Rwanda Vs Uganda: Compare Gorillas Trek & Tracking Tours, Costs, Experiences
In comparing gorilla trekking Uganda Rwanda, we have to first look at the costs involved.
Okay, aside from the price differences with the Rwanda gorilla tracking permit now at $1500 and Uganda gorilla going for $600 (and $450 in November 2017), could there be some real difference in the experience one finally gets?
As all the mountain gorillas in both countries are the same species only separated by national boundaries, the only difference that should mainly arise is in your experience in the tracking and the general gorilla tour arrangement.
Because Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is only about 125kms from your arrival airport – Kigali, it makes much easier to access by road. For Uganda’s Bwindi/ Mgahinga, you would need 8 hours to drive from Entebbe Airport and another 8 hours back to the airport, although daily flights are available (taking about 50 minutes).
With this prevailing, you would need at least two days to complete your gorilla tour in Rwanda and 3 days for a Uganda gorilla tour.
So, even though the Uganda gorillas permit are cheaper, you would incur a transport cost of about $500-$600. Some visitors choose to arrive in Kigali and arrange to visit Bwindi from Kigali. You would still need 3 days for the entire tour.
All else being equal, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park has a slight edge over the rest because its gorillas are the most wholly habituated, and they are often found in bamboo than the dense forest which makes photographing easier.
The major challenge with tracking gorillas in Rwanda is certainly the price of the gorilla permit at US$1500 compared to Uganda’s US$600 per permit. However, Rwanda’s pride is in the ability for one to do the gorilla trek even in one day and fly back home which is impossible for Uganda. Volcanoes National Park is located 116 km from Kigali and can be driven in just 2 hours. On the other hand, Bwindi is located 500 km from Kampala/ Entebbe Airport and a drive can take 8 hours plus. In that sense, you will spend at least 3 days for your gorilla trek tour – one travelling to Bwindi, another doing the gorilla trek, and the other driving back to Kampala/Entebbe. If a tour operator is making you a tour package, they shall definitely have to consider this cost and include it in your tour cost.
With the on coming of daily scheduled flights to Bwindi, operators now can have 3 days flying packages to Bwindi.
In real practice though, the one-day gorilla trek tour is not recommended because of the pressure it exerts on the trekker. For those limited on time, we would suggest the 2-days gorillas package.
Comparison of The Gorilla Trekking Experience Between Uganda and Rwanda
In general, the experience can only be different due to the way a particular gorilla family behaves in front of the trackers, how long and tough one has to track before reaching the gorillas and the way the park staff conducts the exercise. Personally, I found the Rwanda gorilla tracking package more charming that the Ugandan one on the tracking day. Should we say that this’ because of the gorilla permit price difference? Anyways, on your gorilla tracking day in Rwanda, you will definitely get more than that. At about 7:00 AM, tea/ coffee dispensers with cups are laid for visitors going for the trek. You are free to take as much as you wish. As visitors are enjoying the tea/ coffee, they are entertained by the lively traditional dance troupe (SACOLA Traditional Dancers) who bring on a wholesome Rwanda traditional cultural experience all visitors enjoy.
Let’s compare Uganda Rwanda gorilla trek tour costs in general.
Comparing Gorilla Trekking Uganda Rwanda: Contrasting other things in addition to the actual gorilla tracking
At the end of the day – the ultimate jury are those who are looking as to which country to visit in order to track Gorillas – it is not Rwanda, not Uganda, not the Democratic Republic of Congo but where their pockets and hearts choose. If you precisely want the mountain gorillas and nothing else, go for a one-day gorilla trek but if you are a one who wants it and all of it, go for the long drive – you won’t regret…
Related articles on Comparing Gorilla Trekking Uganda Rwanda:
Comparing Gorilla Trekking Uganda Rwanda: Mountain Gorilla Trekking Tour Packages in Rwanda and Uganda