When people learn about the endangered mountain gorillas the quick question that comes to their mind is where they can be found and the rest of the procedure. This is not hard to know and choose which place you will choose to tract the gorillas. The mountain gorillas are found in just three countries: Uganda, Rwanda, DRC.
Oka now we know that gorillas can be found in just three countries, so where do you go? May be the question now is depend on price and what you want to experience on your safari other than the gorillas. A gorilla permit in Uganda costs just $600 compared to $1500 in Rwanda and $450 in DRC. DRC looks cheaper than Rwanda and Uganda but we all know there mere mention of that name one would think of instability and civil wars. DRC is not insecure but also I can’t say it’s secure. Because we don’t have certainty about security in DRC the choice is now between Rwanda and Uganda.
There is a price difference between the two but that’s not a big issue because we all want and have differences in preferences on a safari. One would prefer to pay the $1500 for a single permit in Rwanda may be because they will have a direct flight to UK from Kigali than Entebbe.
Other than price let’s look at the possible spots for gorilla tracking in both Uganda and Rwanda and leave the choice up to you.
Bwindi Impenetrable national Park
Probably this is the most common place for mountain gorillas tracking. I think what makes it famous is the fact that it has about 4 starting points for tracking gorillas of which each point has an average of 3 groups to track. This 3 days Uganda gorilla safari package will give you a short trek in this remarkable gorilla destination.
There three gorilla groups in Ruhija that are habituated for gorilla trekking. These are Bitukura, Oruzogo and Kyaguriro which used to be reserved for research but nowadays have been opened up for trekking. Ruhija region is located in the eastern part of the forest is the second most preferred region after Buhoma due to the fact that with Ruhija, one can choose to stay in Ruhija or Buhoma or Kabale and manage to make it to the starting point of gorilla trekking. The road connecting Buhoma to Ruhija has been in a sorry state most especially during rainy season and as such it should be avoided. Those insisting on staying in Buhoma and are looking at tracking gorillas in Ruhija should ensure that they have 4 x 4 vehicles to cater for any eventualities. From Entebbe to Ruhija is about 10hours .
Buhoma Section is easy to access from Kampala compared to other regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Its approximately 550 kms from Kampala and 8-9 hours drive from Kampala to Buhoma. Buhoma is closer to Queen Elizabeth National Park more especially the southern sector popularly known as Ishasha. From gorillas, one can take 2 hours to Queen Elizabeth National Park (Ishasha Sector) to have an opportunity of viewing wildlife which may include the popular tree climbing Lions or drive up to 4 hours to Mweya section of Queen Elizabeth National Park for the popular boat cruise on Kazinga channel that has been praised for having the highest concentration of hippos in the whole world. Buhoma has a wide range of accommodation to choose from that’s why even people who track Ruhija sometimes prefer to sleep at Buhoma
Rushaga region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has more gorilla family options than any region in this forest. There five habituated gorilla families that include Nshongyi, Mishaya, Kahungye, Busingye and Bweza. With such a variety of gorilla families in one region, it is very easily to get gorilla permits in this region, ask for the best gorilla family depending on your interests such as your physical fitness among others. For those wishing to trek more that once, you have all it takes to change from one gorilla family to another. This should therefore give you all the reasons why you should trek gorillas in Rushaga region.
Nkuringo: When tracking nkuringo gorillas, you have an opportunity of doing other activities in the forest or the surrounding local community. Nkuringo walking safari is yet another opportunity to explore the forest and nearby community on foot. If you are a nature lover, a forest walk from Buhoma side to the Nkuringo side of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is rewarding. While in Nkuringo, you can walk to Lake Mutanda and to Kisoro town. If you have sometime, you can continue to Mgahinga national park for volcano hiking as well. A combination of walks and Nkuringo gorilas makes this part of the forest worth visiting.
The other unique point about Nkuringo gorillas is that they can be trekked from Rwanda and Uganda. Nkuringo is surprisingly close to Rwanda than Uganda if driving from Entebbe. If driving from Kigali, one will take approximately 6-7 hours while the one driving from Entebbe International Airport may take up to 10 hours on the road. From Kigali, you pass through the northern part of this tiny country as if going to Volcanoes National Park. You continue to Chanika Uganda Rwanda boarder and then to Nkuringo via Kisoro town. From Entebbe International Airport, one has to pass via the Equator, to Mbarara, Kabale and onwards to Nkuringo.
Mgahinga Gorilla National park
Mgahinga has fewer families. People who are interested in hiking will find pleasure in tracking gorillas in Mgahinga. It’s also has mountain gorillas so if you are tracking you have higher changes of meeting these rare primates also but you may also pay about $50 to track them. The advantage with Mgahinga is that it has less traffic and therefore you are sure to have the gorillas all by yourself and take all sorts of shorts with your camera.
Rwanda gorilla trekking tours take place in Volcanoes national park, a part of the large Virunga conservation in Musanze town which is a 90 minutes drive from Kigali city at the base of the park entrance. The town is boarded with fascinating and stunning backdrops of the Virunga mountains including Mikeno volcano, Bisoke volcano, Karisimbi volacano, Sabyinyo volcano, Mgahinga volcano and Muhabura volcano. The town can be accessed from Kigali by both private and public means of transport.
If you are hoping to make a gorilla visit to this part of Rwanda, you can either hire a tour company like us to do your safri however if you intend to visit on your own, will need to arrange own transport from Kigali to Musanze town near the park boundaries, while here you can actaully walk on foot to the gorilla starting point of meeting with the ranger guides. While at Musanze you can easily access Gisenyi town within a 45-minute drive away, Gisenyi is close to Rwanda-Congo boarder (Goma) and its where to find the stunning Lake Kivu.
Book this 3 days Rwanda gorilla safari for a short experience.
That all being said, Rwanda is the best place for those that look for a laid back safari and don’t need to drive long distances but for those that look for adventure and at a lower cost, Uganda is the best place for them because the cost of just a gorilla permit in Rwanda can get you a 3 days gorilla experience in Uganda.