Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Rwanda: This comparison of gorilla trekking in 3 different East African countries of Uganda the pearl of Africa, Rwanda the land of a thousand hills as well as in the Democratic Republic of Congo will include in the trekking experience itself depending on the nature of terrains, the cost of Gorilla trekking permits, the possible encounters during gorilla trekking and many other fascinating activities to do alongside gorilla trekking.

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Rwanda

Most travelers would wish to encounter and spend an hour with mountain gorillas in their natural habitats but the challenge is mostly how best can one plan this adventure at ease and fulfil their dream of facing Gorillas in the jungle. You could be wondering about where exactly to go, when is the best time to go, what exactly to pack and many more as you plan to tick gorilla trekking off your bucket list. 

In this article, you will find most of the information comparing gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo then make a proper choice that is worth the value for your money.

The above mentioned 3 are the only destinations where one can trek endangered mountain gorillas and that is in Uganda, in both Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla national park, in Rwanda with in Volcanoes national park and finally in Democratic Republic of Congo in Virunga national park.  All these 3 countries offer fascinating gorilla trekking safaris though the difference remains in the costs, distances, availability of gorilla permits, accommodation facilities and other possible encounters during the trek among others.

Let’s have a look at Gorilla trekking in Uganda, 

Gorilla trekking in Uganda the pearl of Africa is conducted in 2 stunning parks of Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park all located in south western part of Uganda. Bwindi is always considered the best and top destination when it comes to Gorilla trekking in Uganda and East Africa at large due to the fact that it harbors the largest population of endangered mountain gorillas thus has many habituated gorilla families in its 4 sectors of Ruhija, Rushaga, Buhoma and Nkuringo both together harboring 50 gorilla families of which 21 gorilla families are already habituated and ready for trekking on a daily basis. Another destination for gorilla trekking in Uganda is Mgahinga Gorilla national park where only 1 gorilla family is habituated for trekking. Mgahinga gorilla national park is situated with in Virunga massif that combines both Mgahinga in Uganda, Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo and Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. In Uganda, gorilla trekking in both Bwindi and Mgahinga national park as of the year 2021-2022 costs $700, $600 and UgX.250, 000 per person for both Foreign Non Residents, Foreign Residents and East African Community members. Apart from Gorilla trekking, Uganda also offers Gorilla habituation experience that is done in Rushaga sector at a cost of $1500 per permit allowing you to spend 4 hours in presence of Gorillas. These gorilla trekking permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) the body responsible for the protected areas in Uganda. Other things to do alongside gorilla trekking in Uganda include; Golden Monkey trekking, Bata trail, Birding, Guided walks, volcanoes hike (Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura), Visiting caves and many more in Mgahinga Gorilla national park. While in Bwindi, one can do Batwa experience, Birding, nature walks etc in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Uganda still remains the best amongst the 3 countries that harbor these gentle giants as one get an option to choose whether to either trek in Mgahinga Gorilla national park or Bwindi impenetrable national park depending on one’s choice plus availability of the Gorilla Trekking Permits at that exact date one intends to trek.

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Rwanda
Gorilla Trekking tours

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes national park located about 114km from Kigali the capital city of Rwanda taking about 2 and a half hours drive. Volcanoes national park is located in Northwestern Rwanda bordering with Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla national park and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo and is managed by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). Being closer to the capital city gives it a greater chance of being frequently visited by several travelers that prefer short drives as compared to 7-9 hours’ drive from Kampala to trek Uganda’s mountain Gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga as well as in Democratic Republic of Congo which requires entering into Rwanda and then crossing over to Virunga national park. This implies that in terms of distance, gorilla trekking in Rwanda takes the lead over its counterparts in Uganda and Congo.  Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park thrills with 12 habituated mountain gorilla families available for trekking on a daily basis. This implies that 96 permits are issued out for trekkers per day. A gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda costs $1500 which is equivalent to a gorilla habituation permit in Uganda. There are other things to do in Volcanoes national park include; Golden monkey trekking, volcano hike (Karisimbi and Bisoke), Dian fossey hike, guided walks to twin lakes of Burela and Ruhondo, Cultural visit to the Guardian village and many more.

Gorilla trekking in Democratic Republic of Congo is done in Virunga national park a home to 8 habituated gorilla families making it the least in numbers. Virunga national park is managed by Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) alongside Virunga Foundation. A gorilla trekking permit in Virunga national park costs $400 per person and can as well go as low as a half of it to $200 during low season. Choosing to trek gorilla in Virunga national park comes with other privileges like a Chimpanzee trekking in Virunga national park and Volcano hike especially to the famous Mount Nyiragongo which is termed as the most active volcano within Virunga massif, a home to 8 volcanoes.

Back to comparison of Gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, there are very many things to put into considerations before concluding with the exact destination for gorilla trekking as it’s not fair to fully base on only the gorilla trekking permit yet there are other factors that could probably affect your dream safari in the wilderness of mountain gorillas.

Well, if your considerations are basically related to obtaining the cheapest Gorilla safari, without hesitation, I recommend Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo. This is because as stated earlier, a Congo permit costs $400 during high season and $ 200 for low season making it the cheapest as compared to a Ugandan permit at $700 and the Rwanda permit at $1500 to trek similar species of Gorillas. This implies that in terms of gorilla trekking permits, Democratic Republic of Congo takes the lead followed by Uganda and finally Rwanda other factors held constant.

In terms of accommodation, Rwanda is known to have the most stunning structures especially for luxury travelers making it more luxurious than Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo though uganda has affordable accommodations as well to cater for both Budget, mid-range an luxury by the standard of Uganda’s luxury facilities is still low as compared to that in Rwanda making Rwanda the best option for Luxury Gorilla trekking safaris.

Comparing park accessibility From Kampala and Kigali, volcanoes national park is easily accessed within less than 3 hours’ drive making it the shortest driving distance and thus one can actually take on a 1 days Gorilla trekking safari in Volcanoes national park as compared to Virunga national park where one needs to land into Kigali then cross into Democratic Republic of Congo and finally driving from Kampala to Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga Gorilla national park is the longest driving distance ever taking about 7-9 hours that’s why most travelers choose to land into Kigali Rwanda and cross over into uganda for gorilla trekking. This implies that if one considers the distance as the main determinant for convenience in gorilla trekking then Rwanda leads followed by Democratic Republic of Congo and finally Uganda.

In terms of terrains, Gorilla trekking is kind of difficult as it involves hiking deep into the forest unlike in Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo where the parks are less forested and easier to hike through during the adventurous gorilla trekking safari.

In conclusion, Gorilla trekking is a fascinating experience no matter where one choses to do but at the end of the day once you meet with these primates, the experience will be unforgettable. It’s as well possible to combine gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

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