Gorilla Trekking Adventure Tours in Uganda and Rwanda
Only 8 persons can visit a given gorilla family per day. In Uganda, ten families have been habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP, and so can host 80 persons tacking the mountain gorillas on any day.
Rwanda can also take 80 persons per day. All else being equal, Gorilla trek Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park has a slight edge over the rest because its gorillas are the most wholly habituated, and they are often found in bamboo than the dense forest which makes photographing easier.
The major challenge with tracking gorillas in Rwanda is certainly the price of the gorilla permit at US$750 compared to Uganda’s US$600 per permit. However, Rwanda’s pride is in the ability for one to do the gorilla trek even in one day and fly back home which is impossible for Uganda.
Volcanoes National Park is located 116 km from Kigali and can be driven in just 2 hours. On the other hand, Bwindi is located 500 km from Kampala/ Entebbe Airport and a drive can take 8 hours plus. In that sense, you will spend at least 3 Days Gorilla Trek Tour – one travelling to Bwindi, another doing the gorilla trek, and the other driving back to Kampala/Entebbe. If a tour operator is making you a tour package, they shall definitely have to consider this cost and include it in your tour cost.
However, the long drive to Bwindi is quite enchanting with great sceneries all through like the Equator, Lake Mburo National Park (for some Queen Elizabeth National Park with abundant wildlife), terraced mountains with flowing rivers, and a lot of rural Africa. This is not so really the case for the drive from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park.
Some tourists have also opted for flying over from Entebbe to towns near to Bwindi (Kihihi and Kisoro) to track the gorillas. A round flight ticket costs $250 with AeroLink Uganda. In that case you will need to arrange your transfer from the airstrip to Bwindi, and back as well.
You will certainly need to spend more on transport and time to track the mountain gorillas in Uganda than it is for Rwanda although this cost is compensated for by a cheaper gorilla permit.
Besides, some sections of the roads to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are not so comfortable to drive on yet in the case of Rwanda; you drive on smooth tarmac at least up to the Volcanoes National Park head office. Not to mention though, the roads leading from Volcanoes park office to the gorilla trek trail-heads can only be accessed with a raised 4×4 vehicle.