Uganda – Trip Planning

Infrared Gorillas

The planning aspect of the Uganda portion of our trip got a little complicated and I probably shouldn’t have tried to figure out a way to get the price lower but it worked out fine in the end. I contacted Volcanoes Safari to help arrange this leg of my trip.  They are considered “The No. 1 Gorilla Safari Company” so I figured it would be a good choice.  The short of it is it was a good choice but they are very expensive unless you do what I did.  I also contacted Gorilla Forest Lodge (GFC) at the recommendation of the owner of flyuganda.com but they were fully booked for the dates I needed to go.  Most people I met say that GFC is considered the best lodge in the Bwindi area.

My request:

  1. Fly in and out off Bwindi to avoid the 10+ hour car ride.
  2. 3 nights in the Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
  3. 4 gorilla trekking permits (2 days x 2 people).
  4. All transfers and guide

I go into more details including prices after the jump.  I guess it’s taboo to talk about cost on blogs because I had a very hard time finding this type of information.  I hope this helps some people save a few bucks when traveling to Uganda.  If you don’t want to find out the costs just enjoy the pictures in the other posts.

The initial quote for what I wanted to do was as follows (for 2 people):

  • $6808 (including 2 permits, lodging at Bwindi Lodge, guide, car transfers)
  • $1000 (extra permits. $500 per day per person x 2)
  • $3606 (round trip charter)

Total  = $11,414

Wow… I was shocked.  I knew this was going to be expensive but this is a lot for what is essentially 2 hours with the gorillas.  That’s a cost of almost $100 per minute.

So I started breaking down the quote to find out where the costs were coming from.  I eventually got it broken out to the following.

  • $2400 (3 nights at Bwindi Lodge.  $800 per night.  More on the lodge later  in the lodge review section)
  • $2000 (4 Permits. $500 X 2 days x 2 people.  This cost is set by the park service and not negoitable.)
  • $2180 (Charter flight booked directly with www.flyuganda.com)
  • $270 (Roundtrip transfer from Kayonza Airstrip to Bwindi)
  • $600 (Vehicle for 2 days)
  • $50 (Roundtrip transfer from Entebbe to Kajansi airstrip.  Own arrangements via Taxi.)

Total = $7500

Savings of $3,914

Still one of the most expensive trips I’ve ever taken but I was able to knock almost $4k off the price by breaking the trip down into pieces and negotiate them invidually.  I also did a little of the work myself (taxi ride, payment for air charter).  But, I enjoy the planning aspect of a holiday as much as I do taking it so for me this was a bonus.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply