What is the Cost of a gorilla tracking safari?
WHAT IS THE COST OF A GORILLA TRACKING SAFARI
Mountain gorillas in the world may be the most expensive and hard to reach wildlife due to their status (endangered) and are highly protected. These great apes only occur in 3 countries in Africa (Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo) and to access them one must purchase a gorilla tracking permit. A single gorilla tracking permit for just a one activity can be almost or greater than a night for two at a lodge or a cost of a 3-day tour for a group tour without these primates. In Uganda a permit costs 700 USD, in DR Congo it is 400USD and 1500USD in Rwanda and all this excludes any other trip determinant costs like transport, accommodation, guiding services among others.
Therefore, while planning for a gorilla safari, the tour costs will be highly influenced by the country you choose to visit, whether you are travelling solo or as a group and the type of travel (Budget, Mid-range or high end) plus other costs. The type of transport also will be a great determinant as for budget and mid-range usually a safari van/super custom or land cruiser 3x is used and for luxury the extended land cruiser 7x grand or 7x hard top are used. Those who like quick access and cannot go for the long road drives often opt to fly to the parks.
A gorilla tracking safari in Uganda can be a single activity safari with an add-on visit to the Batwa community or combined with activities on the other 8 parks that don’t host these apes. It is relatively affordable at all cost be it security, safety and price. Bwindi impenetrable and Mgahinga gorilla National parks have accommodation for all travelers from exclusive luxury safari camps and lodge to mid and low budget camps. With 1400USD a traveler in a group of two or above can do gorilla tracking with accommodation either at a mid-range or budget safari camp or lodge. This is about a cost of a permit in the Ugandan counterparts of Rwanda.
Rwanda has since 2017 branded its self as a luxury travel destination when it increased its price for gorilla tracking permit from 750USD to 1500USD. This has made many travelers who would have visited Rwanda, to opt for tracking in Uganda which is cheap. Rwanda’s only advantage is the size of the country. Rwanda’s park Volcanoes which hosts gorillas is about two to 3-hour drive from the airport compared to the 8-9-hour drive from Kampala to Bwindi. This means it is possible to do a 2-day road trip from the city Kigali and back without risking long and late drives. A gorilla safari in Rwanda can be above 2500USD with all inclusions.
DR Congo has the cheapest gorilla tracking permit, options with mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas but the volatile security has made it less visited even with its low cost of gorilla tracking. Usually Congo gorilla tours start from Rwanda and visitor cross to Congo via the North Eastern in Rubavu for Virunga national park or the South West in Rusizi for Kahuzi-Biega national park (for low land gorillas). There are even a few/ limited number of lodging facilities. For risk taking or adventurous tourists we can arrange safaris to DR Congo as it is a bit stable now. A gorilla tracking safari to Congo can be in 1000USD plus.
Note: The prices in this write up are not the real costs for these tours because different packages vary in terms of vehicles, accommodation choice and road distances.