Have you been wondering why gorilla trekking is so expensive? Meeting the mountain gorillas in their habitats is undeniably among the most expensive venture on African safaris. Many travelers have taken part in the life changing encounter while others hope to visit in the near future. Despite the adventurous feeling that gorilla trekking brings, the activity is for the rich. With in Rwanda, a gorilla permit goes for $1500 for an hour interaction, 600 dollars in Uganda and 450 dollars in DRC, this indicates that the activity is not for the poor. The money is paid throughout the year regardless of the season and for Rwanda’s case, it’s paid by all the people regardless of the nationality. The cost of the permit makes the whole safari costly.
The mountain gorillas are the world’s critically endangered species, which were once at the verge of extinction. In the world, there are over 880 species left, which only survive in the tropical rain forests of Bwindi forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda, volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in DRC. There are always limited gorilla permits to serve a high number of tourists who are interested to see the gorillas, this therefore calls for a high cost of the permit to discourage some people from traveling hence saving the endangered mountain gorillas from the crowds.
For sure, gorilla trekking is a dream for most travelers and hence high demand for the permits, which are limited. The high rates are therefore to reduce the demand to the available gorilla permits so as to avoid over exploitation and exceeding the carrying capacity o gorilla national parks, which are Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, Virunga national park, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park.
Having had a great loss of mountain gorillas in the 1980s through poaching and human encroachment on the gorilla habit. The permits are charged high so as to use part of it for conservation of gorilla habitants. Rwanda has doubled the price of their permits twice in the conservative years and now the permit costs $1500 and by 1990s, there has been steady increase in the population of mountain gorillas despite the many habits putting them at risk.
Conserving the mountain gorillas is an indirect way of promoting sustainable gorilla tourism in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Just imagine if there was no restriction on the number of visitors allowed to trek the mountain gorillas, there would be crowding and over stepping which destroys the habitants of gorillas. Many tourists make mountain gorillas uncomfortable in their natural habitat which destructs their social happy life.
These mountain gorillas also need continuous monitoring to ensure they are totally safe. Part of the money that is collected in gorilla permits is used to pay the people who monitor the wellbeing of these species. There are also responsible bodies that are responsible for taking care of these species; Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda and Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda. Each and every morning the trackers hike into the forest to check on the gorillas. Similarly, tourism police and other armed rangers have 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. Incase travelers are connecting from one destination to another at night; tourism police escorts them which ensures their safety throughout.
Improving the lives of the local people; gorilla tourism has become an indirect source of local livelihood for the local communities that are near the national parks. The respective government share part of the revenue earned to the local communities to improve their standards of living. In Uganda, the local people get 20% of the total revenue earned from the gorilla permits while in Rwanda; they get 10% of the revenue. Sharing with local people has created positive attitude of local people towards gorilla tourism and conservation hence reducing on 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.
In order to ensure a great adventure with the mountain gorillas, the tourists are required to follow the gorilla trekking rules and regulations: These include dress smart for the jungle, keeping a distance and keeping within their groups. The do’s and don’ts are similar in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Behaving within the mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are shy and calm creatures that are peaceful even in the presence of travelers. You are also reminded not to disturb them in anyway. The entire tourist must not come so close to gorillas, which disrupt and make them uncomfortable. Don’t touch or feed the gorillas. The tourists are also reminded to keep their voices low. Book a gorilla permit today to Uganda, Rwanda and Congo and be part of the world’s best wildlife experience.