Gorilla trekking Uganda verses Rwanda
Gorilla trekking Uganda verses Rwanda : Only found in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, mountain gorillas are some of the endangered species one has to see before departing earth. With only about 880 gorillas left, trekking them is one of the most sought-after activities around the world and a great source of revenue for the governments and communities of Uganda and Rwanda.
Located in East Africa, Uganda is arguably one of the most beautiful countries on the African continent. For her beauty, she was named the Pearl of Africa by Sir Winston Churchill in 1908. From one of the world’s biggest lakes and source of the longest river, mountains on both the east and western borders, the green scenery and the diverse wildlife, Uganda is home to almost half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. These famous gorillas live in parks in south western Uganda that are Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
Both parks, Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park are open for gorilla trekking throughout the year and have over 12 habituated families with Bwindi National Park hosting the most families, Mgahinga National Park has one family. Mountain gorilla families comprise of 10 to 40 members headed by the dominant male (silverback) in the group.
Rwanda is one of the fastest growing countries in East Africa and a very beautiful country. The country like Uganda is home to the endangered mountain gorillas on top of Lake Kivu and a thousand hills. The country’s capital Kigali is the gateway to Volcanoes National Park, the home to Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda. Mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda is also open to the public all year out.
While looking forward to go mountain gorilla trekking, it is important to decide which of the two countries will provide an experience you’re looking for. For example, for the physically abled and fit people, gorilla trekking in Uganda would work so well given the rough terrain compared to the gentle terrain of Rwanda. It is a question of budget, comfort and an ultimate experience. At the end of this, you would have made your decision hopefully; Uganda or Rwanda?
Below we highlight some reasons that may influence your decision.
Unlike trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park, Mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is relatively easy and accessible due to the gentle slopes and not so thick forests.
Taking a trek is physically demanding and as mentioned earlier, it is important to access whether you are physically fit are able. Rwanda is definitely a top pick if you’re physically unfit. Gorilla Trekking in Uganda on the other hand is trickier and involves some level of hiking due to the rough terrain and the mountains. The gorillas in Uganda are hard to track due to their constant movement making the trek longer from 5 hours to up to 9 hours.
Volcanoes National Park is only 3 to 4 hours from Rwanda’s capital on the well-maintained roads and it is also possible to fly in by helicopter. Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga on the other hand are 9 to 10 hours from Uganda’s capital Kampala. However you can choose to access Bwindi from Kigali which is about 5 to 6 hours to the park
Many people prefer combining gorilla trekking with another activity for example bird watching and tracking the big five. Rwanda has limited options being a small country but the development of Akagera National Park with the big five is interesting. Uganda on the other hand has a diversity of wildlife and other activities. Cultural tours of the Batwa in Bwindi National Park, tracking tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park all these places are in close proxy to the mountain gorilla parks.
Price and accommodation
Both countries have amazing options for accommodation. It is really up to you to choose where to stay while trekking and it all comes down to your Budget. There are budget, midrange and luxury accommodations.
For the gorilla trekking permit prices, Uganda takes the win. In 2017, the Rwandan government decided to increase the cost of the permit from $750 per trek to $1500 and although Uganda no longer offers discounted permits during low seasons, its mountain gorilla permit price is at $700 which is cheaper than Rwanda. If you’re budget conscious, Uganda is definitely the country for gorilla trekking.