For a long time now, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), in conjunction with the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) has been offering discounted gorilla trekking permits for the low season months of March, April, May and November at $450 for foreign non residents, $400 for East African residents & 150,000 Ugandan shillings for East Africans. Many budget travelers, backpackers and those looking for budget gorilla safaris to experience the thrill of Gorilla trekking in Bwindi without emptying their bank accounts have been taking advantage of this offer.
On May 6th this year however, Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the government body responsible for issuing Rwanda Gorilla trekking permits, announced the increase in the price of a gorilla permit from $750 to $1500. This 100% increment in the Gorilla trekking permit price shocked the safari travel industry world over and made headlines in world news with some commenting that the RDB was “crazy” and saying it wasn’t practical and would be re-considered but to-date, Rwanda has held its ground and the price for a single gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda costs 1500 USD!
The decision did affect some tour operators and lodge owners as there were cancellations and others opting to do Gorilla trekking in Uganda instead but that didn’t affect RDB because according to their explanation, the move was and is intended to reduce the masses flocking Volcanoes national park for Gorilla trekking. Thus, Rwanda is now focusing on the wealthy and up market clients.
Owing to the RDB’s decision, Uganda tour operators and clients alike got very concerned that UWA would follow suite – something that resultant in a consultation meeting between UWA and AUTO and, relax; Uganda Wildlife Authority made it clear that the price for gorilla permits in Uganda will remain at $600 and will not be increased – that’s the good news; smile!!
However, it was also announced that the low season, discounted gorilla permits will be no more after 2017. If you are thinking of a low budget gorilla trekking safari therefore, this November is your last chance to grab this unique gorilla trekking opportunity at $450 instead of $600. This is not the first time Rwanda has had to increase the gorilla permit price; in 2013, the cost increased from $500 to $750 and Uganda followed suite and increased to $600.
Therefore, as gorilla conservation efforts step up and the pressures increase, there is no guarantee that there will be no increase for Uganda gorilla permits in the coming years despite the fact that Bwindi alone possesses more than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population.
All in all, you should grab your chance to see mountain gorillas now! Contact us and we will help you achieve your gorilla trekking dream.