Want to know why gorilla trekking is so expensive? Before you see gorillas, you need to purchase a gorilla permit, book your accommodation, transportation, flight tickets and more.
Gorilla permits alone cost $1500, $600 and $400 each in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo respectively. Not everyone can afford this especially the price of Rwanda gorilla permits.
A gorilla trekking company can organize all these for you but if you realize, prices of gorilla tours are quite higher than that of other safaris.
So why is gorilla trekking so expensive? I will try to give a thorough explanation for this and probably reveal some facts you didn’t know about gorilla trekking.
Also Read: Can you go gorilla trekking when pregnant?
With only an average of 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world, you cannot see these apes anywhere in the world except in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. The scarcity of gorillas partly explains the huge tag on permits. Generally, prices usually increases with demand and scarcity.
However, this is just a minor reason; an obvious one too.
The main reason as to why gorilla trekking is expensive goes back to these gorillas. Decades ago, mountain gorillas nearly went into extinction and if it wasn’t for Dian Fossey and other conservationists, there would be no mountain gorillas left today.
Fossey fought so hard for the conservation of these primates, a fight that led to her sudden death on December 26, 1985. Its believed she was murdered by poachers.
So since the birth of gorilla trekking, the money collected from gorilla permits has been channeled back to the conservation of these apes.
Conserving these gentle apes is not as easy as you think and as a matter of fact, it requires a lot of money. Mountain gorillas were listed as a highly endangered species of apes before until 2018 when their numbers surpassed 1000.
So when you buy your permits, do not think you are benefiting the government because they receive the smallest portion of permit fees. About 75% of the funds are channeled back to support the growth of these gorillas. The community within takes about 10% and the government retains the 15%.
When you go gorilla trekking, you are supporting mountain gorillas and helping them grow in numbers.
So the answer is simple, gorilla trekking is expensive because of the expense incurred whilst conserving these gorillas and maintaining their habitats.
When Rwanda doubled their gorilla permit fees from $750 to $1500, its not because they wanted to make more money off gorilla trekking. Its simply because they needed enough funds to support their gorillas and help them grow in numbers.
You can book your tours using these recommended tour operators.
So how expensive is gorilla trekking?
Let alone the obvious permit fees, you will incur more money on transportation, accommodation and meals. You can choose to opt for affordable services or an upmarket one.
Regarding gorilla safari lodges, there are lodges that will charge you as little as $100 for a room per night and as much as $2400 per room per night. You just have to choose one that is convenient for your pockets.
If you prefer to transfer by flight, that comes with its own price. Transportation by cars come in 4×4 safari vans or Land Cruisers. Land Cruisers are more expensive than Vans and often used for luxury trips.
You can never know how much your safari will cost unless you inquire with a tour operator. Contact any of these companies for a quote.
Additional expenses on your trip
Besides the tour fees, you are likely to incur additional expenses on a trip. You might have to buy good boots, new gloves, a good camera or lenses plus other hiking equipment that you may need for your trip.
Its a good custom to tip guides and hotel staff in Uganda. You should budget for this as well. Much as tipping is not compulsory, i strong urge you do it. Even a small denomination will express your gratitude. You should never hesitate to tip while on your trip.
Lastly, just in case you send out inquiries to many tour operators, you can compare quotes but do not always let the price of the package decide your fate. There are so many companies out there that quote so low but question is, is the service worth it?
As a client, sometimes it becomes so hard to figure out what kind of service you are bound for. However, this should never worry you.
I always advise my clients to check out hotels / lodges proposed on a tour package one by one and read their reviews online. That way, you will be able to tell the kind of service you are bound for.
If a tour package costs a bit high but features good accommodation facilities, go ahead and book it. Do not ruin your experience just because you are trying to save $100 – $300.