The minimum age for tracking gorillas is 15 years. Special offers are currently available for residents of Rwanda and the East African community. Protecting gorillas involves significant investments in research, rangers, and scientists. Some of the money raised from gorilla permits is used to fund activities to protect these majestic primates.
In general, 15% of the money raised from gorilla permits goes to the government, 10% to local communities, and 75% to gorilla protection. It is also important to note that if the cost of gorilla permits were significantly reduced, too many tourists would visit the primates, compromising the overall well-being of the few inhabited gorilla groups. Traveling alone is more expensive as you have to pay for transportation, accommodation and fuel yourself. In addition, it is important to note that companies add some surcharges to the total trip to provide administrative services (tour guides, office staff, office functionality) — this is usually 10 -20% of the total cost.
As part of its annual gorilla protection event, Rwanda names its gorillas after their personality. Rwanda describes itself as a high-end gorilla trekking destination. This is reflected in the higher price of the permit and the wider selection of top-end accommodation. Ugandan trekks are generally more difficult, but again normal footpaths in the village of Buhoma are regularly closed as the gorillas are actually in the village or even in one of the lodges there. None of this should be a problem if you book Rwandan gorilla trekking tours with a reputable provider.
Gorilla tourism has helped bring mountain gorilla populations back from extinction, but also threats to their survival that are still very real. There is a whole range of activities related to mountain gorillas. The famous one is the Kwita Izina ceremony for naming gorillas for Rwanda safaris. It is an annual event where various celebrities are invited to celebrate the occasion. The removal of the Batwa people from the gorilla dweller was also another big step that authorities took in the 1990s, when the gorilla population was threatened with extinction. So trekking gorillas are by far the main attraction in Rwanda, and most tourists will visit Rwanda for that reason alone and often add a few days in Rwanda to a safari in Kenya or Tanzania.
As a rule, the driver will welcome you at the airport, take you to your lodge and accompany you to the start of the gorilla trekking point. Trekking gorillas are professionally organized and well developed, making them an ecotourism adventure. If gorilla trekking exceeds your budget, Rwanda is still worth a visit as it offers primate hikes, volcanic hikes and bird watching in Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park, as well as boat trips on Lake Kivu in the Rift Valley and a classic safari in search of The Big Five in the low-key Akagera national park. And then there would be no more gorilla tracking in Bwindi, or at least it would be very risky to track down the gorillas in Bwindi.
Although the cost of a gorilla trekking permit is high, it includes 2 armed rangers and a knowledgeable guide who will guide you to your target audience.