What makes a Gorilla Tracking Safari Expensive?
What Gives? Why is a Gorilla Trekking Safari So Expensive?
Straight Talk from a Gorilla Tour Operator: A Realistic Look at the cost of a Gorilla Safari in Uganda
Why is a Gorilla Trekking Safari so Expensive? What makes it such an expensive activity? Where does all the Money go?
A Gorilla Trekking Safari is one of Africa’s most expensive tourism activities. Some have said it takes a truckload of cash to spend one hour with the forest’s gentle giants, the Mountain Gorillas.
Why is a Gorilla Trekking Safari So Expensive?
In over a decade of taking clients on Gorilla Safari, no one after their encounter with the gentle giants ever said, “that was too expensive or a waste of my money.”
They regret not booking two gorilla Treks or more time with a family on the longer Gorilla Habituation Experience.
Why is a Gorilla Trekking Safari So Expensive? Let us follow the Money.
The Price of a Gorilla Permit is $700 in Uganda. How does it compare to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo:
You might exclaim, ” $700 just for the Permit?” Expensive compared to what? It is less than half the $1,500 Gorilla Permit Price in Rwanda. The Uganda Permit Price is $300 higher than the permit price in Virunga National Park, where you can, unfortunately, encounter gorillas and dangerous guerrillas.
If you want Value and Safe-Secure tracking, the best value for the Money is in Uganda.
Why is Gorilla Trekking so Expensive? – Uganda’s emphasis has been on maintaining an affordable permit price for a safe, guerrilla-free Gorilla trekking experience, unlike DR Congo.
Is the permit price set to keep visitors away?
In the case of Rwanda, the answer is yes. The $1,500 permit price did keep budget and mid-range tourists away and intended to do so since Rwanda markets itself as a high-end tourism destination. The case is the opposite in the Democratic Republic of Congo where. The permit is $400, but visitors stay away due to insecurity and government advisories.
Uganda has attempted to meet the request for permits during peak season by increasing the number of gorilla families that can be visited.
Does the demand for Permits push up the Price?
On May 6, 2017, the Rwanda Development Board made a marketing decision that sent shockwaves doubling the Price of Gorilla Permits from $750 to a whopping $1,500.
The need for conservation defended the increase. However, increasing the amount given to local communities around the park was ultimately a marketing decision.
Rwanda had been the leader in gorilla tourism, and there was a demand for permits in the country, but the market did not double the price of tickets. It was a marketing move that turned the Gorilla Trekking Industry upside down by becoming a high-end gorilla safari destination.
The permit price increase led to what we called “the great Gorilla Trekker migration to affordable Uganda. Uganda became the unintended benefactor of Rwanda’s marketing decision.
Uganda resisted the temptation to raise its Price of permits. In July 2020, Uganda raised its permit price by a modest $100 to the present $700, which is in effect until the end of June 2024. The permit price was not raised in July 2022 to keep Gorilla Trekking in Uganda affordable.
Where does the Gorilla Permit Money go in Uganda?
The bulk of your permit money goes to mountain gorilla conservation. Gorilla Tourism in Uganda returns to Walter Baumgärtel–The Father of Gorilla Tourism in the country, in the late 1950s. It was revived by the Uganda Wildlife Authority in 1993 when people began to track cash-paying for gorilla conservation until now.
Today, nearly 70% of the $700 directly goes to gorilla conservation, and it also pays the salaries of the staff and rangers. The slogan of UWA is “conserving for future generations.” That is precisely what is happening, and the number of gorillas is increasing yearly. 2020 brought an unprecedented baby boom in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
Gorilla Conservation includes Habitat preservation. Without Gorilla tourism, there would be no more forests. Buffer zones have been created around the parks. The permit also pays for poacher patrols. They find the snares intended to catch an antelope, which can kill gorillas.
The local communities used to be able to access the forests for firewood to gather things they needed to sustain themselves, including hunting antelopes for meat. The Batwa, the original people of the forest, became conservation refugees, and they have benefited from gorilla tourism and are allowed to return to the woods, guiding tourists.
Community support includes building much-needed community infrastructure and educating people about the value of gorillas. Funds are also used to pay for crop damage from gorillas raids into the gardens of those living near the parks.
Through community support, community members participate in Gorilla Conservation, making it a solution where everyone benefits.
Why is a Gorilla Tracking Safari So Expensive?
The cost of a Gorilla Tracking Safari beyond the Gorilla Permits
The Cost of Lodges that are included in a Safari:
Lodges that cater to trekkers in or near Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park cost more per night than lodges elsewhere in Uganda.
The cost of lodges is higher than a full-board hotel would cost you elsewhere in most parts of the world. There are sound reasons for that, and it costs a lot more to run a remote lodge in the wilderness than in the towns of Europe, the UK, the US, Canada, and Australia.
Building a lodge in the wilderness is very expensive. Beyond that, the Price goes up because of the lack of infrastructure, complicated logistics, and a high staff-to-guest ratio. There are the added security costs and electricity, which come from an expensive solar system and water.
Activities beyond Gorilla Trekking:
Your gorilla safari will go up in price if you include extra activities in your safari, such as hikes, cultural visits, golden monkey trekking, volcano climbing, birding, or a day to relax and chill out after the trek.
The Services of a Ugandan Tour Operator:
Using a Ugandan tour operator for your encounter with the forest’s gentle giants is economical, safe, and sure. The tour operator provides the transport, an experienced driver-guide, and knows all the ins and outs of trekking, from permits to which lodge to use.
Using a local tour operator rather than an agency in your country will save you from fifteen to twenty percent on the safari cost. Our markup is a flat ten percent on top of the safari cost, and the permit price is not figured in the calculation.
If you want peace of mind about your safari, go local. Go with us, who brings over a decade of experience taking clients on their once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the Gentle Giants of the Forest.
Sustainable Gorilla Tourism in Uganda
The Ugandan Tourism Community is committed to having minimal impact on the environment, the mountain gorillas, and the local culture while generating training for future employment for local people. Sustainable gorilla tourism ensures that development is a positive experience for the communities, lodges, hotels, cultural art, and the gorilla trekkers themselves.
Why is a Gorilla Trekking Safari So Expensive? Is Gorilla tracking worth every US, Canadian, Australian Dollar, Pound, Euro, Ruble, and Randa? You cannot find it in any zoo, only in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo wild. Enjoy your time with the Gentle Giants of the forest.
The Uganda Gorilla Trekking Advantage:
Why is a Gorilla Trekking Safari So Expensive?
The reasons why Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is safe and affordable for most.
- $700 Gorilla Permit Price: A gorilla Safari in Uganda costs half the price in neighboring Rwanda without compromising the quality of the experience.
- Gorilla Safaris at Half the Price or Less: A Gorilla Trekking Safari that includes midrange or Luxury Lodging will usually be half the price or less of what the same Safari would cost you in high-end Rwanda.
- More Gorilla Permits: Uganda has half of the endangered Mountain Gorillas. The country has more Habituated (used to Humans) Gorilla Families, meaning Uganda has the most available permits for Gorilla Trekking.
- Safe-Secure Guerrilla-Free Trekking: Uganda is the only Mountain Gorilla Destination with no guerrilla activities in the last 20 years.
Why is a Gorilla Trekking Safari So Expensive? Now that you have seen where the Money goes, you might have changed your mind and now see that Gorilla Trekking is well worth the cost.