Why is Gorilla Trekking so Expensive?
Why is gorilla trekking so expensive? Gorilla trekking is one of the most adventurous, thrilling, amazing once in a lifetime tourist activity in the world that very many travelers seek to take part in. Mountain gorillas are not your everyday animals that can be found just about anywhere in the world, they are in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo only! They inhabit the Virunga massifs of Virunga National Park in the Congo, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda, and in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which inhabits more than half the total gorilla population in the world. Up until 2018, mountain gorillas were listed as critically endangered. They are now just endangered species with a population of about 1063 in the entire world.
Why is gorilla trekking so expensive, you may be wondering. Below are some of the reasons why that is so;
- Mountain gorillas are an endangered species that not so long ago were considered critically endangered and on the verge of extinction. This saw the countries like Rwanda increase the gorilla permits so as to have fewer tourists visiting the gorillas as they easily got infected from infections carried by humans given gorillas and humans share a 98% DNA.
- Gorilla trekking is expensive due to the high demand of the activity in question. Since the mountain gorillas were endangered and their presence in the near future wasn’t guaranteed, many travelers seek to take part in gorilla trekking. This has countries increasing the cost of visiting a habituated gorilla family. Just like in economics, the higher the demand, the higher the price, countries that host the mountain gorillas have the prices of gorilla permits high to suit the demand. For the fact that so many people want to visit mountain gorillas, low prices of gorilla permits could mean very many people could easily visit the mountain gorillas which could affect them as they are more prone to getting infections from humans.
- The need for funds to protect and conserve the mountain gorillas also has gorilla trekking being so expensive. Funds to cater for researchers, rangers who protect the mountain gorillas in the wild, scientists and doctors who treat them from any form of illnesses and the medications for the gorillas has gorilla trekking being so expensive since it is from the revenues collected on gorilla permits that the conservation efforts of the gorillas is made possible. In Rwanda for example, 15% of the total revenue goes to the government, 10% to the local communities who neighbor the national park and are a threat to the gorillas and animals in the park as they can poach them for meat and also get land for settlement so to have them at peace with the animals and actually pride in them, some of the revenue collected is directed to them such that they too find it necessary and important to conserve the forests and the gorillas as they benefit from them. 75% of the revenue collected is what is allocated to the conservation of the mountain gorillas.
It should be noted, however, that gorilla permit prices differ from one country to another. Rwanda has a gorilla permit costing $1,500 while in Uganda it is at $700 foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and ugx250,000 for East African citizens, and the Congo has her gorilla permits at $400 only. Travelers should note that the cost of a gorilla permit is just a fraction of the total cost of gorilla trekking. One has to consider transportation, lodging, meals, visas, air tickets to get to the country of choice while budgeting for a gorilla trekking safari, not forgetting porters to those who may need them, and tips. All of these plus a gorilla permit can be booked through a reputable tour operator.
The extent to which gorilla trekking is expensive is dependent on the number of days of stay, the number of people on the safari and one’s budget plus the country from where one is tracking. Solo travelers have their gorilla trekking safari being expensive since they do not share costs with anyone. Travelers who are 2 or more have their safari being relatively cheaper as they get to share costs on transportation and fuel. Choosing cheaper destinations like Uganda and the Congo could also have one’s gorilla trekking safari being cheaper than if one did opt for Rwanda whose gorilla permit cost alone could be a full trip cost if one opted for Uganda and are 2 or more on a safari. Travelers can fly into Kigali and actually trek from Bwindi for its only 4 hours away from Kigali, thus beginning and ending their gorilla trekking safari in Kigali.
There are 1 day Volcanoes trekking from Kigali safaris, 2 days Bwindi gorilla trekking from Kigali and 3 days Bwindi trekking from Kigali safaris and more that travelers can choose from. Tailor-made safaris can also be done. Get in touch with reputable tour operators to help you organize the best gorilla trekking safari that is fit for just your budget.