Best gorilla trekking Country Uganda or Rwanda?
Best gorilla trekking Country Uganda or Rwanda: Gorilla trekking adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows travelers to witness the breathtaking beauty of these mountain gorillas in their misty natural habitat. While both Uganda and Rwanda offer incredible opportunities to encounter mountain gorillas, each destination has its unique characteristics and considerations.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda, Let’s explore the similarities and differences in terms of accessibility, cost, conservation efforts, and overall experience, helping you make an informed decision about which destination suits your preferences and priorities.
Accessibility and Location of Mountain Gorilla National parks in Uganda & Rwanda
Uganda and Rwanda are neighboring countries in East Africa, both renowned for their mountain gorilla populations. Uganda’s primary gorilla trekking destinations are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, located in the southwestern part of the country.
These parks offer lush landscapes and a diverse range of wildlife like Elephants, Buffaloes, birds golden monkeys in Mgahinga and many primates like vervet monkeys , L’host monkeys and many more that stays in these national parks alongside mountain gorillas.
On the other hand, Rwanda’s gorilla trekking takes place in Volcanoes National Park, located in the northwestern part of the country.
This park is part of the Virunga ranges, a volcanic mountain range shared by Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The proximity of Volcanoes National Park to Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, makes it easily accessible for travelers.
When it comes to the cost of gorilla trekking permits, Rwanda tends to be more expensive compared to Uganda. Rwanda’s per gorilla trekking permit are priced higher at $1500 per gorilla trekking permits, reflecting the country’s efforts to position itself as a high-end, exclusive destination. However, it is essential to consider that Uganda offers more budget-friendly options of $700, particularly during the low season, making it an attractive choice for travelers seeking a more affordable gorilla trekking experience.
Both Uganda and Rwanda have established commendable dedication to conserving mountain gorillas and their habitats. Rwanda’s gorilla conservation efforts are well-known, and the country has made important steps in protecting and preserving endangered mountain gorillas. The revenue generated from gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda is influential in supporting conservation initiatives and community development near the national park that harbors mountain gorillas.
In the same way, Uganda places a strong emphasis on gorilla conservation. The country has implemented strict measures to protect the gorilla populations in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park, with revenue from gorilla trekking permits contributing to conservation efforts and supporting local communities that stays in the neighborhood of gorilla national parks these are the Bachiga, Batwa, Batagwenda and others.
Uganda’s extensive network in the national parks and protected areas further boosts its commitment to wildlife preservation.
Gorilla Habituation: One unique aspect of gorilla trekking in Uganda is the opportunity for gorilla habituation experiences. In Uganda, selected gorilla families undergo a habituation process to steadily familiarize them to human presence. This means that visitors can spend more time with the gorillas, usually goes up to four hours, compared to the one-hour visit permitted in Rwanda during gorilla trekking.
Terrain and Hiking: Both destinations offer incredible landscapes, but the terrain can vary. Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is characterized by lush bamboo forests, whereas Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park features dense, tropical rainforests.
The hiking experiences in both countries can be challenging, but the terrain in Uganda is generally considered more rugged and demanding.
Group Size and Experience: Rwanda typically allows a maximum of eight visitors per gorilla family, creating a more intimate and exclusive encounter.
On the other hand, Uganda permits larger group sizes, allowing up to eight visitors per gorilla family during the peak season.
The larger groups in Uganda can offer a more dynamic experience with different perspectives and interactions among the visitors.
Travel time from Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga compared to Kigali to Volcanoes National Park can vary due to different factors such as road conditions, border crossings, and the specific location within the parks. However, I can provide you with approximate travel times for your reference.
Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest: The distance between Entebbe, which is located near Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is approximately 480 kilometers (298 miles).
The travel time by road from Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is typically around 8 to 10 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the route taken.
The journey takes you through scenic landscapes, passing through towns and villages along the way.
Entebbe to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is also located in southwestern Uganda, relatively close to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
The distance between Entebbe and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is approximately 470 kilometers (292 miles). The travel time by road is similar to the journey to Bwindi, taking approximately 8 to 10 hours.
Kigali to Volcanoes National Park: Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is located approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.
The travel time from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park is relatively shorter compared to the journey from Entebbe to the Ugandan parks.
It typically takes around 2 to 3 hours to reach the park, depending on road conditions and traffic.
It’s important to note that these are estimated travel times and can vary based on various factors. It’s advisable to plan your journey with some buffer time to account for unforeseen delays or other circumstances that may affect travel times.
Lodges for accommodation
When considering gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda compared to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, the choice of lodges can be a important factor in determining your preferred destination. The availability, quality, and proximity of lodges can impact your overall experience and convenience during your gorilla trekking adventure
In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda): There is a range of lodge options to suit different budgets and preferences. From luxury lodges to mid-range and budget-friendly accommodations, there is a variety of choices available to choose which best suits your safari budget
Proximity to Gorilla Trekking: Some lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are strategically located near the trekking trail, providing easy access to the gorilla families. Staying close to the park can minimize travel time and maximize your time with the gorillas.
Amenities and Services: Consider the amenities and services offered by the lodges. Luxury lodges provide high-end facilities, such as spacious rooms, en-suite bathrooms, restaurants, spa services, and Wi-Fi. Mid-range and budget lodges may have more basic amenities but still offer comfort and convenience environment to stay in.
Lodge Options: Volcanoes National Park offers a selection of lodges catering to different budgets and preferences. The lodges in this area often focus on providing a high-end experience, emphasizing luxury and exclusivity.
Proximity to Gorilla Trekking: Many lodges in Volcanoes National Park are located within close proximity to the park’s headquarters, reducing travel time to the gorilla trekking starting point. This proximity can be advantageous in terms of convenience and maximizing your time with the gorillas.
Amenities and Services: Luxury lodges in Volcanoes National Park provide top-notch amenities, including spacious suites or cottages, gourmet dining, spa facilities, and panoramic views of the park. They prioritize offering a luxurious experience.
Mountain gorilla population
In Uganda, the majority of the mountain gorilla population can be found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. According to the most recent estimates from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the mountain gorilla population in Uganda is about more than 459 individuals. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park alone is home to more than 400 gorillas, making it the largest population of mountain gorillas in the world.
In Rwanda, the mountain gorillas primarily inhabit Volcanoes National Park, which is part of the larger Virunga ranges. According to the most recent census conducted by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration, the mountain gorilla population in the Virunga ranges, which includes gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is estimated to be around more than 604 individuals. It’s important to note that this population estimate includes all the gorillas in the Virunga ranges, not just those in Volcanoes National Park.
Both Uganda and Rwanda have implemented strict conservation measures to protect these endangered species and their habitats. Conservation efforts include anti-poaching initiatives, habitat restoration, community engagement, and sustainable tourism practices. The revenue generated from gorilla trekking permits plays a crucial role in funding these conservation efforts and supporting local communities.