Ever wanted to visit the majestic wild apes of Rwanda? Well you may have to give the gorillas in the mist a miss with the latest permit price hike.
According to the Rwanda Development Board, permits to see gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park have doubled in price from $750 (R10 000) to $1 500 (R20 000).
That’s a massive fee to slap on top of your already-expensive transport costs from wherever you are in the world.
The Board has justified the decision by saying that it falls in line with its development of new high-end lodges and experiences in the park. Essentially, Rwanda is making the experience an elite one to attract a more discerning and free-spending tourist base.
An exclusive package has also been introduced which allows tourists to “book an entire family of gorillas” for a whopping $15 000 (R200 000).
“In line with Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy, the price increase aims to strengthen conservation efforts and contribute more to the development of communities living around the Volcanoes National Park,” it adds.
“Over the last 12 years, more than 400 community projects have been completed including hospitals, schools, business development centers and water supply systems.”
According to Rwandan sources, there are only around 880 mountain gorillas left on the planet, with 20 families in the country “habituated for tourism and research”.
Tourism is perhaps the single biggest source of income for gorilla conservation in the region.