Planning a gorilla trek for diplomats in Uganda and Rwanda
Check out our tips on planning a gorilla trek for diplomats in Uganda and Rwanda. Gorilla trekking is a top activity in three African countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. The different gorilla trekking destinations include Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in Congo, and Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. The safari is always in high demand, and every tourist who plans on visiting for a gorilla trek in both Rwanda and Uganda, even when planning a diplomat trek, needs to do this at least 6 months before the trek date to avoid late planning or missing out on this beautiful experience.
Most Popular Safaris
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda for diplomats looking at luxurious experiences while trekking can be organized to fit the tastes and preferences of the tourists. The diplomat trekking exercise can start from Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and end in either Bwindi or Mgahinga in Uganda or start in Uganda and end in Rwanda. When booking the VVIP gorilla trek with us, you will get the best services before, during, and after the trip. The safari cost might be high, but it will include the purchase of the gorilla permit, luxurious transport, and full board luxurious accommodation.
Steps taken to plan a gorilla diplomat safari
Gorilla trekking safaris can be a nightmare to plan, especially if you plan on enjoying the trip. Below are some tips to follow when planning a gorilla safari to Uganda and Rwanda. The following steps are to help you know what to do and how to have a relaxed gorilla trek experience.
Advance/Early planning: Gorilla trekking is in high demand in both countries, and you need to plan because the permits are sold out easily. Book at least 6 months before the travel date for proper planning and to secure the trek date.
Gorilla trekking destination: Gorilla trekking is carried out in three countries, including Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, but since there are insecurities in Congo, this leaves only two countries creating tight competition. Mountain gorillas are trekked in their natural habitat, with Uganda having half the world’s population in Bwindi and one family in Mgahinga. Conversely, Rwanda offers the best luxurious gorilla trekking experience, and you get to participate in the Kwita Izina ceremony, where baby gorillas are named. The destination is determined by several factors, including other activities you plan on engaging in and the traveling budget. Once you decide on the trekking destination, the next step is to book the permit.
Purchase of gorilla permits: A gorilla permit in Uganda for Bwindi and Mgahinga is 700 USD per person and this does not include transport and accommodation the cost of a gorilla permit in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is 1500 USD per person. You need to pay an initial deposit of at least 60% after booking to secure your permit and complete the balance before your travel date. To know more about the permit payment method, refer to our article about permit booking rules and regulations.
What to consider when booking a diplomat gorilla trekking
When you decide on booking a diplomat gorilla trek, a few factors need to be considered: accommodation, the number of people you intend to travel with, and transportation.
Transport: Diplomat transport involves exclusive 4×4 land cruisers or jeeps to transport you to the national parks where gorilla trekking will be carried out. The vehicles are customized for comfort when traveling. Charter flights can easily be arranged for tourists who prefer not to drive, especially in Uganda, from Entebbe to Bwindi or Mgahinga, to avoid the 9 to 10 hours of driving. On the other hand, Volcanoes National Park is just 2 to 3 hours of driving from Kigali International Airport.
Accommodation: Luxury accommodation is part and parcel of gorilla trekking for diplomats, and since they are always booked and full within a short period due to the luxurious services they offer, they need to be booked in advance to get a room. Luxury hotels, lodges, and camps offer services like swimming pools, great views, private facilities, and private balconies.
Some of the hotels and lodges in Rwanda for gorilla trekking include One & Only Gorilla’s Nest, Virunga Lodge, Sabinyo Silverback Lodge, Kinigi Guesthouse, Bisate Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, and Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.
Luxury accommodation facilities to look into while gorilla trekking in Uganda include the Mutanda Lake Resort, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Mount Mgahinga Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, and Chameleon Hill Lodge among others.
Porters: After paying a hefty sum for the diplomat trek, we suggest hiring enough porters to help carry your luggage so that you enjoy your safari without the burden of carrying heavy luggage. The porters can also help you with the trek by pushing you along when you get tired. You will, however, need to tip them because they are not catered for in the safari cost.
A gorilla permit is the first item you should have as you plan a gorilla trek for diplomats. It is a legal document issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda and the Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda. It is the only legal document that will grant you access to the gorillas. The gorilla permit grants you an hour with the gorillas, and it also comes with security in the form of armed rangers and experienced guides.
What is the price of a gorilla permit?
The cost of the gorilla permit is different depending on the country you choose as your destination for the safari. Previously, the permit cost was reduced during the wet/low season, but now it is on a standard rate, and it doesn’t matter whether you are traveling during the peak or low season.
Uganda: Uganda’s gorilla permit cost is a little bit cheaper than the cost in Rwanda and varies depending on the category you fit in. The cost of the different categories is 700 USD for foreign non-residents, 250 000 UGX for East African Citizens, and 600 USD for foreign residents. Gorilla habituation is also carried out in one of the National Parks in Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The habituation permit cost is 1500 USD, granting trekkers a maximum of 4 hours with the gorillas.
Rwanda: Rwanda is a luxury gorilla safari destination with the cost of the gorilla permit higher as compared to the other two countries, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The cost also depends on categories, for example, 1500 USD for foreign non-residents, 200 USD for East African citizens, and 500 USD for residents and citizens from other African countries.
Gorilla trekking rules in Uganda and Rwanda
Mountain gorillas are endangered species and according to the gorilla census that is carried out every 5 to 10 years, the number has risen from about 880 individuals to 1063 with Uganda having half the population. The rules are to protect the gorillas from extinction and increase their population, and these include:
- 8 people are allowed to trek a gorilla group to help reduce the number of people around the gorillas and not overwhelm the primates. During gorilla habituation, a group of 4 people is allowed to trek an assigned group.
- Avoid littering the national park with rubbish. When you feel like using the toilet, dig a 30cm deep hole and after doing your business, cover it well to keep the park clean and avoid infecting the Mountain gorillas.
- Avoid eating, drinking, and smoking when you are near the gorillas. You should also avoid feeding the gorillas because it is not allowed and is illegal.
- Every group of trekkers is allowed an hour with the gorillas during a normal trek and 4 hours during a gorilla habituation experience.
- If you feel sick, especially with cough and flu, you will not be allowed to trek, and this is to avoid and prevent the spread of diseases to the Mountain gorillas since it has deadly consequences.
- Every tourist is supposed to keep a distance of 7 meters from the gorillas.
- When approached by gorillas, keep your face down, do not stare at the primates in the eye, and crouch to the ground as a way of submission. Do not attempt to run away and follow all the rules given to you by the guides.
- Avoid putting on brightly colored clothes because they will attract the gorilla’s attention.
- Avoid making noise because this will disrupt the routine of the gorillas, and if you feel like communicating, use whispered tones.
- When taking photos of the gorillas, turn off the flashlight.
Get the packing list for gorilla trekking.
Mountain gorillas are found deep in the jungle, and you need to have the proper packing list if you are going to enjoy your safari in either country. We have come up with a list of essentials needed for a gorilla trek, and these include the following:
- Gardening gloves for protection of hands from scratches and blisters.
- Gaiters and thick socks
- Waterproof solid hiking boots (you do not necessarily need to get new ones, but you need to ensure they fit perfectly and will not cause blisters on your feet).
- A walking stick or trekking pole is needed when hiking along steep hills.
- Long-sleeved shirts and trousers (must be of neutral colors).
- Insect repellent, sunscreen, and a sunhat.
- A day backpack to carry your items needed during the trek.
- You will also need a porter to help you carry your luggage at accost of 15 USD or more to enjoy your trek without carrying heavy luggage.
- A refillable water bottle and snacks.
- Biodegradable toilet paper and wet wipes.
- A camera, lenses, binoculars, and extra batteries.
- Rain jacket, warm sweater, flashlight, and sandals.
What is the best time for Uganda and Gorilla trekking for diplomats?
Gorilla trekking is an all-year-round activity that can be carried out in both the dry and wet seasons, but the best time is during the dry months of December to February and June to September. The trek routes are much easier to use because they are not slippery, wet, and muddy, and the vegetation is less dense than during the wet season. Note that the dry season is also a peak season with extremely large crowds, so you must book early to avoid inconveniences. The wet season although inconvenienced by the rains and muddy trails, it is still a good time for gorilla trekking due to the fewer crowds in this period, the different bird species in the country, and the discounted accommodation costs.
Age limit for gorilla trekking
The age limit for gorilla trekking in Rwanda is 15 years and 12 years in Uganda, and there is no maximum age limit for trekking depending on the fitness level. Age limits are set to protect the gorillas and to manage the crowds trekking easily. The elders have also recently been included in the gorilla trek experience by introducing the sedan chairs that cost 400 to 500 USD per day and potters carry these through the forest during the trek. The Sedan chairs need to be booked in advance.
In conclusion, the cost of a gorilla safari is determined by different factors, and booking a gorilla trekking safari for diplomats will be the best because we have a lot of experience organizing treks in Uganda and Rwanda.
Are you interested in a VVIP gorilla trekking safari, please contact us for more information.