If you’re planning to see mountain gorillas in Africa, you might be considering two popular destinations: Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Both parks are located within the Virunga mountain ranges and are home to endangered mountain gorillas, as well as other wildlife and stunning extinct volcanic mountains that offer great opportunities for hiking and adventure.
Volcanoes National Park covers five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains, namely Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga, and Sabyinyo. On the other hand, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park consists of three extinct volcanoes: Muhavura, Gahinga, and Sabinyo. In addition to the gorillas, both parks offer visitors the chance to spot endangered Golden monkeys, as well as various bird species, reptiles, and forest mammals.
While both destinations offer an unforgettable gorilla trekking experience, there are some differences to consider. Volcanoes National Park is known for its large gorilla families and relatively easy trekking trails, but it can get crowded during peak season. In contrast, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers a more remote and intimate experience with fewer tourists, but the gorilla groups may be smaller and the terrain can be more challenging.
Ultimately, the choice between these two incredible parks may depend on your personal preferences, budget, and travel plans. No matter which one you choose, gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda is sure to be a highlight of your African adventure.
Trek Africa Expeditions specializes in creating unforgettable gorilla trekking experiences in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park. Our team of experts can customize your mountain gorilla trip to suit your preferences, interests, and budget. We take care of all the details, from booking your gorilla trekking permit to arranging your transportation and overnight accommodations. Additionally, we provide valuable advice on gorilla trekking rules and regulations, the best time to trek gorillas, gorilla trekking age limits, permit refunds and cancellation policies, as well as Covid-19 requirements and protocols for Uganda and Rwanda.
At Trek Africa Expeditions, we understand that each traveler is unique and has different needs and expectations. Whether you’re traveling alone, with family, or a group of friends, we can tailor your gorilla trekking holiday to ensure it meets your specific requirements. Our team of experienced guides and drivers will accompany you throughout your trip and provide you with all the information you need to have a successful and memorable trekking experience.
So, if you’re looking for a hassle-free and customized gorilla trekking holiday in Rwanda or Uganda, look no further than Trek Africa Expeditions. Contact us today to start planning your dream trip to see these majestic and endangered creatures in their natural habitat.
When it comes to gorilla trekking, both Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda offer a truly unforgettable experience. While the vegetation is similar in both parks, there are several factors that you can consider when deciding where to book your gorilla trekking adventure.
When it comes to gorilla trekking, the vegetation in the habitat of the mountain gorillas plays a significant role in determining the quality of the trekking experience. Both Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are located in the Virunga mountain ranges and have mainly bamboo as the primary vegetation. This makes it easier to trek through the parks and offers better viewing opportunities for the gorillas due to the open nature of the bamboo forest.
The clear vegetation also allows for clear photo and video opportunities, making these two national parks an ideal choice for those interested in taking clear and high-quality footage of the mountain gorillas. In comparison, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is another popular gorilla trekking destination, has denser vegetation that can make it harder to get a clear view of the gorillas.
In conclusion, for a clear and immersive gorilla trekking experience, choosing either Volcanoes National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park would be an excellent choice for those interested in capturing high-quality photographs and videos of these incredible creatures.
When it comes to accessibility, Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park have their pros and cons. While Volcanoes National Park is closer to the airport and can be accessed within 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali city/International Airport, Mgahinga used to be avoided by tourists due to its distance from Entebbe International Airport (9-10 hours drive). However, nowadays, tours to Mgahinga can be arranged via Kigali, which shortens the drive to only 3-4 hours.
Although Volcanoes National Park may seem like the more convenient option, Mgahinga is becoming increasingly popular among tourists due to its affordability and the fact that it can now be accessed more easily via Kigali. With the East African Tourist Visa, visitors can easily visit both Rwanda and Uganda and enjoy the unique gorilla trekking experience in Mgahinga.
It’s worth noting that despite the distance difference, both parks offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience to trek mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Ultimately, the choice of which park to visit depends on individual preferences, budget, and itinerary.
When it comes to lodging options, both Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offer a variety of choices for travelers. However, there are some differences to consider. If you’re looking for luxury lodges with international standards, Volcanoes National Park is the place to be. This park has some of the best lodges in Africa, such as Bisate Lodge and Singita Kwitonda Lodge, which offer top-notch services and amenities. On the other hand, if you’re on a budget, Mgahinga might be a better choice. There are many affordable lodges to choose from in the neighboring town of Kisoro, ranging from $30 to $100 per night.
It’s important to note that Rwanda has positioned itself as a luxury destination, which is reflected in the prices of gorilla trekking permits, recommended safari vehicles, and the abundance of luxury lodges in Volcanoes National Park. In contrast, there is only one luxury lodge in Mgahinga compared to the many upmarket lodges in Volcanoes. Therefore, if you’re looking for high-end accommodations and experiences, Volcanoes National Park should be your first choice.
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda offers more options for gorilla trekking than Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. With 10 gorilla families, Volcanoes has 96 permits available each day, while Mgahinga has only one gorilla family, which means only eight permits are available each day. This makes it easier to obtain permits for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, particularly during peak season months. Although the one gorilla family in Mgahinga used to move between Uganda and Rwanda, it is now settled on the Uganda side.
Despite Mgahinga’s limited gorilla families, gorilla trekking in the park offers an intimate and exclusive experience, with only eight people permitted to visit the gorillas each day. However, Volcanoes National Park still has the highest number of families and offers competitive but expensive gorilla trekking permits compared to Mgahinga.
Rwanda markets itself more extensively as a top gorilla trekking destination compared to Uganda, which needs to invest more in promoting its primate tourism industry. Nonetheless, both parks offer a unique and unforgettable experience for travelers seeking to encounter these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda offers the ultimate gorilla trekking experience in the world. This is because gorilla habituation and trekking started here, making the mountain gorilla families more accustomed to human presence compared to those in Mgahinga. Those who have trekked mountain gorillas can attest to the outstanding experience before, during, and after the trek in Volcanoes National Park. The warm welcome, cultural performances, and the actual trekking experience are all exceptional. While both Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda have mountain gorillas, the chance of seeing them is as high as 98% in either park. Therefore, whichever park you choose to visit, you will have the opportunity to see these great apes in their natural habitat.
When it comes to the cost of seeing mountain gorillas, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a more affordable option than Volcanoes National Park. The difference in price is due to the policy differences between Uganda and Rwanda. While Rwanda promotes itself as a luxury destination, Uganda markets itself as an affordable one.
The experience and duration spent with the gorillas are the same, but one can save up to $100 by booking two gorilla treks in Mgahinga at $1400 and spending up to 2 days, compared to splashing out $1500 for just one hour in Volcanoes National Park.
A gorilla permit in Mgahinga costs $700 per person per trek for foreign non-residents, $600 per person for residents, and $70 for East African citizens. This gives visitors an opportunity to spend an hour with the mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
In contrast, a gorilla permit in Volcanoes National Park costs $1500 per person per trek for foreign non-residents, $500 per person for foreign residents, and $200 for East African citizens. This also gives visitors an opportunity to spend an hour with the mountain gorillas, but at a significantly higher cost.
If you are interested in an affordable gorilla trekking option, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is not for you. At $1500 per permit, it is much more expensive than Mgahinga’s $700 permit.
The distance of gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park depends on the specific gorilla family assigned to you on the day of trekking. Both parks allocate gorilla families based on individual interests and physical fitness levels. If you prefer a shorter trek, you can inform park authorities on the day of trekking to be assigned a family that requires less walking. Conversely, if you want a longer trek, you can also request such a family.
However, it is important to note that the behavior of gorillas can affect the trekking experience. For example, if the gorillas decide to move further while you are looking for them, you may need to walk a longer distance. Therefore, regardless of the park you choose, be prepared for the possibility of longer walks during your gorilla trek.
When planning a gorilla trekking experience, it’s important to consider the best time to visit Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. While both parks are open for gorilla trekking all year round, certain months offer better trekking conditions than others.
The best months for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are June to August and December to February. During these months, rainfall is lower and the forest is less slippery, making trekking easier and more enjoyable.
If you’re planning to visit during the rainy season, from March to May and November, you may encounter higher rainfall and more difficult trekking conditions. However, this is also a great time to take advantage of discounted accommodation rates at some lodges.
It’s important to note that during peak seasons, gorilla permits tend to sell out quickly. To ensure a spot for your gorilla trekking experience, it’s recommended to book your permit at least one year in advance. If you need help booking your Mgahinga or Volcanoes gorilla trekking permit, don’t hesitate to contact Trek Africa Expeditions.
Trek Africa Expeditions is the perfect choice for anyone planning a gorilla trek in Rwanda and Uganda. With a dedicated team of professional tour consultants, we offer tailor-made safaris that cater to your specific needs and preferences. Whether you are traveling alone, as a couple, or in a group, we guarantee a hassle-free experience that is both enjoyable and memorable.
Our team of safari guides is highly knowledgeable and fluent in multiple languages, ensuring that you receive the best possible experience during your gorilla trek. We offer a variety of packages that cater to different preferences and budgets, including the 2-day Volcanoes National Park Gorilla Safari, 3-day Mgahinga Gorilla Safari, and 4-day Gorilla fly-in safari.
At Trek Africa Expeditions, we prioritize timely responses and quick turnaround times. Our team of professional tour consultants ensures that all your queries are answered within 20 minutes, and we work hard to ensure that all your services are booked in advance to avoid any inconvenience.
Booking your gorilla trek with Trek Africa Expeditions guarantees a seamless and memorable experience. Contact us today to plan your perfect gorilla trek in Rwanda and Uganda.