Why Go For A Double Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga?
There are a limited number of mountain gorillas remaining on the globe about 500 of them and Uganda is home to more than a half of these amazing primates with about 14 habituated gorilla families, the rest of the gorillas in the wild are not habituated, and therefore marked not safe for tourists to visit as they can be a threat to tourists.
These are four different gorilla families you can see when you visit and they are Nkuringo, Rushaga, Ruhija, and Rushaga gorilla families.
The Bwindi impenetrable national park is Africa’s premium destination for gorilla trekking and a must-visit destination since most African travelers are yearning for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What is double gorilla trekking about?
Trekking Gorillas twice or double gorilla trekking is where you are allowed and able to visit the gorillas and trek more than one time on/her Uganda gorilla safari.
There has been an increasing interest in gorilla trekking from our clients we have taken steps to recommend our double gorilla trekking Uganda packages for the maximum trekking experience. Furthermore, when you do the double gorilla trek, you can have the chance to visit and see gorillas of different families. Double gorilla trekking is equally rewarding to the visitors who have only a little time for their visit.
It is possible to do a gorilla trek even when you have a minimum of four days for your trip whether you are from Kigali or Entebbe airport. Depending on the tourists’ preference, a double trekking experience is possible to do even during this time.
What do you need to do twice on a Gorilla trek in Uganda?
Trekking Gorilla twice in Uganda would not require much actually as you might think and worry no more about it because all you need is to have secured double gorilla trekking permits as each trek you make needs an independent gorilla permit.
If you are doing double trekking, you will have to then think about securing yourself two gorilla permits for this because the number of treks you choose to do directly corresponds with the number of permits you will need. Each trekking permit will cost you 700USD, making it 1400USD for a double trekking experience.
Comparing Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: THE DIFFERENCES.
In Uganda, mountain gorillas live in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park whereas, in Rwanda, they live in Volcanoes national park while in the DRC, you can trek for them in Virunga national park.
Of the three destinations for mountain gorilla trekking, Uganda surpasses them because it hosts more than half of the remaining population of mountain gorillas in the world. In addition, Uganda has two destinations (Bwindi and Mgahinga) where you can do the activity unlike Rwanda and the DRC where each of them has only one destination.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is the world’s prime mountain gorilla trekking destination. Due to the biodiversity of the park, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1994.
Bwindi is home to over 400 mountain gorillas and this makes it home to the largest population of mountain gorillas.
There are about 14 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi national park while Mgahinga has 2 habituated gorilla families, with the second one that recently shifted from Rwanda, hence Bwindi attracting more people.
It is however important to note that for both Bwindi and Mgahinga, not more than 8 people are allowed to visit a gorilla family daily. In the past Mgahinga was ignored even further because it had only one gorilla group ( Nyakagezi), that kept on moving between the three countries, up until later when it was joined by another.
More habituated gorilla families also imply that there are more gorilla trekking permits available to trek for these awesome giants in Bwindi compared to those available to trek in Mgahinga Gorilla national park.
Currently, Uganda Wildlife Authority avails more than 140 gorilla permits daily for the activity and only 16 permits for this in Mgahinga.
Mountain gorillas live in hilly areas. Mgahinga national park is part of the Virunga Conservation Area located on the lower slopes of three extinct volcanoes; Gahinga, Sabyinyo, and Muhabura. It is the smallest national park in Uganda with an area of about 34sq km. Bwindi is also situated on a steep mountainous area with numerous hilltops and valleys. It occupies an area of 321sq km. gorilla trekking can be strenuous in both parks. Bwindi offers more options for guests to choose whether they prefer shorter hikes or longer and steeper ones because of the variety of gorillas in different areas which may not be the case in Mgahinga.
At the moment, gorilla habituation is only done in Bwindi impenetrable national park. This is another advantage that Bwindi has over Mgahinga.
While Mgahinga national park has many other faunas; 76 species of mammals though most of them are not commonly seen such as bush pigs, forest elephants, buffaloes, black-fronted duikers, and side-striped jackals, and over 170 bird species in its forest, Bwindi surpasses is home to over 300 bird species and more than 220 butterfly species.
On the contrary, visitors can go volcano hiking in Mgahinga national park on any of the three volcanoes; Sabyinyo, Gahinga, or Muhabura. Each of them offers a uniquely thrilling experience. This activity is not available in Bwindi national park.
Visitors can also have a clear insight into the Batwa in both parks. The Batwa were the original keepers of these forests and lived there with the mountain gorillas for hundreds of years in harmony with the environment before they were evicted. Mgahinga national park has the Garamba and Muhavura caves where the Batwa used to keep their food, were royal houses, and also gathered there when preparing for war.
In Bwindi, you can encounter these Batwa pygmies for a cultural experience that involves traditional dances, practices, and lifestyles. The Batwa in Mgahinga can be allowed to guide visitors through the Batwa trail Mgahinga whereas the Batwa experience in Bwindi only takes place outside the park. However, each of the experiences is beautiful and worth the experience
Mgahinga and Bwindi national parks are both located in the far southwestern part of Uganda. This means that they are situated close to many other national parks where you can enjoy many other wildlife activities in Uganda, you can do gorilla trekking in any of the two parks and later on transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale National Park, or Lake Mburo National Park for more interesting adventures, not forgetting Lake Bunyonyi. Thereafter, you can as well proceed to Rwanda or the DRC for many other different activities such as Rwanda city walk, and visiting the genocide memorial sites since they are in the neighborhood.
Getting to Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks
Both road and air transport can be used to reach Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks. From Kampala, the distance by road is shorter to Bwindi than to Mgahinga. It takes 8 to 9 hours to Bwindi and 10 to 11 hours to Mgahinga.
However, if you’d like to skip the long drive, you can choose to fly into Kigali airport where our driver-guide picks you up and you connect by road to southern Uganda, which takes about 5 hours to Mgahinga and about 7 hours to Bwindi national park.
By air, visitors can fly from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi to Kahihi airstrip and connect to Bwindi and this takes less than 3 hours to reach the park. A flight from Entebbe or Kajjansi to Kisoro airstrip takes about an hour and a half and thereafter, driving from Kisoro takes about 2 and a half hours.
Sample 4 Days Double Gorilla Trekking Experience Plan
Day 1: Depart from Kampala, stopover at the Equator for photography at the world’s centerline.
Continue with the journey to the western Uganda highlands till Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Arrive and check in at a booked hotel near the park. Accommodation is based on the allocated sector for trekking.
Day 2: After early morning breakfast, head to the park headquarters for a briefing from the park guides. Thereafter head to the jungle for gorilla trekking that starts at 8:00 am.
A forest trek lasts about 2 to 4 hours or more depending on where the mountain gorillas have spent their night.
After meeting with the gorillas, you spend a maximum of an hour in the presence of the gorillas, after which you trek back to the start point.
Remember to carry some drinking water and snacks or foods to keep you energized. You then receive a congratulatory certificate at the park headquarters and then transfer to the hotel or lodge for an overnight stay. This will depend on your preference either within the same park or to Mgahinga.
Day 3: From the lodge, you will follow the previous day’s procedure and go for the second gorilla trekking experience. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: On the last day of the trip, have breakfast then return to Kampala. The drive lasts more than 8 hours and therefore you will have lunch. Arrive in Kampala in the evening for drop off at a hotel or place of residence.