The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has announced an increment in the gorilla permit fees from US$700 to US$800. The new fees apply to all tourists outside Africa intending to go gorilla trekking in Uganda. The announced fees are effective July 1st and all bookings for permits to visit the gorillas from July 1st 2024 are to be affected.
In rue with Rwanda’s gorilla trekking tariff, the Uganda wildlife Authority similarly introduced a special tariff for African outside the East African community intending to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Previously, everyone outside the East African community was considered a foreign none resident. Whether you were coming from South Africa or Namibia; you had to pay the same amount like people from America, Asia and Europe.
With a bid to promote tourism among fellow Africans, anyone with an African passport but not a citizen of the East Africa community will be required to only pay $500 instead of $800 like other foreign none residents.
Gorilla Habituation Experience
For the gorilla habituation experience, the permit fees have been maintained at US$1500 for International Visitors, US$1000 for East African Foreign Residents and US$200 for East African Nationals. The unique experience offers visitors up to four hours of watching the mountain gorillas vis-à-vis the one-hour duration that is given to travelers who go gorilla trekking.
According to the Uganda wildlife Authority Executive Director, Sam Mwandha, the decision to increase gorilla permit fees has been reached after an extensive consultative process with different stakeholders in both conservation and tourism.
Uganda has two mountain gorilla national parks; that is Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. However, Bwindi stands out because of its high population of mountain gorillas. In order to have a one-on-one encounter with these mountain gorillas, you are required to have a gorilla trekking permit that currently costs $700.
To many people, Rwanda has been eating Uganda’s cake when it comes to gorilla trekking. Rwanda charges $1500 per permit for foreign non-residents. On the other hand, Uganda has been charging $700 per permit for foreign none residents. With almost the same experience, it seemed ridiculous to many for Uganda to charge the same activity for less than half the price that Rwanda charges for the same activity.
In addition to the gorilla permit increment, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has also revised the conservation tariff and there are changes in the prices of different adventure activities within Uganda’s National Parks. These include but not limited to chimpanzee tracking, Chimpanzee habituation experience, volcano climbing, Motorcycle game drives, Bwindi nature walks among several other activities.
Why do Gorilla Trekking Permit Fees Keep on Increasing?
There are as few as 1060 mountain gorillas left in the whole world. These great apes are endemic to Africa and are found in only three countries in the world; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gorilla trekking is possible in few destinations and most of the travelers go gorilla tracking in the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda, Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda.
Unlike activities such as the great migration in Serengeti national park that does not have a limit on how many people visit the park per day, gorilla trekking is only limited to not more than 500 people per day in all the three countries. This implies that for countries to raise some reasonable money to support their sustainability and conservation efforts, they need to transfer the whole burden on the limited number of people that visit the gorilla national parks.
The new tariff is expected to run up to 30th June 2026. After June 2026; there are rumors that Uganda wildlife Authority will again revise the gorilla trekking permit rate from $800 to $1000 but this has not yet been substantiated.
It is also important to note that you can still secure a $700 gorilla trekking permit in Uganda as long as your gorilla trekking date does not go beyond 30th June 2024.