Some travellers have frequently asked where is the best place to see gorillas in Africa! The endangered primates live in the jungle forests of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas in all three countries are similar in appearance and behaviours. A comparison can be made in the activity itself due to the slight difference in landscapes, vegetation cover and the gorilla trekking safaris experience in the three countries. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga in Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National park in Uganda are contagious to each other as they are situated at the Virunga Massif. It is only Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda that is located in a different biosphere. The three gorilla countries have adopted the same procedures, rules and regulations for undertaking the gorilla trekking experience. Therefore, it is really hard to tell the best country for gorilla tracking safari, the choice is left to the tourist to tell the best depending on the experiences they may have in the different gorilla destinations. Africa Adventure Safaris gives you guide on gorilla trekking experience in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo giving you proper guide to choose where is the best place to see these endangered primates.
Gorilla Tracking Uganda
The gorillas in Uganda are found in two national parks namely Bwindi impenetrable National park with a total of about 500 gorilla individuals and Mgahinga gorilla national park with 80 individuals. Altogether, Uganda is home to over 20 gorilla families 19 of which live in Bwindi Forest and 1 in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park are found in four different regions namely; Buhoma in the north, Rushaga in the south, Ruhija in the east and Nkuringo in the southwest. With a great number of gorillas and gorilla habitats, tourists have a variety of choices to enjoy their Uganda gorilla safaris
The gorilla permit fees in Uganda cost 700$ per individual and this seems a reasonable fee that appeals to all kinds of tourists compared to the exorbitant rate of Rwanda. The staff at the gorilla parks in Uganda are fluent in the English language which is the most popular dialect in the world. Travellers have a great insightful, interactive and informative gorilla trekking experience because of the easy and great communication from the gorilla rangers who guide them to the gorilla habitats.
The distance between Bwindi and Mgahinga and Entebbe International port, the main gateway of most tourists to Uganda is more than 500kms. This makes it impossible for a visitor to have a short gorilla trekking trip starting from Entebbe International Airport. We therefore advise a 4 or 3 days Uganda gorilla safari is advised.
The terrain and vegetation cover in Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda is steep, sloppy and thick. In addition, the park is so huge that some gorilla families go to the far and dense forests which makes it difficult for the tourists to trek them. Sometimes, it is hard for travellers to get clear and better pictures during their meeting with the gorillas.
Gorilla Trekking Rwanda
Volcanoes national park in Rwanda is the most accessible out of all the gorilla national parks and is recommended for visitors with limited time on a safari trip. It only takes two and half hours from Kigali international Airport, the main gateway of Rwanda to Volcanoes national park where the gorillas are tracked. One day gorilla safari trip or 2days gorilla trekking tour is possible in Rwanda which is not the case in Uganda and Dr Congo.
Due to the small size and less thick forests of Volcanoes national park, many tourists find it less challenging to track the gorillas. It only takes 1-5 hours to find the gorillas in their exact locales in the montane and bamboo forest of Volcanoes national park Rwanda. The park also provides a better photo and video shooting environment compared to Bwindi Impenetrable national park in Uganda. Out of the about 380 total population of gorillas in Rwanda, there are 10 habituated families, each comprising of 10 individuals on average. This makes Rwanda have 80 gorilla permits available per day, considering the rule of a maximum of 8 people allowed to trek a family on a daily. The gorilla permit in Rwanda costs USD 1500$ per person. It can be purchased directly from Rwanda Development Board or indirectly through a local tour operator. The Lofty gorilla permit fee makes Rwanda a gorilla trekking destination for luxury travellers.
Gorilla Tracking Congo
With the stunning landscapes, Congo could have been the best gorilla trekking destination offering the off beaten kind of experience.Congo has two gorilla subspecies to trek in its territories, that is to say, the mountain gorillas in Virunga national park and the eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Beiga and Maiko National parks. These are all located in the eastern rich biodiversity area of Congo together with the magnificent Mount Nyirangoro which is always added to the attractions to encounter on a Congo gorilla safari expedition. Congo has the cheapest gorilla permit rates (US dollars 450$) of all the three gorilla countries and the rates are reduced during the low travel seasons. This is a gorilla trekking destination that appeals to all kinds of tourists.
The major drawback of Congo as a gorilla trekking destination is the inaccessibility and the insecurity tendencies. Travellers are advised to book their Congo gorilla trekking safari with the local tour operator who arrange the visa, transport, accommodation and gorilla trekking experience with the park management (Virunga Foundation) on their behalf. Otherwise, It is really tough for the tourists to prepare and plan for a Congo gorilla safari on their own.
As we conclude, it is very hard to tell the best country for a gorilla tracking experience because the gorillas are of the same appearance and also their habitats have almost the same scenery. In addition, the guidelines to be followed during the gorilla trekking experience are more or less the same in the three countries.