Gorilla Safaris Africa: Rwanda Vs Uganda


Mountain gorillas only live in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and can therefore only be visited in the parks that straddle the three countries, namely the Virunga’s National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

Meeting face to face with mountain gorillas in the jungle is one the most breathtaking and unforgettable experiences for trekkers but what makes it different in the two neighbor countries.

Rwanda has more than twice the number of habituated mountain gorilla groups than Uganda, so gorilla trekking permits are typically easier to obtain. In Uganda, the mountain gorillas reside in both the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.

The cost of one gorilla trekking permit is far more affordable in Uganda at only 700USD than in Rwanda at 1500USD per day. With this comparison, in most cases the cost of the gorilla permit affects the decision of the visitor concerning where to trek gorillas from, whereby they end up choosing Uganda as their destination. However, reaching gorillas in Uganda is further and harder than in Rwanda.

Tourists can also enjoy gorilla habituation, which involves spending about 4 hours with the gorillas unlike the 1-hour experience spent while trekking gorillas in Uganda. The habituation permit costs $1500 per person per day which is better than paying $1500 in Rwanda to watch gorillas for 1 hour only.

Besides visiting the gorillas, there are other 9 National Parks to enjoy compared to Rwanda’s 4 national parks!  you can combine your gorilla trip with a visit to Kibale National Park which has the highest concentration of chimpanzees in Africa, or visit the Murchison Falls, trek Rwenzori and Mountain Elgon, go rafting on the Nile and many more.

Volcanoes National Park is situated 113.1 km from Kigali International Airport approximately a 2hours and 30minutes drive to the home of mountain gorillas. The short distance and less time spent while traveling to the home of gorillas gives Rwanda the biggest advantage over the other two countries hence it makes Rwanda the easiest option for travelers especially those that want to spend one night and have lesser activities to do while on gorilla safari holiday.

While in Uganda, it is a 9 to 10-hours’ drive from Entebbe or Kampala to Bwindi, if you are not interested in long drives, you could take a scheduled flight to the park. However, most visitors that want to enjoy gorilla trekking in Uganda usually fly into Kigali and drive 4 hours to Bwindi which is much easier.

There are many exclusive resorts in Rwanda which are also promising an increase in income for the local people who live around Volcanoes National Park, home to the mighty gorillas. This means that going for a gorilla safari in Volcanoes is one of the most expensive safari experiences, apart from the gorilla permit at $1500, also gorilla lodges are costly with lesser options. The prices are higher but they come with higher standards and unforgettable experiences. While in Uganda, a variety of lodges can easily give you the chance to enjoy the jungle.


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