The Price of Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Uganda

Gorilla trekking is a popular and thrilling wildlife activity in Africa, but it can be quite expensive compared to other wildlife encounters. If you are wondering How much does it cost to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda, then this article will give you a comprehensive understanding of gorilla trekking costs. Mountain gorillas are a unique species that live in families led by a dominant silverback. As they are endangered, the high numbers of tourists interested in observing them have forced many governments to raise the price of permits. The principle of demand and supply applies here – the higher the demand, the higher the price. However, you can still trek gorillas in Africa since the price is worth it.

The high cost of gorilla trekking permits is not only due to demand. It is also because the governments need funds to protect the primates and their habitat. Gorilla conservation involves significant investments in research, infrastructure, rangers, and scientists. Part of the money collected from gorilla permits is used to fund activities related to protecting these majestic primates. In general, 15% of the money collected from gorilla permits goes to the government, 10% to the local communities, and 75% to gorilla conservation.

All you need to know about the Cost of Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo

The cost of gorilla trekking varies depending on the country. It’s important to note that the price of gorilla permits is just a small part of the overall cost of gorilla trekking. You also need to consider other expenses like transportation, accommodation, food, visas, air tickets, packing lists, porters, and tips for the guides. Here is all you need to know about the Price of Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Uganda.

Things that make the final price of a gorilla trekking safari expensive – what constitutes safari prices

Gorilla Permits

To be able to trek gorillas, you need a gorilla trekking permit. This document is essential as it grants you access to the gorillas. The cost of a gorilla permit varies depending on the country. In Uganda, it costs $700, in Rwanda, it’s $1500, and in Congo, it’s $450. The high cost of Rwanda gorilla permits makes the overall cost of a Rwanda safari more expensive for international travelers. However, East African nationals can obtain a gorilla permit in Uganda for 300,000 shillings.

In Congo’s Virunga National Park, gorilla permits may be sold at a discounted price of $250 during low seasons of the year. Therefore, the cost of gorilla trekking in Congo is lower. Rwanda also offers discounted permits for African Union citizens, foreign residents, large groups, families, and those participating in other activities in the country. Uganda has discounted gorilla permits for foreigners who are residents in East Africa.

If you want to experience the gorilla habituation process in Bwindi, you will have to pay $1500 for a permit. This process is different from normal gorilla trekking as it takes an entire day and involves four hours of interaction with mountain gorillas instead of the one hour allocated to tourists during standard gorilla trekking.

You must have a gorilla permit to track gorillas. Without this permit, you cannot be allowed to take part in the activity. A gorilla permit includes a one-hour interaction with the gorillas, park entrance, and ranger fees.

Booking Gorilla Permits

To obtain a gorilla permit, you can either approach your tour operator or contact the government authorities in the respective countries. In Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority is responsible for issuing gorilla permits, while in Rwanda, it is the Rwanda Development Board. If you plan to visit Congo, you can book a permit through the Virunga National Park website or via your tour operator. It is recommended that you book your gorilla permit at least 2 months before the date of your trip. However, if you plan to travel during the peak season (June, July, and August), it is advisable to make the booking 5 to 6 months in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles of checking for availability with different tour companies.


When planning a gorilla tour, one of the important things to consider is where to stay. All the gorilla national parks offer high-quality lodges. The choice of accommodation depends on your budget. Good budget hotels cost between $50 to $130 per night, while mid-range hotels range from $150 to $200. The luxury hotels start at $300 and can go up to $5500 per night. If you plan to do a self-drive, you can book the hotels on your own. However, most travelers prefer to book through a reliable tour company. If you decide to book a hotel yourself, make sure it is located near the starting point of the gorilla family or sector you have been assigned. If it’s too far away, you may not show up for the briefing on time and miss the trek. That’s why it’s better to book your gorilla tour through a reputable tour operator, especially if you plan to do gorilla trekking in Uganda.


When considering the cost of your trip, remember to account for expenses on food, drinks, and water, in addition to accommodation and gorilla permits. While hotels usually provide food and drinks, you will need to budget for meals and water when you are outside the hotel or traveling. If you are traveling alone, plan to spend around $40 per day on food and drinks. However, if you plan to purchase expensive alcohol or cigars, you should budget for them

separately. If you book your vacation with a tour company, you do not need to worry about food, as the company will take care of it while at the hotel and during travel between activities.

Transport Charges

Once you’ve secured your gorilla permits and found a suitable lodge, the next thing to consider is how to get to the gorilla park. Air tickets to and from your country of origin can range from $600 to $2500 depending on the airline you choose. If you’re planning to book chartered flights within the gorilla trekking country, you may need to pay an additional $600. If internal flights are too expensive or if you want to experience more of the African countryside, traveling by road from the airport is highly recommended. Renting a car in Rwanda and Uganda will cost between $70 to $150 a day, not including fuel and a driver.

Expect long hours of travel by road, especially if you’re tracking gorillas in Uganda and Congo. It takes between 8 and 10 hours to drive from Entebbe International Airport to Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable Park. The driving distance from Kigali International Airport to Volcanoes National Park is 3 hours. If you choose to track gorillas in Virunga National Park, you’ll need to fly into Kigali and then travel to the Congo border, which can take about 4 hours.

Planning a vacation in an unfamiliar and developing country can be complicated, which is why many travelers leave the issue of transportation, permits, and accommodation to tour operators. However, it’s important to note that few tour companies book air tickets on behalf of their clients.

Visas and border crossing

If you are planning to go gorilla trekking, you may need to cross borders between Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. If you are planning to trek gorillas in Congo, you should expect to cross the Goma border post by paying a fee of $100 for the Visa.

In case you find the cost of gorilla permits in Rwanda beyond your budget, you can opt for more affordable gorilla trekking in Uganda. To avoid the 8-hour drive from Entebbe to the park, you should arrive through Kigali. If you opt for this route, you will need to pay a VISA fee of $50 at either the Katuna or Cyanika border crossings.

If you are combining safaris in different countries of East Africa, you can obtain the East African tourist visa at a cost of $100.

Potters fees

If you’re planning to track gorillas while carrying heavy equipment, bags, or video cameras, it’s advisable to hire a porter to help you carry them. The porters can assist you with carrying your luggage and help during difficult sections of the trek. However, elderly people who want to go gorilla trekking may find it more complicated as they would need to hire about eight porters to lift them up to the tracking point using a sedan chair.

This can cost around $400. The porters, who mostly live near the gorilla parks, include former poachers as well as students who are looking to top up their school fees or parents who need to provide for their families. By hiring these porters, you not only contribute to their general well-being but also help them support their families. You can easily find a porter at the park offices or during the briefing.

Tips for the Guide/Driver, Park Rangers and Hotel staff: