Is Uganda’s Gorilla Permit Really Worth $800?

Uganda, known as the “Pearl of Africa,” is home to one of the most sought-after wildlife encounters – trekking to visit the endangered mountain gorillas. However, the high cost of gorilla permits, currently priced at $800, raises the question: Is the experience itself truly worth the hefty price tag?

In short, I know there are valid reasons for this high fee but I really don’t think the price is worth it – unless you consider $800 small change!

Let’s take a look at why this price is so hefty in the first place.

Why is the Uganda Gorilla Permit So Expensive?

The steep price of the gorilla permit in Uganda is primarily intended to support conservation efforts and protect these critically endangered creatures. The funds generated from the permits go towards anti-poaching initiatives, habitat conservation, and community development projects in the local communities surrounding gorilla habitats. By purchasing a permit, visitors contribute to the long-term survival of the gorillas and their ecosystems. The value lies in the knowledge that their visit is directly supporting vital conservation efforts.

Another factor influencing the price of the gorilla permit is its limited availability. Uganda strictly controls the number of permits issued each day to minimize human impact on the gorillas and their habitat. This limited supply creates high demand, and visitors often need to book their permits well in advance. The exclusivity and scarcity contribute to the perceived value of the experience, as visitors know they are part of a privileged few who have the opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures up close.

By the way, Rwanda, another popular destination for gorilla trekking, charges $1,500 for a gorilla permit. Uganda’s lower permit cost makes it a more accessible option for travelers seeking a similar experience. Moreover, the opportunity to explore Uganda’s diverse landscapes, including its national parks and other wildlife encounters, adds value to the overall trip, making it a more well-rounded and fulfilling experience.


Why You Might Still Consider Paying for a Uganda Gorilla Permit

uganda mountain gorilla

We must recognize that the value of the gorilla permit extends beyond the gorillas themselves. The revenue generated from the permits directly benefits local communities living near the gorilla habitats. These communities receive funds for education, healthcare, infrastructure development, and other projects that improve their quality of life. By purchasing a gorilla permit, visitors contribute to sustainable tourism and empower local communities, creating a positive socio-economic impact.

Also, trekking to see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is undoubtedly a unique and unforgettable experience. It offers a rare opportunity to observe these gentle giants in their pristine rainforest environment. The encounter with a gorilla family, led by a dominant silverback, is an awe-inspiring and emotionally charged experience that leaves a lasting impression. The sense of connection and the understanding of our shared bond with these intelligent creatures is priceless. For many, this once-in-a-lifetime experience justifies the cost of the permit.

All the best with your decision !

PS. Are you covered for your trip? Most tour operators require you to have comprehensive cover so I wrote this post about Africa travel insurance.

Derek Cullen
Derek Cullen
Derek Cullen is an experienced overland tour leader in Africa. He is best known for cycling across Africa and writing about travel in Africa for many online media publications. If you would like advice or information for your trip to Africa, you can speak with him directly through the LiveChat box!

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The Author - Derek Cullen

I worked as an overland tour leader in Africa for many years. I now want to help you book the trip of a lifetime and find out everything you need to know about taking an overland tour in Africa.

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