Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park vs. Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Probability of seeing gorillas
The probability of seeing gorillas in all the three parks is over 90 %, even in the rainy seasons. Prior to the start of your gorilla trekking excursion, an advance team of trackers survey the parks to find out the direction towards which the gorilla families are moving. On finding them, they will call the ranger leading your team to guide him on which trails to follow to get to them. This will save you from moving in circles or walking into the forest blindly.
- Ease of accessibility
If you wish to trek gorillas and fly out on the same day, it is wiser to fly in and out through Kigali International Airport of Rwanda. It is the nearest International Airport to all the three countries. From here, Volcanoes National Park is 2 hours’ drive away and Uganda’s Bwindi is 5 hours away. On the other hand, Virunga National Park is 7hrs drive away. However, you are likely to take 8 hours due to the relatively lengthy procedures of clearance with immigrations department at the border with Congo. Simply, Volcanoes National Park is a better option if time isn’t on your side.
If not in a rush, you can fly in through Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport and connect to Bwindi within two hours’ time using Aerolink. It is a domestic safari Airline with scheduled daily flights to Kihihi/Savannah Airstrip of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Upon arrival, our driver guide will pick you up in time and drop at your hotel ahead of your gorilla adventure the next day. When your adventure is done, he will pick you up for the next agenda on your itinerary.
If you prefer to access Bwindi by road, we are happy to organize a road trip for you from Entebbe or Kampala, Uganda’s Capital. From here, Bwindi is 9 hours’ drive away. The adventure won’t be as exhausting as it sounds as it is not an express drive. On the contrary, there will be lots of stopovers at the respective attractions along the way, inclusive of museums, cultural villages, equator, national parks and dine outs.
- Price of gorilla trekking
Although all the three parks have the same species of gorillas, their gorilla permits are priced differently. In Rwanda’s case, it used to be $750 two years back, but is now $1,500 for all tourists regardless of their nationality. This follows Rwanda’s rebranding as a high end destination.
On the other hand, Gorilla permits to Uganda’s Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga is still at $600 for foreign non-residents, $450 for foreign residents and $250 for East Africans. On the part of Congo’s Virunga National Park, it costs $400 per person for non-nationals, $150 for Congolese residents and $200 for SADC nationals. The respective mentioned fees are inclusive of park entry fees and guided gorilla trekking by game rangers.
- Which park has more gorilla families?
According to a gorilla census jointly done by about 20 conservation organizations in May 2018, there are 1,004 gorillas left in the world. This includes both habituated individuals and wild ones, some of which are reserved for research purposes). Of these, 604 live in Africa’s oldest National Park, Virunga. The rest live in Bwindi National Park, Mgahinga National Park and Volcanoes National Park.
However of the four parks, Bwindi has the highest number of habituated families, totaled at 17, Volcanoes has 10, Virunga has 8 and Mgahinga 1. Each group has 7-42 members belonging to different age brackets.
- Where is it easier or harder to trek gorillas?
While Virunga lies at an elevation of 4,880 meters above sea level, Volcanoes is at 2500 meters above sea level and Bwindi ranges from 1,160m – 2,607m above sea level. Simply put, the terrain of Bwindiis relatively gentler than that of Virunga and Volcanoes. The most recommendable zone of Bwindi is Buhoma and Rushaga. They offer a perfect balance between tough climbing challenges for travelers in need of something unusual, leisurely walks and people who wish to push themselves to limits close to breaking.
- Is it possible for Persons with Disability to Trek Gorillas?
Absolutely Yes! Both Bwindi and Volcanoes improvise comfortable bamboo stretcher beds with wooden handles and creatively built steel-base, sedan chairs with handles. Upon these structures, persons with disabilities can be ferried by four able-bodied men into a part of the forest where gorillas are dwelling. In the interest of safety, the sedan chair has functional seat belts.
- What type of accommodation can one expect?
Following Rwanda’s rebranding as a high end destination, most accommodation options in volcanoes National Park have upgraded their facilities to meet the needs of a luxury traveller. Uganda on the other hand has vast options for all kinds of travellers, up-market, mid-range and budget.
- Is it safe to go gorilla trekking?
For over two decades, Democratic Republic of Congo has been faced with on-and-off guerilla wars. As such, most clients prefer trekking in Uganda and Rwanda because they are safe to visit, even with family. This safety has been reinforced through the creation of Police units that specifically focuses on the safety of tourists. They are called Tourism Police.
Do you have any other inquiries about gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Congo and Uganda, Gazelle Safari Company is just an email away, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having been organizing trips to the three countries for close to a decade, we have all the answers you are looking for.