Have you ever wondered why Rwanda has and maintains the highest price of gorilla permits than the other countries where mountain gorillas are found? For the past years, statistics have shown that Rwanda receives the highest number of tourists who visit for gorilla trekking and yet it has the highest price of gorilla permits in comparison to Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is not as if the Volcanoes National Park has the highest number of mountain gorillas and habituated gorilla groups, but the country keeps increasing prices of gorilla permits.
Volcanoes National Park is a haven to about 300 mountain gorillas and 10 habituated gorilla families, whereas Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the home to over 400 mountains gorillas and 11 habituated gorilla groups. Gorilla trekking Permits in Rwanda cost $1500 per person, which is way higher than in Uganda where permits cost only $600 per person and in the Democratic Republic of Congo where Permits go for only $400 per person to encounter the mountain gorillas in their natural habitats.
There have been arguments and opinions why gorilla tracking Permits are more expensive in Rwanda than its counterparts. It is important to note that the same reason why Rwanda’s permits are high is the same reason why Rwanda receives the highest number of tourists regardless of the fact that it charges the highest price for gorilla permits. These are the reasons why Rwanda’s gorilla permits are more expensive, yet receive the highest number of gorilla trekkers;
Volcanoes National Park is easily accessible from Kigali International Airport
In comparison to the other National parks where Mountain gorillas are found, Volcanoes National park is just 2-3 hours drive away from Kigali International Airport. This enables tourits to spend less driving hours from the City Center to the National Park which is not the case with Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National park are about 6-9 hours’ drive from Kampala City away which becomes very cumbersome for the tourists hence would rather pay a high price so that they don’t waste time. You can track mountain gorillas from Volcanoes National Park and still go back home on the same day yet with Bwindi and Mgahinga National parks, you will need a minimum of three days which when combined with the transport costs from Kampala/Entebbe Airport to the Parks and back makes a Ugandan gorilla trekking safari more expensive in the long run.
The vegetation of Volcanoes National Park is not as dense as in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
According to tourists who have tracked in both Volcanoes National park and Mgahinga National park or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, it is believed that the vegetation of Volcanoes National Park is not very thick mainly because the mountain gorillas inhabit the bamboo forests. This makes it easier to take photos and hike through the Park. Also because the mountain gorillas occupy the bamboo forest zones, they are easier to view than the National Parks in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo where they most times hide in the Impenetrable forests.
The terrain is not as steep as it is in other countries
It is also believed that in Volcanoes National park, the areas where the mountain gorillas are found are not very steep hence makes hiking easier than it is in Bwindi Impenetrable, Virunga and Mgahinga National Parks. Bwindi- especially in the Southern sectors of Nkuringo and Rushaga are very steep, which is why they are often avoided by tourists and tour operators.
In conclusion, the Volcanoes National park always receives more gorilla trekkers than National Parks in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo regardless of how expensive the permits are, mainly because Rwanda’s National Park is easily accessible and the gorilla trekking experience is believed to be very exceptional.