Gorilla Trekking; Rwanda or Uganda

Let's climb.

Gorilla Trekking; Rwanda or Uganda

Let's climb.

Seeing gorillas in the wild is arguably one of the most majestic and mesmerising experiences on this planet, but where to go?

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Where to find mountain gorillas in Africa?

Mountain gorillas only live in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the national parks that straddle these three countries. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, and Virungas National Park in the DRC.

In Rwanda, in the Volcanoes National Park, located about 3h drive from Kigali in the country's northwest. The park hosts 150 habituated gorillas split into 12 groups with several wild ones and issues 96 gorilla trekking permits every day to visitors. The oldest habituated gorillas are here.

Rwanda's recent bet for high-end low impact tourism has doubled the cost of gorilla trekking permits which are twice the cost in Uganda. This strategy has attracted the most exclusive resorts and higher-income travellers. The permits cost $1,500 per person per day.

Rwanda is peaceful, clean and safe, and there is no corruption or bribery here. Everything here is exceptionally well organised also. The prices may be noticeably higher, but so are the overall standards. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is also more accessible, with several gates to the park from the farmland surrounding it and all the facilities and infrastructure to make it a pleasant and sustainable experience. 

Rwanda Permit Price

$1,500 per person per day. A gorilla safari in Rwanda is an expensive travel experience, with two nights at a premium gorilla lodge, like Bisate Lodge, coming to almost $10,000 for two people.

Uganda Permit Price

$600 per person per day.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda happens mostly in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and a tiny bit in Mgahinga National Park as there is only one habituated gorilla family there. Bwindi has nearly 400 mountain gorillas split into 36 social groups, 10 habituated to humans and welcome daily visits. Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda are far more affordable at $600 per person per day. The gorillas are farther and harder to reach than in Rwanda however.

To conclude

When comparing gorilla trekking between Rwanda and Uganda, the cost of the permit is the main decision factor for most; Uganda tends to be the chosen destination for this reason. However, if you enjoy intimate and high-end experiences, or are on a honeymoon, we would point you towards Rwanda. The overall experience is that much better and will be on par with the price.

The best time to visit

For both Uganda or Rwanda, it's during the two dry seasons: between December and February, and between June and August.

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