October 31, 2018—A reduction of air fare has been announced for those wanting to fly to the western highlands and trek the endangered mountain gorillas which are shared between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
Total number of mountain gorillas are estimated at just over 700 and all found in these three countries which is the reason for sustained demand across the world for people to trek them. However permits are given out in a miserly manner to ensure the apes are not unduly disturbed.
Fly Uganda, a subsidiary of Kampala Executive Aviation (KEA) said early this week, starting with Friday October 2, 2018, locals wishing to travel by air to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park will pay $236 instead of the normal $400. Scheduled flights will be available twice a week from Kajjansi airfield to Kihihi with a minimum of two travelers and a maximum of 19 people. Kajjansi is about 20 kilometres from Kampala.
Dorothy Kagaba Byenkya, Sales Manager for the park said, “With the heightened global interest in gorilla trekking, it is crucial to make transport more efficient and convenient for global travelers. Scheduled flights to Bwindi come on the heels of rising numbers across other Ugandan destinations.”
Currently on an annual basis, the Uganda Wildlife Authority is processing over 1000 permits for trekkers heading to Bwindi. Foreign visitors pay $600 for permit while Ugandans are charged $80.
According to Isabella Tustanovska, Marketing Manager Fly Uganda, the company is banking on the revival of Uganda Airlines to get more people coming to Uganda. “We believe that once Uganda Airline begins, the gains will trickle down to the local aviation sector. More people will be coming in Uganda and would want a more efficient means of moving around the country. We are preparing for that,” she said.
Amos Wekesa, CEO Great Lakes Safaris said, “This is a good opportunity for the local people to also move around and visit their country. $236 might sound like a lot of money, but the experience of flying with your friends and family is worth it. With savings, most Ugandans can be able to afford trips to these amazing destinations.”
According to Fly Uganda officials, there are plans to offer fare reductions for other destinations like Kidepo National Park to the north east.