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Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda/Uganda

Gorilla Trek gorillatrek2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to see the Gorillas, the best spots to see Gorillas are Rwanda, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Currently, there is some unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo making Rwanda and Uganda the focus of this post.

When looking at the different tours, you will read about the following locations:
• Rwanda: Kigali (Capital)
• Uganda: Kampala (Capital); Kabale and Kisora are towns in Southwest Uganda where various lodgings are located

There are 790 mountain gorillas in the world.

Where are the Gorillas and Chimpanzees located in Uganda and Rwanda?

The following information below summarizes where travelers can find Gorillas and Chimpanzee in Uganda and Rwanda.

Rwanda

Gorillas: Parc National des Volcans (PNV)
Chimpanzees: Nyungwe Forest

Uganda

Gorillas: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park
Chimpanzees: Kibale forest, Budongo Forest , Ngamba Island, Kyambura Gorge,

The Virunga mountains are composed of three different parks: Parc National des Volcans (120 km2), Mgahinga National Park (33km2) and Virunga National Park (7,800 km2), which is located in the Congo.

Of the 790 mountain gorillas left in the world, 380 are located in the Virunga mountains.

Another half of the gorillas live in Bwindi National Forest.

When should I visit Uganda and/or Rwanda?

You can visit any time of year, but there is a short wet season from March to April and October to November.

How much do permits cost in Uganda (Bwindi/Mgahinga) and Rwanda(Parc des Volcanoes)?

For foreign visitors, the fees are the following:
• Parc des Volcanoes: $750 per person per day
• Bwindi Impenetrable Forest: $500 per person per day
• Mgahinga National park: $500 per person per day

Should I visit Uganda and/or Rwanda?

Rwanda

The main attraction is Parc National des Volcans (PNV). The advantage of PNV relative to the parks in Uganda is that the Gorillas are lot easier to see. Within only an hour or two, you will see the Gorillas. The forest is also a lot less dense because of the volcanic area making it easier to great pictures.

For those looking for a longer adventure in Rwanda, you will most likely visit the following places or an activity:
• Nyungwe Forest. (See Chimpanzees)
• Lake Kivu
• Climb up Visoke/Muhavura

From my research, everyone raves about the experience of seeing the Gorillas. You don’t hear a lot of people talking about hiking up the volcano or visiting Lake Kivu.

I think if people are looking to spend more time in the area that they spend that time in Uganda.

Uganda

Most people visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and/or Mgahinga National park: Of the two, it appears that Bwindi is the more popular of the two parks.

From my research, it is a bit of hike to travel to the Gorillas in Bwindi National Park. It is much easier to visit the Gorillas in Rwanda. If you are not up for a 2 to 8 hour hike in the dense forest, it might be best to see the Gorillas in Rwanda.

Outside of these forests, there are lots of popular places to visit:
• Queen Elizabeth National Park (SW Uganda)
• Kabale National Forest (place to visit the Chimpanzees on North End of Queen Elizabeth National Park)
• Murchison Falls National Park (NW Uganda)
• Lake Mburo National Park (SW Uganda)

Since Murchison Falls National Park is the most removed from the other parks, it is often excluded in shorter Uganda trips.

Within the Mgahinga National Park area, there are also number of activities:
• Climbing Muhavura Volcano
• Climbing Gahinga Volcano
• Visit to Sabinyo Gorge
• Climbing Sabinyo Volcano
• Hiking in Mgahinga to the viewpoint and Garama Cave

These above options are often utilized when a tour company offers back to back Gorilla treks, and some individuals might want to skip going on the Gorilla trek to save money on the permits or are not interested in seeing more Gorillas.

How do the cost of tours vary?

The cost of permits adds considerably to all of the tour costs. There is also variation in the quality of the lodging from budget to moderate to luxury.

Diversity of tours in Rwanda is more limited than in Uganda as there are fewer national parks to view.
http://www.seethegorillas.com/gorilla_tracking.html ($4000; 8 days; 3 Days viewing Gorillas; Bwindi and Volcan; Luxury Lodges)
http://www.gorillasafari.net/primate-safari.html ($2,950 (Budget); $4,490 (Luxury); 7 days; Kyambura Gorge; Bwindi; Volcan)
http://www.safarigorilla.com/mountain-gorilla-trekking.html ($2,486; 5 days; 2 Day Gorilla; Bwindi and Volcan; Budget; $2,900 for Luxury)
http://www.gorillatours.com/gorilla-tours/our-tours/4-days-gorillas-and-volcanoes.html ($1,940; 4 Days; 2 Days Gorilla; Bwindi and Volcan; Budget; $2,400 If Luxury)
http://gorillasafariholidays.com/ ($1,992; 5 Days; 2 Days Gorilla; Bwindi and Volcan; Budget; $2,290 if Luxury)
http://www.seethegorillas.com/uganda_safari.html ($2000; 4 days; 2 Days Gorilla; Bwindi; Drive from Rwanda to Bwindi and back; Luxury Lodges)
http://www.volcanoessafaris.com/safaris/4-day-uganda/dates-and-prices/ ($2,650; 4 days; 1 Day of Gorilla; Bwindi; Uganda)

While I did not get a price, there were also 1 day and 2 day trips that can be done to see the Gorillas for a lot less of the price:
http://www.gorillasafari.net/gorilla-trekking-3-days.html ($890 (Budget); $1,690 (Luxury); 3 days; Bwindi; Start in Kampala or Fortportal) – quoted $350 for permit so price might right to $500 if travel later
http://www.rwandagorillassafari.com/rwanda/mountain-gorilla-trekking.html (2 Day Rwanda; 1 Day Gorilla)
http://www.rwandagorillassafari.com/rwanda/short-gorilla-trip-1day.html (1 Day Gorilla; Rwanda)
http://www.safarigorilla.com/gorilla-trekking-chimpanzee.html (5 days; 1 day Gorilla; 1 day Queensland; 1 Day Chimpaneze in the Gorge)

What would I choose?

While I don’t know if I need to see Gorillas in 2 days in 2 separate locations, I would definitely like to visit both Rwanda and Uganda.
I would like to do a Gorilla Trek and see Chimpanzee.
I would most likely to join this trip to Kenya and/or Tanzania for one epic East Africa trip.

Other Interesting Articles:
http://www.magic-safari.com/feature/detail.php?fid=8 (Chimpanzees in Kibale National Park
http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/planatrip/inspire-me/lists/10-of-the-best-places-to-see-gorillas?page=all (Best Spots to see Gorillas in the World)