Gorilla Trekking Uganda vs Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking Uganda vs Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda is a simple comparison to let the travelers know where it is best to do gorilla trekking as a tour activity.

Gorilla Trekking Uganda vs Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking Uganda vs Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Rwanda and Uganda are often compared in terms of which location provides the best gorilla trekking experience. Gorilla trekking is an activity that involves searching for gorillas in their natural habitat. In East Africa, some of the locations for gorilla trekking include Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo

In Rwanda, gorilla trekking is done in Volcanoes national park also known as Parc Nationale des Volcans. The permits for gorilla trekking in Rwanda are booked with Rwanda Development Board. While in Uganda the permits for gorilla trekking are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Gorilla families in Volcanoes national park include Titus family, Susa group, Karisimbi group, Amahoro group, Umubano group, Sabyinyo group, Agashya group, Kwitonda group, Hirwa group, Ugenda group, Bwenge group. 

In Bwindi impenetrable national park, the gorilla families include Rushegura, Habiyanja, Mubare, Nkuringo, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Mishaya, Nshongi, Khungye, Busingye and Bweza. The gorilla families in Mgahinga national park include Nyakagezi family.

The question about the choice of gorilla trekking in either Uganda or Rwanda has been asked by many tourists and the prices of gorilla permits are compared and tourists wonder why Rwanda has a higher permit price compared to Uganda and even Congo.

Both Uganda and Rwanda are unique and offer different experiences that can be got during a gorilla trekking adventure. Gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park and Bwindi national park can be compared basing on the location of the national parks, the pre tracking experience, distance and accessibility of the national park, the gorilla trekking experience, the price of the gorilla permits, facilities in the national parks, communities living around the national parks, time taken to trek gorillas and many other factors.

Volcanoes national park is located in the northwestern parts of Rwanda and this national park can be accessed by road and by air. Flights to this national park connect from Kigali international park and then the tourists proceed to drive to the national park which is a short distance.

Bwindi impenetrable national park is located in south western Uganda can be accessed by both road and air transport means. There are various road routes that connect to this national park and they include the following;

  • From Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Kabale to the park headquarters
  • From Kampala-Mubende-Fortportal-Kasese through Queen Elizabeth national park via the ishasha sector with an experience of seeing the tree-climbing lions along the way. 

Flights to Bwindi national park can be made from Entebbe international airport to Kihihi airstrip or to Kisoro airstrip where domestic flights can be booked with the help of a tour operator.

In Volcanoes national park, the experience a tourist gets before gorilla trekking is limited due to the short distance it takes to drive to the national park. Bwindi national park, on the other hand, gives the tourist chance to view various attractions along the way with stopover points such as the equator due to the long distance it takes to reach this national park.

Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda cost USD 600 for foreign non-residents and USD 500 for foreign residents, 250000 UGX for East Africans trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga national park. In Rwanda, the gorilla permits cost USD 1500 to trek in volcanoes national park.

Volcanoes national park is the gorilla trekking destination with the highest price for a gorilla permit. These permits are booked in advance due to the high demand for the gorilla permits especially during the peak seasons in the months of January, February, June, July, August, and December.

Bwindi Forest national park engages tourists in gorilla trekking and it is similar to volcanoes national park in that the gorilla permits are booked in advance to avoid inconvenience especially during periods of high demand (peak seasons). 

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park is done in different sectors which include the Rushaga sector, the Buhoma sector, the Nkuringo sector, and the Ruhija sector. The availability of gorilla families in Bwindi national park guarantees the availability of gorilla permits. Volcanoes national park does not have sectors.

The nature of the terrain in volcanoes national park is covered by bamboo and rainforest and the gorillas can easily be seen compared to the nature of Bwindi national park which has a dense forest making it hard to see the gorillas which is the reason behind the impenetrable name attached to this national park.

The steep nature of the altitude in Bwindi national park makes the gorilla trekking experience more adventurous and it engages the tourists through the thick vegetation of the park to locate gorillas. The terrain in Volcanoes national park is characterized by forested slopes and bamboo where the gorillas can be seen.

Additional activities to gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park include golden monkey tracking, birding experience, visit Dian Fossey tomb, hiking, nature walks. A trip to volcanoes national park can also be combined with visits to the twin lakes (Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo), visit Ruhenjeri market and a chance to experience the local culture.

In Bwindi national park can be combined with other activities such as the Batwa experience, birding experience, nature walks. The batwa have a unique culture and are referred to as “keepers of the forest”. They are hunters and fruit gatherers who have maintained their culture despite the influence of the modern world. A visit to this national park can also be combined with visits with the neighboring national parks in Uganda within the western and south western region. 

Gorilla habituation can also be carried out in Bwindi national park in the Rushaga sector which provides the tourist with an up-close interaction with the gorillas.

Bwindi national park offers a wider range of accommodation for tourists during gorilla trekking ranging from luxury accommodation, mid-range accommodation, and budget accommodation compared to Volcanoes national park which is promoted as an upmarket destination, therefore, favoring the luxury tourists who can afford the gorilla permits and the luxury accommodation.

The high price of the gorilla permits in volcanoes national park are said to benefit the local communities more due to the high revenue received compared to the price of gorilla permits in Bwindi national park

The infrastructure in Volcanoes national park is more developed compared to the infrastructure in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park which makes Rwanda easily accessible to tourists and promoting convenient travel.

Gorilla Trekking Uganda vs Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Gorillas in Rwanda

Some of the similarities of gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park and Bwindi national park include the following; in both Uganda and Rwanda, the gorilla group is decided by the park before the gorilla trekking experience and tourists cannot see the same group of gorillas on the same day.

There is little to differentiate between gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda since the encounter with gorillas in both countries offers an unforgettable experience. It becomes easier for a tourist who has visited both Volcanoes national park and Bwindi national park to make a choice for a gorilla trekking experience. 

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