Gorilla Tracking Excursions in Uganda and Rwanda
Bwindi impenetrable forest in Uganda has over half of the remaining mountain gorillas and the other half sums up the three gorilla parks of Virunga in DR Congo, Volcanoes in Rwanda and Mgahinga in Uganda. About 720 Animals of the endangered mountain gorillas are remaining in all gorilla trekking parks at the moment.
Visitors that have come to different gorilla parks have given varying views about the experience and it may not necessarily reflect our view or your view after the gorilla trekking experience. Below are views about important aspects to consider when planning a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo.
Getting to the Gorilla Park
The gorilla destination parks are located in the same geographical area only being divided by the volcanic ranges of Virunga i.e. at the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. This makes Rwanda a perfect landing point to shorten the drive to the gorilla park. Even if you are to track Gorillas in Uganda's Bwindi forest, or the Volcanoes national park of Rwanda and Virunga national park; it is very strategic to land at Kigali international Airport if the drive time to the gorilla park is your main concern.
To the contrary if you touch down at Entebbe international Airport in Uganda, a drive to the gorilla parks of Bwindi or Mgahinga takes minimum 7 hours approximately a distance of 550 Km. However many visitors have loved the scenic views on the journey from Entebbe to the gorilla parks in south western Uganda. Your experience shall give us your view about the gorilla trekking adventure.
Pricing of Gorilla Safari Permits
Gorilla permits are sold at different prices in the three countries where you can trek mountain gorillas. A gorilla permit in Rwanda is USD $750 and sold USD $500 in Uganda. In DR Congo, a gorilla permit costs USD $500 however the eastern part of Congo where the gorillas are found is not very secure due to armed rebel activity in that area. Also to note; tourism facilities in Rwanda like the hotels, transport are averagely pricey in Rwanda than Uganda.
Gorilla family allocation procedure
Gorilla families you are to track when trekking in Rwanda is set after briefing; depending on one's age and physical fitness as some families are known to be easy to find and others are very challenging to trek. The young and elderly people are allocated easier gorilla families to trek making it simple for all to have a wonderful experience with the gorillas. However in Uganda the gorilla family you are to track is allocated at the time of buying your gorilla permit. At that stage most travelers like you may not have so many details about gorilla trekking hence making it difficult for a traveler to make the right choice for a gorilla family to trek and the permit to buy depending on his or her interests.
However the authorities at the Uganda Wildlife Authority responsible for selling Gorilla permits in Uganda are very cooperative, sometimes they can help swap your gorilla permit when need arises. Our team strives to understand your interests and advise the best gorilla family to trek basing on your interests, fitness, age among other aspects as you may specify. Please note gorilla permits in Uganda are sold on first come first serve basis; June - August is a peak season and the permits are scarce during that period, it is advisable to reserve your gorilla permit early enough; at least 5 months to your trekking date..
Seeing the Gorillas and Taking Photos
Gorilla trekking is a top wildlife experience world over; sure you will need to take record of this moment through your camera lens to the eyes of the giant but peaceful Gorillas! In Bwindi impenetrable forest of Uganda, the vegetation is so thick and sometimes hampers excellent photo shoots; however there are some gorilla families here that are easy to find and social so you can take sharp photo shoots at a closer range; Nshongi in Rushaga and Rushegura families are good if you want excellent photo moments.
Meanwhile the vegetation in Rwanda's Volcanoes national park for gorilla trekking is mostly bamboo and short grass; thus it is much easier to take fantastic photo shoots of Gorillas in this park.
Accommodation in the Gorilla Parks
Uganda has more excellent lodges for tourists around the gorilla parks and the price is meaningful e.g.
- The Bwindi Volcanoes Lodge,
- Gorilla Forest Camp,
- Buhoma Lodge,
- Mahogany springs,
- Clouds Lodge.
However there are Lodges in Rwanda but only one stands out; the Virunga Lodge and its usually full to capacity and pricey.