If you’re planning a gorilla trekking adventure, choosing between Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo can be a tough decision. Both parks are home to mountain gorillas, but there are some differences to consider before making your final decision. As experts in gorilla trekking, we’ve put together a comparison guide to help you choose the best destination for your experience.
While the end goal is the same – to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat – there are a few factors to take into account. Firstly, Volcanoes National Park is located in Rwanda, which has a more stable political climate and is generally considered safer for tourists. Virunga National Park is situated in Congo, which has experienced some political instability and conflict in recent years.
Another important factor to consider is the cost. Gorilla trekking permits in Volcanoes National Park are more expensive than in Virunga National Park. However, Virunga National Park offers more budget-friendly options for accommodation and transport.
The trekking experience itself is similar in both parks, with experienced guides leading you through the forest to find the gorillas. Volcanoes National Park is more developed and structured, with better facilities and infrastructure. In comparison, Virunga National Park is more rugged and wild, with a more authentic and adventurous feel.
Ultimately, the decision of where to go for your gorilla trekking experience depends on your preferences and priorities. Whether you choose Volcanoes National Park or Virunga National Park, encountering mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is an unforgettable and life-changing experience.
Gorilla trekking is an adventurous and exciting activity that many people would like to experience in their lifetime. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo are two of the most popular destinations for gorilla trekking. When it comes to accessibility, there are some notable differences between the two parks.
Volcanoes National Park is located in the northern part of Rwanda, just a 2-3 hour drive from the capital city, Kigali. This makes it a more convenient option for travelers who want to minimize travel time. Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park are easily seen with a short drive time possible, even in one day. This is one of the main reasons why it is a popular destination for gorilla trekking.
On the other hand, Virunga National Park is located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which can make it more challenging to access. The park is located close to the Rwandan border, but it can still take several hours to reach depending on the specific location of the gorilla groups. Additionally, the security situation in the region has been unstable in the past, which can make it difficult for travelers to access the park.
However, despite the challenges of accessing Virunga National Park, it is still a popular destination for gorilla trekking due to the unique experience it offers. The park is home to the endangered mountain gorillas, and trekking to see them in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Virunga National Park also offers a more remote and wild experience compared to Volcanoes National Park, making it a favorite for adventurous travelers.
In conclusion, both Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park offer unique and exciting opportunities for gorilla trekking, and the accessibility of each park will depend on individual preferences and travel plans. While Volcanoes National Park is more easily accessible, Virunga National Park offers a more remote and adventurous experience. Regardless of which park is chosen, gorilla trekking is a truly unforgettable experience that should not be missed.
Ensuring the safety and security of tourists is a top priority for any gorilla trekking adventure, and when it comes to choosing between Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park, Volcanoes is the safer option. While both parks have experienced security concerns in the past due to political instability and outbreaks of disease such as Ebola, Rwanda has managed to control the situation and is now considered much more stable and secure than Congo.
During your trek in Volcanoes National Park, you can feel at ease knowing that you will be escorted by well-trained armed rangers who will protect you from any potential danger. However, both parks have excellent lodging options for tourists, ranging from budget to mid-range to upmarket. Although both parks offer a range of choices, Volcanoes National Park has the upper hand when it comes to luxurious lodging options. For those interested in staying in super-luxury lodges with international standards, Volcanoes National Park is the best option. Some of the most renowned lodges in Africa, such as Bisate Lodge and Singita Kwitonda Lodge, can be found in Volcanoes National Park.
When it comes to mountain gorilla families, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda has the upper hand with 12 gorilla families, while Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo has only 8 gorilla families available for trekking. This means that Volcanoes National Park offers 96 gorilla permits per day, making it more flexible and easier to obtain permits during peak season months. In contrast, Virunga National Park only offers 64 permits per day, which can make it more challenging to secure a permit, especially during peak times.
Each gorilla family has its own unique characteristics and behaviors, making each trek a truly individual experience. In Volcanoes National Park, visitors have the opportunity to trek with well-known gorilla families such as the Susa, Kwitonda, and Hirwa families. In Virunga National Park, visitors can trek with families like the Rugendo, Mapuwa, and Lulengo families, to name a few.
No matter which park you choose, a mountain gorilla trekking experience is sure to be unforgettable. It is important to note that both parks take great care in monitoring and protecting the gorilla families, as they are a critically endangered species. As such, guidelines and regulations are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of both the gorillas and visitors during the trekking experience.
When it comes to gorilla trekking experience, both Virunga and Volcanoes National Park offer an unforgettable encounter with these majestic creatures. With a 98% chance of seeing gorillas in their natural habitat, visitors are guaranteed an amazing experience regardless of which park they choose to visit.
Both parks have well-trained rangers who guide visitors through the dense jungle to where the gorillas reside. As visitors approach the gorilla families, they are struck by the awe-inspiring sight of these gentle giants in their natural habitat. The experience of being close to them is a truly humbling and unforgettable one.
While both parks offer a similar experience in terms of gorilla sightings, there are other factors that visitors may want to consider when choosing between the two. These include accessibility, safety and security, number of gorilla families, and accommodation options. By taking these factors into consideration, visitors can choose the park that best suits their needs and preferences.
When it comes to the affordability of gorilla trekking, Virunga National Park in Congo is a cheaper alternative compared to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The difference in price is mainly due to the policies of the two countries, with Rwanda aiming to promote itself as a luxury destination, while Congo is focused on attracting more travelers to its gorilla tourism after years of insecurity in the region.
In Virunga National Park, a gorilla permit costs $400 per person per trek during the high season months of mid-December to mid-March and June to October, and $200 during the low season months of mid-March to mid-May and mid-October to mid-December. This permit allows for a one-hour encounter with the mountain gorillas.
In contrast, a gorilla permit in Volcanoes National Park costs $1500 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents, and $200 for East African citizens. Despite the higher price, the experience of spending an hour with the gorillas is the same in both parks.
Ultimately, the affordability of gorilla trekking may be a deciding factor for some travelers, and Virunga National Park offers a more budget-friendly option while still providing the opportunity to witness these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.
When it comes to the distance required to trek for gorilla sightings, the allocation of gorilla families plays a crucial role in both Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park. The park authorities assign families based on individual preferences and physical fitness. If you prefer a shorter trek, you can request a family that requires less walking. Conversely, if you prefer a medium or longer trek, you can request a family that requires more walking. However, it’s essential to note that the behavior of the gorillas can impact the trek’s length. If, for instance, the gorillas move further during the search, you may have to walk a longer distance to locate them, regardless of the allocated family.
If you’re planning a gorilla trekking adventure, it’s crucial to know the ideal time to visit Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo. Although both parks are accessible throughout the year, they’re located in the tropics and can experience rainfall at any time.
To optimize your gorilla trekking experience, the best time to visit these parks is during June to August and December to February. During these months, the rainfall is lower, and the forest trails are less slippery, ensuring a comfortable and safe trekking experience.
However, if you happen to travel during the months of March to May and November, when rainfall is higher, some lodges may offer discounted accommodation rates. So, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly gorilla trekking adventure, visiting during these months could be a good option.
Trek Africa Expeditions offers a unique and personalized gorilla trekking experience in Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park. Our team of professional tour consultants are always available to answer your queries within 20 minutes and tailor a travel plan that meets your specific needs. We take pride in our trust-worthy team and experienced safari guides, who are knowledgeable and fluent in various languages. We offer a variety of Mountain Gorilla safari Packages to suit your preferences, including the 2 day, 3 day, and 4 day Gorilla safaris.
By booking with Trek Africa Expeditions, you can rest assured that all your services will be booked in advance to avoid any inconvenience during your trip. We are committed to providing the best possible experience for our clients, from the moment you book your trip with us to the end of your safari. Contact us today to help you book your unforgettable gorilla trekking experience in Volcanoes National Park or Virunga National Park Congo.