Why is there a gorilla permit price difference in Uganda, Rwanda, and DRC
Why is a gorilla permit price difference in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo? The price of gorilla trekking permits for Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo vary depending on several factors.
Security of the areas where mountain gorillas live is very important in determining the price of the gorilla permit, where the cost of a D.R.Congo gorilla permit is the lowest compared to her counterparts. This is attributed to political unrest in the western part of D.R.Congo, where mountain gorillas have a home.
Most Popular Safaris
The Virunga area is the only home of mountain gorillas in the world, comprising only three countries Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo. To attend gorilla trekking in any of these countries, you need a gorilla permit from a credible body regulating them.
A gorilla trekking permit for Uganda is currently $700 per person per trek, a Rwanda gorilla permit costs $ 1500 per person and $ 450 per person per trek for D.R.Congo.
In Uganda, gorilla trekking is done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, while in Rwanda, gorilla trekking is done in Volcanoes National Park. D.R.Congo gorilla trekking experience is in Virunga National Park. For each gorilla trekking destination, you need to book a gorilla permit.
Why The Variation In Gorilla Trekking Permit Cost?
Mountain Gorillas Live In Different Countries
Mountain gorillas live in three individual countries with different bodies that set prices for gorilla trekking permits. Each country, as an individual, fixes its price without consulting another country. Uganda, which hosts Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National Park under Uganda Wildlife Authority, set the cost of a gorilla permit as $700 per person per trek.
Rwanda with Volcanoes National Park as a home for the mountain gorillas under the supervision of the Rwanda Development Board set the cost of a gorilla permit as $1500.
The D.R.Congo with Virunga National Park set the gorilla permit cost as $450 per person per trek.
Security Of The Countries Where Gorilla Trekking Happens
The security in the western part of D.R.Congo, where mountain gorillas live in the Virunga forest, is unstable due to rebel activities. This is one of the reasons why its gorilla families are still few. That is 6 families: Munyanga, Humba, Kabirizi, Rugendo, Lulengo, and Mapuwa. Few tourists dare to do gorilla safari in Virunga National Park, even with the limited trekking families.
Uganda, for over 30 years, and Rwanda, after the 1994 genocide, has enjoyed peace for a long period, so making progress for gorilla trekking safaris to move at a faster rate as demand for it is increasing yearly. This is why the costs of Uganda and Rwanda gorilla permits are higher to D.R.Congo to regulate the number of participants.
The Time Taken From The Airport To The Gorilla Trekking Destinations
The drive from Kigali to volcanoes national park is about 3 hours, and the drive from Entebbe airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is out 8 hours to 9 hours. The drive from Goma international airport to Virunga National Park may take a day or more.
This explains why Rwanda has a higher gorilla permit cost of $1500 per person, as gorilla trekking in Rwanda can be a stopover activity for anyone wishing to proceed to another country in Africa for a safari.
Advertising Level For Gorilla Safaris
Amongst Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo, Rwanda hits top notch with advertising its tourism industry with campaigns like Visit Rwanda fixed on international companies like Arsenal football club. This high-profile advertising comes with a high cost on gorilla permits.
Uganda and D.R.Congo do not run top-notch international advertising campaigns for their tourism industries.
Uganda has more optional Activities to combine with gorilla trekking
While in Uganda, you can do more safari activities, so instead of setting a high cost for the gorilla permit, you can book other available safari activities in Uganda. Uganda has activities like chimpanzee trekking, game drives, birding watching, visiting the source of the River Nile, white water rafting, and several others.
Rwanda is limited with what to combine with gorilla trekking, like game drives in Akagera National Park, Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park, boat trips on Lake Ihema, and so much more.
D.R.Congo is also limited with options to combine with gorilla trekking, but you can hike to mountain Nyirangongo or chimpanzee trekking. It would be best if you were mindful of security in this area, which is unstable.
How To Book Gorilla Trekking Permits In Uganda, Rwanda And D.R.Congo
Select a day when you hope to do gorilla trekking in either Uganda, Rwanda, or D.R.Congo. Having the number of people you hope to do gorilla trekking with saves you the trouble of moving back and forth in checking availability.
Suppose the availability of the gorilla trekking permits is approved. In that case, you need to secure your permits as soon as possible because they sell out fast, especially in the peak season when safari demand is at its peak.
Forward passport details like your full name as indicated on the passport, nationality, date of birth, and passport expiry date.
Can I Reschedule The Gorilla Permit?
Tourists who book gorilla permits yarn to have that opportunity to be with the mountain gorillas; however, due to unavoidable circumstances, one may decide to push the gorilla trekking date.
Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board accept rescheduling the gorilla trekking permits following the procedure below.
Write to Uganda Wildlife Authority Or Rwanda Development Board requesting to forward the date for your gorilla permit. Indicate the date; if you have any attachments, add them as a backup.
Once approved, your gorilla permit is moved based on availability prevailing on the new date.
Uganda allows free gorilla permits to be rescheduled for the same permit twice. If you wish to move the same permit the third time, only the Uganda Wildlife Authority executive director approves this.
Rwanda charges for gorilla permit reschedule.
Which Is The Best Country For Gorilla Trekking Of Uganda, Rwanda, And D.R.Congo?
The magic around meeting the mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking is unexplainable; however, as some say, you tend to forget the past heaves you may have gone through when preparing for gorilla trekking.
The differences in which country is best for gorilla trekking can be identified with
The Cost Of Gorilla Permit
The Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek, the Uganda gorilla permit costs $ 700 per person per trek, and the D.R.Congo permit currently costs $450 per person per trek.
Number Of Gorilla Families Open For Gorilla Trekking
Uganda currently has 19 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking with 152 gorilla permits open to public booking, Rwanda currently has 12 gorilla families open for public booking with 96 gorilla permits open for gorilla trekking, and D.R.Congo has 6 gorilla families open to gorilla trekking and 48 gorilla permits open to gorilla trekking adventure.
Drive Time From The Airport To The Gorilla Trekking Destinations
The drive from Kigali airport is about 3 hours to Volcanoes National Park, while from Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 8 to 9 hours. The drive from Goma International Airport to Virunga National Park is about a day, depending on your place of commencement.
Optional Activities To Combine With Gorilla Trekking
Uganda has more optional activities to combine with gorilla trekking, like visiting the River Nile’s source, several game parks for game drives, chimpanzee trekking options, white water rafting, and several others.
Rwanda is limited with safari activities to combine with gorilla trekking like game drives in Akagera National Park, genocide memorial visit, Kigali city tour, and chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National Park.
D.R.Congo has very few activities you can combine with gorilla trekking, like chimpanzee trekking and hiking to Mountain Nyirangongo, the world’s most active volcano with a large caldera.
Safety During Gorilla Trekking
D.R.Congo has been politically unstable for a long time, especially in the western part of the country where Virunga National Park is part. This is one of the reasons why gorilla permits for this park are sold on the ground.
Rwanda and Uganda have been politically stable for a long time, so doing gorilla trekking here is a sure deal. You can pre-book gorilla permits for Uganda or Rwanda without fear of being stopped or at risk.
Which Is The Best Time For Booking Gorilla Trekking Tours?
Gorilla trekking is all year round adventure. However, tourists prefer the dry season, June to September, and December through January, because the forest is more lively. The mountain gorillas feed closer to the ground, whereas other forest dwellers are excited to watch as they go about their daily activities.
We advise clients to book the gorilla permits for this season at least 6 months to a year in advance or at least 3 months before the gorilla trekking date. This is because they sell out fast, yet a first come, first served basis is used when securing them. None is spared without issuing payment.
If you wish to combine gorilla trekking safari with other activities in Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo, game, chimpanzees, and birds are more active in the dry season.
During the low season, which is March, April, May, and November, the chances of discounted gorilla permits are more open but can only be approved by the gorilla permit regulating bodies like Rwanda Development Board and Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Even other service providers like accommodation facilities, driver guides, and vehicle hire may offer some discounts in the low season chances those with a low budget can use.
Can I Do Gorilla Trekking More Than Once?
After meeting the mountain gorillas, the feeling you get is hard to explain, although just one hour is allowed with them upon spotting them.
To immerse into the life of the mountain gorillas, you can do a double gorilla trekking experience in one country or cross into another, like Rwanda and Uganda, for another gorilla trekking opportunity. Having extra time on your safari would be best to fulfill the double gorilla trekking experience. Note that each time you go gorilla trekking, you need a permit.
Uganda has the alternative gorilla habituation experience where you escort a team of researchers and habituators to follow a semi-habituated gorilla family in the wilderness. This helps the mountain gorillas get familiar with human presence without altering their nature. Two gorilla families in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are currently open for gorilla habituation.
During the gorilla habituation experience, you have 4 hours with the mountain gorillas and maximum 4 clients visiting each gorilla family.
The cost of a gorilla habituation permit for Uganda is currently $1500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $1000 for foreign residents, and 750000shsh for East African residents.
What Are The Guidelines For Gorilla Trekking Safari
- Wear a clean mask when you are with the mountain gorillas to prevent the coronavirus’s spread to these precious primates.
- No feeding the mountain gorillas; if you are eating, do it at least 200 meters away from them. This is to prevent any chances of them grabbing it from you, yet they are wild animals that must search for their food.
- Sneezing or coughing before the mountain gorillas may spread infection, so do it away from them.
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them to prevent the chances of spreading infections and germs to them.
- Only children aged 15 years and above are allowed to do gorilla trekking because of the nature of the entire experience. Hiking to locate mountain gorillas may be challenging for children below this age. Even the time of locating the mountain gorillas is still being determined, which requires patience. A child below this age may not withstand this.
- Littering the forest is forbidden, which may alter the nature of the forest where the mountain gorillas live.
- Only enter the forest with an escorting ranger guide because there are other unhabituated forest inhabitants that you may encounter, and they hurt you.
- Only one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them. They have been habituated to be in the presence of humans for just that time.
- Surrounding the mountain gorillas is forbidden because it makes them feel ambushed.
Contact us for more information.