n AfricaGrowth Agenda - Taking a cue from Rwanda; replicating gorilla tourism in Nigeria

Volume 17 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1811-5187


An easy way to foster growth on the African continent is to identify success stories on the continent related to current problems and opportunities faced by neighboring or regional counties, understand the concept and ideas behind the solutions proffered and adapt these solutions to solve similar problems. Even though tourism has been identified as a potential driver of economic development, this write up lays special emphasis on tourism centered on a specialized tourism product tagged “gorilla tourism” which has recorded significant success in Rwanda. This article describes in a nutshell how this phenomenon can be adapted to the Nigerian context. For the purpose of this article, Gorilla tourism has been defined by the author as a visit (by foot) to a national park or protected area solely for the purpose of viewing gorillas in their natural habitat under close supervision by a park ranger or a well-trained staff. Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the three countries where the Mountain Gorilla is found in Africa with roughly only just over a thousand plus individuals left (WWF, 2019)

The Volcanoes national park is located in Rwanda, Virunga National park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. These aforementioned places are where the mountain gorilla inhabits and also where gorilla tourism prominently takes place. The cost of a permit is placed at $1500 in Rwanda with a special package of $15,000 for a group with a personalized park ranger which is the highest. The next in line is $600 in Uganda while the cheapest is $ 400 in DRC Congo. These permits are for one hour of watching gorillas in their natural habitat. Rwanda has been able to develop their tourism product so well that the African Wildlife Foundation (2019) reported that visits to the Volcanoes national park has increased by over 80% and the country’s tourism growth has been ranked as one of the top five in Africa and a major influence is the gorilla tracking package. Rwanda has benefitted immensely from gorilla tourism, the country, in the last two years from the tourism to which gorilla tourism is playing a major role. The receipts from tourism amounted to over $400 million dollars (AWF, 2019). These statistics give and an indication that the same can be replicated in the Nigerian/Cameroun border which is the natural habitat for the endangered Cross River gorilla, forest elephants, drill monkeys, and chimpanzees.

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