They are the same mountain gorillas species, only separated by national boundaries, yet the price for a gorilla tracking permit is $1500 in Rwanda, $600 for Uganda ($700 starting July 2020). What could be the reason for the difference?
In proposing the $1500 from $750 for a gorilla permit, Rwanda Development Board asserted that they wanted to offer more community support for park neighboring communities. They also intend to raise more funds for supporting conservation of the mountain gorilla. Uganda on the other hand stayed the gorilla permit price for at least one year even though they also have a local community support percentage off the every permit sold.
In all honesty, the gorillas are the best you can get from Rwanda. Experiences from the other Rwanda tourist attractions really offer no serious competition to similar offers from the regional neighbors. Many tourist indeed only fly into Rwanda for the gorillas and then do the other days in Uganda, Kenya and or Tanzania. Some tourists even land in the wee hours of the morning, track the gorillas and fly out in the evening on the same day to a neighboring country for a week or more for more touring. Aside from the gorilla tracking permit fee and transport to the park, Rwanda would not be reaping much from such one-day tourists who only spend on gorillas. With the $1500 at hand, Rwanda will now still earn a bare minimum regardless of how long you spend and if you chose to visit their other parks, well and good; they will even give you a discount for that!
Uganda has assured the industry that they will not change the gorilla permit fee for at least 1 year. They are certainly sure that even with the low permit price, a tourist can spend more nights in Bwindi are doing other activities and there is more chances of a tourist visiting the other 9 national parks and spending more there.
To many, driving along Rwanda’s paved eucalyptus avenues to the gorillas in not the best deal. Indeed many to purchase tour packages combining both Rwanda and Uganda, first doing Gorillas in Rwanda and then crossing to Uganda to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park for the BIG 5 safaris and chimpanzee tracking among other tours.
Maybe you could have a different reason for preferring gorilla trekking in one country over the other. Please let us know so that we all make more informed choices in our planning.