Organizing a gorilla and Batwa experience safari from Kigali Rwanda
Organizing a gorilla and Batwa experience safari from Kigali Rwanda. Booking the gorilla permit is top priority as you organize the gorilla and Batwa experience safari from Kigali in Rwanda. In Uganda, both these activities can best be done in Mgahinga National Park. Gorilla safaris in Uganda are done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where you can do gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience.
Most Popular Safaris
The Batwa are some of the victims of eviction of the early 1990s as the mountain gorilla conservation program took precedence. Batwa pygmies depended fully on the forest as their sole provider, but after eviction, they scattered to different areas around the parks. The walk to see the Batwa is conducted by a Mutwa guide with great experience about the ancient forest life of the Batwa and there unique culture. If you want to know the forest’s secrets, the Batwa can spill them out.
From Rwanda, you can only get into Uganda via Gatuna and Cyanika border. in case you need a visa, applying from the East African visa saves you from wasting time with re-applying for a visa in another country in case you must. The East African visa allows you entry into two East African countries in the East African community, of which Uganda and Rwanda are members.
Identify the means of transport to use as you can get into Uganda from Kigali, Rwanda, by road or air transport.
Choose the accommodation type of your budget as this is one of the top determinants of the category of gorilla safari you book.
How To Organise Gorilla and Batwa Experience Safari
Select the gorilla park and Safari to do
Uganda has two gorilla safari parks, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, all nestled in the southwestern part of Uganda. Bwindi has the largest gorilla families, with 18 gorilla trekking families and two gorilla habitation families. Mgahinga National Park may be the smallest Uganda National Park, but it is home to one gorilla trekking family called Nyakagezi.
You can do a gorilla trekking safari which includes viewing the mountain gorilla family for just one hour with a maximum of 8 tourists. The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where tourists follow a team of researchers and trackers to search for a semi-habituation gorilla family and have four hours with them.
Book Gorilla safari permit
Upon identifying where to do gorilla safari and which gorilla safari type you prefer to engage in, select a date and number of permits you wish to secure. You need to check the availability of the gorilla permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or through an accredited tour operator.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, when you send us your gorilla safari enquiry, our safari consultant checks availability according to your date and details provided and gets back to you as soon as possible.
Upon finding the required availability, we request you to purchase your gorilla permits as soon as possible. This is to avoid losing the gorilla permits as they sell out fast because of high demand worldwide, yet supply is limited to a maximum of 8 per day per gorilla safari.
Forward some personal details to be added to your gorilla permit card, like your full name as presented per day, Nationality, date of birth, and passport expiry date.
How much is Gorilla Permit
When you select gorilla trekking, the permit price is $700 per person for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 250000shs for East African residents.
The gorilla habituation experience permit costs $ 1,500 per person for foreign nonresidents, $ 1,000 for foreign residents and 750000shsh for East African residents.
The cost of gorilla permit is inclusive of ranger guide fees, park entrance fees, mountain gorilla conservation, security during gorilla safari, local community support, one hour of gorilla trekking or four hours of gorilla habituation experience, government tax and others.
Exclusions in the cost of a gorilla permit is transport, accommodation, porter hire and any other items of personal expenditure.
Reserve transport to use during gorilla and Batwa safari
The main means of transport from Kigali in Rwanda to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is by road. The 5 to 6 hours’ drive from Kigali via Gatuna or Cyanika border is sensational with stunning evergreen cover on the slopes of the highlands you pass by.
Using a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle makes your voyage to the gorilla safari destinations more comfortable and memorable.
From Kigali airport, you can get into Uganda via Entebbe airport, then you can catch the daily domestic flights form Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Kihihi or Kisoro airstrip. Charter flight services are also available if you need a private gorilla safari.
You need a transfer vehicle from the airstrip, which is about 2 hour’s drive to either gorilla safari destination.
Book Accommodation for the gorilla safari and Batwa safari
If Mgahinga National Park is your choice for gorilla and Batwa safari, you have a limited choice of accommodations.
- Mgahinga accommodations: Volcanoes Gahinga Lodge, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp, Mountain Gahinga Lodge, Mutanda Lake Resort
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has a variety of accommodations to choose from, but you need to note where your gorilla trekking permit is booked. Gorilla trekking permits of Bwindi are booked according to area that is Buhoma area, Ruhija area, Rushaga and Nkuringo areas.
For each of these areas, connecting from one area to another has challenges making it quite hard to overnight in one area and do gorilla safari in another. To avoid facing obstacles as you try to drive in the night in order to catch up with briefing in another, book accommodation within or on the outskirts of the area where the gorilla permit is booked.
- Bwindi accommodations: Clouds Lodge, Engage Lodge, silverback Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Gorilla Resort, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Bwindi backpacker’s Camp.
Secure Batwa Experience time
The Batwa are some of the victims of gorilla conservation, as their ancestral home was the forest. They collected a lot of the things they depended on in the forest. At the moment, the Batwa are inhabitants of the margins of Bwindi and Mgahinga.
To get the Batwa on the mountain gorilla and their habitat conservation board, Batwa community-run programs were set up and continued. In Mgahinga National Park, you can be part of the Batwa and Garama caves and visit an initiative run by a Mutwa guide who offers a glimpse into the forest life.
When you take the Batwa trail, it leads from Mountain Muhavura to Garama cave, providing insight into their beautiful forest life and culture.
The Garama cave is located beneath the plateaus closer to the northern edge of the park, which is 3 kilometers from Ntebeko. This cave was a retreat point for the Batwa when they raided the Bafumbira farmlands. The Batwa also used Gatama cave as a council chamber.
At the moment, the Garama cave provides an atmospheric setting for performing Batwa folk music and dances. To enjoy the entire package, pre-booking is required.
Choose additional activities to combine with gorilla and Batwa experience Safari.
Birding in Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park
Birding is another favorite activity you can engage in while on gorilla and Batwa safari in Uganda. Uganda is gifted with over 1000 bird species. Chances of spotting Albertine rift endemics are more in this area so keen birders have a double opportunity of spotting even some of the bird species on the IUCN redlist.
While on the gorilla and Batwa safari in Uganda, you can visit other communities around these gorilla destinations to learn more about their day-to-day life. The Buhoma community visit or Nkuringo community walk may give you a chance to engage in activities like a visit to a traditional healer, banana beer brewery, blacksmith, and others. This you can do before gorilla safari or after.
Game safari on Uganda
Other than gorilla safari, you can detour to do game drives in some of the Uganda game parks in the western side of Uganda. A game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park may allow you to see lions, herds of buffaloes, waterbucks, bushbucks, cape buffaloes, leopards, and many others. Lake Mburo National Park can also be a spot to do a detour, especially if you drive from Entebbe airport or if your departure is at Entebbe airport. While on a game drive in Lake Mburo National Park, you may spot impalas, elands, reedbucks, warthogs, zebras, giraffes, and many others.
Visit Lake Bunyonyi
If you are seeking tranquility, Lake Bunyonyi has your best interests. Not only is Lake Bunyonyi the deepest lake, but it also offers a quiet time to wind and unwind from the tiresome gorilla safari adventure. Lake Bunyonyi is composed of 29 islands that can be explored by boat.
After the gorilla safari, you may drive to Lake Bunyonyi, a place of peace and stunning views.
Take part in Uganda Water activities.
Although Uganda is landlocked, you can take part in available other water activities like launch trips, white water rafting, visiting the source of the River Nile, and others.
How Long is Gorilla Safari?
Whether gorilla trekking or on gorilla habituation experience, the duration is hard to measure as it depends on where the mountain gorillas may be living. On the day of the trek, after briefing, you start from the point where the mountain gorillas were last seen the previous day.
Mountain gorillas move freely in the wilderness but finding them depends on the proximity of their food, in case of a fight with another gorilla family on a severe wet day, pace of other tourists and others. You need patience and an open mind while you trek to find the mountain gorillas.
The forest has a lot of interesting features for you to enjoy while you search for the mountain gorillas.
Some tourists have seen the mountain gorillas in two hours while others have taken at least more than three-quarters of the day.
Having some level of fitness gives you comfort while you try to search for the mountain gorillas. The nature of the topography where they live is volcanic, with plateaus and ridges where these primates sometimes spend part of their life.
What to pack for Gorilla and Batwa Safari from Kigali in Rwanda
- Safari clothes in colors that are friendly to the wilderness, like Khaki, tan, and others that do not show dirt.
- A duffel bag in which to pack your belongings so that you can carry them easily in case you have no one to assist you.
- A torch to use in the night when lights go out. Most of the lodges here use solar energy for lighting.
- A sweater or warmers to protect you from getting cold, especially in the morning and evening when the weather changes.
- Safari boots protect your feet from the harsh conditions in the wilderness like pricking surfaces.
- Insect repellant to keep away biting insects that would cause harm to your body.
- Travel adapter and charger to recharge your electronic gadgets in case you need to
- Extra fully charged batteries to exchange with in case one runs low on power
- Poncho or raincoat to wear in case it rains while on the trek to see the mountain gorillas.
- A camera to take photos and preserve memories of your encounter with the mountain gorillas
- Pajamas to wear in the night during your stay at the lodges.
- Bug spray to keep away bugs that may be in your room
- Mask to wear before meeting the mountain gorillas in the wilderness. It’s a must rule for everyone.
- Garden gloves to protect your palms from biting nettles that may be in the wilderness.
- Binoculars to use for seeing far-ranging objects in the wilderness that may be of interest to you.
- Some cash to exchange into local currency in case you need to do some purchases like buying souvenirs.
Contact us to organize your safari today.