Most travelers who want to go gorilla trekking opt for either a trek in Uganda or Rwanda as they are two of the three countries with the remaining population of mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking Uganda Vs Rwanda is a top debate for those who want to make a decision on where to go gorilla tracking, an experience that many have experienced as one of the best safari moments.
For the fact, both Uganda gorilla tracking safaris and Rwanda gorilla tours offer lifetime experiences. Since we plan gorilla safaris, we know best and here we do not offer a conclusive view on whether you should take a Uganda gorilla trekking safari or gorilla trekking in Rwanda. We give you an insight into what it is like to trek gorillas in both countries such that you can choose what is best;
Uganda is home to more than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. It hosts the single largest gorilla population without about 19 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
In Bwindi forest tourists who would also love to learn more about gorillas can undertake a gorilla habituation experience that can’t be found anywhere else. In Uganda still, tourists can trek mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Unlike Rwanda, Uganda offers at least a lesser cost for foreign residents and East African citizens. This makes it easier for residents to trek gorillas.
Each permit is valid for individuals above 15 years of age and can be used for a single trek. A maximum of 1 hour is allowed for trekkers to be in the presence of the Mountain Gorillas.
The disadvantage with the Uganda gorilla habitats is that they are distant from the national airport and therefore require a long drive on a safari vehicle to get to the park. It’s about 470km to reach Bwindi and this lasts more than 8 hours, therefore, you need a whole day to reach the park and another to return.
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
In terms of accessibility, Rwanda is better than Uganda because Rwanda is a small country, and easier to reach the gorilla habitat in a short time. Volcanoes National Park is a favorable trekking destination since it’s just 2 hours from the airport which is not the same as other national parks. This is an advantage to those travelers who want to take a short trip like a 1 day and 2 days gorilla safari.
Rwanda is home to about 10 habituated gorilla families in the Volcanoes National Park which is the only habitat for these elusive giants in the land of a thousand hills. Trekking gorillas in Rwanda costs US$ 1500 for a permit.
Though expensive than Uganda, Rwanda has more to do with gorilla conservation history that travelers love to engage with. The famous primatologist Dian Fossey did her research in Rwanda and a research center was established there. Visiting this research center helps learn more about gorillas and the conservation story as well.
The Mountain gorilla population of Volcanoes National Park is said to move for shorter distances than those in Bwindi Forest. For intending trekkers who would not wish to trek for long, then Rwanda is that high-end option.
Uganda Vs Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Best time
The best time of the year for gorilla trekking safaris in both Uganda and Rwanda is during the dry season months of June – August, and December – February which makes it easy to go through the trails.
When trails are drier, gorilla trekking is easy since trails are passable and the park is accessible. It is best advisable to track gorillas during the dry season since it’s easy to trek gorillas as well as view wildlife.
However, the dry season is actually the peak or high season therefore early booking is recommendable since permits can easily get fully booked as well as accommodation.
The advantage of trekking gorillas in the dry season is that you have the advantage of trekking through the jungle when it is not very damp and slippery.
If you want to do more than just gorilla trekking on your African holiday, Uganda is a better option than Rwanda. Unlike Rwanda, Uganda offers big game safaris on open savanna as well as a much wider array of experiences and a bigger variety of landscapes to explore than its more compact neighbor. Uganda Wildlife tours are available all year round and can be tailored to your gorilla holiday depending on the travelers’ interest.