A gorilla permit is a must to have at hand when it comes to gorilla tourism in Rwanda or any other destinations like Uganda or the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Before you embark on the actual trek in Rwanda, make sure that you have secured your permit early enough given the high demand. Treks to view mountain gorillas in Rwanda are conducted in Volcanoes National Park which is situated in northwestern side of the country.
It is a requirement for every traveler to posses a mountain gorilla trekking permit if you are looking to gorilla tracking in the Volcanoes National Park.
Undoubtedly, obtaining permits for tracking the mountain gorillas over these well attended periods can be hard at short notice; therefore you should plan in advance. Listed on this guide are different tour operators who can assist in making all the arrangements for buying your permits.
A maximum of 96 gorilla tracking permits are available each day. On 6th May 2017, the Rwandan Development Board increased the prices of the gorilla permits from US$ 750 to US$ 1,500 for each person, for a one-hour visit. These new prices are aimed to reinforce conservation efforts and contribute to the development of local communities.
How to Book Gorilla Permits
All permits to visit the mountain gorillas are booked with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). You can book gorilla permits through local tour operators in Rwanda. Check out the listing of the tour operators you can use to plan your next gorilla safari holiday.
There are 2 options that you book your permit in Rwanda. The first option is through a ground tour operator and the other is through a reservationist at Rwanda Development Board (RDB)-firstname.lastname@example.org. RDB is government organ that is in charge tourism. Permits in Rwanda cost $1500 per visitor and this cuts across all visitors on gorilla safari in Volcanoes National Park. Besides, there is a 30 percent discount which is approximately $1050 for visitors who pay a visit to other Rwanda national parks especially Akagera National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park for a period of about 3 days or more in the low season.
15 percent discount applies for conference visitors who stay before or after MICE events to track mountain gorillas. Then there is 15000 dollars for visitors on private gorilla adventure and wish to explore the entire gorilla family with exclusive personalized tour guide services. In addition, there is $3000 for a minimum of three tourists for three consecutive days.
Alternatively, you can deal with a ground tour operator/agent who is reliable and trust worthy. When dealing with a tour operator make sure that it is registered. For refunds, the Rwanda Development Board gives 50 percent of gorilla permit fees paid for visitor with signs of illness. This is because persons with any signs of illness aren’t allowed to take part in this adventure. This also applies on condition that the person endeavors to travel to the park. Treks in Volcanoes National Park like it is a case in Uganda kick start with morning briefing on dos and don’ts for gorilla trekking by the park official. You then embark on actual trek which may last you about 2 to 6 hours or more depending on your hiking speed, nature of the habitat and location of mountain gorillas in the course of the day. Note that permits are only sold to persons above 15 years just like other gorilla destinations and this one thing that makes this adventure unique.
Once you are done with the booking process, you also need passport details that will be used for verification when you get to Volcanoes National Park. Your permit gives you a chance to spend only an hour face to face with gorillas and track one habituated family out of the 10 that have been habituated and readily available for visitors’ experiences. Each gorilla group comes with a unique history and experience for trekkers to enjoy that rewards them with memorable experiences thereafter. The habituated families for you to track in Rwanda include Susa A and Susa B/Karisimbi, Agashya/Group 13, Kwitonda, Hirwa, Ugenda, Umubano, Sabyinyo and others. With about 10 groups that are readily available for trekking, approximately 80 gorilla permits are also available each day for visitors to purchase so as to take part in this lovely adventure.
Fees for mountain gorilla permits
Gorilla visit fees:
For travelers looking to gorilla trekking in Rwanda, it is a requirement to book gorilla permits. Gorilla Permits for Rwanda cost US$1500 per person.
This is inclusive of park entry fees. It is advisable to organize your own transportation to take you up to the park boundaries. On the day you are scheduled to trek, report at 0700hrs for briefing at the ORTPN offices in Musanze. The ORTPN team of trackers and anti-poachers speak French or English.
It is important to first book your gorilla pass ahead of your actual gorilla tracking date as they often get finished quickly. If you are looking to traveling during the peak season such as the season of June to September as well as again over the Christmas and New Year holiday period, it is important to book your permits atleast 3 months before the trip. There are 12 habituated gorilla permits available daily. Each group takes a maximum of eight tourists and therefore 96 gorilla permits are available to be booked daily. Rwanda has been receiving greater volumes of tourists in the past years.
For other activities such as golden monkey tracking and volcano hikes, you can book directly through the ORTPN, which is normally a fairly straightforward procedure. In order to secure the booking, you will be required to make a payment using a credit card since Rwanda has adopted a cashless system. Please note that a 4% levy may be added onto the fees you are to pay by Credit Card.
All in all, if you are planning to visit Rwanda for gorilla trekking, make sure that you have secured your permit early enough before the actual trek. With the above information, we believe that it is of great significance to you as you plan to book for your permit so that you can catch up with great apes in the Virunga Region of Rwanda.