Do you want to arrange for yourself a gorilla safari to Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Cong? Are you wondering the kind of budget you should draft for your safari? No need to worry, we have a guideline to help you plan and ensure your private gorilla trekking tour. Whereas most travelers prefer booking through travel operators, you can as well arrange your private tour and do it yourself with out any third party. Whether you aspire to go for Rwanda tours, Uganda or Democratic Republic of Congo, we help you understand what you must include and exclude in your gorilla tour budget to avoid any disappointment and ensure successful and enjoyable mountain gorilla encounter plus your safety in the jungle.
Consider gorilla permits
For who ever coming to see mountain gorillas, a gorilla permit is a first thing to appear on your budget list. A gorilla permit is a pass that allows you see mountain gorillas and without it, you cannot be allowed to trek these gentle giants. In Uganda, a single gorilla permit costs $600 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents and 250,000shs for East African citizens. In Rwanda a permit goes for $1500 however Congo gorilla safaris are currently closed but the permit was initially $450. A price for the permit is therefore a must on your budget because no permit no access to the gorillas. Gorilla permits are issued out by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in Uganda and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in Rwanda. A permit allow travelers to spend an hour with a gorilla family, taking their photos and embracing their human like characters.
Cost of transport
You need to travel to the gorilla habitats if you want to see them. The cost of transport depends on how far or near is gorilla national parks from a travelers entry point you’re your entry point. If you are landing at Entebbe international airport, transport from Kampala to Bwindi/Mgahinga gorilla national parks in southwestern Uganda is likely to be expensive. Alternatively, you can land at Kigali international airport and transfer to Volcanoes national park which is 2-3 hours drive and fairly cheap. Also, you can crops from Kigali via Chanika or Katuna borders driving for roughly four hours to reach Bwindi or Mgahinga homes for mountain gorillas in Uganda. Also, the cost of transport depends on the means of transport you opt to use. Traveling by public means is fairly cheap compared to private means for budget travelers. Those using public buses or taxis are advised to be careful while bargaining and asking for rates to avoid being over charged.
Cost of accommodation.
Accommodation is something you cannot rule out on your budget to trek mountain gorillas. A traveler has to book and pay for a lodge/hotel, home stay or a camp where he chooses to sleep. Accommodation services mainly include food and sleeping and are ranked as budget, midrange and luxury. The choice of where to stay depends on the budget of a traveler but all services is always excellent. Interestingly, there are various lodges within gorilla national parks, which give travelers ample time to rest after tiring hikes in search of the allocated gorilla family. Fortunately, the lodges and hotels have their websites online and their contact forms. Before booking with any of the lodges, travelers are reminded to check their prices, services and then compare to ensure comfort and value of their money.
Cost of porters
Much as hiring a porter is not mandatory, each traveler is always advised to hire one. Porters are local people who formerly depended on the forest resources for a livelihood. Travelers help to carry baggage for travelers and also provide support by holding traveler’s hands in the slippery muddy jungles of Bwindi, Mgahinga and volcanoes national park. Fortunately, a porter is hired for only 10-15 dollars for a day, which is relatively cheap. Hiring porters is an indirect support of local people earning them income to support their families and improve their standards of living.
Tipping is also optional but highly recommended on a gorilla safari as a sign o appreciation for the services received. The amount of tip to give is entirely a choice of a traveler. Tips are normally to the porters, driver guides and service provides in hotels/ lodges.
Travelers are also reminded to keep some money for emergencies. Any thing un expected can happen during the safari and hence require one to be ready for it. Fortunately, money for emergencies is always not much hence affordable. If nothing happens, a traveler remains with his money since he/se will not have spent it.
Will all that said, proper planning is very essential for a successful gorilla trekking safari. Book a gorilla tour to Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, stay with mountain gorillas in their natural habitats and enjoy this memorable encounter.