These countries don’t really follow the peak season pricing surge of some other safari destinations which I have talked about. One of the main reasons is the massive growth in interest in gorilla trekking which can ONLY be done in Rwanda, Uganda (and, in future, the Congo.) This has both increased prices overall, especially for the uber-deluxe lodges in Rwanda. But it has also flattened the typical safari seasonality in pricing. You still have some seasonality, but the difference are pretty moderate in terms of price. So what does a typical gorilla trekking safari cost?
Guide to Typical Nightly Safari Costs in Uganda or Rwanda
Below we give some typical prices per night for the safari including the cost of in-country travel, park fees, game drives. It is priced in dollars as that’s the currency used in Uganda and Rwanda for tourism. Obviously these exclude the international flights. And they exclude the gorilla trekking fees. More on that later…
|Price per Night||Mid/Scheduled|
(or 4 people)
|Premier Camps||Deluxe Camps*|
So you can see that there’s not much little difference at the moderate end of the scale between the Peak Season and the Shoulder Season in terms of gorilla trekking safari cost. (Plus what constitutes a ”Shoulder season” varies from lodge to lodge. At one lodge, June may be a shoulder month. But it is High Season at another.)
If you want to come for 6 nights in Peak season in a premier camp, you can assume at a safari price of around $6,000 to $7,000 per person. But a mid-range camp in shoulder season, also for 6 nights will cost around $3,300 to $4,000 per person. PLUS the cost of the gorilla trekking permit – see below.
* The Higher end of the deluxe camp range is usually for itineraries that combine Rwanda and Uganda and/or include the Rwandan uber-deluxe lodges such as the exquisite Bisate Lodge or Nyungwe Forest which are very expensive and thus skew the nightly averages.
High cost of Gorilla Trekking Permits
So let’s address the big ‘gorilla’ in the room, as it were. Which is the cost of the trekking permits which are as steep as the hike up the mountain itself.
- $800 per person per day in Uganda
- And a whopping $1500 per person in Rwanda (Though Off-peak Season options combining two parks from $1050 pp)
If you are just in Uganda or Rwanda for the gorillas and spend 4 nights in country then that’s a massive $125 to $350 extra per night! But that’s why you’ve chosen to come to Rwanda in the first place. So you just have to chalk it up to the cost of having a life-affirming once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Why don’t we include the Gorilla & Chimpanzee trekking fees?
There are three main reasons…
The main reason is that people vary as to whether they want one or two days of gorilla trekking. As this affects the price so much, safari specialists leave it to the client to decide. Similarly some people will want to do the chimpanzee trekking and others may prefer to do a different activity such as a community visit or a forest walk.
Thus in Rwanda and Uganda, the basic safari price includes all the meals, game drives and park fees. But then there are various optional activities that people can add on. These are always itemised clearly, and added at time of quotation.
A secondary reason is that if you come out of peak season (ie not June to October), then the Rwanda park authorities reduce the gorilla permit to $1050 per person IF you visit two or more National Parks, such as Akagera or Nyungwe Forest.
(The other reason is that most other safari operators choose to give those fees separately. And so we have followed suit. As otherwise we’ll look artificially more expensive.)
What factors affect the Uganda & Rwanda safari price?
Unlike some other safari destinations (where many factors affect the price), there are relatively few in Uganda and Rwanda.
- Time of Year
- Your mode of safari & number of people
- Specific camps
Interesingly the length of stay doesn’t reduce the per night price at the lodges (unlike in Botswana for example). But the longer you stay, the high cost of the gorilla trekking permit can be psychologically spread over several nights.
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Time of Year
Because of the popularity of gorilla trekking, this is not as critical as elsewhere. But it should be!
Prices are cheaper in April, May & early November because that’s the main rainy months. And rain in Uganda is a serious thing. This is high altitude tropical rainforest country. Rain is serious here and can affect your safari significantly. Given the prices are not that much cheaper, don’t choose this time to come just to save a few bucks.
Mode of Safari
Uganda has a good choice of scheduled and private safaris. If you are a couple and need to keep costs down then taking a scheduled safari is an ideal way to go. Rwanda is mainly private touring.
But interestingly private safaris are not that much more, even for 2 people. And if you are a party of four, then there will be virtually no difference in costs. Some examples of our private safaris include Ultimate Uganda and Rwanda & Uganda Highlights. Contact us for a digital itinerary.
Number of People
As both Uganda and Rwanda are mainly privately guided destinations, the number of people in your party makes a big difference, especially if you are choosing more modest accommodation. The difference in price for our Red Carpet options between 2 people (as shown) and 4 people is between is 7 to 10%. It is more like 10-15% for our base itineraries, or more for our Paired Back options.
You don’t come to Uganda to stay at fancy safari camps as you may choose to do in South Africa, Kenya or Botswana. So there is not that much difference in price between the various camps in Uganda.
The exception to the rule are a couple of the new camps in the Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda) such as Bisate Lodge or Singita Kwitonda. These are very pricey, but they are also amazing experiences if you can run to them.
Ways to save money on a Rwanda or Uganda safari
Fundamenally the cost of a safari and gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is what it is.
There are no easy ways to save money. You either want to do it and pay those prices, or you decide on a different bucket list dream.
- Consider a scheduled tour In Uganda
- Or entice a second couple so that a private safari is at its most affordable. Prices continue to drop until 5 people.
- Look at coming in the second half of June, October or early Deecember. This is a 15% to 20% saving for 3 of our tours
A gorilla trekking safari is one of the most magical safari experiences that you are likely to have. Don’t let the price put you off! If you combine this with the myriad other attractions of these beautiful countries, you will have one of the most memorable safaris in Africa.
I hope this helps!
‘What does a Gorilla trekking safari cost in Rwanda or Uganda” is written by Cedarberg Africa
Cedarberg Africa is a specialist tour operator for Southern and East Africa. We focus on upmarket tailormade safaris for discerning and inquiring people. Several of us have visited Rwanda and so we can chat to you about a possible trip from personal experience, weighing up the different options, to plan a trip that is just right for you.
Contact Us if you’d like a tailormade safari quote for your Rwanda safari trip.