Eco tourists would love to know what it takes to do a gorilla trekking or tour in Uganda and this is so interesting questions that has been discussed in forums like on trip advisor and the lonely planet. Also note that what is expressed here about Uganda gorilla trek planning depends on the type of accommodation, rental car to use, the gorilla family to trek and also other places to visit while on the trip.
The Gorilla trekking Uganda cost breakdown; In order to have a successful gorilla trekking tour, your Uganda gorilla trek costs should also consider the cost of a gorilla permit whose price is $600 for one hour and $1500 per person for a four hour gorilla habituation experience, you also need to consider the cost for your accommodation and then get to pay transport to and from Bwindi impenetrable national park, Mgahinga national park and Volcanoes national in Rwanda. The most budget gorilla safari lodges charge between $50 to $ 70, mid range lodges charge between $80 to $120 and up market charge $250 and above per person sharing. Depending on where you wish to trek the gorillas, the minimum days for a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda is thee while in Rwanda, it can take one to 2 days, this is the least.
The price of the gorilla permits; with your budget or cost for the gorilla tour, or Uganda gorilla trek costing, which is your number one item must be the gorilla permit. This will give you the permission to view the endangered mountain gorillas for one hour per person in Uganda or Rwanda. Presently, each of the gorilla permit costs $600 per person per trek and you can contact our company for the permit purchase.
The Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person for only one hour and the habituation permit is at $1500 for only 4 hours with the mountain gorillas in southern part of the park. The gorilla permits for Bwindi and Mgahinga are issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority head offices in Kampala on a fast come first serve basis while the gorilla permits for Rwanda are issues by Rwanda Development Board. You can contact our company for the availability and booking of gorilla permits at Uganda Wildlife Authority or the Rwanda Development Board. It is advised that you pre purchase your gorilla permits 3-5 months in advance to avoid shortage most especially during high seasons of June, July, August and September then December, January and February.
Cost and price of transport; you also need to budget and plan transport to and from Bwindi national park. The minimum days to Bwindi by road are three days. This means you need to budget for three days, the first day is for departing Entebbe/ Kampala to Bwindi and the next day is for moving around Bwindi impenetrable national park. You will need a vehicle to transfer you to and from the starting point of your gorilla trek and the third day is to drive back to Entebbe/ Kampala. This also means that you have to budget for the vehicle with the guide per day and then fuel to carter for the long distance from Entebbe to and from Bwindi impenetrable National park. Please can contact any tour operator to book for you a vehicle in advance.
You can also fly to and from Bwindi as companies like Aerolink operates scheduled flights to and from Kihihi which is the nearest Airfield and you need transfers from the Air strip to your lodge. There are also other companies like Fly Uganda and Eagle air that operate charter flights to and from Bwindi impenetrable National park. It is also possible to fly from Kigali and track in Bwindi, in case you fly into Kigali, you will drive 3 to 4 hours via Katuna or Chanika Border to Ruhija or Rushaga sides of Bwindi.
The price and cost of Accommodation; the cost of gorilla safari should also include accommodation for at least two nights. The First night is when you arrive in Bwindi and the second night is after your gorilla safari trek. It’s possible to trek the gorillas and depart the park on the same day but it’s advisable that you plan to stay an extra night as you will never tell how long the trek will last. Many of the accommodation properties offer accommodation and meals on full board, depending on the type of accommodation, both sides of Bwindi have got budget, mid range and up market facilities so depending on your taste please do contact us for more information. It’s also possible to spend one night in case you book our 2 day gorilla safari from Kigali. Many of the budget lodges included in our cost of a gorilla tour or gorilla trekking cost price ranges from $50 to $70 per person in a group of 2 and $ 80 to $120 for the mid range sharing in a group of 2 people.
The cost of porters; we also encourage all the clients to take porters for their gorilla trek for several reasons. They carry your bags and when you are approaching the gorillas, they will remain with your packed lunch and all the items that you might not need. They will give you a push or pull during your trek in the forest. This extra effort is to enable you achieve your dream of viewing these endangered mountain gorillas. the other importance of taking a porter is that by doing so, you are contributing to community development since most of these porters are school going boys and girls and this is a chance that is only given to the students to work and get money for the school fees. By paying for a porter, you are contributing to community development indirectly.
The cost of the tips; the 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. As a responsible tour company, we recommend that you put some funds aside for tipping.
The company markup; above the costs, the company puts 10-20% of the total cost as fixing or service fee. This is part of the profit as well as helping us to book all the services like gorilla permits, accommodation and making telephone calls to check the availability and make sure that all is in order.