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The most wide spread misconception about safaris has been that they are pricey and out of most traveler’s budgets. This is not true with regard to ‘budget gorilla safaris’ because visitors enjoy an affordable gorilla experience without getting financially drained.
What makes a budget safari?
Although transport and accommodation often determine the bulk of the safari cost, there are other options which one needs to consider so as to obtain an amazing safari experience. If you are planning a gorilla safari on a tight budget, here are some of the options you may need to consider;
Know your safari destination
Before you go on a gorilla safari, you may need to find information about different gorilla destinations so that you may choose which one suits your budget.
For instance, Uganda’s gorilla safaris are relatively cheaper compared to Rwanda which offers luxurious gorilla safaris, whereas Democratic Republic of Congo offers the cheapest gorilla safaris.
Having these comparable options at hand, you should be at liberty to choose your favorable budget gorilla safari destination.
Season to Travel
For a visitor planning to go for a gorilla safari on a tight budget, you might need to have your trekking experience out of the peak season. Gorilla safaris are done throughout the year therefore, going for the gorilla safari during the off season is highly recommended.
The favorable seasons to go gorilla trekking on a tight budget would be between March to April and October to November. Although these months are usually wet, it is not a bad time to track the gorillas since there are more accommodation services at favorable prices not to mention permits which are readily available.
The difference here is with the time and nothing to do with the trekking experience what so ever.
Having a shorter gorilla safari of approximately one to two days is just as good as having a week’s as long as you choose to trek in an ideal destination.
In my opinion, an ideal destination is where every visitor stands a chance of seeing the gentle giants irrespective of how much each person’s trip costs. Almost all gorilla destinations have provisions where visitors can track gorillas within a day’s time.
Trekking gorillas for fewer days helps you cut costs on domestic flights, rental vehicles and other added expenses. Therefore, you may consider this alternative and still enjoy a once in a life time gorilla adventure in Africa.
Track in one location
Most visitors want to visit a number of gorilla destinations, say trek gorillas in both Uganda and Rwanda to have a wholesome gorilla experience. In as much as this is a breath taking adventure, it comes with very high charges to be incurred by the visitor.
You may have to cut off some of the expenses by concentrating on one national park since you are working with a tight gorilla safari budget.
Therefore, make a decision about which tracking location interests you and stick to it instead of choosing to visit various gorilla destinations which is very costly.
Cost of gorilla permits
Africa offers several trips to see gorillas although most of these adventures focus on mountain gorilla watching. Gorilla trekking safaris are charged differently in regard to the gorilla trekking permits.
For Rwanda gorilla trekking, you have to part with US$1500 to secure a gorilla pass. For Uganda, gorilla permits cost US$700 and US$400 for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A visitor may choose to trek mountain gorillas on tight budget in Democratic Republic of Congo if one considers which of the gorilla permit costs has the least amount.
You don’t have to stay in luxurious accommodation facilities to have a great gorilla experience. Opting for the less pricey accommodation services can drastically cut down your expenses rewarding you with an amazing gorilla safari.
A very affordable alternative to the luxurious hotels and lodges would be safari camps which offer wilderness sites where a visitor can pitch a tent. Similarly, some hotels and lodges offer budget lodging services which a visitor may choose to take on other than going to a safari camp.
Thus, whether one gets to sleep in a safari camp or a luxurious lodge on a gorilla safari, the two individuals all get to see the same nature (gorillas), a life changing adventure with each visitor fitting within their budget.
Transport costs are an important aspect of any Safari. Opting for road transfers is an ideal way to cut transport costs whether traveling alone or with a group.
Although some gorilla destinations have longer road distance from the air port than others, flying to the latter is quite costly. Therefore, while on ground, choose to travel to your respective gorilla safari destinations by road since it is more affordable than air transportation.
More so, consult a tour company to find out offers in regard to safari vehicles for hire. These usually have varying price ranges depending on the visitor’s budget from which you can choose a vehicle for a budget gorilla safari.
Different road travels to gorilla habitats have a number of beautiful en route attractions which you can only experience while in the comfort of a safari vehicle.
What can you do on your own?
Traveling to a foreign land comes with its own challenges such as finding different locations and services. However, this doesn’t mean that it is purely a no go venture for any adventurous visitor seeking to obtain an incredible safari experience.
Hence the question ‘what can you do on your own’ should be handled with much importance if one is planning to enjoy a gorilla safari on a tight budget.
Choose do some things yourself to reduce on the unnecessary expenses such as considering self drive services instead of hiring a driver to drive you to the gorilla destination; carrying less luggage when going to trek to avoid the need to hire a porter and many others while on a gorilla safari.
In simple terms, as a tracker ‘know what you are good at and be creative at it.’
Visit more than one National Park in Rwanda to get the discounted Gorilla permit at US$1050. But you must present proof of payment for accommodation booked in another park, say Nyungwe National park or Akagera National Park.
If you are planning a gorilla trip to Rwanda, visiting more than one park is an added advantage.
In conclusion, always remember that when planning a great gorilla safari on a tight budget, it ultimately zeros down to your preferences, needs and financial status. Choose what fits your travel style because there are plenty of safari options for any gorilla safari.