Compare gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda with Mgahinga in Uganda. All those interested in seeing mountain gorillas in Africa should know that both Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda are located within the Virunga mountain ranges. The two national parks are home to the endangered mountain gorillas and the beautiful extinct volcanic mountains great for hiking and adventure in Africa. In the great Virunga mountain ranges, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is made up of 3 extinct volcanoes which include Muhavura, Gahinga, and Sabinyo whereas Volcanoes National Park encompasses five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains, namely Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga, and Sabyinyo. Both parks are also home to the endangered Golden monkeys, other species including birds, reptiles, and forest mammals can be sighted during your visit to these parks.
Encounter Africa safaris operate gorilla trekking holidays to Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga National Park, we customize your mountain gorilla trip to suit your time, interest, and budget, we book your gorilla trekking permit, arrange your transport and overnight accommodation as well as advising you on what to pack, gorilla trekking rules and regulations, the best time to trek gorillas, gorilla trekking age limit, gorilla permit refund, and cancelation policy, Covid 19 requirements, and protocol for Uganda and Rwanda and all information you need to plan a successful trek in Uganda and Rwanda.
Comparing gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda with Mgahinga, the whole truth is that both parks have mountain gorillas and there is no big difference with the experience got at the end of your trek given the fact the vegetation in both parks is the same. However, there are many things you can base on to compare gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park with that in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for you to choose where to book and go for your gorilla trekking and these include the following;
The habitat of the Mountain gorillas in both Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are in the Virunga/hills with mainly bamboo as the main vegetation, this makes it easy to trek through and better viewing of the gorillas because of the kind of vegetation giving you an opportunity to take clear photographs and encounter experience. One can therefore conclude that habituated mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga National Park are more visible compared to Bwindi impenetrable National Park. Thus those interested in clear videos and Photos should choose from these two National Parks.
Volcanoes National Park is a better option than Mgahinga Gorilla National Park when it comes to the distance from the Airport to the park itself. Reasons to support this is that Volcanoes National Park is a 2-3 hours drive from Kigali city/International Airport, that Gorillas are easily seen with a short drive time possible even in one day. This is indeed very true and no one can run away from it. People used to avoid gorilla trekking in Mgahinga because of the 9-10 hours drive from Entebbe International Airport to Mgahinga but now we arrange tours to Mgahinga via Kigali which then becomes 3-4 hours drive only. With this, you land in Kigali, use the East African Tourist Visa (which allows you to visit both countries at ago) and then trek gorillas in Mgahinga at an affordable price. Because of this, even Rwanda tour operators are selling Mgahinga instead of their country’s Volcanoes.
Both National Parks have Budget, Mid Range and Upmarket Lodges where you could choose to stay during your trek. Volcanoes National Park is the best place for gorilla trekking for those interested in staying in super luxury lodges on international standards compared to Mgahinga. These lodges offer great and luxury services some are ranked among the best in Africa and the country at large for example Bisate Lodge and Singita Kwitonda Lodge in Volcanoes National Park. However for those looking for much budget lodges then Mgahinga is best option for you given the fact there are many options in the neighboring Kisoro town to choose from where to stay ranging from $30 to $100 as per your booked package. Rwanda has positioned herself as a Luxury destination in Africa and this can be seen from the price of gorilla trekking permits, the type of vehicles recommended for safari as well as ever rising and new Luxury Lodges around Volcanoes National Park compared to those in Mgahinga. For the fact, there is only one luxury Lodge in Mgahinga compared to the so many up-market Lodges in Volcanoes NP. Therefore, if one is looking for High end Lodges and treks, Volcanoes National Park comes in the first place.
Volcanoes National Park has more gorilla families open for trekking than Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Volcanoes National Park has 10 Gorilla families hence 96 Gorilla permits are available each day for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park whereas Mgahinga has only one gorilla family and hence 8 permits available every day. This makes it more flexible to get gorilla trekking permits in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda compared to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, especially during the peak season months. The one gorilla family in Mgahinga National Park used to move to and from Uganda or Rwanda but has currently settled on the Uganda side. The fact that Mgahinga National Park has only one habituated mountain gorilla family, makes the experience of gorilla trekking intimate and exclusive since you will only be eight people in the park for gorilla trekking on a given day. That notwithstanding, Volcanoes National Park has the highest number of families compared to Mgahinga, and gorilla trekking permits for Volcanoes are expensive yet competitive compared to Mgahinga. There so many reasons this is so. Rwanda markets herself extensively compared to Uganda. The Uganda government needs to invest more in marketing Uganda as a top primate and gorilla trekking holiday Nation.
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is ranked as the best when it comes to gorilla trekking in the whole world. This is true because gorilla trekking and habituation started here meaning that mountain gorilla families here became used to the presence of human beings before those in Mgahinga. Those who have trekked mountain gorillas would confirm to you that the experience before, during and after the gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park is outstanding. From the way one is welcomed on the day of trekking, the cultural dances and performances before briefing and the experience during the trek is worth it. In both Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park have mountain gorillas and chances of seeing gorillas in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are 98% so which ever park you visit you will be able to see these great apes in their natural environment.
It is much cheaper to see mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park than in Volcanoes National Park. This issue of the price difference is basically out of policy difference between these two countries Uganda and Rwanda. Rwanda wants to promote itself as a Luxury destination while Uganda wants to market itself as an affordable destination. The experience and duration spent with gorillas is still the same? In fact, one would rather book two gorilla treks in Mgahinga at USD1400 and spend up to 2 days and save off USD100 with mountain gorillas than splashing 1500 in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park for just one hour.
The Gorilla permit in Mgahinga Costs $700 Per person per trek for the Foreign non-residents, $600 per person for residents, and $70 for East African Citizens (Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, and South Sudan), this gives you an opportunity to spend one hour encounter with the mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
The Gorilla permit in Volcanoes National Park Costs $1500 Per person per trek for the Foreign non-residents, $500 Per person for foreign residents, and $200 for East African Citizens (Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, and South Sudan), this gives you an opportunity to spend one hour encounter with the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.
Thus looking at the price of a gorilla trekking permit in Volcanoes National Park which is $1500 compared to that of Mgahinga at $700, Volcanoes National park is much more expensive a destination for gorilla trekking compared to Mgahinga. For those interested in affordable gorilla trekking options, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is not for you.
The issue of walking longer or short distance depends on the given gorilla family allocated to you on the day of trekking at of the national parks. In both parks gorilla families are allocated depending on the interest and physical fitness of given individual. If for example, you want a shorter trek, you will have to inform the park authorities on the very day of trekking so that you are allocated such a family. If you want a medium or longer trek, then you do the same. It should be noted that while they will try to give you a family that requires shorter walks, the behavior of gorillas might affect the experience if for example gorillas decide to move further as you look for them you will need to move a longer distance still.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is possible all year round. The best months to track gorillas in these parks include; June to August and December to February since they receive the lowest rainfall and the forest is less slippery. On the other hand, when you happen to travel during March to May and November there are chances of higher rainfall, you will be able to get discounts from some lodges for your accommodation. It should be noted that during high or peak seasons in Uganda and Rwanda, gorilla permits tend to sell out quickly, and as such one needs to book gorilla permits at least one year in advance to be guaranteed a place to see mountain gorillas. Feel free to contact Encounter Africa safaris on how to book your Mgahinga or Volcanoes gorilla trekking permit.
Founded in 2003, Encounter Africa safaris takes pride in customizing tailor-made safaris. It has a very diligent and trustworthy team. Your queries are answered within 20minutes by our team of professional tour consultants. These consultants will make your travel plan for you, answer all your questions, and make sure all your services are booked in advance for you to avoid inconveniences. We also have very knowledgeable safari guides depending on your language preferences. There some Mountain Gorilla Safari Packages to Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi impenetrable National Park and these include; the 2-day Volcanoes National Park Gorilla safari, the 3 days Mgahinga Gorilla safari, 4 Day Gorilla fly-in safari, it all depends on your preference. Feel free to contact us.
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