A gorilla permit is a printed card issued by the authorities after payment. It’s the only assurance a visitor has that will be able to meet the mountain gorillas in their habitant. Much as the gorillas are the same in the physical characteristic, live in the tropical rain forest, the experience is different from the trekking and the price of gorilla permits vary from the three different countries.
Mountain gorillas are found in Bwindi forest national park, the greater Virunga conservation area which includes mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda, volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in DRC.
The responsible organs for issuing out gorilla permits are Uganda wild authority for Bwindi forest and mgahinga gorilla park, Rwanda development board for volcanoes national park and the Institute Congolais Pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) in Virunga national park.
Mountain gorillas are critically endangered and threatened species but these authorities have done more than it takes to conserve these species as for now mountain gorillas have increased in number to 1000 plus individual.
Booking a gorilla permit depends on the client choice to either directly book with the respective authorities or contact a local tour operator to secure you a permit in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. The selected tour operator should be registered by the Tour association and easily be accessed on platforms like trip advisor, safari bookings for reviewing.
Gorilla tracking fees in Uganda
Uganda hosts half population of the remaining mountain gorillas in Bwindi forest national park and has so far become one stop gorilla safari destination due to affordable gorilla fees, peace and stability. At present there are 17 gorilla families at different sectors in Bwindi and these are Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija, Rushaga including one gorilla family in mgahinga. currently in Uganda I36 gorilla permits are issued out per day and fees are as follows;
- US$ 600 per person for foreign non-residents
- US$ 500 per person for East African Foreign Residents
- 1500$ for gorilla habituation experience
- UGX 250000 for East Africans and Ugandans
Gorilla permits in Rwanda
Since May 2017 the government of Rwanda increased the fees for gorilla permit from 750$ and doubled it to 1500$ regardless of nationality. The purpose for the increase of gorilla permits in Rwanda was to promote conservation for the endangered mountain gorillas since they are threatened and volcanoes is much smaller compared to Bwindi forest national park and improve the livelihood of local people through revenue sharing. Rwanda has 10 gorilla families habituated for trekking and hence 80 gorillas permits available every day. Recently Rwanda development board introduced discounts in gorilla permits in the months of May and November associated with low season. The gorilla permit will go for 1050$ on condition that you will visit other national parks.
Gorilla permits in Congo
Congo offers the cheapest gorilla permits at $450 for foreign non-residents and $400 for foreign residents making it a best destination for the budget travelers to see mountain gorillas. Virunga national park has 6 habituated gorilla families. Un fortunately due to political unrests gorilla tourism is at halt hoping to open again in 2019.