Is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda Worth The Money?
Three countries in the last two decades have dominated the gorilla trekking safaris on the African continent. That is Uganda, Rwanda, and the democratic republic of Congo. The activity has made it several times on the top bucket list activities to consider for an African safari.
Gorilla trekking in the three countries is mainly differentiated by the price. For about six years, the price difference was minimum. You had to lean more on the other factors when choosing between Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo for your gorilla trekking safari. That changed when Rwanda revised its gorilla trekking permit to $1500 per permit (foreign non-residents permit), Uganda revised theirs to $700 per permit (foreign non-resident permit), and the Democratic Republic of Congo to $450 (foreign non-resident permit).
If we consider twelve years ago, a gorilla trekking permit used to cost $500 on average. That changed since more people started picking interest in mountain gorilla trekking among other African conservation-related activities.
With the price more than double in Rwanda, why should you still consider Rwanda for your gorilla trekking when there are other cheaper options like Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo? Is it worth spending $1500 in Rwanda for a finger count hour’s activity?
We cannot say it is worth it or it isn’t worth it because we may not value the same things. But with a few facts on the table, we can let you have your own conclusion on whether gorilla trekking in Rwanda is really worth the money.
The Capital’s Proximity To The Gorilla National Park
The Land of a thousand hills is one of the smallest countries on the African continent. It is also a landlocked country like two of her neighbors; Uganda and Burundi. Its small size implies that you can drive to almost all parts of the country within five hours.
When it comes to gorilla trekking in Rwanda, you can transfer from Kigali to Volcanoes national park within 3 hours. If gorilla trekking wasn’t starting very early in the morning, it would have been very possible to spend a night in Kigali and track the gorillas the next morning. But since it is very inconvenient to spend a night in Kigali and trek with the gorillas the next morning, you can leave Kigali later in the evening to simply sleep near Volcanoes national park.
This is not the case when it comes to gorilla trekking in Uganda. In the case of Uganda, you must sacrifice a full day to transfer from Kampala to the gorilla national parks. Unless you are so fond of road tripping, trekking gorillas in Rwanda is more convenient.
Choice of Gorilla Family
Unlike in Uganda where you mainly have to choose a gorilla trekking sector instead of a gorilla family, In Rwanda, you have the option of choosing a gorilla family you wish to trek. The liberty to choose the gorilla trekking family gives you a more specific choice of the gorillas you wish to meet.
Among the three mountain gorilla trekking destinations, it is only Rwanda that has not suffered any terrorism setbacks or political riots in the last five years. Therefore trekking gorillas in Rwanda might be safer than in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo given the political state of the country.
Accessibility Of Rwanda Internationally
There are a number of international flights that connect directly to Rwanda unlike Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Though Uganda is also scaling up the possibility of direct flights from different continents through Uganda airlines, Rwanda is still a more accessible destination.
Dian Fossey Gorilla Project Fund
Trekking gorillas in Rwanda is not an end in itself. Every gorilla trekking permit is an effort toward gorilla conservation. And it is through these conservation efforts that the mountain gorillas have shifted from critically endangered species to simply endangered species according to WWF
In conclusion, there are many other reasons that people choose Rwanda for their gorilla trekking experience in Africa but I find the above five the most intriguing reasons that make gorilla trekking in Rwanda worth the money. However the question remains, given the above five reasons, is gorilla trekking in Rwanda worth the money?