Mountain gorillas can be observed in their natural habitats in three African countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. While the experience of gorilla trekking is the same in any of these countries, the cost of permits can vary significantly, with Rwanda generally having the highest prices. In this article, Trek Africa Tours will delve into the reasons why gorilla permits in Uganda tend to be more affordable than those in Rwanda.
There are several reasons why Uganda gorilla permits tend to be cheaper compared to those in Rwanda. Some of the factors that contribute to the cost difference include;
1. At present, a gorilla permit in Rwanda costs USD 1500.00 per person, while in Uganda, the price is USD 700.00 per person. These prices apply to foreign non-residents, who make up the majority of gorilla trekkers. This means that gorilla permits in Uganda are significantly cheaper than those in Rwanda, with a savings of USD 800.00 per permit.
2. Another factor that contributes to the lower cost of gorilla permits in Uganda compared to Rwanda is that Uganda has a wider range of natural attractions but is not as well-known as Rwanda in terms of tourism. To attract more visitors, Uganda has decided to keep the price of its gorilla permits lower than those in Rwanda. As a result, Uganda’s gorilla permit prices are more affordable than those in Rwanda.
3. Another reason why gorilla permits in Uganda may be more affordable than those in Rwanda is that Rwanda is more convenient for gorilla trekking. In Uganda, it typically takes a minimum of three days to trek the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. In contrast, it is possible to complete a gorilla trek in Rwanda within two days due to the proximity of Kigali International Airport to the Volcanoes National Park and the good road connections in the region.
4. Rwanda is not as endowed with fertile soils and other natural resources as Uganda, and therefore the Ugandan government places a greater emphasis on tourism as a source of foreign exchange. In contrast, Uganda has a more diverse economy, with agriculture, oil, and other sectors also contributing to the country’s wealth.
5. Some people may prefer to visit Rwanda for gorilla trekking over Uganda due to the shorter distance from Kigali International Airport to the Volcanoes National Park. While the price of gorilla permits in Rwanda is higher, the shorter travel time may be appealing to those who do not like to be in a car for long periods of time. In contrast, the distance from Entebbe International Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda is quite long.
6. Rwanda is generally perceived as offering a more exciting gorilla trekking experience than Uganda, and as a result, it can maintain a higher price for its gorilla permits even in the face of competition from Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite the higher cost, many people are still drawn to the perceived thrill of gorilla trekking in Rwanda.