Planning A Uganda Gorilla And Lake Bunyonyi Safari From Kigali Rwanda
Planning a Uganda gorilla and Lake Bunyonyi Safari from Kigali Rwanda. Securing a gorilla permit is the first agenda as you plan a Uganda gorilla safari and Lake Bunyonyi from Kigali. The gorilla permit is the only permission that gives you access to visit these primates. Lake Bunyonyi is a stunning destination coupled with tranquility. You can explore the 29 islands that form this deepest Uganda lake. What a great plan to relax around Lake Bunyonyi after the tedious search to find the mountain gorillas.
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From Kigali Rwanda, you cross into Uganda by Road via Gatuna or Cyanika borders or by Entebbe Airport. Securing an East African visa saves you the trouble of re-applying for a visa to Uganda from Rwanda in case you must possess one. Uganda and Rwanda are all in the East African community where the East African visa applies and allows one entry into at least two member states.
Consider the means of transport into Uganda from Kigali. You can use Road or air transport depending on your preference. Consider accommodation to use as you plan for the gorilla safari and Lake Bunyonyi safari.
The Uganda gorilla safaris can either be gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience, so you need to identify which of them is your preferred activity. Gorilla trekking gives you one hour with a fully habituated gorilla family with a maximum of 8 tourists. Gorilla habituation experience gives you four hours in the company of semi-habituated mountain gorillas with a maximum of 4 tourists.
Identify the gorilla safari destination to visit as Uganda has two destinations that is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
While Lake Bunyonyi is famous for its 29 Islands, an array of small birds, and unrivaled tranquility, this destination has a barbaric history of young premarital pregnant girls who were abandoned at Akampene Island. While on this island, they would try to swim and drown or starve to death.
How To Plan A Uganda Gorilla And Lake Bunyonyi Safari From Kigali
Choose the activity and destination for Uganda gorilla safari
As mentioned earlier, Uganda has two gorilla safari activities that is gorilla trekking which so far has 19 gorilla trekking families and gorilla habituation experience with two gorilla families. Gorilla trekking in Uganda happens in Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Currently, Uganda 152 gorilla permits are open to public booking per day. The gorilla habituation experience is happening in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has the highest chances to gorilla safaris that is 18 gorilla trekking families and two gorilla habituation experience families. Mgahinga National Park has one gorilla family called Nyakagezi but had a history of wandering into Rwanda. Currently, the mountain gorillas of Mgahinga National Park are steadily living in the park and gorilla permits can be pre-booked. Mgahinga National Park is one of the still virgin environments because visitors have not frequented it.
Secure the Uganda gorilla Permit.
When you identify the Uganda gorilla safari destination to visit, book your gorilla permit as soon as you can. To book the Uganda gorilla permit, you must have a date and the number of permits you wish to purchase.
When you enquire from us at Encounter Africa Safaris about gorilla permit availability, our safari consultant checks for the permit from the list of Uganda Wildlife Authority. At Encounter Africa Safaris, we are one of the few Uganda safari companies accredited to have access to the list of gorilla permits. You may also directly seek Gorilla permit availability from Uganda Wildlife Authority reservation office.
Upon confirming gorilla permit availability, purchase your permit as soon as possible because they sell out fast on a first-come, first-served basis. The peak season Uganda gorilla permits sell out in advance because of the high demand yet availability is limited to maximum of 8 per gorilla trekking family and a Maximum 4 per gorilla habituation experience family.
All gorilla permits can only be booked with payment, and note that gorilla permit availability changes without warning.
Bwindi gorilla permits are booked according to the area where this park is subdivided into four areas that is Buhoma area, Rushaga area, Nkuringo area and Ruhija area. You must take note of these areas as this will determine where you have to book your accommodation.
Book Accommodation for the Uganda Gorilla Safari and Lake Bunyonyi Safari
Each of the Uganda safari destinations has a variety of accommodations you can book luxury accommodations, Mid-range accommodations and budget accommodations. When booking accommodations for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, consider the area where your gorilla permit is booked that is Buhoma area in the North, Ruhija area in the East, Rushaga and Nkuringo area in the south. You need to book accommodation to use during the Uganda gorilla and Lake Bunyonyi adventure in advance, especially if you hope to travel during the high tourism season.
- Bwindi Accommodation : Clouds Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Safaris Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla lodge, Mahogany springs, Silverback Lodge, Engage Lodge, Bwindi View Bandasa, Bwindi Backpacker’s Camp, Trekker’s Tarven, Broadbill camp.
- Mgahinga Accommodations: Gahinga Lodge, Traveller’s Inn, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Mgahinga Gorilla Triangle, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp
Lake Bunyonyi Accommodations: Bunyonyi Highland Resort,Reserve Transport To The Gorilla Safari And Lake Bunyonyi Destinations
From Kigali in Rwanda, you can get into Uganda by Road via Gatuna and Cyanika border. In case you need to possess a visa to enter Uganda or Rwanda, apply for it in advance. The East African visa is the most appropriate as it allows you entry into two East African countries, of which Uganda and Rwanda are members.
The drive time from Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is about 5 to 6 hours, passing Kabale and Kisoro to the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park. You can later connect to Lake Bunyonyi, a short drive away.
From Kigali Airport, you fly into Entebbe Airport and connect with the daily domestic flights to Kihihi Airstrip or Kisoro Airstrip. You must secure a seat on these flights in advance because they sell out too, especially during the high season. You need a transfer vehicle, too, because there is a distance you need to cover to get to any of these destinations from the airstrips.
Charter flight services are available too at Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi airstrip for more exclusive Uganda safari experience
Identify Additional Activities To Combine With Gorilla And Lake Bunyonyi Safari
Much as gorilla and visit to Lake Bunyonyi highlights of this Uganda safari, you can also do other activities like chimpanzee trekking, sport fishing, game safaris, launch trips, golden monkey trekking, mountaineering, birding, white water rafting, visit source of river Nile, cultural experience and others.
Putting in plan these additional Uganda safari activities helps with making the most appropriate itinerary and cost of this gorilla and Lake Bunyonyi safari.
When Is The Best Time To Book Gorilla And Lake Bunyonyi Safari From Kigali?
You can do Uganda gorilla and Lake Bunyonyi safari any time of the year but the dry season is most preferred. The wild animals and birds are in good spirits and are more visible in the open space. The dry season is normally June, July, August, September, December and January.
In the wilderness, the trails are more passable since less rain is falling, and so limited undergrowth is protruding to cover the paths. Rivers are confined within their course since this is a water catchment area with a dense network of rivers.
Because there is high demand for gorilla permits and accommodations for Lake Bunyonyi in the peak season, booking is required. You may book your gorilla permits at least 6 months to a year in advance to avoid last-minute inconvenience.
How Much is the Gorilla and Lake Bunyonyi safari in Uganda through Kigali?
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we grade the cost of gorilla and Lake Bunyonyi safari according to Luxury, mid-range and budget. Each of these Uganda safari packages has traits that distinguish it from another. The more the traits, the more expensive the Uganda gorilla and Lake Bunyonyi safari package.
The cost of gorilla permit is the universal cost amongst all these categories. In case you decide to do gorilla trekking, the gorilla permit cost is $700 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 250000shs for East Africans.
When you decide to do a gorilla habituation experience, the gorilla permit cost is $1500 per person foreign nonresidents, $1000 for foreign residents and 750000shs for East African residents.
The cost of gorilla permit covers ranger guide fees, security, mountain gorilla conservation, local community support, one hour for gorilla trekking or one hour for gorilla habituation experience, researcher fees for gorilla habituation experience, government tax, briefing, certificate of accomplishment.
Exclusions in the gorilla permit cost include porter hire, transport, accommodation and any other items of personal expenditure.
Other safari costs are determined by:
The number of people on gorilla and Lake Bunyonyi safari, the people travelling with, additional activities to combine with this Uganda safari, number of days on safari and others.
Is Uganda Gorilla And Lake Bunyonyi Safari Tedious?
Gorilla trekking is quite tiring because of the nature of the terrain where these mountain gorillas live. The topography of this area has highlands, resulting from volcanic action creating plateaus and ridges. Over these highlands is dense vegetation that drapes and makes the way quite challenging to hike.
You need to have some fitness level to enjoy the entire experience and keep munching on energy bites to support you throughout this journey. The rewards of meeting the mountain gorillas are unrivaled as it’s a once in lifetime adventure. You get firsthand information about the nature of mountain gorillas other than the scaring animations and films about mountain gorillas.
While in Lake Bunyonyi, you can relax after the trek to find the mountain gorillas. You can relax on a boat trip on Lake Bunyonyi to visit some of the beautiful and historical Islands, swimming in this bilharzia free water is refreshing, enjoy zip-lining over Lake Bunyonyi, and do birding around Lake Bunyonyi and others.
What To Pack For Uganda Gorilla and Lake Bunyonyi Safari from Kigali
- Warm wear because it gets so cold in the morning and late evening.
- Safari shoes to use during nature walks, especially during the gorilla safari, hikes, and village walks.
- Energy bites to munch on because breakfast is taken too early to last you the time during different activities.
- Duffel bag to carry with your belongings and you must be in position to carry them in case you get no assistance.
- Extra clothes to change into after activities around Lake Bunyonyi and Gorilla safaris.
- Raincoat or poncho, especially during the rainy seasons, even when extreme rains are received.
- Flip flops to wear when you take off your shoes after the safari.
- A camera to keep memories of your experience during your visit to Lake Bunyonyi and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park.
- Some cash is to be changed into local currency in case you need to purchase anything or make payments for personal activities. Credit cards are not easy to use upcountry since most people need to learn how to operate credit card machines.
- Garden gloves to wear in case you have to move in the wilderness, especially in the forested areas where there are stinging nettles.
- Light backpack to carry with your belongings or hand them over to porters so that you do not scatter them in the wilderness.
- Pair of binoculars to get a clearer view of beautiful far-ranging features and birds.
- Sunscreen in case you wish to bask under the sun and enjoy the fresh breeze off the lake.
- Sunglasses to wear under extreme sunlight
- Foldable safari hat to wear over your head. It would be best if you covered your head from buzzing insects in the atmosphere and dripping water off the trees.
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