Why is a Gorilla Trekking Safari So Expensive? In Uganda, a gorilla permit costs $700. How does it compare to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda:
“$700 just for the permit?” you could ask. Costly in comparison to what? It costs less than half of Rwanda’s $1,500 gorilla permit fee. The cost of a Ugandan Permit is, it costs $300 more to get a permit in Virunga National Park, where violent insurgents and gorillas can be found.
The best value for the money is in Uganda if you want value and safe-secure trekking.
Why is going on a gorilla trek so costly? – In contrast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda has focused on maintaining a reasonable permit price for a secure, free gorilla trekking experience.
Is the permit price set to keep visitors away?
The answer is indeed in the case of Rwanda. Since Rwanda promotes itself as a high-end tourism destination, the $1,500 permit price did deter budget and mid-range travelers. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the situation is the exact opposite. Visitors avoid the area despite the $450 permit because of safety concerns and government warnings.
Uganda has made an effort to accommodate the high demand for permits by expanding the number of gorilla families that can be visited.
Does the price of permits increase in response to demand?
The Rwanda Development Board increased the cost of gorilla permits from $750 to a staggering $1,500 on May 6, 2017, in a move that shocked the world.
The increase was justified by the necessity for conservation. The choice to increase the amount distributed to the surrounding villages was ultimately one of marketing.
Although Rwanda has been the leader in gorilla tourism and there was a market for permits there, the cost of tickets did not treble. By becoming a destination for upscale gorilla safaris, it was a marketing strategy that upended the gorilla trekking industry.
The hike in permit costs sparked the “great Gorilla Trekker Migration to Affordable Uganda,” as we called it. The unanticipated beneficiary of Rwanda’s marketing choice was Uganda.
Uganda rejected the need to increase the cost of its licences. Uganda increased the cost of a permit by a little $100 in July 2020, bringing it to the current $700, which is in force until the end of June 2024. To maintain the affordability of gorilla trekking in Uganda, the permit price was not increased in July 2022.
Where does the Gorilla Permit Money go in Uganda?
Mountain gorilla conservation receives the majority of your permit payment. Gorilla tourism in Uganda dates back to the late 1950s and Walter Baumgärtel, who is known as the country’s “Father of Gorilla Tourism.” The Uganda Wildlife Authority brought it back to life in 1993 when people started keeping track of money spent on gorilla conservation up until the present.
Currently, around 70% of the $700 directly supports gorilla conservation in addition to funding the staff and rangers’ salaries. The university’s catchphrase is “conserving for future generations.” That is exactly what is taking place, and there are more gorillas every year. In Mgahinga Gorilla Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, there was an exceptional birth rate explosion in 2020.
Habitat preservation is a part of gorilla conservation. There wouldn’t be any more woods without gorilla tourism. Around the parks, buffer zones have been established. The permit also covers patrols against poachers. They discover the gorilla-killing snares used to capture an antelope.
Community Support: Previously, the nearby people had access to the forest for firewood and other materials they needed to survive, including antelope hunting for meat. The original inhabitants of the forest, the Batwa, became refugees due to conservation efforts; as a result, they are now permitted to return to the forest and serve as tour guides for visitors.
Building much-needed community infrastructure and teaching people on the importance of gorillas are two examples of community assistance. Additionally, funds are utilized to cover crop loss caused by gorilla attacks into nearby residents’ gardens.
Members of the community participate in gorilla conservation thanks to community backing, making it a win-win situation.
Cost of lodges.
In comparison to accommodation elsewhere in Uganda, lodges that cater to trekkers in or near the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park charge extra per night.
The price of a lodge is higher than what you would pay for a full-board hotel in the majority of other places of the world. There are good reasons for that, and maintaining a distant lodge in the forest is very expensive compared to running one in a town in Europe, the UK, the US, Canada.
It costs a lot of money to construct a lodge in the forest. The absence of infrastructure, challenging logistics, and a high staff-to-guest ratio lead the Price to increase in addition to those other factors. There are also the additional fees for security, water, and power from an expensive solar system.
Activities beyond Gorilla Trekking.
If you add extra activities to your gorilla safari, such hikes, cultural excursions, trekking with golden monkeys, mountain climbing, birdwatching, or a day to unwind and relax after the trek, the cost of your trip will increase.
What a Ugandan tour operator offers.
It is affordable, secure, and sure to use a Ugandan tour operator for your experience with the gentle giants of the forest. The tour company arranges transportation, a knowledgeable driver-guide, and all the logistics of trekking, including which lodges to stay at and how to obtain permits.
You can save between fifteen and twenty percent on the cost of the safari by using a local tour operator rather than an agency in your nation. Our markup is a flat 10% added to the safari fee; the cost of the permit is not included in the calculation.
Go local if you want your safari to go smoothly. Join us as we take clients on their once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the Gentle Giants of the Forest, bringing over ten years of experience.
Sustainable Gorilla Tourism in Uganda.
The Ugandan Tourism Community is dedicated to producing training for future employment for locals while having a minimal impact on the environment, mountain gorillas, and local culture. Sustainable gorilla tourism makes ensuring that growth is beneficial for the locals, hotels, lodges, cultural art, and the trekkers who actually go ape-spotting.