To track gorillas in Bwindi, Mgahinga or Volcanoes National Parks, you are required to purchase a gorilla permit which must be booked in advance in order to avoid missing out since they are on high demand particularly during the peak season.The prices of the gorilla permits tend differ regarding seasons. For example in Uganda, the permit for trekking gorillas cost $600 for foreign nonresidents, $500 for foreign residents and 250,000/= for East African residents for the peak season. In the low season especially November, there are promotional offers where gorilla trekking permits go for $350 for foreign residents, $250 for foreign residents and 100,000/= for East African citizens. The price of gorilla tracking permits in Rwanda is $750 for foreign nonresidents, $375 foreign residents and 30,000Frw for Rwandan citizens. Booking a gorilla permit requires you contacting the issuing authorities directly or indirectly through a travel agent and once you have acquired a gorilla trekking permit, then you go to the next step in planning your gorilla trekking safari.
The next step would be securing your means of transfer to your respective gorilla trekking destination. It can be by air or by road which is applicable in both Uganda and Rwanda. Connecting to Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda is 116km taking about three (3) hours’ drive by road from Kigali, the country’s capital. In Uganda connecting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park requires a 4×4 wheel drive to traverse the rugged country side for 527km about ten (10) hours’ drive from Kampala, the country’s capital. To connect to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park also requires a 4×4 wheel drive to traverse the highland landscapes of Kigezi on the way to Mgahinga from Kampala, the Uganda’s capital city which is 519km about 11 hours’ drive. There are a range of car rental companies and Prime Uganda Safaris will be glad to supply you with the best safari vehicle to suit your gorilla safari holiday interests. Alternatively, you can use public means by boarding buses from the main cities to the towns that are close to the destinations and then hire a private taxi for the short distance left at a lesser cost. The transfer can also be made by Air by taking charter flights to the respective destination.
After securing the means of transfer for your gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda and Uganda, you have to plan for the accommodation. This is basically where you are going to be sleeping during your gorilla safari. You will choose the accommodation category depending on your planned level of expenditure ranging from Budget/Basic, Midrange/Standard or Upmarket/Luxury. The meal arrangement should also be put in consideration whether you do self-catering, or pay for bed and breakfast, half board or full board.
Another thing to put in consideration while planning a gorilla tour is Porters and Walking sticks. These are significant partners in your endeavor. The walking sticks are very important as they give you support while hiking though challenging landscapes like the rugged terrain of Bwindi Uganda. They are sold locally at the ground level and range from $10 – $15. The porters are important for less physically fit gorilla trekkers so as to give them a push or a pull where things turn out to hard. They can also carry your bag and would definitely remain with the luggage that you may not need as you approach gorillas to have a direct encounter.
Other ancillary services can also be put into consideration like Insurance and miscellaneous income while planning your gorilla tracking tour to Rwanda or your Uganda gorilla trekking safari tour.
Price of a Gorilla Tour
The price of a gorilla tour is reached upon after considering the category of accommodation establishment the gorilla trekkers is interested in, the type of the safari vehicle, fuel to be used, the guide fee, meals involved and the price of the gorilla permit its self.
In Uganda, the price for a gorilla permit is 600USD for foreign nonresidents, 500USD for foreign residents and 250,000 for East African residents. However, there are promotional offers in the low season (May & November) where gorilla permits go for 350USD for foreign residents, 250USD for foreign residents and 100,000 UGX for East African citizens.
In Rwanda, the price for a gorilla permit is 750USD for foreign nonresidents, 375USD foreign residents and 30,000Frw for Rwandan citizens.
What to pack for a gorilla tour
Wear firm and easy hiking shoes to withstand the muddy slopes.
Carry ear plugs for those who are sensitive about forest sounds.
Carry Packed Lunch & enough water.
Carry with you raingear, sunscreen lotion, insect repellant and a hat as weather can vary anytime.
Carry with you zoom lens camera for photo shooting, no flash.