A gorilla trekking permit includes entry into the National Park, experienced ranger guides who will escort you while sharing unlimited gorilla facts, one hour with the gorillas themselves and – most importantly – bragging rights in the form of a gorilla trekking certificate. Woo hoo.
In 2017, a Uganda gorilla trekking permit costs US $600. During the low seasons of April, May and November, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) offers tourists gorilla trekking permits at a discounted rate of $450 per person. You can download a copy of the Uganda Wildlife Authority UWA-Tariff-2016-2017 park entrance and activity fees.
May 2017: Rwanda gorilla trekking permits will now cost US $1,500 throughout the year. The price increase will not affect tourists who had already purchased their tickets at the time of this announcement. Rwanda does not offer any gorilla permit discounts.
|Tourist price (non-nationals)||$600||$1,500|
|Foreign residents (expatriates)||$500||$375 [new price TBC]|
|East African Community citizens||250,000 Uganda shillings||30,000 Rwandese francs [new price TBC|
Low season discounts?
April, May, November
|Tourist price (non-nationals)||$450||None|
|Foreign residents (expats)||$400||None|
|East African Citizens||150,000 UGX||None|
Rwanda has just launched an exclusive package for tourists who would like to book a whole family of gorillas. Priced at US$ 15,000, the group will get exclusive personalised tour guiding.
Visitors to Rwanda who track the gorillas and visit other National Parks (Nyungwe Forest and Akagera) for a minimum of three days will qualify for a 30% discount. Also, international visitors attending conferences in Rwanda will be eligible for a 15% discount if tracking the gorillas before or after their conference.
What is a gorilla safari and how much does it cost?
For the best value for money, most visitors to East Africa will combine gorilla trekking with a Safari before or after their trip.
Booking your gorilla permits yourself and traveling by public transport is possible but there are pitfalls to be aware of. The downside of making your own arrangements is that you can sometimes end up incurring more costs. If, for example, you miss your bus or it breaks down (not uncommon) you might miss your gorilla trek. Permits are non-refundable, meaning if you arrive a day late, then you will have missed your slot. Most visitors therefore travel on a scheduled group tour or book their own driver and vehicle, usually through a tour company.
The other pitfall to avoid when arranging gorilla trekking yourself in Uganda is booking accommodation that is a long way from the gorilla family you are trekking. You will have to be up very early on the morning of your trekking so you want to stay as close as possible to the park headquarters. Uganda’s gorilla families are spread several hours apart.
The average mid-range three day gorilla safari costs approximately $1200, depending on the number of people in your group. The cheapest way to see the gorillas is to travel on a scheduled overlanding trip during low season. If a tour is advertised to include gorilla trekking then the cost of the permit should be included in the price you are quoted, but do read the small print carefully!
A top of the range luxury gorilla Safari may cost $3 – $5,000 per person and may include fly-in options and five-star accommodation.
For gorilla trekking stories and Uganda and Rwanda travel advice, click on the hyperlinks in the Ultimate Guide to Mountain Gorilla Trekking. Still got a question? Contact the Muzungu.