Why is gorilla trekking so expensive in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo? When planning a gorilla trekking safari to African in Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga national parks of Uganda, Virunga national park of DR Congo and volcanoes national park of Rwanda and you stopped along the way and wondered why gorilla trekking is expensive? May people have not been able to make their dreams come true due to the cost of gorilla permits and the entire safari? For example, in Uganda a gorilla permit is $700, DR Congo has the cheapest gorilla permit costing $450 and Rwanda has the most expensive with $1500 per person per day and it’s valid for a single day.
It’s the price of the gorilla permit that makes the entire safari the most expensive safari holiday in Africa. Potential travelers have taken part in this once in a life time activity with mountain gorillas while others continue to plan their gorilla trekking safaris to Africa in the nearby future. The god thing with gorilla permit fees is that you can pay the same money any time of the year and it’s the same price regardless the season.
Unlike Uganda, the price of the gorilla permit in Uganda remains the same for all foreign non- residents, foreign residents and citizens of east Africa.
After talking to one of the authorities of Rwanda development board and Uganda wildlife authority, we were explained about some of the reasons why gorilla trekking is very expensive. And some of the reasons include;
The mountain gorillas are endangered primate species
First reason why gorilla trekking is so expensive is that these mountain gorillas are endangered species and therefore they require less time and interaction with big crowds of people. Being closet relatives with human beings, human beings can easily transmit their diseases to these endangered species such as flue and diarrhoea. It’s estimated that there are about 1080 mountain gorillas that are surviving in the tropical rainforests of Africa in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, Virunga national park, Mgahinga national park and volcanoes national park. Therefore this calls for a high price of gorilla permits so as to discourage some people from travelling hence saving mountain gorillas from big crowds of people.
Mountain gorillas susceptible to human diseases
The other reason as to why gorilla trekking is so expensive is that these giant apes are close relatives to human beings which exposes them to being infected by human diseases. This mean that to reduce of the number of people to see mountain gorillas is by making a gorilla permit so expensive so as to limit some people from trekking them. This is also done to avoid overexploitation and exceeding the carrying capacity in gorilla national parks.
Improving the livelihood of the local people
Gorilla tourism has directly become a source of income to the local people from the communities living near the parks. Uganda wildlife authority in Uganda and Rwanda development board in Rwanda share some part of money collected from selling gorilla permits to the local communities so as to improve their standards of living. In Uganda the communities living near the park get 20% of the total revenue got from gorilla permits while Rwanda gives the local people 10%.
Sharing this money with local people has created a positive attitude of these people towards the gorilla tourism and conservation and this has reduced their natural resource conflicts with the national park management. Before the introduction of gorilla tourism and wildlife conservation, local people had full access to all the resources that are in the park.
Conserving and offer sustainable gorilla tourism
After experiencing having lost a number of mountain gorillas in 1980s because of poaching and human encroachment on habitats of mountain gorillas, the park authorities decided to increase the prices of gorilla permits so as to get enough revenue that can be used to conserve mountain gorilla habitats and promote a suitable gorilla tourism environment at the same time.
This clearly explains why Rwanda doubled her gorilla permit fees from $750 to $1500 in 2007 with an aim of conserving the decreasing habitat of mountain gorillas.
Uganda also increased its gorilla permits from $600 to $700. According to Uganda wildlife authority, conserving mountain gorillas is an indirect way of promoting sustainable tourism in the country with mountain gorillas and these are Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo.
Safety and easy monitoring
Mountain gorillas are now among animals that are highly endangered. It’s very important to keep monitoring them to make sure they are safe and this might not be possible when too many people visit their habitats. According government bodies responsible for tourism, the money collected from selling gorilla permits is partially used to pay the ranger guides who monitor mountain gorillas in their natural habitats such as new births, tracking movements, feeding and health status.
Welled trained guides and armed rangers have been hired to monitor mountain gorillas and make sure they are living well and are not getting any attacks from poachers, rebels who used their habitats as hiding places in the past. If travelers want to connect from one place to another during night hours, the tourism police escorts them and makes sure that they are safe.
Mountain gorillas are shy and calm creatures that stay peaceful unless provoked. You are therefore reminded not to provoke these gentle animals in anyway. All travelers must keep a distance of 7 meters away from mountain gorillas because coming near them disrupts and makes them uncomfortable. Also don’t feed mountain gorillas or even eat from near them. You are also not allowed to touch mountain gorillas in order to avoid the spread of human wildlife communicable diseases.
Incase mountain gorillas move towards you, you are requested to step back and let them pass. Trekkers are also asked to keep their voices low and keep within their groups not to get lost in the forest which can be dangerous.
Generally, the high cost of gorilla trekking is worth the phenomenal experience of mountain gorilla tracking. Book your gorilla permit today to Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo with Africa Adventure Vacations and be part of the world’s best wildlife conservation.
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