Border Crossing for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi from Kigali  : Border crossing from Rwanda into Uganda and vice-verse for gorilla trekking in Bwindi from Kigali takes place at 2 border posts, the Gatuna/Katuna border and Cyanika border. The Gatuna border is the most commonly used since its just 2 hours’ drive from Kigali and 1 hour to Bwindi national park. On the other hand, the Cyanika border is located 3 hours’ drive from Kigali and offers a faster access to Mgahinga national park and southern sectors of Bwindi national park covering Rushaga sector and Nkuringo region of Bwindi impenetrable forest.

The Uganda Rwanda border posts play a very important role for tourists looking for gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park while arriving and departing via Kigali international airport. Our most popular tours are:

Gorilla trekking is one tourism activity that has caught a million of travelers’ eyes.  Gorilla trekking is a very enthralling expedition where a traveler treks through the tropical rain forests of Africa to see the gorillas in their natural habitats. Gorilla trekking is the closest mankind can ever get to a wild animal. It is only a 7 meter gap of interaction between them and at times these end up rubbing shoulders whereby the young gorillas break the 7 meter rule and come very close to play with the trackers. The gorillas correlate with the humans harmoniously in the wild.

Border Crossing for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi from Kigali
Border Crossing for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi from Kigali

Gorilla trekking can only be done in three countries in the world that is to say Uganda, Rwanda and Dr. Congo. With a few habitats (two isolated places of Bwindi impenetrable forest in Uganda and Virunga Volcanoes shared by the three countries) and a small population of about 1004 individuals, mountain gorillas are considered endangered species. This is why gorilla trekking was invented to make people know how important these huge primates are, henceforth conserve and preserve them for the future generation.

Due to the good political relationship and geographical proximity between the two countries of Rwanda and Uganda, tourists can easily cross from one country to the other without any problem. Many travelers have been witnessed to do border crossing for gorilla trekking in Bwindi from Kigali.

How easy is it to receive your visa at the border?

It’s a guarantee to receive a visa when crossing from Rwanda to Uganda and back. The Uganda visa costs $50 for all nations except for East African residents and those tourists with special international work permits who cross without paying. Tourists can make payments on arrival at the border offices or pay prior to arrival online or have already applied for the single East African visa. All the mentioned methods are easily acceptable at the border and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to have your visa stamped into your passport.

Please note that if you will be crossing back to Rwanda, it’s a must to apply for a multiple Rwanda entry visa on arrival at the airport as you will be exiting Rwanda and need to enter again.

Border crossing for gorilla trekking in Bwindi from Kigali is the shortest and easiest way to track the gorillas in Uganda. The distance between Kigali international airport to Bwindi impenetrable forest the gorilla habitat in Uganda is very short, it is about 3 hours’ drive and the time of travel is longer because of the speed limit rule in Rwanda where one has to drive 40km/hr. in urban areas and highways 60km/hr.  on the contrary, the distance between Kampala the capital of Uganda where almost every safari starts from and Bwindi impenetrable forest is way too long, it is about 470kms (9hours drive). No one would like to travel a long distance of Kampala-Bwindi that brings fatigue yet he/she is going for an energy draining and challenging activity like gorilla trekking so traveling to Bwindi through Kigali international airport gives you a very short route escape.

More to the short distance from Kigali to Bwindi, a traveler can a 2 day gorilla trekking safari where he/she can travel from Kigali to Bwindi the first day and the second day he/she does the gorilla trekking and departs back to his/her home country. For the case of Uganda, the gorilla trekking in Bwindi is strictly 3 days and more. The first day is for traveling to Bwindi, the second for gorilla trekking experience and take a night stay and the third day travel back to Kampala.

Rwanda conducts direct flights through Rwanda Air from Europe to Kigali where most of the tourists who go gorilla trekking come from. The traveler does not need to worry of connecting flights to reach his/her safari destination. It only takes 8-11 hours of flying to touch down. For an only Uganda gorilla trekking, Uganda has just revived Uganda Airlines and it is only regional flight. It has no route to Europe so the traveler has to make stopovers on different airport to connect flight to reach Entebbe Airport.

Both Uganda and Rwanda are in the east African community where there is free movement of people from one place to another and for foreigners, there is a single visa called the east African visa at 100$ whose validity is 90 days. This is one of the cheapest visa one can ever acquire to travel through two countries. This saves lots of time and less bureaucratic as one single visa is acquired at point and the travel just presents it at the Rwanda Uganda border and then proceeds to Bwindi to trek the gorilla other going into another paperwork of applying for a visa at the border point.

Border Crossing for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi from Kigali
Bwindi Gorillas

It is also cheap in terms of safari expenditure, the cost of a gorilla trek in Rwanda is ridiculously at 1500$ and in Uganda at 700$ and due to the long distance from Kampala to Bwindi the transport cost are very high. Therefore a cross border gorilla trekking in Bwindi from Kigali is cheaper than gorilla trekking with in the same country.

Is the border safe to cross from Rwanda to Bwindi for gorilla trekking

Its safe 100% for tourists and locals – security at the border is very good and when there is a trade-struggle between Uganda and Rwanda, tourists are always let to cross freely between the 2 countries.

Uganda and Rwanda have a cordially political and trade relationship so the movement of people from one country to another is held in high regard and their people and tourists are treated like their own between the two countries.

Uganda and Rwanda are one of the safest countries in Africa. These two countries have enjoyed peace and stability for the last two and half decades. In addition tourism is one of their top forex earner and they always make sure that the tourist traveling within their countries are given tight security to have a safe and sound safari trip.

How fast is the Uganda – Rwanda border crossing system?

Or rather the best question is – how slow is the system. The system is fast but what makes it look slow is when you arrive at prime time when local buses are crossing with hips of people crossing from or to Rwanda or Uganda.

Normally early morning when tourists are crossing to Bwindi forest to find gorilla trekking, the border is free and it takes just a minute to have your visa. So the best plan is to cross at less busy time when there are no many people. Its still under discussion whether to have a separate setting for tourists from the locals but not yet put into use.

Another incident is when a traveler books with a tour operator from Uganda, he/she will have to acquire a safari car and guide from Rwanda that would literally have no control over other than relying on the persuasion and help of his/her partner (tour operator) in Rwanda who acquires them on behalf of him/her.

The vehicle border crossing has some little bureaucracy where documents have to be issued from owner of the car permitting a traveler to drive his/her in another country. This problem is faced by self-drive travelers who go for border crossing gorilla trekking.

What time will one be back to Kigali after Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park?

On average the tourists should be back to Kigali by 5:00 pm – This includes gorilla trekking, time for a lunch and border crossing logistics. Depending on different time plans the client can be back earlier that 5:00pm or even later because you are visiting other attractions around Bwindi forest like Lake Bunyonyi, Batwa cultural tours.

What is the best time to book Departure flight?

It’s best to book departure flight from 6:00 onward and make sure to communicate this time to your tour operator and guide so that all activities fit perfectly into your time schedule.

Flights booked one hour earlier is also manageable as long as you communicate this tour your travel company to book you into a nearby gorilla family and make it back to Kigali early enough.

All in all border crossing for gorilla trekking in Bwindi from Kigali is a very wise expedition since it is cheap, convenient and safe. Furthermore, it is very exciting because a traveler get to experience two beautiful countries in one safari trip

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