Volcano hiking and gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is done in Volcanoes National park , Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. These parks have a volcanic topography covered with ridges, plateaus and mountains that you may hike in case you wish to enjoy great views.
Volcanoes National park has five of the Virunga ranges namely Mountain Bisoke, Mountain Muhabura, Mountain Sabyinyo, mountain Gahinga and Mountain Karisimbi. In a day, you may do a return hike to any of these mountains but you need an escorting ranger guide.
Most Popular Safaris
- 3 day Uganda gorilla trekking
- 5 days gorillas & chimp safari
- 3 day Uganda gorilla via Kigali
- 5 days gorilla trekking Rwanda
- 5 day Uganda gorillas & wildlife
- 3 day fly in gorilla habituation
- 5 day gorilla habituation and chimps
- 3 day Bwindi double trek via Kigali
- 5 days gorillas & game safari
Mgahinga National park lies on the northern slopes of three of the five Virunga volcanoes that is Mountain Sabyinyo where you hike to the top and a watch borders of three countries uganda, Rwanda and D.R.Congo. Mountain Muhabura with its pretty crater surrounded by alpine vegetation and beautiful panoramas .Mountain Gahinga trail goes through bamboo forest to bring into view lush swamp
In Volcanoes National park Rwanda, you have chance of gorilla trekking in either of the 13 gorilla families so far opened to the tourists. Some of these families include Group 13, Amahoro gorilla family, Hirwa gorilla family, Sabyinyo gorilla family and others.
How To Book Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Uganda and Rwanda
Book Gorilla Trekking Permit
Securing a gorilla trekking permit is the first step to putting together this African tour. Each participant must obtain a permit as an entry ticket to gorilla trekking. A few gorilla permits in either Uganda or Rwanda are released for the public to book.
In Uganda gorilla trekking permits are booked according to area especially with Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Each of these areas may be in a far distance from another so before booking accommodation know where your Uganda gorilla trekking permit is booked. The Uganda Wildlife Authority is responsible for selling all gorilla permits in Uganda.
Rwanda gorilla trekking permits are booked according to gorilla family and first come first served basis is used to secure its gorilla permits. Securing a gorilla permit for the easiest gorilla family to trek in Rwanda is hard because mountain gorillas keep changing position in search for new feeding grounds.
Reserve Accommodation For Gorilla Trekking Safari
Overnighting in the area or very close to the park where your gorilla trekking safari is booked is key. It helps you rise up early and prepare to go for briefing. In Rwanda gorilla safari booking happens at ORTPN while in Uganda at the Uganda wildlife Authority offices in the park.
Missing briefing may be one of the reasons for disqualifying you from attending gorilla trekking even if you possess a fully paid for gorilla trekking permit.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is a vast forest so when your gorilla permit is booked, it is according to area. You need to secure accommodation close or within the area where you go gorilla trekking. Some of the Bwindi gorilla trekking areas include Buhoma area, Ruhijah area, Rushaga area and nkuringo area.
Some accommodations for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include Buhoma lodge, Gorilla safari Camp, Gorilla Forest lodge, Engage Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Trekker’s Tarven, Gorilla Resort, Bwindi Volcanoes Lodge and others.
Volcanoes National Park accommodations include Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, La Palme, Kinigi Guest house, Mountain Gorilla view Lodge and others. You may decide to overnight in Kigali City because it’s about 3 hours from Volcanoes National Park.
Mgahinga National park in Uganda has less options for accommodation close to the park. Some of the Mgahinga National park accommodations include Gahinga lodge which is up market but more options are available in Kisoro town which is about 14 km
Hire A Driver Guide For Gorilla Trekking Voyage
Travelling with a knowledgeable guides spices your Africa safari experience because they have plenty to talk to you about even beyond watch the mountain gorillas.
Travelling with an experienced driver guide also gives you chance to arrive your destination without getting lost or getting stuck by the roadside. The more experienced and knowledgeable the guide is the higher the cost of hiring them.
Can you imagine travelling cheap with a boring guide. The feeling you get from the entire trip is boring. Everybody who books gorilla trekking is excited to meet the mountain gorillas and spend that precious one hour with them.
Vehicle Hire For Road Trip to gorilla Trekking Safari
The topography and nature of soil at the gorilla trekking destinations is volcanic but when it rains heavily, the roads leading there are slippery and impassible at times. You need a 4×4 wheeler to enjoy your journey and move over bumpy roads in the countryside.
In case you book a fly-in gorilla trekking tour, a transfer vehicle from the airstrip to your lodge is required. In Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National park is about 2 hours from Kihihi Airstrip.
Additional Activities To Include In Gorilla Trekking Package
Combining gorilla trekking with other activities is a full experience of the naturally thriving wildlife of Africa.
Gorilla trekking can be combined with chimpanzee trekking, birding in Africa, white water rafting, game drives, Launch trips, mountaineering and others. Whether gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda, you need to know where each of those additional activities can be done.
Tailoring the right itinerary for gorilla trekking safari and others activities prevents you from back tracking.
In Rwanda, you can do gorilla trekking with activities in Nyungwe National park and Akagera National Park.
Uganda safari parks to combine with gorilla trekking in Bwindi include Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National park and others
When Is the Best Time To Book Gorilla Trekking Safaris In Uganda And Rwanda
Gorilla trekking is open all year round but the drier months that is June to September and December to January are tourists peak seasons. The demand for gorilla trekking permits in Uganda and Rwanda is high and the permits are sold off fast.
The Virunga area is known for receiving untimely rains but the peal season under normal rain schedule receive lesser rains. The sunray penetration to the ground is more creating passable trails. Even the active forest dwellers like monkeys, birds, butterflies are more active.
Low tourism seasons are also special for those interested in exclusive gorilla trekking experiences. Expect to see the gorillas during this season too but the ground may be wetter than normal. For those interested in filming or photographing the mountain gorillas, you have chance of visiting the gorillas with no obstruction from other trekkers.
Which country is best For Gorilla Trekking and Hiking Of Uganda And Rwanda
Rwanda has about 13 gorilla trekking families while Uganda has about 19 gorilla trekking families open for the public to book.
The timed you drive to Volcanoes National park from Kigali International Airport is about 3 hours whereas the drive time from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National park or Mgahinga National park is about 8 hours to 9 hours
The topography of Volcanoes National park in Rwanda is more steeper for trekkers while the topography of Bwindi Impenetrable National park is fairly high as not so many highlands.
Rwanda has about five volcanic ranges that is Mountain Karisimbi, Mountain Bisoke, Mountain Sabyinyo, Mountain Muhabura and Mountain Gahinga whereas Uganda ‘s Mgahinga National Park has only three volcanoes that is Mountain Sabyinyo, Mountain Muhavura and Mountain Gahinga.
Uganda has almost half the total population of mountain gorillas in the world while Rwanda shares the number of its mountain gorillas with D.R.Congo.
The cos of gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda is $1500 per person per trek while the Uganda gorilla permits cost $800 per person per trek.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda
Going gorilla trekking in Rwanda, expect to hike on steep slopes because the park lies on the slopes of five volcanic mountains. Uganda gorilla trekking experience is in highlands that are fairly steep. The Virunga area is generally filled with tangled vegetation of crisscrossing creepers, Afromontane vegetation. The vegetation here is part of the surviving forest cover after African forests disappeared during arid conditions of ice age period.
Although you follow trails constructed by regular visitors to this area, sometimes you need the routes where mountain gorillas are found a ranger guide need to use a machete to clear the way.
Wearing safari boots to protect your feet from sharp surfaces in the wilderness saves you from hurting your self during the walk. Carrying the right safari attire in the wilderness with friendly colors that is Khaki and tan make it comfortable for you to go through the trek.
The forested are inhabits stinging insects so carry insect repellants to keep them away from hurting you.
What Is The Cost Of Gorilla Trekking And Hiking In Uganda And Rwanda
As long as you have secured the gorilla trekking permit, other safari expenses depend on the services included or excluded in the entire package.
Other costs of gorilla trekking depend on the number of days you hope to stay on safari like 3 day gorilla trekking, 6 day gorilla and chimpanzee trekking, 9 Day gorilla, chimpanzee and wildlife safaris and so many others.
The kind of package you choose for your gorilla trekking and hiking adventure that is Luxury, mid-range or Budget safari package.
The more the paying people booked on this safari the less the cost of the entire package for gorilla trekking. The less the number of trekkers the less the total cost of the entire package. This is great adventure. This is because you share costs on items like vehicle hire, gas, accommodation in case its twin rooms sharing.
The season you choose for doing gorilla trekking and hiking. The peak season normally comes with demand for gorilla permits, accommodation and other safari amenities which is not with low season.
The number of times you wish to do gorilla trekking matters in the entire cost for the package. If you wish to do gorilla trekking more than once, the total cost is different.
In case you wish to include other activities in other parks like game drives, hiking, chimpanzee trekking, birding and others, the cost is high to cover up these expenses.
How safe Is gorilla Trekking And Hiking In Uganda And Rwanda
The gorilla trekking destinations in Uganda and Rwanda are safe because of the joint security control that involves ranger guides and other top security agencies of both countries.
You must however mind self safety first by packing the right gorilla trekking gears to protect your skin from buzzing insects in the wild.
Stay closer to your gorilla trekking group and don’t scatter in the forest. This area is vast and in case you are lost in the forest tracing you may be quite challenging. There is no network signal here so communication when you are lost is challenging.
Do not count large sums of money from public to avoid attracting the wrong characters. Carry limited cash too that can take you through the safari days.
Never provoke the mountain gorillas because they may loose there cool and walk away into the deeper ends of the park. Every gorilla trekking family is habituated to be in presence of humans for just one hour. Everyone has to use it profitably.
Never buy cooked foodstuff from the roadside apart from designated places. This is to avoid food poisoning.
In case you have any valuables do not travel with them for a safari or declare them to the lodge captain so that they are safely kept in the lodge safe.
Walking in the forest alone with no escorting ranger guide is dangerous because despite the presence of the mountain gorillas, other forest dwellers like forest elephants, duikers, Giant forest hogs exist in the forest. They may harm you incase you have no defender. These wild animals have not been habituated to human presence like the mountain gorillas.
Provoking the mountain gorillas is forbidden because they may get agitates in case you do something the gorillas are not comfortable with.
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