The rare opportunity to spend a full hour in the wild with one of the world’s estimated 35 mountain Gorilla families drew over about 40,000 trekkers last year to Uganda, the country is home to more than 50% of the mountain Gorilla population in the wild. From 2007, the country’s total number of tourists coming in per year has almost doubled to 1.3 million, and that is according to Stephen Asiimwe who is the CEO of the Uganda Tourist Board. With now over 18 international airlines now flying to the country’s international airport at Entebbe, including Emirates, Qatar, Brussels, KLM and many more.
It us now close to 40 years since the exile of the Uganda’s infamously brutal leader Idi Amin, though now the 30-plus-year of the reigning government been marred by questionable election practices and human rights infringements, the Unites States government writes about Uganda as a relatively political stable, undergoing democratic progress, and economic growth and considers the country as a “reliable, stable partner.”
A Uganda Safari, is a visit or tour that takes you on journey where you’re assured of encountering friendly locals, stunning landscapes, comfortable lodgings and undoubtedly good food — and all this will leave you yenning to return.
Gorilla trekking safari tourism in Uganda was launched in the late 1990s to create alternative employment to poaching and in the same way protect and conserve the critically endangered mountain Gorillas that were only left in the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Park in the country. In Uganda, 20% of every permit fee which is approximately $180 per visitor goes to the local community. And also jobs as hotel staff, guides, drivers, rangers and porters all go to locals.
Despite some the continued poaching and habitat loss, this conservation plan seems to be yielding positive results. And between 1989 and 2011, the number of mountain Gorillas in these jungles grew from about 620 to about 880, according to Bas Huijbregts, who is the African species manager for the World Wildlife Fund’s Wildlife Conservation Program. And data collected from the most recent mountain Gorilla census, in 2015-16, is still being analyzed.
Mountain Gorilla destination countries get their share in this, Uganda charges $600 each individual per day for the highly coveted, date-specific gorilla trekking permits. Rwanda recently doubled its permit fees from $750 to $1,500, with $150 per gorilla permit given to the local community. The Democratic Republic of Congo has the least charges at only $450 a permit.
Getting to Bwindi National Forest requires a five-to-six-hour drive on dirt roads. But there is also an alternative option of close to 90-minutes flight from Entebbe.