Visiting the gorillas is something that many travelers and adventures are excited about and looking to try out. The best countries to visit for gorilla trekking are Uganda and Rwanda and there is absolutely no argument about that. But the question a lot of people end up asking is:
Which country is best? Uganda or Rwanda?
We can quite definitely pick which one is best, but we can compare the two and let you choose which one will be best for you. There are a number of factors that you need to consider as you choose the perfect gorilla trekking destination for you.
Both countries require you to purchase a gorilla permit before you can go gorilla tracking. Gorilla permits in Uganda are 600 USD each, while in Rwanda permits are 1500 USD each.
All round pricing of a 3 day gorilla safari in Uganda is almost the same as the price of a 3 day gorilla safari in Rwanda. The difference is that there are more activities to add to your safari in Uganda.
Time and travel:
The main entry point into Uganda is Entebbe international airport. It is a 9-10 hour drive from Entebbe international airport to Bwindi impenetrable forest and to one of the four starting points for gorilla trekking in the thick rainforest. You can charter a flight to Bwindi Impenetrable forest at an added cost of course. You will either have access to Rusahga and Nkuringo in the north of the Bwindi impenetrable forest or Buhoma and Ruhija in the south. If you choose to travel by road, however, you will need three days for gorilla tracking. The good thing is you can add many more things to do on your trip such as chimpanzee trekking, golden monkey tracking, game viewing, a dug out canoe safari or enjoy some cultural tourism.
In Rwanda, gorilla tracking is a 3-4 hour drive from the airport in Kigali. A two day safari is ideal in Rwanda. You can visit one wildlife park probably Akagera national park and go chimpanzee or golden monkey tracking in addition to the gorilla tracking, or explore Kigali and visit the memorial center.
The tracking experience
Gorilla tracking in Uganda in Bwindi impenetrable forest seems to require more physical fitness and stamina. The forest is very thick and takes more physical effort to track the gorillas through it. It for most people this makes the experience more exciting. Tracking the gorillas is just as thrilling as or even more thrilling than finally seeing the gorillas up close.
In Rwanda on the other hand, gorilla tracking is done on the side of a volcano, and the tracking is a bit easier. On a Rwanda gorilla trek, you are assigned a group based on your physical abilities.
Viewing and photography:
Bwindi impenetrable forest is quite dark for if you want to take pictures, but whether you get good pictures depends on a number of factors such as the family you are visiting, and the location. But it is very possible to get good pictures of the gorillas within the impenetrable forest, many have done it before.
In Rwanda, you will be climbing up the side of a volcano, tracking through the vegetation might be a little challenging but you will still get a clear view of the gorillas and some pictures as well. So whether its Rwanda or Uganda, you will see the gorillas just fine, and will be able to take good pictures.
Safari lodging in both countries is quite good. In fact it is very good.
In Uganda there are a number of lodges and camps site located near Bwindi Impenetrable forest and in the nearby towns, many of them over look the forest. There is something for everyone, up-market, and budget lodges, so you can select one according to your budget and preference
For the most part, accommodation in Rwanda is found in town.
Mountain gorilla population: which country has more mountain gorillas?
The mountain gorilla population in the African wild is over 880. Some of these are in Democratic Republic of Congo, some in Rwanda and some in Uganda. 1/3 of the 880 gorilla sis found in Rwanda, and 480 of them, which is more than half are found in Uganda. 400 in Bwindi impenetrable forest and 80 in Mgahinga gorilla national park.
There are 10 groups of habituated gorillas in Rwanda, one in Mgahinga gorilla national park and 11 groups in Bwindi impenetrable forest. Habituated gorillas are gorillas that have adapted to human presence they are the ones that are open to visitors.
What other activities that can be done in addition to gorilla trekking in either country?
Each country has more to offer than the gorilla tracking experience.
In Rwanda you can go chimpanzee tracking, or golden monkey tracking. You can also go on the Nyungwe forest canopy walk, visit Akagera national park, or hike the Congo trail in addition to tracking gorillas.
In Uganda, there is a host of things to do as well. you can chimpanzee tracking, visit some of the game parks such as Queen Elizabeth national park and go on game viewing drives, or bird watching, see some tree climbing lions, go white water rafting on the Nile, enjoy some mountain climbing and enjoy a bit of cultural tourism. Both countries are destinations rich with tourist sites and activities. So you can go for your gorilla safari in whichever one feels right and more adventurous for you. We here at insight safari holidays can plan a trip for you to either country and do our best to make sure it is fun and memorable.