Why Gorilla Trekking is Expensive : Planning for a gorilla trekking safari to any of the Gorilla countries can be quite exciting until you get to know the price for gorilla trekking. Many people have been discouraged from trekking mountain gorillas because of the cost of the gorilla trekking permits and other additional costs. For instance, the cost of gorilla permits in Uganda is between $600 – $700 for foreigners and 250,000UGX, in Rwanda, gorilla permits cost $1500 where as in DR Congo, gorilla permits cost $400 for foreigners and $200 for the locals. These costs come with other additional costs for things like accommodation, Park entry fees to mention but a few.
It is no doubt that gorilla trekking is the most expensive safari activity in Africa. However, very many travelers have embarked in this thrilling Africa adventure with the mountain gorillas. More so, many more tourists continue to plan their gorilla safaris to Uganda. Rwanda, and DR Congo. In fact, various people from all over the world travel to Africa just to visit the mountain gorillas. More interestingly, mountain gorillas can be visited at any time of the year. This means that if you are interested in gorilla trekking, you have enough time to plan for your Uganda safari.
Now, you must be wondering why gorilla trekking is so expensive. Well, there are various reasons as to why gorilla trekking is so expensive in Uganda. Here are some of the highlighted reasons as to why;
Mountain Gorillas are highly Endangered Species
Mountain gorillas are highly endangered species that require quite a lot of attention. They require less interaction from human beings and less crowds of people. Based on recent statistics, it is estimated that there are about only 1000 mountain gorillas remaining in the world. These mountains gorillas can only be found in the Virunga massif in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. This therefore calls for authorities to emphasize more safety and attention to these creatures.
Mountain Gorillas are Prone to Human Diseases
Another reason gorilla trekking is expensive vis that mountain gorillas are highly prone to human diseases. Mountain gorillas share about 95% DNA with human beings. This means that they are vulnerable to contracting human diseases. Some of the common diseases that mountain gorillas are likely to contract form humans include; flu, cough and diarrhea among others. These diseases may seem less threatening in human beings but are actually very severe in mountain gorillas. This means that authorities have to make the gorilla permits costly in order to avoid big crowds in the Gorilla National Parks that could pose as a threat to the mountain gorillas.
Conserving Sustainable Gorilla Tourism
In around the 1980s, there was a great loss of mountain gorillas due to several cases of human encroachment and poaching. The authorities therefore decided to hike the price of the gorilla permits in all countries. This was aiming to accumulate a lot revenue that can be used to conserve the mountain gorilla habitats and promote sustainable gorilla tourism. That is why Rwanda doubled the price for the gorilla permits from $750 to $1500 in 2017, Uganda increased her gorilla permits from $450 to $600 and $700 recently. If there was no limit on the number of people allowed in the gorilla National Parks, there would be overcrowding thus threatening the gorilla habitats which the authorities cannot allow.
Ensure Safety and Easy Monitoring
As it has already been mentioned that mountain gorillas are highly endangered creatures, they need constant monitoring in order to ensure their safety. Therefore, the funds collected from the sell of gorilla permits is used to pay the armed game rangers and guides who help monitor the welfare, track the movements, health, feeding and safety of the mountain gorillas.
Tourism police has also been deployed to ensure protection of the mountain gorillas from any external attacks from poachers and other threats including the rebel groups. In the past, rebel groups used the gorilla habitats as their assembling places and hideouts.
Improving the Livelihood of the Locals
Gorilla tourism has become one of the indirect sources incomes that has improved the livelihoods of the local communities that live near the Gorilla National Parks. Governments has taken it upon itself to share part of the revenue collected from the gorilla permits to with the local communities to improve their general welfare. For instance, in Uganda, the locals receive 20% of the total revenue earned from gorilla permits and in Rwanda, the locals receive 10% to its locals. By sharing the revenue with the local communities, the locals have embraced gorilla tourism. This has reduced conflicts between the local people and the authorities of the Gorilla National Parks.