WHERE SHOULD I TREK GORILLAS-UGANDA OR RWANDA

There has been a lot of debate about gorilla trekking in Rwanda as compared to Uganda and which country offers the best in terms of tracking experience and photography. The truth is that the current gorilla census has put the number of these endangered primates to only 720 individuals remaining. Of these half of them are located in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The other half is located and found in the virunga ranges that is shared and conserved by three countries which include Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National Park) and Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park.

Those who have trekked in both countries Uganda and Rwanda have expressed varying views and what we have here are not necessarily the truth but is based on peoples opinions.

Drive time to the gorillas

Rwanda gorilla tracking is boosted by a short drive time of approximately three hours from the Airport to Volcanoes National Park where these gorillas are located. To the contrary, Uganda Gorillas are located approximately nine to ten hours drive from Entebbe International Airport to Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park. This therefore leaves Rwanda on an advantage compared to Uganda in terms of drive time. Most clients have however urged that this long journey from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is full of buaetiful scenic views, stopovers at the equator and ofcourse the kigezi rolling hills.

Price of gorilla Permits

Gorilla Permits for trekking in Rwanda are now at United States dollar seven hundred and fifty (USD750.00) while in Uganda one gorilla permit to trek gorillas in Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park is at United States Dollars five hundred (USD500.00). This therefore means that gorilla tracking in Rwanda is more expensive compared to gorilla trekking in Uganda. Once can save one hundred and fifty dollars if He tracks in Uganda and can use it to track chimpanzees in Kibale National Park. Uganda is yet to revise its prices so we wait and see.

Mountain Gorilla Family Allocation

In Rwanda, gorilla families and permits are allocated depending on age, physical fitness of tourists and interests. This is done after briefing where were those that are stronger and adventurous are allocated hard families while those that are weak, elderly and less physically fit are allocated to groups that are near by and easier to trek. In Uganda, the situation is different. Gorilla permits and groups are allocated on a first come first serve basis with out putting into consideration, age, physical fitness and other important variables. This makes Rwanda gorilla tracking more flexible than that in Uganda.

Gorilla Viewing and Photography

Gorillas in Uganda more especially in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are located in a forest which have been termed as impenetrable and this has sometimes resulted into poor visibility and photography opportunities due to tall grass. That not withstanding however, some gorilla families such as Nshongi in Rushaga have been very excellent in as far as photography is concerned. Others such as Rushegura have been described as being social and thus easier to view. In Rwanda, dorminant vegetation is bamboo with short grass which has made it better in terms of viewing and photography.

Gorilla Lodges and Accommodation Compared.

Uganda has many accommodation options in its four trail heads of Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo. In every section of the park, you find at least two upmarket accommodation facilities and other choices. In Buhoma for example, you have Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Bwindi Volcano Lodge, Mahogany springs which offer up market services, In Nkuringo, Clouds Lodge is one of the best around the Park. When it comes to Rwanda, yes, there several lodes but one stands out and that is Virunga Lodge which is always full and expensive.

What you can do before or after gorilla tracking

There is no doubt that Uganda was voted the best destination by Lonely planet. Apart from mountain gorillas, Uganda is blessed by over 1008 species of birds in a size almost similar to great Britain thus making it one of the most important birding countries for Bird lovers. Uganda has the source of the mighty River Nile which is the longest river on planet earth. It is at Jinja that this river starts its three months journey to Mediterranean sea. On the nile you can do white water rafting and bung jumping. Uganda is privileged to have a portion of Lake Victoria which is the largest flesh water lake in Africa and therefore sport fishing in search of tilapia and Nile perch is an experience on any Ugandan safari. For more about Uganda highlights follow this link. Rwanda has beautiful hills, nice people, golden monkeys but can not compare with Uganda.

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