Gorilla Trekking: Uganda or RwandaFebruary 22, 2018
One of the biggest decisions travellers face when planning a gorilla trekking safari is deciding where to go to see the gorillas –Uganda or Rwanda?
While both are excellent safari destinations, they each offer slightly different gorilla trekking experiences. Here are a few important factors to consider when planning which country to do your trek in:
1. Gorilla Population
Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to the greatest concentration of mountain gorillas. It hosts a minimum of 400 gorillas out of the 880 that are known to be left in the wild.
The remainder of the gorilla population can be found in the Virunga massif which includes the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to the extreme southwest of Uganda, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, and DR Congo’s Virunga National Park. Despite there being fewer gorillas in Rwanda than Uganda, the number of habituated gorilla families in Rwanda is more than double that of Uganda.
2. Permit Prices
Both countries require travellers to have a permit to do gorilla trekking. In Uganda, the price of a permit is USD600 (or USD450 in low season), while in Rwanda, the permits are much more expensive at USD1500.
3. Park Accessibility
In Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be accessed from the road or air. Driving from Kampala (the capital city of Uganda) to Bwindi takes about 8-10 hours, and takes you through scenic landscapes, with steep hills and narrow valleys, allowing you a proper taste of this ‘pearl of Africa’ before beginning the trek. However, if 10 hours in the car sounds like a nightmare to you, there are also flights from Entebbe to Kihihi or Kisoro airstrip that only take 40 minutes.
In comparison, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is much easier to access as it is only a two-hour drive from the international airport in Kigali (capital city of Rwanda).
4. Trekking Experience
Trekking to see the gorillas can take several hours of hiking and requires a reasonable level of fitness and health. In Uganda, the trekking experience can be a slightly arduous activity due to the thick vegetation and steep landscape, and it can take anything from two to seven hours to find your assigned gorilla group. By comparison, the treks in Rwanda are generally easier and shorter.
Both Uganda and Rwanda offer a wide range of accommodation options for travellers. A few of our top accommodation choices to base your gorilla trekking safari from includes Sanctuary Retreats’ Gorilla Forest Camp in Uganda, and Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge in Rwanda.
Need more help deciding which country to do your gorilla trek in? Get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do to help.
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