Is gorilla trekking better in Uganda or Rwanda?
Mountain gorillas are one of the most sought-after attractions in the East African region, making gorilla trekking safaris one of the major pull factors of visitors to the region. World over, the mountain gorilla population is just above 900 individuals. This steadily growing number of mountain gorillas is distributed within Uganda and Rwanda in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and Volcanoes National Park respectively. Despite this steady growth, mountain gorillas still remain an endangered species.
In this article, we focus on gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda, which both offer outstanding but unique gorilla trekking experiences. It is these unique gorilla trekking experiences and attributes between these two gorilla safari destinations that set the key differences to help you choose your preferred gorilla trekking destination.
Gorilla safari in Rwanda
With over 10 habituated gorilla families in Rwanda, some of which include Amahoro, Muhoza, Karisimbi, Susa, Hirwa, Ugyenda, Igisha, Sabyinyo, Agashya, Umubano, Kwitonda and, Bwenge, gorilla safaris are conducted only in Volcanoes National Park. The park is located only 2 hours away by road from Kigali International Airport. The proximity of the airport to the gorilla park makes it convenient for tourists to undertake gorilla safaris in Rwanda. The short distance also means tourists who have limited time in Rwanda can easily visit the gorilla park before proceeding to their next destination. The cost of a gorilla permit for the Rwanda gorilla safari is 1,500 USD. Visitors in Rwanda can also choose to track gorillas in Uganda since the gorilla parks in the two countries share a borderline. Please note that the cost of a gorilla permit is Uganda is half the price of that of Rwanda and goes for 700 USD.
Gorilla safari in Uganda
Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda are conducted in two gorilla parks which are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The two gorilla parks combined host 20 gorilla families; Bwindi alone hosting 19 gorilla families and Mgahinga 1 gorilla family. Some of these gorilla families include Mubare, Habinyanja, Bitukura, Rushegura, Nkuringo, Oruzogo, Mishaya, Nshongi, Bweza, Kahungye, Kyaguriro, Busingye, Katwe, Nyakagezi, Mukiza, Muyambi, Bushasho and Bikyingi to mention. Bwindi offers four trail heads/ tracking sectors for gorilla trekking safaris and these are Rushaga, Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija while Mgahinga has only the Ntebeko trailhead. The gorilla parks are about 9 hours away from Kampala by road or about an hour by flight and for one to see the mountain gorillas, they have to acquire a gorilla tracking permit with goes for 700 USD.
Gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda
Gorilla trekking safari is one of the life-time experiences that any ardent traveller to Uganda or Rwanda shouldn’t miss out. It is for this reason that several visitors intending to visit East Africa always wonder whether to undertake their gorilla trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda. Many factors come to play when choosing your preferred gorilla trekking destination.
From our past client’s experiences, a big number admitted that trekking mountain gorillas in Rwanda was less strenuous. The easy accessibility from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park and shorter time taken to locate the mountain gorillas in the forest gives Rwanda a comparative advantage to Uganda. Rwanda also has a few more highly developed infrastructure and tourist facilities which suit the interest of visitors who wouldn’t mind spending a couple of extra dollars to receive good pampering.
On the other hand, trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda is more exhausting due to the challenging terrain. Coupled with the fact that Bwindi forest is at a high altitude of about 2,600m (8,500 ft.) with impenetrable jungles and unpredictable rains which may slow down the trekkers, it therefore requires some level of physical fitness to maneuver through the.
However, it should be noted that the cost of a gorilla permit in Rwanda (1,500 USD) is twice that in Uganda (700 USD) and therefore visitors travelling on a fixed budget would rather opt for Uganda gorilla safaris. The extra dollars saved by undertaking the Uganda gorilla safari could also be used to add another activity or extra day to your gorilla trekking safari during your Uganda safari. The Uganda gorilla safari also provides visitors with an authentic African experience of getting hands on when clearing the trekking trails and penetrating through densely vegetated forests as you look for the mountain gorillas.