Why gorilla trekking in Bwindi is expensive
Why gorilla trekking in Bwindi is expensive: Bwindi can be found in the southwestern part of the country in Kabale, Kisoro, and Kanungu districts. The national park is one of the most expensive places to visit because the gorilla trekking activity is expensive compared to other tourism activities. Bwindi is home to the highest population of mountain gorillas in the whole world and these are found in Buhoma region, Nkuringo region, Ruhija region, and Rushaga region.
Mountain gorilla trekking is the most expensive tourism activity in Uganda but is done by thousands of travelers from different parts of the world. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi is done on 19 mountain gorilla families that are as of today fully habituated in the park. There are other 2 semi habituated gorilla families in the park open for gorilla habituation purposes only.
Mountain gorillas are endangered primate species that were almost getting to extinction but Dian Fossey helped them by teaching the world the importance of these apes to the apes and community. Dain Fossey started at Virunga national park and went to Volcanoes national park where she taught the local people about the importance of mountain gorillas. she is the same person that started habituation to make mountain gorillas get used to human presence around them.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi started way back in 1993 when the first group of tourists was allowed to trek Mubare gorilla family in Buhoma after it had passed the mocking stage. Later on, other mountain gorilla families were habituated and this has attracted thousands of travelers to the park that want to meet the closest relatives to human beings. Gorilla trekking activities in Bwindi are not for the poor being they are expensive for they include accommodation, transport, and gorilla permits.
Why gorilla trekking in Bwindi is expensive
Monitoring and safety
Because mountain gorillas are endangered species of primates, the need a lot of monitoring and research to make sure they increase other than getting to extinction. The monitoring and research require a lot of money to pay these people and this money of got off the price you pay for the permit this making the gorilla trekking activity expensive. Uganda wildlife authority hires different personnel such as trackers, ranger guides, doctors, who keep checking on these apes to make sure that they are doing well.
The gorilla permit is expensive
Not more than the Rwanda gorilla trekking permit, Bwindi gorilla park is a bit expensive when you compare it to that of Virunga national park. The gorilla trekking permits for Bwindi were cheaper but the price was later increased by Uganda Wildlife Authority after observing that the number of travelers that would want to spend time with mountain gorillas was high compared to the number of gorilla families in the park. Soo many people are interested in seeing mountain gorillas in Bwindi simply because they are endangered animals that share 98% DNA with human beings.
The normal gorilla trekking permits for Bwindi cost $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 for citizens of East Africa. These permits come with a paid park entrance fee, ranger guide fee, and 1 hour around mountain gorillas. Travelers who would want to be part of the fascinating gorilla habituation activity have to buy gorilla habituation permits which cost $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 foreign residents and UGX750,000 citizens of East Africa. The high prices of gorilla permits make the permits expensive.
Supporting communities around the park
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi is expensive because they add part of the money to give to the nearby communities on your permit price. A portion of money which is about 10% is given to the surrounding communities such as the Batwa and Bakiga to improve their areas and families. This is done to make these people that the mountain gorillas are of great importance and therefore they shouldn’t do poaching activities in the park.
Cost of transport to and from the park
Gorilla trekking is expensive in Bwindi gorilla park because you would require a lot of money to get to the park. First of all, Bwindi gorilla park is located about 540 km from Kampala/Entebbe meaning it takes 9-10 hours to travel by road. The fuel is expensive in the country and this ends up making the gorilla safari expensive. Travelers traveling to Bwindi gorilla park using air transport to avoid the long distances also end up paying good sums of money which is even more expensive than those using road transport hence making the gorilla trekking activity expensive.
Cost of accommodation in the park
Gorilla trekking is expensive because you need accommodation where you will stay while in the park. Not like any other safari, the gorilla trekking activity requires you to about two or even more sleeping days depending on the number of activities you want to be in. The lodges range from budget to mid-range to luxury options but they are still expensive. You can’t trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi in just a single day unless you are from the nearby towns therefore you will need to spend a night or more in the park hence making the activity expensive.
The gorilla trekking packing list
Gorilla trekking is expensive because it requires a long list of equipment to make the activity successful. Unlike other safari activities with gorilla trekking, you need to buy good waterproof hiking shoes, long cotton sticks, a pair of gaiters, gardening gloves, a rain jacket, a light backpack, a hat, sunglasses, long cotton pants, long cotton shirts, a camera, a pair of binoculars, insect repellents, energy-giving snacks and drinking water bottle among others.
The local tour operators
Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda are organized by different local tour operators who charge different prices. These local tour operators add on some extra fees whether too much or too small as their payoff for helping you make your safari happen. To reduce the cost of the safari, look at what different companies offer and the price and then choose the best one for you.
Gorilla trekking is an expensive activity because it does require tipping people that you appreciate or those you would love to help while on the safari. Tipping is a good habit in the country and it’s recommended by different tour operators. You can tip the ranger guides, the lodge caretakers, and also the safari guides if they make you happy.