- The cost of gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda
Mountain gorilla trekking is the most famous tourist activity in Uganda and Rwanda presently. Many people are traveling from different countries across the world to trek these unique creatures and to appreciate this thrilling experience. There is one vital thing that stands in their way, that one thing doesn’t miss on any gorilla trekking safari, is the gorilla permit. Since these mountain gorillas are endangered species, precautions have to be taken, and one of these is the permit for anyone who wants to see them. The cost of gorilla trekking for these countries is the source of revenue to the country, but it’s for the good cause of preserving the mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda.
Securing a gorilla permit can be a tiring task for the average and there are many folklore and misconceptions and truths about how, where to obtain gorilla permits to track mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda.
How gorilla permits work? Where to buy them from?
depending on ones budget the cost of gorilla trekking permit is for each day that you track the mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. In Uganda, Uganda Wildlife Authority is the organization that issues the permits, but you need to secure one for yourself ahead of your trip because they are on high demand. Uganda Wildlife Authority has got 160 gorilla permits available each day and these are split between the habituated gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. So this means that there is a limited supply and high demand.
The peak seasons are from June, July, August, September, December, January and February and these are the hardest months to get a gorilla permit. These permits are sold locally on cash basis at UWA office in Kampala. You also need to buy the gorilla permits ahead of time. A gorilla permit in Uganda costs $700 per person; however Gorilla Habituation experience in Uganda costs $1500 per person.
More importantly, cost of gorilla trekking permits tend to get finished so quickly due to many visitors that tend to come for gorilla trekking safaris hence while booking you must ensure payment and confirmation of real tracking dates to avoid inconveniences. It’s not possible to book permits for specific gorilla families although you can negotiate when booking to give you groups that stay close to the tracking point in case you are not fit enough to go for higher and long treks. In both countries, there are only 8 visitors that are allowed to see each group per single day and you are given only 1 hour to spend with the mountain gorillas once they are found on a particular trek.
How can one buy a permit early?
This is where safari companies come into the picture. In case you hire a safari company to manage and organize your safari, you can hire one of them to book and purchase a permit for you. For the tour companies, it can be included in the wholesome quotation in case they come to know that you are interested in gorilla trekking or you can pay for it separately. It’s also possible to pay for a gorilla permit after you get here but its kinder more frustrating; this is why you will need to get services of a tour operator.
When you hire a tour company to book and organize your gorilla safari on your behalf, there might be a few deviations from the plan every now and then, may be you could get a permit that is valid for a day later than you needed because the other were all booked out. Securing a gorilla permit is the only one step of organizing your Uganda safari; there are other things like travel arrangements, booking lodges and many more.
Acquiring a Rwanda Gorilla Permit
When planning a gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s volcanoes national park, it’s very necessary for you to first book your gorilla pass ahead of your definite tracking date as they often finished quickly.
Rwanda Development Board is the governing body of tourism in Rwanda; you can contact them or send them an email to make reservations for the gorilla permit. A gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per day.
The second option is booking through a travel agency in Rwanda. This is a reliable option of securing a gorilla permit. We have listed liable tour operators in Rwanda; feel free to check them out. It’s always advisable to book your permit earlier than your planned gorilla trekking date the permits tend to get finished so quickly. Volcanoes national park is home to 10 mountain gorilla groups and each group can have 8 people visiting in a day per hour. Presently Rwanda is receiving so many visitors coming to tour gorillas so it’s best to book early to guarantee your gorilla permits for the day.
About refunds/ cancellation guideline; Rwanda development Board shall refund 50% of the trekking fees for any visitor showing signs of illness. The sick visitor shall not be allowed to track the gorillas if declared unfit by the warden in charge. This applies to only the visitors who have traveled all the way to the park.
Tracking time limit: assembling for the briefing from the rangers at Kinigi park head quarters starts is limited to 7:00 – 7:30 at latest. Gorilla tracking time is limited from 8:30am to 7:00pm. All visitors are expected back at the camp ground by 7:00pm.
Visitor’s passport information; after full confirmation of the booking, passport details of the trackers will be needed at UWA to enable writing out the gorilla permits. Ensure the full names, passport number and country of passport issuance. You must be over 15 years of age to obtain a gorilla viewing permit.