Friday, November 9, 2012
The Gorilla Glory in both Uganda and Rwanda
Uganda is hosting more than half of the endangered mountain Gorillas population. However now the tale of two countries where Uganda should have a clear advantage because of its numbers in Gorillas, the other numbers point at something else which is Rwanda the only other country where the huge primates can safely be visited besides Congo which is considered unsafe due to the constant rebel wars. Rwanda is giving Uganda a run for the money so much since it increased a 50% on the Gorilla tracking permit where foreign non residents pay $ 750 from $ 500. This was a result of the head of tourism and conservation in the Rwanda Development Board described as “sustained increase in the interest for gorilla trek”. Recently, more numbers show how Rwanda which just re opened the Gorilla tourism in 1999 after the 1994 Genocide has managed to make its self a formidable competitor with Uganda. According to the senior advisor in Rwanda, the country had 170,000 visiting Volcanoes National Park in 2008 where as the same year Uganda had only 10,362 visiting Bwindi national Park for Gorilla tracking and about 3,303 visiting Mgahinga Gorilla Park which put the total to 13,500. In 2010, Uganda received 18,000 visitors to the Parks. Most visitors cite convenience from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park than Kampala to Bwindi that’s why so many opt to track the Gorillas in Rwanda and hence potential Gorilla tourism in Rwanda compared to Uganda. The ease of access from Kanombe Airport to Volcanoes which is only 2 hours drive compared to that of Uganda from Kampala to Bwindi which is almost 9-10 hours drive makes so many tourists to opt for tracking Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda.
Besides the accessibility, Rwanda as a country also does aggressive marketing for its Tourism industry compared to its neighbor Uganda. One of their most known stratagem is the annual Kwita Izina celebrations performed to name the baby gorillas born within the year from different families. The ceremony is widely publicized all over the world and has been known to attract several stars including Hollywood. Though when it comes to packaging, Uganda offers a unique experience with pristine nature compared to Rwanda which has a more experiential type of package.
However, for Uganda to blow its own trumpet a little louder, concerned personnel’s have the need to market the sector worldwide. These range from the local government to private investors to local communities surrounding the area and this is the advantage that Rwanda has over Uganda when it comes to Gorilla Safaris and Rwanda tours.