Gorilla Trekking Rwanda vs Uganda – Which country to visit for Gorilla Trekking ?
There are around 720 mountain gorillas remaining on the globe and are found in only three countries of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Owing to the security problems in the eastern DR Congo forests, many gorillas fled to Uganda and Rwanda. This explains the reason why half of the gorilla populace is found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and also bigger numbers being in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. It implies that visitors to the area to track the endangered primate species find themselves in a situation where they have to choose whether to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National park in Uganda or Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
Some travellers have nonetheless trekked gorillas in both national parks and over and over again tend to match which safari in either parks have a better experience and worth for the money.
Therefore, let us compare Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park depending on tourist pre-trekking experience, distances plus ease of access to the national parks, gorilla safari experience, the people nearby these national parks, accommodation services and the gorilla trekking permit prices.
Accessibility and Distance to the two national parks
- Volcanoes National Park is easily accessible from Kigali. Rwanda being a geographically smaller country, it takes about 3 hours to from its capital city to the Park in Ruhengeri. This means, one can undertake a one-day, two-days or maximum three days gorilla tour in Rwanda.
- Trekking gorillas in Bwindi going through Kigali is easier than tracking the same gorillas going through Entebbe Airport/Kampala. When use Kigali route to trek in Uganda, a minimum if two days are enough as day 1 is for driving to there and day 2 is for gorilla tracking and returning to Kigali.
- Whereas in Bwindi it is different. The park is around 600 kilometres from Kampala city and takes between 8 to 10 hours to reach the park. But on the other hand, there are scheduled flights between Entebbe International Airport to Kihihi, Kisoro or Ishasha airstrips, all not far from the various gorilla groups of Bwindi. Visitors can then be transferred from the airfields to Bwindi. With Aero link Uganda, a return flight to Bwindi Forest costs around USD 450.
Gorillas in Rwanda: The Pre-tracking experience
In Rwanda, this kind of experience is limited since it only would take 3 hours to the park. This is fine for visitors interested in having shorter vacation time in Rwanda. In the volcanoes park, tourists have bigger chances of driving to Gorilla Park the same day of their entrance minus getting fatigued.
Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable national park is in southwestern side of the country, about 600 km on road from Kampala. This about 10 hours on the way based on the region of the park to track gorillas. This long drive gives a tourist an opportunity to see various attractions on the way. There are stopovers at the Uganda equator for snapshots, mixing up with the exceedingly friendly Ugandans, plus a possible tour of other national parks for wildlife safaris like chimps tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale National Park and Lake Mburo National Park. This is very ideal for tourists on lengthy holidays plus those interested in seeing Uganda’s wildlife.
The price of Gorilla Permits
- Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda are moderately inexpensive compared to those of Rwanda. In Uganda, a permit is at USD 600, whereas in Rwanda, its priced at USD 750. Budget holidaymakers are consequently likely to track Ugandan gorillas and be able to save USD 150.
- Also in Uganda, there are low-season months of April, May and November when gorilla permit prices are slashed down to USD 450 cheaper. Rwanda doesn’t have such arrangement; the prices of permits in Rwanda are maintained at USD 750 throughout the year.
Accommodation Facilities near the parks
Lodges around Bwindi National Park
In areas nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, there are plentiful accommodation facilities ranging from budget, midrange to luxury categories. For instance accommodation around Buhoma include Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge, Engagi lodge, Gorilla Resort, Mahogany springs camp, Bwindi Guest House, Bwindi View Bandas, Eco Marvels Gorilla Resort, Gorilla Friends Lodge and Jungle View Lodge among others.
Other accommodation facilities in Nkuringo include Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, Nshongi Camp and Chameleon Hill Lodge.
Ruhija area has Cuckooland Tented Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Gift of Nature Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Mist Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Resort, Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort & Campsite, Ruhija Community Rest Camp and many others which all offer excellent services. A vacationer here can effortlessly select and go the lodging facility of his/her preference.
Lodges and Hotels nearby the Volcanoes National Park.
In Rwanda nearby the Volcanoes National Park, there are good accommodations also ranging from Budget, Midrange to Luxury categories and offer wonderful services. These facilities include Mountain Gorillas’ Nest lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, La Palme Hotel, Virunga Hotel, Kinigi Guest house, and Hotel Muhabura. The list also has Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel, Virunga Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Village, Garr Hotel, Villa Gorilla, Red Rocks Rwanda and Home Inn among others
The Tracking experience
In Uganda, there are 12 habituated gorilla groups available for tourists to access. Visitors usually trek 11 groups out of 12 as one is reserved for research purpose. These groups are spread in different regions of Bwindi. Tracking through the impenetrable woodland and bumpy landscape may be challenging and tourists who are unable lift their baggage for long are recommended to seek for porters’ services. Some of the gorilla groups are interactive and visitors straightforwardly take their pictures as they pose in the dense foliage. The bushy forestry conversely occasionally makes it tough to take snaps mainly of the gorillas that are shy.
In Rwanda, there are 10 gorilla groups that can be pursued. While tracking gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, there are high prospects of watching them and taking snapshots since the park is on a higher altitude (2500 meters) as compared to Bwindi Forest’s highness that ranges from 1000 to 2000 meters. Volcanoes’ vegetation cover is also not as abundant as it is the case in Bwindi consequently giving trekkers an opportunity to watch several gorillas in their usual environment and easily take their photos.
Populations around Volcanoes and Bwindi National Parks.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has Batwa pygmies and Bakiga. These people have distinctive cultures that attract tourists specially the Batwa community. When you visit Batwa, you may engage in activities such as the Batwa trail, forest walks, community walks, entertainment by traditional performances.
Volcanoes National Park on the other hand has local neighbours even though they don’t have much captivating to offer compared to the Batwa community in Uganda’s Bwindi National Park.
Conclusively, both Rwanda and Uganda offer great gorilla safaris that any tourist should not miss out as each form of experience is pretty different from the other. The choice therefore is based on income, available, the purpose and the need to visit other attractions in any of these countries. Bwindi and Volcanoes are attention-grabbing and exceptional in their own appearance. Hence different people can have dissimilar consummation intensities on their value for money. So visiting either Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda or Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda for the purpose of gorilla trekking, gorillas will be seen and appreciated. Any safari choice taken is worth the money to be committed to the trip.