Difference between gorillas in Volcanoes national park and Gorillas in Bwindi national park

The difference between Gorillas in Volcanoes national park and Bwindi Impenetrable national park mainly guides visitors on which of the 2 countries they can choose from to visit for gorilla trekking experience given that the two national parks are only affiliated with location and structural difference. Gorilla trekking in both Bwindi and Volcanoes national parks has the same process and even if go to only one of the 2 parks, they would still have incredible memories about gorilla trekking in East Africa. Uganda and Rwanda are the only 2 East African countries that offer travellers an opportunity to meet the most endangered gorilla species in the whole world. Uganda has the most gorillas with about half of the remaining gorilla population in the world and they are shared in 2 national parks that is to say Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park while Rwanda hosts a quarter of these remaining gorillas keeping in mind the that population of gorillas grows faster each year in both the parks.

Apart from Uganda and Rwanda, another gorilla trekking destination in Africa is the Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo making them the only 3 wild mountain gorilla trekking destinations in the whole wide and all the 3 countries offer the same gorilla trekking experiences. Although there is some belief that mountain gorillas in Bwindi forest and Volcanoes national park are the same, gorillas in both destinations carry some differences as witnessed in the provided reasons below;

Research has it that, the 2 national parks possess different types of gorillas. The Bwindi gorillas look a lot like the lowland gorillas in relation to their body structure and occupancy even though they inhabit in mountainous terrains with varying altitudes.  The gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park have shorter bodies with blacker hair and brownish tints under the sun. They have a bare skin below their eyes in a fine folding way and they do not have dorsi-nasal cleft while the gorillas in Volcanoes national park, given that they are on the Virunga Mountains, they have longer and bigger bodies with shorter limbs and jet-back hair mainly along their arms and longer facial hair covering their ears allowing easier conservation of heat in their bodies during the colder climate.

Unlike Bwindi impenetrable national park where the temperatures range around 23 degrees Celsius/75 degrees Fahrenheit and a drop to 11 degrees Celsius/50 degrees Fahrenheit in the night hours thus the temperatures remain consistent throughout the year given the short distance from the equator, Volcanoes national park receives a steady stream of mist and rain with high altitude making the climate both cold and wet. During day time, the temperatures in Volcanoes national park do not usually change as they range between 16 degrees Celsius and 61 degrees Celsius and in the night, temperatures cool off to about 5 degrees/43 degrees Fahrenheit. With the provided nature of climate and weather, the Bwindi Impenetrable national park gorillas eat more of fruits as compared to those in Volcanoes national park; they grow more slowly given the lower availability of vegetation in the Virunga Mountains and more consumption of fruits thus they grow more slowly affecting their diet.

The difference between the gorillas in Bwindi national park and those of Volcanoes national park is the location of the two national parks. Gorilla trekking takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park, both located in the south western part of Uganda close to both Uganda-Rwanda borders of Katuna and Cyanika. Bwindi forest is situated in Kanungu district and Bwindi forest has highest number of gorillas with half of the population of the remaining gorillas in the whole world. These gorilla families are divided in 4 gorilla trekking sectors including Buhoma, and Ruhija which are found in the northern region and Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors in the southern region of the park. All these gorilla families have large numbers of members from about 10 to 45 members inclusive the babies and the head of the family called a silverback gorilla. Whilst it is noted that gorilla trekking happens in Volcanoes national park, the park is located in the North western part of Rwanda that is Musanze/Ruhengeri district. The park is closely borders by Uganda and Congo and sharing the Virunga Mountains thus it is most likely that the gorillas can cross borders for example a recent situation happened that the Rwanda gorillas crossed to Uganda in Mgahinga Gorilla national. Volcanoes national park shares the other half of gorillas with Virunga national park in Congo.

The difference between Bwindi forest national park and Volcanoes national park comes as a result of gorilla trekking permits. Gorilla trekking permits in Bwindi Impenetrable national park are cheaper as compared to Volcanoes national park. For visitors with quite a lower budget can visit the gorillas in Bwindi national park because a gorilla permit costs $700 per person for Foreign non-resident category, Foreign resident category pay $600 and East African residents pay 250,000 UGX while a gorilla permit in Volcanoes national park costs $1,500 per person for all categories. Bwindi Impenetrable national park allows visitors to experience the habituation process of gorillas at a fee of $1,500 per person, however, this habituation experience is not offered in Volcanoes national park.

The distance taken to reach both parks is very important for visitors to take note while deciding on which national park to trek gorillas. The distance covered to access Bwindi Impenetrable national park takes about 540kms that is about 8-9 hours driving from Kampala/Entebbe International airport. The drive is adventurous with a lot to see in the country side including the Uganda Equator and changing geographical landscape. Unlike Bwindi national park, Volcanoes national park is easily accessed from Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city and it takes about 2-3 hours driving on a zigzag road with high traffic monitoring. Visitors afraid of long hour drives from Kampala – the capital city of Uganda, can access Bwindi Impenetrable national park from Kigali through one of the borders. It takes about 4 to 5 hours driving from Kigali to Bwindi impenetrable national park. Crossing to both countries has been made easier through the East African Tourist Visa which allows visitors to cross to both countries with a single tourists Visa which is valid of 90 days. The East African Visa costs $100 for all foreigners visiting East Africa with exception of Tanzania.

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park is more adventurous as it involves quite difficult hiking trials which are difficult to penetrate given the location of the gorillas, so the rangers usually move with cutting equipment to pave way for visitors to enter the impenetrable forest. Finding the gorillas in Bwindi forest is quite difficult as it takes longer hours see them as compared to Volcanoes national park where the trails are quite steep and rocky. Gorillas are much easier to find in this park. Gorilla trekking in both parks is 99% guaranteed as long as you purchase your gorilla permit in time, about 5 months before your trekking date and you avail yourself on the day of gorilla trekking.

In conclusion, the difference between gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park and gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park is similar in both. Gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi and Volcanoes is ranked as the best and most visited tourist destination in East Africa and the experience is well organized professionally with trained and knowledgeable park rangers/guides. Good communication skills with the visitors and the gorillas is key, guides in Uganda commonly speak English while those in Volcanoes speak English and French as foreign languages. Both national parks have well developed accommodation facilities ranging from budget to luxury safari lodges depending on your travel budget for a gorilla safari. Book a trip to either Bwindi Impenetrable national park or Volcanoes national park and enjoy the same experience of gorilla trekking in East Africa.

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