What is a Gorilla Permit?
A gorilla permit is a card issued by Rwanda Development Board that gives you permission to trek the Rwanda gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Tourists can visit Rwanda to see the gorillas after obtaining a gorilla trekking permit. The tourists can spend an hour one-on-one with the apes if they are able to find them in their natural habitat.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda
Rwanda offers the most expensive gorilla trekking permit which costs $1500 USD 1,500 (€1,232 or £1,062) per person per day. This is nearly three times as much as other countries charge for foreign visitors, such as Democratic Republic of Congo ($200) or Uganda ($600).
Discount Rwanda Gorilla Permits Option
Rwanda development boards gives a 30% (US $1,050) discount on gorilla permits if you are to visit other parks in Rwanda during November and May. The parks in question are Akagera and Nyungwe Forest National Park.
For a complete luxury and private gorilla trekking experience tailored to your group, you pay US $15,000
MICE events in Rwanda attract a 15% discount on the gorilla trekking permit. So if you are attending conferences, incentives and exhibitions, be sure to pay US$ 1,275 per person.
- The most expensive gorilla safari in Rwanda costs $ 30,000 where you spend 3 days with the gorillas (behind the scenes) in a party of only 3 people.
Why is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda Expensive?
In 2017, Rwanda increased the cost of a gorilla trekking ticket from US$750 to US$1,500 in order to maintain long-term viability for conservation efforts as well as improve tourist experience. Although the cost of a gorilla trekking permit is hefty, it includes 2 armed rangers and a knowledgeable guide to lead you to your target group.
Age Restrictions for Gorilla Trek in Rwanda
A tourist below the age of 15yrs is not allowed to visit the gorillas. Tourists to Rwanda who are older than fifteen and want to visit gorilla trekking permits should go through the process of securing a Rwanda Development Board Gorilla Trekking permit.
How To Book A Gorilla Safari in Rwanda
Given that gorilla permits sell out fast, it is important to book at least 3-4 months in advance. The best time to visit gorillas is during the dry season from June through September and December through February.
One can get information about Rwanda gorilla trekking permits by contacting the Rwanda Development Board.
Travelers may also be interested in the available gorilla permits, which can be found by sending an email to any of the tour operators.
Hiring a local guide and booking your trekking permit through trusted tour operators is recommended for the best experience as they will guide you in how to make the most of your Rwanda gorilla safari.
Travelers are advised to pay for gorilla permits immediately if they are available at the time that is desired, as permits will not be available should more travelers desire them on dates already booked. Alternatively, travelers can purchase an alternate date should their preferred one go out of stock or become unavailable.
Once your gorilla permit is paid for, you will be sent a scanned receipt and can pick up the permit from your driver-guide once you arrive to start your gorilla trekking safari.
A Rwandan gorilla permit is property of the government. It belongs to Rwanda Development Board, which is a branch of government.On the day of gorilla trekking, permits are collected to be returned for recycling in Kigali.
How Many Gorillas Will You See?
Over 18 gorilla families inhabit Volcanoes National Park, and only 12 of them are open for trekking. The others are reserved for research. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park always starts at Kinigi HQ with a briefing. It’s typically done by 8 people (in groups) and you’ll be assigned to a gorilla family for the day.
How Much Time Will You Spend With The Gorillas?
Your gorilla trekking permit will allow you one hour with an assigned gorilla group. Though it can take from 30 minutes to 9 hours for a gorilla trek, most tourists find them within 3 hours.
Things To Do Besides Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
There are many things you can do after gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda. You can visit Nyungwe Forest – home to chimpanzees and many other primates. Or go on Kibinga forest walk or Nyanza safari tour by boat. There are also several hiking trails that don’t require special permits : Ruhengeri Bridge trail , Mahoma trail or Kinigi Bigogwe trail.