Why Is Gorilla Trekking Expensive?

Because mountain gorillas are endangered, and many people want to view them, gorilla trekking is pricey. Because of the large number of visitors interested in seeing wild gorillas, several governments have raised the price of permits.

As we will see in this blog, the expense of gorilla trekking is rather costly in comparison to other animal experiences. What exactly is gorilla trekking, and why is it so costly? Gorilla trekking is one of Africa’s most exhilarating wildlife activities. It’s not like going on a wildlife drive in the Serengeti National Park, Masai Mara National Reserve, or Kruger National Park. Mountain gorilla trekking is unique because mountain gorillas resemble humans in appearance and behavior. They live in families led by a dominating silverback who orders everything the group does.

Trekking for mountain gorillas is only available in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mountain gorillas may be monitored in Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi National Parks. The primates may be found in Virunga National Park in Congo, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Because mountain gorillas are endangered, and many people want to view them, gorilla trekking is pricey. Because of the large number of visitors interested in seeing wild gorillas, several governments have raised the price of permits.

18 Rules and Regulations Gorilla Trekking

The demand-supply principle applies here: the stronger the demand, the higher the price. However, demand is not the sole reason for the high cost of gorilla permits. As you will see in another post on whether gorilla trekking is ethical or not, there is a big need for cash to safeguard the primates.

Conservation of gorillas necessitates large investments in research, infrastructure, Rangers, and scientists. This necessitates the expenditure of funds. A portion of the proceeds from gorilla permits is used to finance programs aimed at safeguarding these magnificent creatures. In general, 15% of gorilla permit money goes to the government, 10% to local communities, and 75% to gorilla conservation. It is vital to highlight that if gorilla permits were significantly lowered, too many visitors would visit the primates, thereby impacting the overall well-being of the few habituated gorilla populations.

Why is Gorilla Trekking expensive?

To know why gorilla trekking is expensive as compared to other wildlife safaris in Africa, you must consider a few aspects of the trip such as the cost of your gorilla trekking permit, price of accommodation, visa fees, air tickets, transportation, packing list, and tipping guide and porters. We shall be discussing all these aspects in detail.

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Cost of Gorilla Permits in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo

If you want to go gorilla trekking in any of the three nations, you must first get a gorilla permit. A gorilla permit is a legal document that grants you access to gorillas. Gorilla permits in Uganda cost $700, $1500 in Rwanda, and $400 in Congo. A gorilla permit in Uganda costs 250,000 shillings if you are an East African national. During the low seasons of the year, gorilla permits in Congo’s Virunga National Park may be purchased for as little as $200. Because of this considerable reduction, the cost of a gorilla permit in Virunga national park may be reduced. Rwanda may also provide cheap permits to African Union citizens, foreign residents, large groups, families, and those participating in other activities. Foreigners who live in East Africa can get cheap gorilla permits in Uganda. Because of the expense of permits, Rwanda gorilla trekking is more expensive than in Uganda or Congo.

A permit for the gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi impenetrable national park will cost $1500 for those interested. The Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi forest national park is not like regular gorilla trekking. It takes all day and entails spending four hours with mountain gorillas rather than the one hour allotted to guests during normal gorilla trekking.

To reserve a gorilla permit, contact your tour operator or a government official in various nations. The Uganda Wildlife Authority grants gorilla permits in Uganda, while the Rwanda Development Board does the same in Rwanda. If you want to go on a gorilla trekking safari in the Democratic Republic of Congo, you may reserve a permit through the Virunga National Park website or your tour operator. It is critical to arrange your gorilla permit or excursion at least two months in advance. If you are going to visit during the high season from June, July, and August, we recommend that you book at least 5 to 6 months in advance to avoid the stress of contacting numerous tour operators if they have availability.

Cost of Accommodation in Gorilla Parks.

Where to sleep is one of the factors to consider while organizing your gorilla trip. All of the gorilla national parks offer excellent resorts. Your budget will determine your lodging options. A nice budget hotel will cost you between $80 and $150 per night. Good mid-range hotels cost between $150 and $280 a night. The prices for premium hotels range from $300 to $5500 per night. If you want to self-drive, you can book these hotels on your own, although most guests book the hotels through a reputable tour organization.

If you arrange a hotel on your own, make sure it is near the beginning point of the gorilla family or sector to which you have been allocated. If you book too long in advance, you may miss the briefing and so miss the hike – all the more reason to arrange your gorilla trip with a trustworthy tour operator.

Cost of Transportation.

After obtaining gorilla permits and selecting a lodging, the next question is how to go to the gorilla parks. Depending on the airline, tickets to and from your own nation might range from $600 to $2500. If you wish to book chartered flights from within the gorilla trekking country, you may need to add extra $600 to your gorilla trekking budget. If internal flights are out of your price range, or if you wish to see more of the African countryside, going by car from the airport is strongly advised. Hiring a car in Rwanda and Uganda can set you back around $70 per day, not including gasoline and a driver. Expect to spend a lot of time on the road, especially if you’re tracking in Uganda or Congo.

From Entebbe International Airport, it takes between 8 and 10 hours to drive to Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks. It takes 3 hours to drive from Kigali International Airport to Volcanoes National Park. Those who wish to go gorilla trekking in Congo’s Virunga National Park must first arrive in Kigali and then travel to the Congo border at Le Grand Barrier, which can take up to 4 hours. Organizing your own holiday in a foreign and developing nation might be difficult. It is for this reason that most passengers leave transportation, permits, and lodging to their selected tour operators, leaving them with simply the responsibility of arriving at the airport. It is also worth noting that few tour firms arrange flight tickets for their clients. Check with your tour operator to see if they can assist you in arranging flights to and from your country of origin.

Cost of items on your gorilla trekking packing list.

To have the greatest experience following and viewing gorillas, bring a decent camera, bug repellents, sunscreen, hiking boots, hand gloves, a pair of binoculars, and a rain jacket. Apart from the gorilla permit itself, these are all hidden charges that must be considered. You might be interested in learning more about the goods suggested on the gorilla trekking packing list.

Why Is Gorilla Trekking Expensive?

Cost of Meals during your gorilla trekking safari.

Aside from lodging and gorilla permits, you should budget for meals, beverages, and, most importantly, water. The hotels supply this, but you will need water and food when you leave the hotel or travel. If you are traveling alone, food and beverages should cost around $40 per day. If you want to purchase pricey wine or cigars, you may need to budget for them individually. If you plan your vacation through a tour operator, you won’t have to worry about food. The employer should provide food and water while staying at the hotel and traveling between events.

Visas and Border Crossing Fees.

Crossing borders between Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo is a common part of gorilla trekking. If you want to go gorilla trekking in Congo, anticipate to pay a fee to cross the Goma border post ($100 for the VISA). Those who find the cost of gorilla permits in Rwanda prohibitively expensive might choose for less expensive gorilla trekking in Uganda instead, but must travel through Kigali to avoid traveling for 8 hours from Entebbe or Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda via Kigali requires a $50 VISA fee at either the Katuna or Cyanika border gates. For individuals planning safaris in many East African nations, an East African tourist visa can be obtained for $100.

Tipping porters and Guides

If you have large equipment, backpacks, or video cameras, you will need to hire a porter to assist you in carrying them while following gorillas. Porters can also assist you with carrying packed lunches and providing assistance throughout challenging areas of the hike. The elderly must utilize Sedan chairs and employ approximately eight porters to push them up to the tracking station, making gorilla trekking more difficult.

Hiring a Sedan chair and porters to transport it can cost around $400. Porters live near gorilla parks and some were formerly poachers. Some of the porters are students trying to supplement their school costs, while others are parents looking to supplement their family’s income. By hiring these porters, you are contributing to their overall well-being and indirectly assisting them in providing for their families. A porter will cost you roughly $15 and may be found at the park offices or during the briefing. You might be curious in how gorilla groups are assigned to visitors.

Hotel employees, Guides, Rangers, waiters and waitresses may sometimes go out of their way to ensure that your experience with them is excellent and unforgettable. You may elect to tip them as a courtesy to show your appreciation for their efforts. The amount is totally up to you. Tipping is not required during gorilla trekking and should be paid only after a service has been performed and you are satisfied with it.

Primate Safaris in Rwanda

Number of days of your gorilla trekking

Determining how expensive gorilla trekking also depends on the number of days or length of your gorilla trekking safari. A 3-day gorilla tour in Uganda will cost about $1350 per person if you are traveling with someone, roughly $1,678 for a 5-day Bwindi gorilla safari. If you want to monitor gorillas in Rwanda, add $900 to the costs above to obtain an idea of the total cost.

Depending on the resort, luxury gorilla treks can range from $1600 to $13000. These rates do not include air tickets, tips, alcoholic beverages, or any other personal expenses. Traveling alone is more expensive since you must pay for your own transportation, lodging, and petrol. Furthermore, it is crucial to remember that firms add a markup fee to the whole trip to account for administrative services (Guides, office employees, office functioning) – this is often 10-20% of the total cost.

How can you save costs during your gorilla trekking safari?

One option is to go gorilla trekking in less expensive areas such as Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Another option is to request that your travel operator recommend the finest budget resorts. Avoid traveling alone so you can split the expenditures of transportation, lodging, and petrol with your spouse or a friend.

You can also go during the low season (rainy season), when there are fewer visitors in the country. In nations such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, you may find that lodging is less expensive and that there are discounts for hotels and even gorilla permits.

You may also save money by taking public transportation, but this is unsafe because you have no control over when you leave or arrive. In Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo, public buses do not leave on schedule. You risk missing the activity or arriving late for the briefing at the park headquarters. Because gorilla permits are pricey, you cannot afford to miss the action. Furthermore, even if you wish to, there is no assurance that you would be able to acquire one the next day.

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John Doe

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