What Can Kids Do When Adults Go For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda
Activities in the Virunga area, composed of Uganda and Rwanda, are wilderness-based, with gorilla trekking at the forefront; however, the age limit of 15 years and beyond doesn’t favor children below this age. As tourists of age go for gorilla trekking, children must also engage in activities that keep them in the mood of this African Safari.
With special arrangements and help from park management, children can be taken through educational forest walks and participate in creative activities that teach them about the ecosystem and its inhabitants.
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Children may identify monkeys, visit local communities, schools around the gorilla trekking parks, cyanotype photography, and others.
Some lodges may have special plans for children not eligible for gorilla trekking. However, it would be best if you made this arrangement in time so that special care is taken.
When parents return from gorilla trekking energized, a community walk with the children is rewarding. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are some communities like the Buhoma community walk and Nkuringo community walk where tourists can engage in activities like visiting the traditional healer, banana brew tasting, visiting a local homestead, blacksmith, and others.
While in Mgahinga National Park, children with escorting parents or guardians can do the Batwa and Garama cave visit. A Mutwa native conducts this walk where you immerse yourselves into the ancient life of the now homeless Batwa whose life depended on the forest for survival before being evicted for mountain gorilla conservation. The Garama cave, with its history, is worth the visit. The Batwa traditional group at the end may entertain you, but this is based on prior arrangements.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, located in the southwestern corner of Uganda. So far, 19 gorilla families, 152 gorilla permits, are open to public booking. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda has two gorilla families available for gorilla habituation experience.
Volcanoes National Park is the only home of gorilla trekking in Rwanda. Currently, this park hosts 12 gorilla trekking families, and 96 gorilla families are open to public booking.
What Is Required During Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda?
Book A Gorilla Permit
Whether in Uganda or Rwanda, you must possess a gorilla permit as an entry ticket into a gorilla trekking adventure. Gorilla permits are sold per day. However, they are limited to a maximum of 8 per family for conservation reasons.
A first come, first served basis is used to reserve a gorilla trekking permit, so none is secured without payment.
Forward some of your passport details later, like your full name as indicated on the passport, nationality, date of birth, and passport expiry date, to collect the gorilla permit.
In Uganda, The Uganda Wildlife Authority is responsible for regulating and selling Uganda gorilla permits. You can use the service of an accredited tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris to reserve a gorilla permit for you.
Reserve Accommodation To Use During Gorilla Trekking
Uganda and Rwanda have accommodations in and around the gorilla trekking destinations you can choose from for your stay.
You can book Rwanda accommodations for gorilla trekking in the Musaze area; however, more accommodation options are in Kigali city, about 2 and a half hours away from Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda, accommodations for gorilla trekking experience are graded according to luxury, mid-range, and budget.
Rwanda accommodations include
Sabyinyo Silver Back Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Hotel Mille Collines, Hotel La Palme, Kinigi Guest House, Hotel Muhavura.
Uganda accommodation you may book for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are reserved according to areas into which the park is subdivided: the Buhoma area in the North, Ruhija in the East, Rushaga and Nkuringo area in the southern sector. The Bwindi impenetrable national park is categorized into luxury, mid-range, and budget facilities. These areas lie some distance apart, so based on the nature of the roads around the park, connecting from one area to another is challenging, yet you may be required to drive in the dark to catch up with briefing in another.
Gorilla Forest Camp, Engage Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Broadbill Camp, Gorilla Resort, Lake Kitandara Tented Camp, Silverback Lodge
Mgahinga National Park has only one gorilla family called Nyakagezi, and accommodation options are limited, too. More accommodations can be accessed from Kisoro town, just about 14 kilometers, taking a 30-minute and 30-minute drive to Mgahinga National Park.
Gahinga Lodge, Traveller’s Inn, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Mgahinga gorilla Triangle, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp
Book Transport To The Gorilla Trekking Destinations
Road transport is the main means of transport to the gorilla trekking destinations in Uganda and Rwanda. You need a 4×4 wheel vehicle because of the nature of the terrain resulting from volcanic action and regular rains that fall.
The drive time from Kigali Airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours on a fairly smooth drive but going through winding roads because of the numerous hills to Musanze.
Uganda’s drive from Entebbe Airport to Kampala City is about 8 to 9 hours over bumpy, dusty roads, especially in the countryside. A 4×4 wheel drive vehicle may be a shock absorber because some countryside roads are sorrowful. In case you have emotional sickness, carrying some pills would greatly help.
By air transport
Uganda has daily domestic flights from Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport to Kihihi Airstrip or Kisoro Airstrip. You can reserve a seat in advance, especially during the peak season when the Uganda tourism industry is at its highest.
You must hire a transfer vehicle as the distance from the airstrips to the gorilla trekking destinations is long.
Charter flight services are available from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi to Kihihi Airstrip and Kisoro Airstrip.
In Rwanda, charter flights are available from Kigali Airport to Volcanoes National Park.
Pack The Right Gorilla Trekking Gears
Getting yourself ready for the jungle with the right gorilla trekking gear would be best. The wilderness is rough, so wearing attire that protects from biting insects and stinging nettles gives you the best experience with the mountain gorillas.
You do not have to carry so much, but pack relevantly for flexibility during the gorilla safari. Some gorilla trekking gear you may pack includes garden gloves, safari boots, insect repellant, a first aid kit, a brim safari hat, and others.
If you need a porter to assist you with your gear, come with a waterproof backpack to hand over to the porter at an affordable fee. It is one of the ways to directly give back to the local community to boost their wellbeing.
Exercise Before Gorilla Trekking
You need to keep your body ready for hiking as the Virunga area was affected by volcanic action, leaving it with ridges and plateaus on whose slopes or valleys mountain gorillas spend part of their day. For tourists to trace the mountain gorillas, you must hike; however, when you are physically unfit, you may find this challenging due to muscle pulls.
Even getting to the starting point of the gorilla trek may require you to hike depending on where the mountain gorillas were last seen the previous day.
You do not need to keep in the gym all day but start with simple strides beyond normal to stretch your muscles a little more.
How Much Is The Cost Of Gorilla Safari In Uganda Or Rwanda?
Gorilla safaris in Uganda and Rwanda are packaged according to luxury, mid-range and budget. The common cost in all is the gorilla permit.
What is the cost of the Uganda gorilla permit?
The current cost of a Uganda gorilla permit is $700 per person for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 150000 shs for East African Residents.
This cost of the Uganda gorilla permit includes Park entrance fees, ranger guide fees, security during gorilla trekking, local community support, one hour with the mountain gorilla, mountain gorilla conservation support, and a certificate after completing the gorilla trek.
Exclusions of Uganda permit cost include transport to gorilla trekking destinations, porter fee, tips, accommodation, and any other items of personal nature.
What is the cost of a Rwanda gorilla permit?
A Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek, $500 for foreign nonresidents, and $200 for East African residents.
Inclusions of Rwanda, gorilla permit cost, are:
- Ranger guide fees.
- One hour with the mountain gorillas.
- Security during gorilla trekking.
- Local community support.
- Mountain gorilla conservation.
- Certificate after gorilla trekking.
- Park entrance fees.
Exclusions of Rwanda gorilla trekking Permit costs are transport to Volcanoes National Park, porter hire, accommodation, snacks, and any other items of personal nature.
What Is The Difference Between Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda?
No matter where you decide to go for a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda, the feeling you get after meeting the mountain gorillas makes you forget about what you may have gone through while preparing for this African adventure. The adorable spell of the mountain melts your heart at first sight.
Some of the differences you may find in where to go gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda are based on the following:
The cost of gorilla permit
A Uganda gorilla permit costs $700 per person, whereas a Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek.
Number of gorilla families
Uganda currently has 19 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking, 152 gorilla permits per day, and two open for gorilla habituation experience. Conversely, Rwanda has presently 12 gorilla families open for tourists to visit, with 96 gorilla permits per day.
Optional activities to combine with gorilla trekking
Uganda has more activities to connect with gorilla trekking, like chimpanzee trekking game activities in the parks, source of the River Nile, white water rafting, and others. Rwanda is limited to additional activities to combine with gorilla trekking.
Time to drive from the airport to gorilla trekking destinations
The drive time from Kigali International Airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours, while from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 8 to 9 hours. You can do the Gorilla trekking in Uganda through Rwanda Experience, which takes about 6 6-hour drive. You cross into Uganda via the Gatuna or Cyanika Border.
What to pack for a gorilla trekking safari with Kids In Uganda Or Rwanda
- Hiking Safari boots because the jungle is rough, so you need to protect your feet from getting hurt and walk well where necessary
- A camera for keeping memories to get back to after the holiday as gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
- A pair of binoculars to get a clearer view of far-ranging features.
- A sweater or warmer because it gets so cold at night and early morning and most times all day as the humidity of this area is high.
- Waterproof backpack with which to carry your gorilla trekking gear.
- Insect repellant to keep away biting insects that can cause harm to your body
- Bug spray in case you find some bugs in your room
- Toiletries, just in case your lodge doesn’t provide
- Garden gloves to protect your palms from stinging nettles and other rough surfaces in the jungle
- Shoe bag after the field, you may be too tired to clean then, yet you need to repack for the next destination.
- Duffel bag in case you have to lift your bags to your room
- Extra fully charged batteries because the phone may not be enough to keep all the photos you want to take.
- Safari long-sleeved shirt and trousers
- Extra clothes to change into after a shower
- Travel adapter and charger
- Rainproof gears as it rains without warning.
- Flip flops to wear after a long day in closed shoes
- First aid kit with emergency treatment
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