The cost of a gorilla tour in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR. Congo.
What is the cost of a gorilla tour in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR. Congo.? Gorilla trekking is one of the most popular wildlife activities which attracts tourists to visit Africa. Each year Africa receives over 100,000 tourists for observing the primates on the earth. One who participates in this activity finds it amazing memorable. Gorilla trekking is too interesting because it is done by hiking deep inside the forests for about 1-2 hours while also sighting smaller primates, forest antelopes, butterflies, and a lot of bird species plus rare vegetation before finding a gorilla group. Gorilla trekking is one of the best experiences one should not miss out but take part in this activity, you must purchase a gorilla trekking permit. In Uganda, a gorilla permit goes to 700USD per person, whereas in Rwanda it cost 1500USD per person per trek. In Congo, a gorilla permit costs 450 USD. Uganda also offers a gorilla habituation experience for those who are interested and it costs 1500USD per person.
Gorilla trekking tour is expensive than other tourist activities like game drives, boat cruises, nature walks, cultural tours, and mountain hiking adventures. But the difference is, gorillas need funding for gorilla conservation. Most tourists are interested in gorilla trekking, this is the reason why they are limited to avoid the destruction of gorilla destinations. Sighting a gorilla family is like observing the lifestyle of ancient people. Another reason why a gorilla permit is expensive is that gorillas are endangered animals. Therefore, protecting and conserving them in their homes is expensive. The government needs enough money to pay rangers who patrol the parks, build the infrastructures, and train. Rwanda has also increased the cost of a gorilla permit to reduce the number of tourists who could visit the gorillas. This has helped them to remain with a manageable number of visitors thus avoiding the destruction of gorilla habitat and overcrowding.
Lastly, the high demand for gorilla trekking permits has forced the government of Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo to be increasing the cost of permits. Rwanda has 10 habituated gorilla families while Congo has 8 habituated gorilla families and Uganda has 17 habituated families that are already for trekking by tourists. So this means a normal day mostly during the peak season, Uganda has about 150 people who tracking the mountain gorillas, in Rwanda are about 80 tourists while in Congo has over 64 tourists visiting mountain gorillas each day.
The cost of a gorilla tour and Safari in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR. Congo.
Apart from the gorilla permit fees, there are also other items to think about while planning for gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. The costs of a gorilla safari can include; accommodation, meals, transport, visa fee, vaccinations, air tickets, driver fee, tips, company profits, and government taxes. When we take about a cost of a gorilla tour, personal expenses like cigarettes, wines, medical and travel insurances are also important. Costs for a gorilla tour also depend on the facilities you’re targeting whether luxury or budget. If you’re planning a gorilla tour in Uganda, Rwanda, or Congo, this article will help you to know all the cost of a gorilla tour in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR. Congo if combined with other tourist activities like chimpanzee tracking, cultural tours, golden monkey trekking, game drives, as discussed below;
Gorilla permit fees.
A gorilla permit is a card that allows you to participate in the gorilla trekking experience. This card must be shown at the park headquarter with a passport that allows you to trek. Each country has its costs for a gorilla permit. So if you want to book a gorilla permit, you can either use the country’s tourism/wildlife authority or Africa Adventure Vacations. In Uganda, a gorilla permit is purchased from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) while in Rwanda, the Rwanda Development Board is responsible for issuing out a permit, and in DR. Congo, and a gorilla permit is acquired from the Virunga Foundation. If you’re interested to book yourself a gorilla permit, you have to use their websites and send inquiries. Or you can decide to use a tour operator to book for you plus other aspects of the trip. Getting in touch with a tour operator is important because when there are no permits are available in the government systems. A tour company can plan or know where to get a permit. Tourists are advised to book their gorilla permit at least 6 months before the traveling dates mostly those who wish to trek during the peak season that is from June-August and December to March.
Packing list for visitors going for gorillas
Another thing to think about after the gorilla permit is the packing list for gorilla trekking. These include hiking boots, a long-sleeved shirt, a good camera with extra batteries, a rain jacket, garden gloves, insect repellent, walking stick, energy drinks, binocular, and others.
The cost of meals
When you’re booking with a tour operator, expect the overall cost of the gorilla safari including the meals. While if you are planning to book by yourself, you also need to require other meals apart from that one at the accommodation facility. When traveling during the day, you may need a stopover for lunch and then continue with the journey. Gorilla trekking takes about 2-6 hours depending on the gorilla group you are allocated. You need a packed lunch or snacks at a cost. A nice meal can cost 10USD-40USD per person. Drinking water and soft drinks can be provided at the hotel at a free charger but you have to buy the wines apart from luxury tourists.
The homes of gorillas are found far away from the international airport and capitals. You need to hire a vehicle for transfer. You advised hiring 4×4 safari vehicles because most of the routes into the parks are not good. The cost for hiring a car is between 150USD and 200USD per day depending on the model. Booking with a tour operator will also include the cost for vehicle, flue, and driver. Please note, if you’re traveling as a group the cost of transportations reduces.
Internal flights are also available for those with short time or who do not want to travel for a long period. You can use flights but expensive than other transport means. In most cases, chartered flights want to take more passengers but if you book a particular flight alone, they may charge you higher. You will also need to arrange for transfer mean from the airstrip to your reserved lodge. In Uganda, fights are arranged by Aerolink from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kihihi airstrip or Kisoro. Then from there, you will be picked by vehicle to your reserved hotel or national park. In Rwanda, you can use flights from Kigali international airport to Ruhengeri province is where Volcanoes national park is found. The best thing is to book with a local tour operator.
Lodges and hotels.
To enjoy gorilla trekking, you require to spend at least one or two nights in any three countries. This is the reason why you will need to book a good lodge or hotel. Each country is surrounded by many safari lodges or hotels because tourism has developed. The accommodation ranges from luxury, mid-range, and budget. Luxury accommodations provide quality services but it is expensive, it can cost you between 350USD to 2500USD for one night. Mid-range lodges can cost between 100USD- 250USD for a night whereas budget lodges cost 40USD a night. It is also good to book with a tour operator because they help you to select a nice accommodation which can make you comfortable mostly the budget travelers.
Visa and border-crossing fees.
Visas are excluded on a gorilla permit. Tour operators do not process Uganda and Rwanda visas so you will do that yourself at the airport. You can use online visa platforms before coming to visit a different country. For a Congo visa, a tour operator can help you because it is different. Those who are planning to visit more than one country, apply for the East Africa tourist visa. It allows you to visit Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda which cost 100USD while that for Uganda and Rwanda goes at 50USD. The Congo visa is for 100USD but it includes all tour costs if you are to do gorilla trekking in Virunga national park. Foreigners also need to pay 40USD while driving their cars when crossing borders.
Allowances for company guide.
Booking with a tour company for gorilla trekking in any gorilla destination, they will charge you the overall cost of the safari which including the allowances of the company guide of the driver. The safari guide is the one who takes you to the national parks and makes sure that you enjoy it up to the fullest. These guides or drivers know every concern with the national park, hotel, and routes. Since they are well-educated, professional in what they do, courteous, and outgoing. They are the ones to tell information about the destination you selected. Guides or drives are usually given daily allowances which are around 50USD- 100USD.
You also need a porter who will support you during hiking, as gorilla trekking involves moving into deep searching for the gorillas. So hiking with heavy luggage can make you feel uncomfortable and you need to hire a porter. They are very experienced in hiking long distances. The cost for a porter is 15USD. While booking with a tour company will not include the porter fee it is your part to select and pay a porter.
Tip for the tour driver, park ranger plus other hospitality personnel.
These people are the ones to make your gorilla tour memorable. The porters, hotel staff, and park guide will try their level best to see that your tour is memorable even if they are not paid well. So you might tip them on your own choice because it is not compulsory. Booking with a tour company will not include tips on the overall cost tour.
Company profit and government taxes.
While booking with a tour company, they will include a certain amount of money as profit after all safari expenses like government taxes, staff salaries, and others.