On 6th May 2017, Rwanda Development Board announced a revised price for gorilla tracking permits in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. The cost for tickets to see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda was doubled from US dollars 750 to US Dollars 1500 for foreign non-residents. This has left the whole world wondering why Rwanda Development Board decided to suddenly double the price for gorilla permits with immediate effect. For tourists visiting other destinations such as Akagera and Nyungwe National parks with a minimum of 3 days will get a 30% discount, while those vising Rwanda for conference and stay extra days for gorilla tracking will get 15% discount.
Tour operators in East Africa (selling gorilla safaris in Rwanda) are panicking because, they already have clients who have booked their gorilla holidays and sent deposit for gorilla permits based on $750. Such tour operators where locked out side because by the time RDB announced the price increase, these tour operators had not reserved their permits, and some are still waiting for clients’ deposits to appear on their bank accounts. Its a dilemma that tour operators quoted their safaris based on $750, but now need more US$750 to buy permits at $1500. If this is not revised again, the only option is to refund the clients, or ask the clients to pay more.
Even though Rwanda has increased to US$1500, Uganda gorilla permits still cost US$600 for both Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks. Further more, the low-season promotion is still on, running through April, May and November where each gorilla tracking permit costs US$450.
It should be noted that, the demand for gorilla permits is very high through out the year, and Rwanda has been one of the top selling destinations to see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. This must be one of the reasons why the price has increased by 100%.