consider in the Uganda gorilla trekking cost is how to get to the gorilla parks. Flights/air tickets to and from your country of origin may cost from $600 to $2500 depending on your choice of airline.
If you are planning to book a domestic flight from Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport to an airstrip near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you might need to part with another $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 city is highly recommended. The road trip from there to the gorilla parks takes about 8 to 9 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.
At Tulambule, we include the cost of transportation and transfers in the price of a Uganda gorilla trekking tour so that you do not have to hustle with pricing your gorilla trekking safari.
5. Gorilla Trekking Packing List Items Cost
For the best Uganda gorilla safari experience, you will need to travel with good hiking boots, camera, insect repellents, sunscreen, garden gloves, binoculars, fleece, and a waterproof jacket.
These are all hidden costs that you need take into consideration apart from the cost of gorilla permit, accommodation and transport.
Read More; What to pack for a safari in Uganda
6. Porter Fees – Especially For The Elderly
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. You can give more if you feel generous and appreciative of their work.
Read More: Gorilla Trekking For The Very Old
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Cost Of 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 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.
Visas & Border Crossing
Sometimes, gorilla trekking in Uganda involves crossing borders between Uganda and Rwanda.
Many people who find the Rwanda gorilla permit price beyond their budget can choose to trek the gorillas in Uganda instead but arrive through Kigali to avoid traveling for 8 hours from Entebbe or Uganda’s capital Kampala. The driving distance from Kigali to Bwindi is about 3 to 4 hours.
Gorilla trekking from Uganda through Kigali involves paying a VISA fee of $50 at either the Katuna or Cyanika border crossings.
The East African Tourist Visa can also be acquired at a cost of $100 for those who are combing safaris in different countries of East Africa. The visa adds to the Uganda gorilla trekking cost.
Read More: Do You Need A Visa To Visit Uganda?
Yellow Fever Vaccination Card & Covid-19 Certificate
This may not seem important but it is a requirement for entering Uganda.
If you read reviews about gorilla trekking in Uganda, you will learn that yellow fever vaccination cards are one of the key documents asked at the airport and while crossing borders.
If you are thinking about the Uganda gorilla trekking cost or planning to travel to most African countries, you need to consider the cost of taking the shot.
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.
Supporting Safari Activities
Next to Uganda gorilla safari national parks, there are some communities that offer amazing cultural experiences.
You can explore the Batwa cultural experience that costs around USD $20 at Bwindi and 80 US$ at Mgahinga.
You can also take a canoe ride or boat cruise at Lake Bunyonyi at around $30. Extras activities add up to the Uganda gorilla trekking cost too.
On top of the above costs, tour companies puts between 10-20% of the total Uganda 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 and make sure that all is in order.
Tips To Help You Keep Uganda Gorilla Trekking Cost Down:
- Book your Uganda gorilla safari with a Local Tour Company like Tulambule. You will save time planning and it will also save you from hotels lodges comparison hustles.
- Travel in group. A group tour helps you reduce the cost of transportation, lodging.
- You can start and end your Uganda gorilla trekking safari in Kigali, Rwanda and save on transportation time and indirectly the costed.
- Also if you want to reduce your Uganda gorilla trekking cost, visit in Low season months, 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 trekking destinations
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Cost can be high if you do not plan well ahead and budget accordingly. The best way to keep low Uganda gorilla trekking price is to book with a tour company.
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Final though on Uganda Gorilla Trekking Cost
Hopefully, these tips will help you to figure out the cost of a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda. If you need more information Uganda gorilla trekking cost or Uganda gorilla safaris, Contact Us. We’ll be happy to help you decide on the best tour option.