Gorilla Trekking Uganda versus Rwanda

Gorilla trekking is undeniably becoming a top tour activity in Africa because of the unique experience. As many travelers plan to take safaris, the popular safari game drives come on top of the list and gorilla trekking surely is coming on top of the lists too. Uganda and Rwanda are two of the gorilla habitats that host the mountain gorillas that tourists trek with high safety surety. This is why many wonder which country is better and the need to understand the frequently asked questions about gorilla trekking Uganda versus Rwanda.

Within Uganda and Rwanda, there are three national parks where tourists can trek mountain gorillas and these are Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park share the same ecosystem which is within the Virunga volcanoes. In the same 8 Virunga volcanoes is also Virunga National Park of Congo. These gorillas are monitored by the different authorities of the three countries respectively.

Gorilla trekking Uganda versus Rwanda helps enlighten tourists on what tracking these gentle giants is in each of the countries. Surely choosing to take a Rwanda gorilla tour or gorilla trekking in Uganda will offer almost the same experience, however, there are other factors that, make the experience more or less comfortable which causes the comparison. Here is what to know about gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda.

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Gorilla trekking in Uganda

There are two natural habitats in Uganda where mountain gorillas are found and these are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The gorilla trekking experience is similar in the two parks with 19 gorilla families open for trekking in Bwindi and 1 gorilla family in Mgahinga.

Getting to Bwindi and Mgahinga: The two parks are located in south western Uganda taking more than 400 kilometers which gives a long road drive for tourists traveling by road from Entebbe International Airport. Therefore those planning to travel to any of these parks by roads, should be ready to have about 9 hours’ drive. However, there is also an advantage that tourists can get to the parks by air because of the several airstrips within the region.

Gorilla permit: Each gorilla permit now (2020) costs US$ 700 for foreign nonresidents, US$ 600 for foreign residents and Ugandan Shillings 250,000 for Ugandans and East African Citizens. Foreign nonresidents are tourists who come into the country with a tourist visa for the purposes of gorilla trekking and maybe other Uganda primate tracking tours. Foreign residents are persons who are not Ugandans but staying in Uganda with working permits.

Uganda gorilla trekking permits are sold at the same cost for both Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as well as Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Permits are available all year round offering an experience that makes every penny spent, hiking and distance worth it the moment you set eyes of the elusive mountain gorilla giants.

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Mountain gorillas in Rwanda are only found in Volcanoes National Park with 10 habituated gorilla families for gorilla safaris.  To see any of these families, travelers need to travel to Rwanda and go trekking through the forest to meet a family of the habituated gorillas.

To go gorilla trekking in Rwanda, it takes only about 2 hours from the Kigali International Airport. This makes it easier for tourists to get to the park after arriving into the country rather than it is in the neighboring Uganda. This makes it easier to plan for short gorilla tours like the popular 1 day Rwanda gorilla trek and 2 days gorilla tour Rwanda.

Cost of Rwanda gorilla permit: Each Rwanda gorilla permit cost is at US$1,500.

A Rwanda gorilla permit is a document issued to any client who needs to go gorilla trekking. It is only after purchasing a gorilla permit that a person above 15 can be allowed to trek gorillas in Rwanda. Each person has to present a Rwanda gorilla permit at the park headquarters to be allocated a desired or random gorilla family to trek. Each tourist should make sure to book a gorilla permit in advance at least 3 months before the desired trekking date since they are on high demand and booking last minute might bring disappointments.

Both Uganda and Rwanda, have several similarities for gorilla trekking. These include the fact that to have a gorilla trekking experience in any of the countries, one should have purchased a gorilla trekking permit. The minimum age for gorilla trekking in both countries is 15 years. Only eight individuals are allowed to trek a single gorilla group each day. A maximum of one hour is what trekkers can spend in the presence of the gorilla family.

Jewel safaris with expertise in planning gorilla tours including Congo gorilla safaris also plans other trips including wildlife trips in Rwanda and Uganda. There are also Kenya safari tours and Tanzania safaris for wildlife viewing.