Rwanda Gorilla Permits

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda takes place in the tropical and bamboo forested Volcanoes National Park, the home to the critically endangered mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking attracts thousands of tourists each year to Rwanda who can only see gorillas in the wild after purchase of gorilla permit through the Rwanda Tourism office (ORTN)/ Rwanda Development Board. The official body authorized to manage gorilla tourism activities.

Tourists who want to trek gorillas in Rwanda, must decide on their own the months and dates of the year and then contact the Rwandan Tourism Office asking for availability of gorilla permits. It does not take time, the staff responds to you with details so you can effect payment.
The body has several means through which tourists can use to book, pay and obtain a gorilla permit which include reservations email, front office telephone contact and direct booking in person provided you do it a head of your trekking dates.

Volcanoes national park’s gorilla population is estimated to be 200 individuals which are part of the virunga massifs shared by Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo. To ease tourists encounter, 10 gorilla families are habituated and available for tourists to trek daily based on strict rules and regulations that limit tourist contact with gorillas to ensure safety of both gorillas and humans.
Each gorilla family can be trekked by 8 tourists who are not sick and must be above 18 years age for only 1 hour per day. Tourists must take note with regard to permit booking because a total of 80 permits are given out daily hence the earlier booking the higher the guarantee to obtain your permit.
Considering the number of tourists who want to trek gorillas each day, there is high demand and permits often run out of stock hence Rwandan tourism office recommends tourists to book and pay for a gorilla permit in advance of 2-3 months. Each gorilla permit costs $750 for foreign tourists and $ 375 for foreign residents while Rwandan locals pay $42 per person. Another way to obtain a permit is through a local tour company since the Rwandan tourism office normally gets busy. The tour operators sell permits at the same cost except when you do not want to use their services or organize a gorilla safari with them, an extra cost applies.

The gorilla permits are sold by Rwanda Development board, a body charged with tourism related activities among others. The tour agencies will also obtain the gorilla tracking permits on behalf of the trackers in case they do not contact Rwanda Development Board directly.