CAN I TRACK GORILLAS IN UGANDA FROM RWANDA?
One of the most amazing creatures that most travelers would love to encounter are the mountain gorillas found in the Virunga ranges in Congo’s Virunga National park, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park and Uganda’s Mgahinga gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable national park in the Kigezi highlands. Uganda has been known for gorilla tracking in the two parks before with full days drives from Kampala to the south west. The gorilla tourism in Rwanda has gained momentum in the previous years in Volcanoes National park former base for American researcher Dian Fossey and it has been the easiest for gorilla tracking tourists as it is a 3-hour drive from Kigali.
Rwanda has branded herself as a luxury destination which has left many travelers who are solo travelers, budget sensitive and would not want long road drives asking a question if it is possible to track Uganda gorillas from Rwanda.
And we now have the answer you are looking for. It is very possible to track mountain gorillas in Uganda from Kigali. Most of the tour operators in Uganda and Rwanda offer and advise their travelers to do gorilla tracking safaris in Uganda from Rwanda because of majorly two reasons. The first is the cost of tracking in Rwanda, a permit costs 1500USD compared to 700 USD in Uganda and the other reason is the driving distance from Kampala (Uganda’s capital) to Bwindi or Mgahinga in the south west of Uganda which his hectic and quite challenging for travelers. Can you imagine 9 hours driving, even with stop overs? You may not but then it is still amazing because you interact with different people experience change in landscapes and different attractions like drum makes at Mpambire and the Equator.
Fortunately, two of Uganda’s national parks (Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National parks) that host the 19 Gorilla groups in Uganda are a few driving hours from Kigali in the North of Rwanda. Travelers now have got a doorway to the two parks at Kigali International airport and from here they can cross to Uganda via Cyanika border in Kisoro or Katuna Border. This gives quick access to 3 of the 4 regions of Bwindi Impenetrable national park (Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo). Visitors can track gorillas, do the gorilla habituation experience in Rushaga sector or track golden monkeys in Mgahinga and encounter the Batwa.
Now with the introduction of the East African Tourist Visa that allows tourists to visit 3 countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. The visa costs 100USD with a validity of 3 months.
Travelers who don’t want to go via Rwanda can opt for flying safaris to all the two parks in Uganda since they have access to airfields like Nyakabande in Kisoro and Kihihi airfield in Buhoma side.
Now you can book a two or 3 days gorilla tracking safari from Rwanda to Uganda or have a combined wildlife and gorilla tracking safari in the two countries.