Gorilla Trekking Safari Uganda Vs Rwanda

Gorilla trekking safari vs Rwanda is an article that looks at the comparison of choosing either gorilla trekking in Uganda or gorilla trekking in Rwanda, putting in consideration all the aspects there are that any traveller intending to do this once in a lifetime primate safari of gorilla trekking should do. Gorilla trekking is an activity that involves hiking the thick jungles of the rainforest that inhabit the gorillas, most a times mountainous as well, to encounter these endangered species in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking safaris have become one of the most sought after Africa safaris by travellers from world over, in a bid to encounter the world’s largest primates, mountain gorillas, which are very gentle and near-human given the 98% DNA they share with humans.

Mountain gorillas can only be found in four destinations of three countries only in the entire world, namely Virunga National Park of the Congo, Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda which all together make up the Virunga Massifs; as well as the great Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda which alone inhabits more than half the total world population of mountain gorillas with the rest being shared by the remaining mountain gorilla destinations. Gorilla trekking safaris do take place in all the three countries, with Uganda and Rwanda taking the lead of receiving more gorilla trekkers than the Congo for various reasons like the security threats in the past years that negatively impacted the tourism industry in the Congo. Travellers are therefore left with choosing between gorilla trekking in Uganda and gorilla trekking in Rwanda.

Gorilla Trekking Safari Uganda Vs Rwanda
Gorilla Trekking Safari Uganda Vs Rwanda

To help travellers make up their mind therefore, this article gorilla trekking safari Uganda vs Rwanda shall help them on deciding where to go for a gorilla trekking safari in Africa if not enjoying both of them; given the article shall look at different aspects of a gorilla trekking safari say ease of Trek, gorilla trekking price, where to stay while on a gorilla trekking safari, among others. Coming face to face with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is one of the most breath taking and unforgettable safari experiences that you shall ever have; knowing where to go, when to go, what to expect, among others are aspects that any traveller intending to take on the adventurous gorilla trekking safari should get acquainted with.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda

Gorilla trekking in Uganda mainly takes place in the most celebrated Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, most sought after by a number of tourists who do opt for gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park however also does accommodate gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda, and here travellers can actually do away with the large number of gorilla trekkers in one area given there is only one habituated gorilla family here, the Nyakagezi gorilla family. Uganda in a whole has over 450 mountain gorillas roaming through Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, making it possible to encounter mountain gorillas in any of the gorilla destinations in Uganda, and not be at risk of not encountering them.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has at least 19 fully habituated gorilla families that travellers can encounter with a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has the Nyakagezi gorilla family. Gorilla trekking in Uganda allows 8 gorilla trekkers per group per gorilla family per day, and the gorilla trekking activity is done in the presence of ranger guides. Gorilla trekking in Uganda can take anything from 30 minutes to 6 hours or more, which time is dependent on the terrain and location of the mountain gorillas. mountain gorillas do live in mountainous and rain forest areas, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park does indeed give travellers some challenges, the park doesn’t get the ’impenetrable’ status for nothing definitely; the strain is however worth it once you have encountered the mountain gorillas.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda requires one to have a gorilla permit, which now costs $700 per person per trek, with gorilla trekkers having only one hour to spend with the gorillas after which they ought to trek back. For those gorilla trekkers who would love to spend more time with the gorillas, a gorilla habituation experience would be an ideal option, giving you at least 4 hours.

Gorilla Trekking Safari Uganda Vs Rwanda
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are a far off distance from Kampala and Entebbe International Airport, having travellers enduring up to 9 hours of drive to get to the parks though it is actually a great way to experience the Ugandan countryside and make different stop overs say at the Equator. Alternatively, travellers can fly into Kisoro and various airstrips in and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to beat the long drive, or even opt for a Uganda gorilla safari from Kigali, which has travellers flying into Kigali International Airport of Rwanda and then be transferred to either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for at most 4 hours.

Asides from enjoying gorilla trekking in Uganda, there are other activities in Uganda that travellers can enjoy alongside their gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, in any of the 8 other national parks of Uganda say game viewing and boat safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park which is only 4 hours from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, or Murchison Falls National Park among others.

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda can only be done in the world famous Volcanoes National Park, from where the famous Gorillas in the Mist was filmed, and was also the base of the American primatologist Dian Fossy. Volcanoes National Park is an area of 113.1 square kilometres, making part of the Virunga Massif area which inhabits a number of mountain gorillas. Volcanoes National Park is about 2-3 hours away from Kigali International Airport, making it easily accessible with just a road drive. It is this short driving distance from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park that gives Rwanda a greater advantage over Uganda.

Volcanoes National Park has at least 12 habituated gorilla families that travellers can encounter while on a gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda. The cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda is at $1500 per person per trek, more than doubling the Uganda gorilla permit price of only $700. Rwanda markets her gorilla trekking safaris as high end, targeting mostly high end or luxury travellers most of the times. With this in mind, accommodation in Volcanoes National Park, inside and just outside the park is befitting the luxury kind of travellers, with exclusive resorts and camps that travellers can enjoy staying in while in the park.

There are a number of factors that affect decision making when choosing where to do your once in a lifetime gorilla safari. Below are some of them;

Affordable option

The most affordable option for gorilla trekking is gorilla trekking in Uganda, where a gorilla permit is at $700 per person per trek, and not the very expensive $1500 per person per trek as is in Rwanda. Also, the accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks are relatively affordable, with different ranges from super luxury accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, to mid-range and also basic or budget, thereby catering for all kinds of travellers.


Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda are quite far off from the main airport, making it a tedious journey to get to the parks on a road drive, unlike in Rwanda where Volcanoes National Park is only 2-3 hours away from Kigali. To beat the long drive from Entebbe International Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park however, one can pre-book charter flights to any of the airstrips in and around the parks say Kisoro airstrip using any of the available airlines say Aerolink Uganda; also, flying to Kigali International Airport is a much better option and then be transferred to Bwindi or Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks is another option, that most travellers re nowadays opting for to enjoy Uganda gorilla safaris from Rwanda especially after Rwanda increased her gorilla permit price in 2017.

Gorilla Trekking Safari Uganda Vs Rwanda
Mgahinga Gorillas

The Luxury traveller

Luxury travellers, after extreme luxury and exclusivity, then gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda is just the better option for you. You shall enjoy very intimate experiences given the luxurious and exclusive nature of accommodation in Volcanoes National Park. Uganda too, however, has some really amazing luxury lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park that travellers can opt to stay in while on their luxury Bwindi gorilla safari.

Ease of trek.

There is no such thing as which of the two countries give easier treks given both are rainforest areas as well as mountainous. And given the fact that mountain gorillas do live in higher altitudes, treks are most definitely going to be quite hard. That is why travellers are advised to prepare adequately for their gorilla trekking safari, mentally and physically. Physically one can do some jogging on a hilly area sometime before their travel dates.

Gorilla trekking safari Uganda vs Rwanda is one thing that most primate lovers especially gorilla trekkers do look at and wonder on which to choose from to enjoy their gorilla trekking safari. Look through, and gauge what your preferences are and budget, and then choose your gorilla destination. Irrespective of which country you do choose for your gorilla trekking safari, both Uganda and Rwanda do offer amazing and unforgettable gorilla safaris. Reach out to reputable tour operators to help you pitch together an amazing gorilla safari.

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