Park entrance fees to Volcanoes Park

Why it is easy and cheaper to trek mountain gorillas in Uganda amidst Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a number of changes in several industries across the globe albeit most of them are due to its negative impact on business and personal incomes. For those in the travel industry, it has been devastating especially due to the restricted movements in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus.

However, following the reopening of airports when countries eased their lockdown restrictions, tourists were rewarded with a breather to embark on their safaris and break the monotony of lockdown.

For Uganda, the returning of tourists was long overdue and the country had put in place a few incentives to encourage both local and international tourists in order to revamp the industry. Among the incentives included discounting gorilla trekking permits and park entrance fees for all categories of tourists.

Trekking mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is Uganda’s most expensive tourist activity with the gorilla permit sold at USD 700 and USD 600 for foreign nonresidents and foreign residents respectively while Ugandans and East African community citizens pay UGX 250,000 (about USD 67) for the same. However, due to the pandemic, the gorilla permit was also discounted to allow trekkers to see these endangered primates at affordable rates.

Discounted rates for gorilla trekking in Uganda

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) announced the new rates gorilla trekking in what they termed as “festive season discounts” which have been effective since December 1 2020 until March 31 2021. Under the new rates, a gorilla permit is sold at USD 400 for foreign nonresidents, USD 300 for foreign residents and UGX 150,000 for East African Community citizens.

Other discounted safari activities

In addition to discounting the gorilla permit, UWA also slashed prices of other tourists’ activities including game viewing/game drives, and birding by 50%. Chimpanzee tracking fees were also reduced from USD 200 to USD 150 and from USD 150 to USD 100 for foreign nonresidents and foreign residents respectively.

On top of announcing the new tourist rates for the festive season, UWA emphasized that all those who want to benefit from its discounted prices must comply with all the Ministry of health guidelines that were put in place to control the spread of Covid-19 in tourist centers.

A blessing in disguise for gorilla trekkers

For gorilla enthusiasts and those who may want to visit them for the first time, this is a huge opportunity though it comes in such a tough and challenging period. A lot of people had been prevented from visiting mountain gorillas because they couldn’t afford to purchase the gorilla permit at USD 700. Now the reduction of this price to USD 400 presents such a big opportunity for the budget travelers to also enjoy this breathtaking encounter which has been described as one of the best wildlife experiences in the world.

What else can you see in Uganda

Most of the Uganda gorilla trekking itineraries are combined with other wildlife experiences like game drives and chimpanzee tracking. A 3 -5-day Uganda wildlife tour is enough for you to see most of the country’s outstanding wildlife species. These include big game like lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhino, zebra, giraffe, among others. Uganda’s best game viewing safaris are conducted in her most spectacular safari parks including Queen Elizabeth National Park in the west, Murchison Falls National Park in northwest, Lake Mburo National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park in the northeast. Uganda wildlife safaris are always concluded with cultural and historical tours with visits to some of the country’s most amazing communities like the Batwa pygmies in the southwest near Bwindi or the Karamojong and the IK in the northeast near Kidepo Valley National Park. City tours around the capital Kampala for shopping, interacting, and entertainment can also be included on your itinerary depending on your interests.