Why do Uganda gorilla safaris start in Kigali Rwanda
Going gorilla trekking in Uganda through Kigali airport is becoming the safari trend of late. This gives you the safari experience of two countries, Uganda and Rwanda since you can use the East Africa visa to enter both countries.
With the East African visa, you are allowed entry into two East African countries without re-applying for a visa. Rwanda and Uganda are not only neighbors but all in the East African community.
Most Popular Safaris
The drive time from Kigali airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park crossing through Cyanika or Gatuna border arrives in 5 to 6 hours.
Driving from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park may take about 8 to 9 hours. This drive can be shortened with stopovers in National Parks, like Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale National Park, and others.
Where To Go For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda, covering about 327 square kilometers of land. This refugia forest is believed to be existing for over 30000 years with a significant population of fauna and flora of approximately 51 reptiles, 88 months, 300 trees, 350 bird species, 10 primate species including the mountain gorillas, and others.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has about 18 gorilla families living in four areas: Buhoma, the Ruhija, and Rushaga and Nkuringo. Two gorilla habituation families are reserved in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
You must know where your gorilla permit is booked to reserve accommodation for gorilla trekking or habituation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This is to avoid driving late at night to catch up with gorilla trekking briefing in another area.
Some of the accommodations you can book for a gorilla safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include;
Gorilla Safari Lodge, Clouds Lodge, Gorilla Forest Lodge, Engage Lodge, Nkuringo Safari Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Bwindi View Bandas, And Others.
Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park lies in the southwestern fur corner of Uganda. The park has one fully habituated mountain gorilla family called Nyakagezi. This gorilla family used to wander into Rwanda. This explains why it took a lot of work to pre-book a gorilla permit for Mgahinga National Park.
The mountain gorillas are steadily living in Mgahinga National Park and can be pre-booked by Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The park has three distinctive volcanoes: Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura, And Mountain Sabyinyo, which can be hiked daily. These have varied beautiful vegetation zones not commonly seen close to the ground.
Mgahinga National Park hosts other primates like Golden Monkeys, Grey Cheeked Mangabey, Vervet Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Blue Monkeys, And Others.
How To Book Gorilla Permit In Uganda When Starting In Kigali
The Uganda Wildlife Authority is the gorilla permit-selling and regulating body of Uganda. You can book your gorilla permit through a tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris or from Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Identify a date when you hope to do gorilla trekking in Uganda and the number of people you wish to travel with. The more, the merrier, as you talk about the beautiful experiences you get when you locate the mountain gorillas.
Our safari consultant has to check the availability of gorilla permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority listing.
When positive, the safari consultant will get back to you. We advise our clients to purchase their gorilla permits as soon as possible because they are limited to a maximum of 8 per gorilla family. Yet, Uganda has only 152 gorilla permits per day.
After your gorilla permit is fully secured, you must forward personal details like your full name as indicated on the passport, date of birth, nationality, and expiry date. These are used for record purposes, and some are included on your certificate after completing gorilla trekking or habituation safari.
How Much Is The Cost Of a Gorilla Permit For Uganda?
Each Uganda gorilla permit costs $800 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $700 for foreign residents, and 300000 shs for East African residents.
The best time for purchasing the gorilla permit is at least 6 months upfront as they get sold out fast, especially in the peak season, that is, June to September and December to January. It is hard to find last-minute gorilla permits for the peak season.
During the low season, that is, March to May and November, chances of finding last-minute gorilla permits are more open, though not guaranteed.
What Is Included And Excluded In The Cost Of Uganda Gorilla Permit?
The cost of a Uganda gorilla permit includes the following:
- Park entrance fees.
- Security during gorilla trekking.
- Ranger guide fee.
- Gorilla conservation fee.
- Local community support.
- A certificate after gorilla trekking.
Exclusions of a gorilla permit are; transport to gorilla safari destination, tips, porter fee, snacks, packed lunch, and any other items of personal nature.
Does Uganda Accept Gorilla Permit Instalment Purchases?
Paying fully for your gorilla permit in Uganda is the best option; however, you can pay for the permits in installments due to circumstances.
Uganda Wildlife Authority accepts installment gorilla permit purchases of 30% and 70% in case you reserve your gorilla permit at least 90 days before the day of trekking. You must top up before 90 days to gorilla trekking day. Please top up your gorilla permit to avoid attracting a penalty.
Gorilla permits in Uganda are sold on a first-come, first-served basis because of their limited number, yet demand worldwide is high.
How Much Is A Gorilla Safari In Uganda Through Rwanda?
The gorilla safari costs are packaged according to luxury, midrange, and budget. Each requires a gorilla permit, which costs $800 per person per trek.
Other factors considered when costing a gorilla safari include;
As more people join, the number of people included in the gorilla safari and the cost per person reduces.
The number of days on gorilla safari when you take more days, the safari cost increases.
The time when you book the gorilla safari when the peak season safari packages are higher because of the high demand for safaris.
Other activities combined with gorilla trekking include more activities like chimpanzee trekking and game drives and the more the cost.
Is The Cost Of Uganda Gorilla Safari Worth?
The cost of Uganda safari through Rwanda is worth every penny though it may seem expensive. The mountain gorillas are some leftover primates believed to have existed during the dinosaurs’ reign.
In the world, mountain gorillas only live in the Virunga area, comprising Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo. According to the population census, mountain gorillas were at the rim of extinction by the 1980s. They were about 300 mountain gorillas, according to the report of American primatologist Dian Fossey then. This brought mountain gorillas to the list of the highly endangered primates of the world, and gorilla trekking is one of the ways to collect funds to support their conservation.
When you purchase a gorilla permit and do gorilla trekking, you contribute to the local community around the mountain gorillas. Annually, 20 % of the annual proceeds accumulated from the sale of gorilla safaris is given back to the local community. Instead of preying on the forest where the mountain gorillas live, they use these funds to support community projects like setting up health facilities, schools, etc.
What Else Can I Do In Uganda Other Than Gorilla Trekking?
Community Visits In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Or Mgahinga National Park
You can learn about the life of the local people around the gorilla trekking destinations in Uganda. While in Bwindi’s impenetrable National Park, you can tour communities like the Buhoma community. Some of the activities you can do include visiting the blacksmith, a traditional healer, and a banana beer brewery. During the Nkuringo community visit, you can see the blacksmith, homestead, traditional healer, and others.
In Mgahinga National Park, you can visit the Batwa, who were evicted for conservation reasons.
The Batwa trail is led by a local Mutwa guide who takes you through some of what used to happen in the forest before they were evicted in the 1990s. They perform performances like making fire from wood, harvesting honey, collecting fruits, and demonstrating their forest life.
During the Batwa visit, a visit to the Garama cave just below the plateau close to the park’s northern edge is amazing. This cave was a retreat point after they raided the farmlands of the Bafumbira.
Birding In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Doing birding in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park is amazing. This area has a number of birds, including Albertine rift endemics. You may identify birds like Western Green Tibkerbird, Handsome Francolin, Mountain Masked And Chestnut Throated Apalises, Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori Hill, Collared Apalis, Cinnamon Chested Bee Eater, and others.
You need a professional and experienced birding guide to get the best of your safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park.
From gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you can do chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park or Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park. You need to book a chimpanzee trekking permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Follow the rules of chimpanzee trekking well, knowing that chimpanzees have about 98% human DNA.
The drive time from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to Queen Elizabeth National Park is about 4 to 5 hours to Kibale National Park. Kibale National Park is about 6 hours, so that you can visit the chimpanzee after or before gorilla trekking. You can see the closest human cousins in the animal kingdom.
Game Drives In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Taking an early morning or late afternoon game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park may give you a chance to spot a number of animals like the tree-climbing lions, herds of elephants, herds of cape buffaloes, waterbucks, bushbucks, topis, and others.
Taking the tracks within the park is amazing as you get to identify a number of wild animals that live in this amazing park.
Game Drive In Murchison Falls National Park
You can do a game drive in Murchison Falls National Park, which River Nile bisects. On the northern banks of this park, you can spot animals like lions, hartebeest, giraffes, waterbucks, bushbucks, oribi, and others. The Buligi track is the best wildlife track where chances of wildlife drama are more open.
Launch Cruise In Queen Elizabeth National Park
The Kazinga Channel Queen Elizabeth National Park launch cruise is amazing as you enjoy riverine wildlife. A number of wild animals spend part of their day by the channel banks to quench their thirst and take a bath. Some wild animals you may spot include elephants, waterbucks, bushbucks, lions, elephants, cape buffaloes, and others.
On a clear day, Look over for the sparkling iced top of Rwenzori ranges that forms the backdrop of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Launch Trip In Murchison Falls National Park
Sailing to Murchison Falls is the most exciting but dramatic adventure in Murchison Falls National Park. Enjoy the riverside wild animals that love enjoying the freebies along the banks and quench your thirst. An array of birds graces the shore of the River Nile too.
Watch River Nile as it squeezes through a narrow bend of about 6 meters wide to burst out vigorously and foam a cloudy appearance.
Mountaineering On Rwenzori
You can test your fitness with a hike on Mountain Rwenzori for about 7 days return trip. Enjoy the varied vegetation zones that form the fauna along the slopes of this mountain. From gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you can mountaineering on Rwenzori.
Visit Lake Bunyonyi
You can take visit to Lake Bunyonyi in Western Uganda, which is the deepest lake in Uganda. The word Bunyonyi locally means small birds; this is fit for the many birds living around this lake.
This lake has a number of islands which you can be navigated with a boat ride to enjoy the scenic views of the surrounding. The most outstanding island is the punishment island, where girls who got pregnant out of wedlock were deserted to die or drown while trying to cross back to the land.
The water of Lake Bunyonyi is Bilharzia-free, so that you can swim in it. Do zip-lining over this lake for some refreshing moments.