Compare gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga NP
- March 5, 2015
- Posted by: Africa Safaris
- Category: Travel News
Its common knowledge that gorilla trekking takes place in two national parks in Uganda. These two national parks are Bwindi and Mgahinga. Other places that provide an opportunity for gorilla trekking are Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda as well as Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo. That notwithstanding, before you decide to book a gorilla tour in Uganda, you need to convince yourself that you have made the right decision on where to trek these gorillas. Its for this reason that we are comparing gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is UNESCO world heritage centre located in south western Uganda in the districts of Kisoro, Kanungu and Kabale. It is a home to over 400 individuals of the rare mountain gorillas. This number has put Bwindi Impenetrable National Park on world map as the only park having almost half of the total number of mountain gorillas in the whole world.
Mgahinga National Park on the other hand is located on the extreme south-western side of Uganda in the district of Kisoro. This National park is part of the three parks that are located in the virunga ranges that separate or join three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Compared to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga has very few mountain gorilla families compared to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This has inturn put it on a disadvantage when it comes to gorilla trekking experience.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has over eleven habituated gorilla families in total compared to only one habituated gorilla family in Mgahinga National park. Please note that if you decide to trek in Mgahinga, then the family will be Nyakagezi but if you decided to track gorillas in Bwindi, then you may choose to trek in the north (Buhoma) and families available for you in the north are Mubare (the oldest and first family to be habituated in Bwindi) Habinyanja as well as Rushegura, you can trek gorillas in the east populary known as Ruhija side and you will have a chance to either visit Kyaguriro, Oruzongo or Bitukura families. If you choose the southern part then get assured that you will visit Nkuringo or Rushaga to trek familes such as Nkuringo or Busingye, Nshongi, Kahungye, Bweza respectively.
Bwindi Impenetrable national Park is the only place where mountain gorillas stay with chimpanzees in the whole world as such it is an experience to trek gorillas in Bwindi. Bwindi is rich in terms of Birds and twent five species are endemic species making it better than Mgahinga if one is a birder. Mgahinga National park is the only park in Uganda where mountain gorillas co-exist with golden monkeys. What a chance to trek golden monkeys and mountain gorillas in the same place.
Both Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be accessed by road or Air. You can assess Mgahinga using services of fly Uganda or Aerolink scheduled flights to Kisoro Airstrip. The flight is about an hour or so from where you can then transfer by road to your accommodation facility. Kisoro Airstrip severs both Mgahinga and the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. On the other side the north and southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Buhoma and Ruhija respectively) can be assessed by air through Kihihi Airstrip followed by road transfers to respective lodges. If driving from Kampala, you will pass through Mbarara, Kabale to Kisoro and then to Mgahinga National park. This is the same route used by those tracking in the southern side of Bwindi Impenetrable National park as well. Should you be trekking gorillas in the north and east of Bwindi, then you can branch off from Ntungamo then to Kagaba to Rukungiri, Kihihi and then to
Butogota and then Buhoma. For ruhija, you can path through Kabale as well. If you do not mind, you can branch of from Mbarara and follow the kasese road, turn to the left before katuguru and follow the Ishasha road which will take you to Kihihi and then to Buhoma as above. In all instances, you can use a private car or public means but the problem is that with public transport, there is a problem with time management as well as transfers to and from the bus parks. We therefore highly recommend that you avoid public transport means.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park provides several accommodation options in all sides of the forest. You will find budget, mid range or up market lodges options and then you decide accordingly. In Mgahinga, there few options to choose from as the only up market lodge is the Gahinga Lodge only. Other options are located in Kisoro town.
Bwindi impenetrable National Park is closer to other national parks where you can combine and have a memorable experience. Queen Elizabeth National park is kust 2 hours drive from the north of Bwindi and tourists can connect these two national parks for game drives in search for the tree climbing lions in Ishasha or the popular boat cruise on Kazinga channel that has the highest concentration of hippos in the whole world. For primate lovers, you can as well trek chimps in Chambura gorge or drive further to Kibale National park a place that has been described as the best to trek habituated chimpanzees in the whole world.