Why is gorilla trekking so expensive? – Why are Gorilla permits expensive? – Rwanda Gorilla permits at $1500 – Uganda Gorilla permit at $700
Why is gorilla trekking so expensive? – When planning a Gorilla tracking safari to Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks or Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and stopped along way wondering why Gorilla trekking is so expensive? Many travelers have been turned off from their dream of Gorilla tracking come true due to the cost of the Gorilla permits and the entire safari costs. For example, in Rwanda a Gorilla permit costs USD1500 per person per trek, whereas in Uganda a Gorilla permit is sold at USD700 per person per trek.
The high price Gorilla permits makes the Gorilla tracking to be a most expensive safari holiday experience in Africa. Many travelers have taken part in this amazing life-changing encounter with the Mountain Gorillas while others continue to plan their Gorilla trips for the nearing future. What is interesting about the Gorilla permit fees is that you can pay this money throughout the year regardless of the season.
To trek the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, the permit fees remains the same for both Nationals and non-Nationals which is not the case in Uganda.
When talking to one of the authorities of wildlife conservations at Rwanda Development Board, we were highlighted about some of the reasons why gorilla trekking is so expensive. The reasons among others include;
The Mountain Gorillas are endangered primate species
One of the top reasons as to why Gorilla trekking is expensive in Rwanda or Uganda is that the Mountain Gorillas are endangered and therefore requires the authorities to reduce their interaction with big crowds of people. According to recent statistics as of 2018, it is estimated that only 1090 Mountain Gorillas are remaining in the whole world surviving in the tropical rain forests of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Therefore, this calls for a high cost of the Gorilla Permits to perhaps discourage some people from traveling hence saving the endangered species from the crowds.
Mountain Gorillas susceptible to human diseases
The other reason is that the Mountain Gorillas are our close relatives which make them vulnerable to being infected by human diseases. This means, to save the Mountain Gorillas from being overcrowded by many humans, the Gorilla permits have to be put on a high price so as to limit some people from trekking them and also to avoid overexploitation and exceeding the carrying capacity of Gorilla National Parks.
Conserving and offer sustainable Gorilla Tourism
After experiencing a great loss of the Mountain Gorillas in the 1980s due to poaching and human encroachment on the mountain gorilla habitats, the authorities decided to increase the Gorilla permit price in both countries so as to accrue revenue which can then be used to conserve the Mountain Gorilla habitats and also to promote a sustainable Gorilla Tourism Environment.
This tells why Rwanda, for example, increased her Gorilla permit fee to USD1500 aiming to conserve the shrinking habitat of the Mountain Gorillas.
Uganda too increased her Gorilla permit cost to USD700. To the Wildlife Authorities Conserving the Mountain Gorillas is an indirect way of promoting sustainable Gorilla tourism in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Safety and Easy Monitoring
Mountain Gorillas are highly endangered species, it is necessary to continuously monitor them so as to ensure they are safe which may not be possible if too many people are allowed to visit their habitats. According to the authorities, the funds collected from selling Gorilla permits are partially used remunerate the ranger guides who monitor the wellbeing of Mountain Gorillas in their habitats such as tracking their movements, feeding, and health status.
Tourism police and other armed rangers have also been hired to ensure the safety of Mountain Gorillas from any external attack by the poachers, and rebel groups who in the past used the Gorilla habits as their hiding places. In case travelers are connecting from one destination to another at night, tourism police escort them which ensure their safety throughout.
Improving the livelihood of the local people
Gorilla Tourism has become an indirect source of Local livelihood for the communities adjacent to Gorilla National Parks. Responsible governments share part of the revenue earned to local communities to improve their standards of living. In Uganda, local people are given 20% of the total revenue earned from Gorilla permits while Rwanda gives 10% to local people.
Sharing with local people has created a positive attitude of local people towards Gorilla Tourism and conservation hence reducing the natural resource conflicts between local people and the management of respective National Parks. Before the introduction of Gorilla tourism and wildlife conservation, local people had full access to all resources in the forest.
How to behave with the Mountain Gorillas
Mountain Gorillas are shy and calm creatures that stay peaceful even in the presence of humans. You are therefore reminded not to disturb these gentle giants in anyway. All travelers must not come so close to the Gorillas, which disrupt and make them uncomfortable. Also, do not feed the Gorillas; touch them to avoid the spread of human wildlife communicable diseases.
In case Gorillas approach you, you are reminded to step back and let it pass. Travelers are also required to speak at a low tone and keep within their groups not to wonder in the forest, which can be harmful.
Conclusively, the high cost of a Gorilla tracking expense is worth the phenomenal experience of Mountain Gorillas tracking. Book a Gorilla permit today to Uganda and Rwanda with Great Adventure Safaris and be part of the world’s best wildlife conservationists.