Comparing gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Gorilla habituation in Uganda
Comparing gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Gorilla habituation in Uganda regarding experience, costs, and much more. Whether doing gorilla trekking in Rwanda or gorilla habituation experience in Uganda, you at least have that unforgettable time with the only least of the leftover mountain gorillas in their pristine habitat. The Virunga area has Afromontane vegetation with tangled foliage from so many years of existence that favors the survival of the mountain gorillas,
Most Popular Safaris
Uganda and Rwanda share boundaries, and it is the southwestern corner of Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, where mountain gorillas live, and the Northwestern part of Rwanda Volcanoes National Park that mountain gorillas call home.
When you decide to do gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience in either Rwanda or Uganda respectively, you have a reason for choosing any or both of these activities, but first, let’s understand what each means.
What is gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking is an adventure where you follow a fully habituated gorilla family for an hour and stay with them for just one hour.
Only a maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to do gorilla trekking per gorilla family per day for conservation reasons.
Rwanda Currently Has 15 Gorilla Families Open For Gorilla Trekking Safari, With 96 Gorilla Permits Open To Public Booking Per Day.
What Is Gorilla Habituation Experience?
The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where you follow a team of researchers and habituators in the wilderness to locate and stay with them for four hours observing, taking photos, and noting information about the gorilla family.
In Uganda, gorilla habituation experience is currently conducted in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with two families so far open for gorilla habituation.
How To Compare Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda And Gorilla Habituation In Uganda
Cost Of Gorilla Permit
The cost of gorilla trekking in Rwanda is currently $1500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $500 for foreign residents, and $300 for East African residents, whereas the gorilla habituation permit cost for Uganda is currently $1500 for foreign nonresidents, $1000 for foreign residents and 750000shs for East African residents.
The cost of a gorilla trekking permit includes the following:
- One hour with the mountain gorillas.
- A ranger guide fee.
- Park entrance fees.
- Local community support.
- Gorilla conservation support.
- Security during gorilla trekking.
The gorilla habituation permit cost includes 4 hours with the mountain gorillas, park entrance fees, researcher fee, security, ranger guide services, mountain gorilla conservation support, and local community support.
Both gorilla trekking and habituation permit costs exclude tips during gorilla trekking, transport, accommodation, porter hire, and any other items of personal nature.
Time Taken With The Mountain Gorillas
During gorilla trekking in Rwanda, only one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas because they are habituated to be with humans for just that hour and then leave them to go about there day to day activities while
During the gorilla habituation experience in Uganda, four hours are allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them. You have to follow the rules of gorilla habituation given during the briefing by the researchers and rangers. It would be best if you departed stealthily to avoid looking suspicious before the mountain gorillas.
Number Of Gorilla Families Open To The Public
Rwanda so far has 15 gorilla families open to the public for gorilla trekking with 96 gorilla permits, while Uganda so far has 2 gorilla families open for gorilla habituation experience with 8 gorilla permits open to public booking.
The limited number of gorilla families is why you book your gorilla permit in advance, as they become scarce with time, especially in the peak season when demand is exceptionally high.
Time Travelled From The Airport To The Mountain Gorillas
The travel time from Kigali airport to volcanoes national park to do gorilla trekking is about 3 hours, while the travel time from Entebbe airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for gorilla habituation experience is out 8 hours to 9 hours.
Alternatively, you can do a gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park through Kigali, Rwanda, as the drive time is about 5 to 6 hours.
Number Of Tourists Allowed To Do Gorilla Trekking Or Gorilla Habituation Experience
Only a maximum of four tourists are allowed to do gorilla habituation experience in Uganda, while maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to do gorilla trekking in Rwanda.
This minimized number was set for conservation reasons, as mountain gorillas depend on the environment to survive. They are naturally vegetarians who depend on the forest to survive. Their delicacy is bamboo, soft stems, fruits, tubers, leaves, and others.
With mass tourism, the chances of trampling on the vegetation are high, yet mountain gorillas have to feed on enough pounds of foliage to take them throughout the day and night.
Additional Activities To Combine With Gorilla Trekking Or Gorilla Habituation Experience
Uganda has more activities that can be combined with gorilla habituation, like visiting the source of the River Nile, white water rafting, game drives in Uganda, chimpanzee trekking in Uganda, birding in Uganda, and several other safari activities.
Rwanda has limited options for other activities to combine with gorilla trekking, like visiting the genocide memorial, Kigali city tour, game drive in Akagera National Park, chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National Park, and several others.
Starting Time For Gorilla Trekking Or Gorilla Habituation Experience
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda starts with a briefing at the ORTPN at about 0800hours, while gorilla habituation experience in Uganda starts earlier at about 0630 so that you can find the mountain gorillas just de-nesting or shortly after de-nesting.
You must attend a briefing or stand to be disqualified from attending gorilla trekking or habituation experience. Although some guidelines about gorilla trekking or habituation are everywhere, mountain gorillas also have mood swings, which can only be explained in detail by those who often check on them, the rangers and trackers.
Failure to comply with gorilla trekking rules or habituation may create a stampede in the forest.
Gorilla habituation precedes gorilla trekking as gorilla families opened for trekking are made after getting a wild gorilla family used to the presence of humans for some time. Gorilla habituation may take 2 years or more, depending on how they cope.
Where to do gorilla trekking in Rwanda and gorilla habituation experience in Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is only done in volcanoes national park. Volcanoes national park is an ancient forest hosting more primates like golden, red-tailed, blue, and several others. The topography of this park comprises five volcanoes: Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura, Mountain Karisimbi, Mountain Bisoke, and Mountain Sabyinyo.
In Uganda, the gorilla habituation experience is done in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. This primeval forest is a biosphere reserve owing to its list of fauna and flora to over 30000 years of existence. Apart from mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has over 9 primates species that roam its environment. Some of them include chimpanzees, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus, and others.
Can I Do Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda And Gorilla Habituation In Uganda On The Same Safari?
If you need extra time with the mountain gorillas, you can do both gorilla trekking in Rwanda and cross into Uganda for gorilla habituation experience on one visa.
The East Africa visa allows you entry into two member countries of the East African community, of which Rwanda and Uganda are members.
Every person going to do gorilla trekking or habituation needs to purchase a gorilla permit for either country. Both activities can happen on different days than gorilla trekking, and habituation occurs once a day.
NOTE that gorilla trekking is done per day, and so is gorilla habituation. Sometimes tourists, especially primatologists, photographers, and filming crew, would like to get extra time with the mountain gorillas to immerse in their life.
What Is The Cost Of Gorilla Safari In Rwanda Or Uganda?
We grade our gorilla safari packages for Uganda and Rwanda according to luxury, mid-range, and budget. Each of these gorilla safari packages requires you to purchase a gorilla permit which is currently $1500 per person for gorilla trekking in Rwanda and $1500 per person for gorilla habituation safari.
Other factors considered when packaging the gorilla safari for Uganda in Rwanda include:
The Number Of People Travelling With
The more people on the gorilla safari, the lower the per-person cost, while as a solo tourist, you incur all the safari costs alone.
Time for booking the gorilla safari
During the peak season, the cost of gorilla safaris is high because of high demand, while during the low season, chances of discounted safari costs from service providers like accommodations, vehicle hire, and driver guides are high as they also try to break even.
The Number Of Other Activities To Combine With Gorilla Trekking
The cost is high when the gorilla safari package is combined with other safari activities like chimpanzee trekking, mountaineering, and birding.
Number Of Days On Gorilla Safari
The more days on a gorilla safari, the higher the cost because service providers charge per day, like accommodation, vehicle hire, driver guide fee, and others. The minimum number of days on Rwanda safari is 2 days gorilla safari, while 3 days gorilla habituation experience is the minimum number of days you can take on Uganda Safari.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Habituation Or Gorilla Trekking?
The nature of the topography where mountain gorillas reside is volcanic, with ridges and plateaus over which tangled vegetation drapes. Sometimes mountain gorillas spend the day at the slopes of their highlands to feed to lounge. In case you need to find them in the valley or the slopes, you must have some level of fitness and the right gorilla safari gear.
After briefing, an armed ranger guide with a rifle and one with a machete escorts you into the forest to start searching for the mountain gorillas. These are some of the security weapons to use for protecting tourists during gorilla safari adventures.
If you must pass through tangled vegetation, the ranger guide with a machete uses it to trim and create a path. Even when you need to take a long call, the ranger guide uses the machete to dig a hole for you at least 30 centimeters deep. You are required to cover well beyond recognition.
Having some level of fitness before a gorilla safari adventure helps you maneuver the huddles in the forest that may cause you some muscle pulls.
Is Gorilla Trekking Or Gorilla Habituation Safe?
Doing gorilla habituation or trekking is safe because a team of trained and experienced ranger guides who know how to deal with the situation escorts you. Before starting either adventure, you must attend a briefing where all relevant information to use on safari is given to you.
The park administration collaborates with other Uganda or Rwanda security agencies to keep law and order.
Your safety is necessary, like never entering the forest without an escorting ranger guide, eating street food may cause your stomach upset, do not allow strangers into your room, and several others. It would be best if you minded personal safety.
What To Carry For Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda And Gorilla Habituation In Uganda
- Packing light but relevant for gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation gives you comfort while you trek to find the mountain gorillas,
- Extra fully charged batteries to exchange with in case one run low, especially with a camera.
- Travel Insurance
- Buying travel insurance before the safari saves you during times of uncertainty. You need to know what the insurance coverage is.
- Toiletries in case your lodge doesn’t provide them.
- Tracking boots that are comfortable to wear during gorilla trekking or habituation makes the trip so fun. Hiking the slippery slopes and walking through the soggy mud gets challenging sometimes, but with the proper footwear, you overcome them.
- A foldable water bottle to carry drinking water in to quench thirst during gorilla trekking.
- A torch to use for lighting in the night when lights run low.
- Safari clothes, especially long trousers, and long-sleeved shirts, protect the skin from wilderness bugs.
- Insect repellants to apply on your skin to keep away stinging insects.
- A pair of stockings to tack in your trousers and keep away biting insects that would walk into your trousers.
- First aid kit with emergency medication
- Camera to keep memories of your gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience.
- Garden gloves protect your palms from rough surfaces in the wilderness.
Contact us for more information.