Uganda gorilla trekking takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP), both parks are located in south western Uganda. On the other hand, Rwanda gorilla tracking takes place in Volcanoes National Park situated in the northern province of Rwanda.
Basing on the previous census (2018), the total number of gorillas estimated to be in Uganda are 1004 individuals. Bwindi hosts over 480 mountain gorillas that live within the forested park. The number shows that Uganda has nearly half of the world’s mountain gorillas. The rest are found in Virunga National Park in DRC and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Having the largest number of gorillas, Uganda offers more gorilla permits than Rwanda with only ten habituated gorilla families, Uganda has 18 habituated gorilla groups.
The sheer size of the park has also made Bwindi a favorite hotspot for tourists. The park has four sectors that are far distant from each other. To travel from the north of Bwindi to the southern sectors, you need to drive atleast 4 hours! For the more adventurous tourists, tracking the gorillas multiple times is a must so that you can experience more of what the ancient forest offers!
Two Gorilla parks exhibited in Uganda (Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla national Park). For that case, Uganda offers much as far as gorilla trekking is concerned. Tourists can trek gorillas in both parks to get different experiences without leaving the country while Rwanda has only Volcanoes National Park.
Cost of Gorilla Permits
The cost of Rwanda gorilla permit goes up to US$1500 while in Uganda, the highest amount charges from Gorilla permit is US$700. For that case, Rwanda gorilla permit is more than double of that of Uganda.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), manages gorilla trekking exercise in Uganda while in Rwanda, its Rwanda Development Board (RDB). The two boards are also responsible for spearheading the conservation campaign of Gorillas and their natural habitat.
Rwanda has a comparative advantage of a short distance from Kigali International Airport to Volcanoes National Park with a 2hrs drive. On the other hand, it’s 7-9 hours to Ugandan gorilla parks. The short distance makes Rwanda gorilla trekking more convenient than in Uganda. Most times you will find out that many tour companies offer packaged gorilla safaris from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. However, due to Covid 19, you need to check with a local tour operator whether the borders are open.
Bwindi and Mgahinga forest are tropical rain forest thus receiving frequent convectional rainfall. On the other hand, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is dominated by Bamboo Forest and mountainous relief which attracts relief rainfall.
In terms of size, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park occupies 331 km², Mgahinga Gorilla National Park at 33.9 km² while Volcanoes National Park at 160 km². The statistics shows that BINP is the largest, followed by VNP and MGNP the smallest park.
In terms of relief, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is gently sloping while Mgahinga and Volcanoes National Park is mountainous. For that case, Volcanoes national Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park requires high level of fitness to be able to trek Gorillas there while Bwindi forests is less strenuous.