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Reasons why gorilla permits in Uganda are less expensive than in Rwanda

Reasons why gorilla permits in Uganda are less expensive than in Rwanda


Gorilla permits are required for those who wish to observe gorillas in their natural habitat. In both Rwanda and Uganda, permits are required to access the national parks that provide home to the mountain gorillas. For gorilla trekking in either country, visitors are charged per person per trip. However, visitors are charged much less for gorilla permits in Uganda than in Rwanda. The cost of permits in Uganda is just a fraction of the amount charged in Rwanda.

In this article, we examine the key reasons why gorilla permits in Uganda are much less expensive than in Rwanda.

1. Number of Gorillas in the Region

One of the most significant factors contributing to the difference in prices between the two countries is the number of gorillas in the region. A study conducted in 2020 revealed that the mountain gorilla population in Uganda is six times greater than that of Rwanda. At the time of the study, Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was home to an estimated 463 mountain gorillas, while the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda housed only about 200 mountain gorillas.

Given the higher population of mountain gorillas in the region, gorilla-tracking revenue in Uganda is much higher when compared to revenue generated in Rwanda. This higher revenue allows Uganda to heavily discount the cost of gorilla permits for tourists.

2. Low Cost of Tourism Accommodation & Services

Another major element affecting the cost of gorilla permits in Uganda is the low cost of tourism services in the country compared to Rwanda. Uganda offers lower-cost options when it comes to accommodation and food. Visitors can find much cheaper deals on hotels and restaurants in Uganda than in Rwanda.

This low-cost infrastructure makes it much easier and cheaper for visitors to obtain the necessary amenities for a successful gorilla trekking trip. This helps to reduce the overall cost of a trip, including the cost of gorilla permits.

3. Length of gorilla Trekking Experience

The failure to limit the number of visitors allowed per day in Rwanda is another reason why the permits there are much more expensive than in Uganda. In Rwanda, visitors typically spend between 2-4 hours with the mountain gorillas, while in Uganda, visitors spend up to 6 hours with the mountain gorillas.

The longer experience in Uganda not only allows visitors to spend more time with the gorillas, but it also allows the government to charge a lower permit fee, as it can accommodate a larger number of visitors per trek.

4. Lack of Voluntary Contributions to the Treasury

In addition, Rwanda does not have a voluntary contribution system that allows visitors to contribute additional funds to the government’s treasury. This lack of voluntary contribution to the treasury makes it difficult for the government to discount the cost of gorilla permits as it does not have access to extra funds from visitors.

On the other hand, Uganda does have a voluntary contribution system for visitors. This makes it easier for the government to reduce the cost of gorilla permits, as it has access to additional revenue from the voluntary contributions.


To conclude, there are several key factors that contribute to the lower cost of gorilla permits in Uganda when compared to Rwanda. The higher number of mountain gorillas in Uganda, the lower cost of tourism services, the longer gorilla trekking experience, and the presence of a voluntary contribution system are all factors that make the permits in Uganda much cheaper than those in Rwanda.
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