The gorilla trekking/tracking safari is one of, if not the most popular tour in Rwanda. It is however also the most expensive tour. At Nature Trails East Africa we get a number of inquiries from travelers wanting to book the gorilla safari (especially our 2 day gorilla trip) but most are put off by the price we send them, and many even think we are trying to rip them off.. However we do not intend to make the trip costly, if anything we try to cost as low as possible.
Below I will take you through the pricing of a Rwanda gorilla trip, what takes up the biggest chunk of the cost, the variables that you can touch to change the price and constants that can’t be changed.
Gorilla tracking permits
This is the first and most important item of the gorilla trip. The gorilla tracking permit/pass/ticket allows you track the gorillas. Only a limited number of permits are available in a day as a maximum 8 people can track one gorilla family and the park has about 10 habituated families.
The cost of the Rwanda gorilla trekking permit is 1500USD
The gorilla permit is non-negotiable and can’t change.
The permit accounts for the biggest cost of the gorilla safari price.
Transportation to Volcanoes National Park
The gorilla trekking takes place in Volcanoes National Park in the north of Rwanda. It is about 100km from the capital Kigali and the international airport. So you need transportation to the park.
You can go by road using car, or take a flight with Akagera Aviation for those that have the finances.
Most trips are by road and so pricing is as follows:
So, we do consider at the minimum a comfortable SUV. With a Maximum 3 people we would use a big SUV such as the Land Cruiser TX. More than 3 people we would use the bigger 4X4 safari cars i.e. 5 or 7-seaster land cruiser stretch.
A nice SUV goes for about 100USD per day. Then the bigger safari car goes for about 150USD per day. This car cost is without fuel.
The car will consume fuel/gas/petrol of about 70 – 90USD, depending on engine size. This is for the whole trip starting from Kigali going to the park and back to Kigali.
The cost of the tour driver of the car is 50USD per day.
Transportation costs can vary depending on number of people traveling and sharing a car so that the cost is shared per person.
Accommodation (with meals)
Accommodation is another significant cost of the trip, however this is also a highly varying cost depending on the type of lodging you want, as you can select from basic camping, budget lodge, midrange, upmarket, luxury or the costliest high end.
Nice budget lodge can cost between 60 – 100USD per night.
Midrange lodge can cost between 150 – 250USD per night
Upmarket or upper midrange lodge cost between 300USD – 400USD per night
Luxury lodge cost between 500USD – 700USD per night
High end lodes cost from 1000USD and upward
Other costs of the gorilla trip you may incur but are optional
Porters for the trek
For 10USD porters are available for hire during the gorilla trek.
Hiring a porter is optional, but highly recommended. The porter helps carry your daypack or other items you take for the trek, and also provide a push or pull where you need one in the rugged mountains. Also, you are directly giving back to the community when taking one.
Tips are also optional, but you are advised to tip.
People to tip include and approximate amount:
Tour driver (10USD per day), about waiters/waitresses at your hotel (5USD each), your park guide who is leading the group during the gorilla trek (10 – 15USD), the armed military person who escorts the trekking group (5USD), and your porter (5USD).
The amount indicated is what I can advise, but you are free to give more or less depending on how satisfied you are with the service.
At the end of the gorilla trek you can purchase some souvenirs and support the community. The common souvenirs include a t-shirt with some gorilla wording and pictures, and small sculpture of a gorilla. These cost between 5USD – 20USD each.
In brief, basing on the above you can fill out the following for a rough cost of a gorilla trip
|Gorilla tracking permit
|*multiply by number of days
|*multiply by number of days
|Hotel on full board
|*multiply by number of nights
How to get a cheap gorilla tour
Going for the cheaper accommodation is one way of bring the cost of the gorilla trip down
Transport can be shared so, if you travel with others the cost of transportation is shared among the travelers.
Can I get Cheaper gorilla tracking permit?
Rwanda has the most expensive gorilla trekking permit. However, the Uganda gorilla trekking permit is way cheaper costing 700USD.
You can fly into Rwanda and go gorilla trekking in Uganda. The gorilla parks in Uganda are an extra hour’s drive.