Price For a Gorilla Tour
The price of a gorilla tour is relatively determined by your travel style, accommodation choice, transfer comfort and mainly the cost of a gorilla permit at the time of travel. Roughly, an all-inclusive 3-day gorilla trekking safari in Uganda costs between $1,200 and $2,900 per person sharing.
That is roughly estimating, but you should not that the estimate is entirely in Encounter Africa’s opinions. Otherwise, apart from the fixed price of the gorilla permit, the other inclusive items’ prices are relative to the safari operator planning your trip.
Let’s take a look at the items that make up the price of a gorilla tour.
Cost of the gorilla permit
The gorilla permit cost makes up most of the price for a gorilla tour, taking the lion’s share of the total journey’s cost. In Uganda, the permit is offered at a regular price of $700 per person and $400 at a discount.
The Gorilla Habituation Experience pass, which offers a more intuitive experience, costs $1,500 per foreign nonresident. Foreign residents pay $1,000, and EA nationals pay UGX750,000 per person per day. The experience allows a guest only 4 hours with the wild mountain gorilla family.
The gorilla permit in Rwanda costs $1500 per person per day, with discounts offered during some seasons. As a result, most travellers consider Rwanda a high-end luxury destination for gorilla trekking.
Why such a high gorilla permit price? There are a little more than 1070 mountain gorillas worldwide. More than half live in Uganda, and a few are habituated for tourism. Conservationists and governments regulate gorilla trekking restrictively because the primates are very vulnerable to human presence in their natural habitat. To keep these creatures protected and healthy, conservationists need a regular source of funds which the gorilla permit amazingly fills.
In retrospect, Uganda issues out 152 gorilla permits per day, allowing only eight people to visit a single gorilla per day. The gorilla permit is the primary source of conservation funds; thus, the high price tag it fetches.
So consider the gorilla permit price first and its availability when looking at the price for a gorilla tour. Encounter Africa processes gorilla permits on behalf of the travellers. Whether during the scarcity or abundance seasons, we can promise to plan the itinerary with you and purchase your gorilla permit in time.
Buhoma Lodge in Bwindi
After securing your gorilla permit, the next step in costing your gorilla tour is to look at some accommodation options. Because gorilla tourism is a significant tourist attraction in Uganda and mostly Rwanda, many private entities have invested in building accommodation facilities around gorilla parks. For every kind of traveller, from budget to luxury, there’s are viable options to choose from at every trailhead. Let’s look at what options you have per person, per night, inclusive of meals.
- Budget gorilla safari accommodation $50 – $100
- Mid-range gorilla safari accommodation $100 – $500
- High-end gorilla safari accommodation $600 – $1500
It’s also vital to consider seasonal offers when planning your accommodation; it may considerably hike or lower the price of a gorilla tour. For example, during the peak seasons (June, July, August, September, 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’re a budget traveller, take advantage of the low season offers to cut down the cost of your gorilla safari.
Getting the best accommodation that fits your budget can be daunting for a first time trip to Africa. It doesn’t have to be. Encounter Africa 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. Send us an email or call the numbers in the footer below.
Now that you have your gorilla permit and have considered how much you’re willing to spend on accommodation, next is how to get to the gorilla destination and back.
First, you’ll look into your flight from home into Kigali or Entebbe. Most tour operators avoid processing international flight tickets and leave that to the traveller. Fortunately, booking an international flight gets more accessible by the day. Fire up your mobile browser, and a plethora of flight options hit you.
Suppose you’ve acquired a Uganda gorilla permit. In that case, you’ll be transferring 490 km (304 mi) from Entebbe International Airport (the only entry point) to southwestern Uganda into Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park. The highways are perfectly paved for a regular 4×4 car to ride to the gorilla parks smoothly.
You can go by road (10-12 hours drive) or take a small flight from Entebbe to Kisoro (1 hour) and then drive another 1-3 hours to your gorilla safari lodge.
If you’ve acquired a Rwanda gorilla permit, you’ll be transferring 116 km (72 mi) from Kigali International Airport (the only entry point) to northwestern Rwanda into Volcanoes National Park. Drive time is about 3 – 4 hours.
Costs for vehicle hire
- Small 4×4 car – $40 – $80 per day
- Medium 4×4 car – $80 – $120 per day
- Safari 4×4 Land Cruiser – $150 – $300 per day
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 is the responsibility of the owner or tour operator.
Encounter Africa owns and operates a fleet of safari vehicles, including safari Landcruisers and custom minibuses for small groups. We include the cost of transportation and transfers in the price of a gorilla tour so that you don’t have to hustle with pricing your gorilla trekking safari.
Cost of Porters
We encourage all our clients to take porters for their gorilla trek 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.
By paying for a porter, you are contributing directly to the local community. A gorilla trekking porter costs a minimum of $20. You can give more if you feel generous and appreciative of their work.
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. However, as a responsible Tour Company, we recommend that you put some small funds aside for tipping.
On top of the above costs, the company puts between 10-20% of the total cost as fixing or service fee.
It’s part of our profit as well as helping us to book all services such as gorilla permits, accommodation and making telephone calls to check availability and make sure that all is in order.
Booking a gorilla tour
Since 2003, Encounter Africa has taken countless tourists into the tropical rainforests of Uganda and Rwanda to meet our primate cousins. We would like to use that expertise and experience to help you plan and take this one-time travel dream to meet the mountain gorillas. Our costs are quite affordable to all travellers, and we work with you to create a trip that fits your budget yet giving you the whole experience.