Do you want to visit your closest relatives the mountain gorillas but still wonder how to start the journey? What destination to go to? How much a permit costs? Where your safari can start from? How many days to spend on the safari? Fine, Uganda gorilla trekking safari from Kigali is what you need. This offer fits both luxury and budget travelers, those with plenty and limited time, and those heading for other safaris such as wildlife, honeymoon, birding and mountain hiking among others, but wish to mix with a Gorilla trekking experience. Starting a trip from Kigali offers a two Country experience; Rwanda (land of a thousand Hills) with real art and exhibits of modernity, whereas Uganda with an array of wildlife and unmatched biodiversity. Your adventure starts right at the time of landing at Kigali international airport; Rwanda, with stunning views of the rolling hills, lovely faces of the natives, green vegetation, and the great infrastructure erected around the entire place. Kigali is Rwanda’s capital city and ranks among the cleanest in the world, yet with remarkable historical palaces, accommodation facilities, security, and transportation that the world has ever known.
Before hitting the road to Uganda (the pearl of Africa); one of the most remarkable tourist destinations in the world, gifted by nature, cool climate, flora and fauna, towering mountains, undulating hills, hospitable people, and shimmering waters; there are plenty of places to visit and activities to do in and Around Kigali city. While on either a short excursion or a full day city tour around Kigali city; you can visit the local markets to see how the natives bargain for commodities or try it yourself, purchase the beautiful souvenirs, or exchange your money to local currency. The Genocide memorial site is another place to visit in remembrance of over 250,000 innocent people who lost their lives during the ethnic conflicts between the Tutsi and the Hutu in 1994; you will watch some documentaries, and listen to the lectures about what genocide is and why it should be condemned by the strongest terms possible. Kigali convention center; one of a kind in Africa and Nyanza king’s palace are the other two amazing destinations that are very exciting and rewarding, yet so cheap and a perfect addition to the gorilla trekking experience in Uganda.
This 2 days tour from Kigali will take you to Bwindi impenetrable national park for a mountain gorilla experience. Bwindi …
As you show Kigali your back, the undulating hills, flourishing landscape, and the stunning Rwanda-Uganda posts will have her arms wide open for you. On crossing the border post, you have the opportunity of enjoying a brief excursion or lunch at Lake Bunyonyi (second Switzerland of Africa), gifted with plenty of green vegetation and calm surrounding, before facing the magnificent backdrop of Virunga volcanoes; home to over 1000 surviving endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. There is a lot of money saved by tracking the gorillas in Uganda rather than Rwanda which charges double on their gorilla trekking permits to that of Uganda. The cost of starting your trip from Kigali verses Entebbe is cheaper and so affordable since it is nearer, so accessible, and secure. It is a new trend for many tour companies and not ending any sooner. For instance, a two-day safari from Kigali to Bwindi may only cost 1300 USD including accommodation, permit and transfers, a price that is way lower than the options of trekking in Rwanda’s volcanoes national park where only a permit costs 1500 USD.
From Kigali to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park or Mgahinga gorilla national park, a drive is roughly 3-4 hours, with great attractions to glance at such as the undulating hills among others; in comparison with the option of hustling with heat, dust, and traffic on an 8-9hour drive from Entebbe or Kampala. One can even decide to have a one-day safari from Kigali and move on with other activities or businesses. It also saves a traveler from exhaustion and stress which comes with long distances. Interestingly, if you are a Rwandese, Kenyan, or Tanzanian Citizen, all you need is the east African visa, or your identity card to have a fulfilling gorilla trekking experience in Uganda. For those who wish to have a one-day safari and save the cost of accommodation; you can decide to depart Kigali at a bird’s call (about 4:30 am) and make the 3-4 hours’ drive to Bwindi or Mgahinga, catch-up with the morning briefing by the park rangers at 8:00 am, followed by the tracking exercise that might last for about 1-6 hours, plus one extra hour of an intimate encounter with the Apes, taking photos and watching them play, rest or construct their nests.
Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Rules
Due to the need for conservation of the endangered species of the mountain Gorillas, rules have been set in the different destinations to guide you during the interactions with the Apes, as well as protecting the creatures from anything that can endanger their lives and peace in their territories. The rules include; no creating paths in the park; no littering the area; maintaining the 7m distance from the gorillas; no smoking; no making noise; no imitating the gorillas; no looking straight into the eyes of the Gorillas because it frightens them; a group of up to 8people aged 15and above is permitted to engage in Gorilla trekking activities.
The fascinating landscape, food, cool climate, and eye-catching nature of Uganda are the best food your eyes need from the first to the last day of the Gorilla trekking adventure. Uganda is an amazing tourist destination in East Africa, landlocked and bordered by Rwanda and Tanzania to the north, south Sudan to the southern side, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the east, and Kenya to the west. Initially, Volcanoes national park was the top priority for most trekkers because of its short 2 hour’s drive distance from Kigali but upon the 100% increment of the trekking permits, the preference has shifted to Uganda, not only for her affordability but also the wide range of biodiversity and the unmatched eco-system.
Besides the gorillas which have won the heart of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide; some coming during a honeymoon, research, wildlife safari and so much more; Uganda also offers an opportunity of watching the Tree climbing lions at Queen Elizabeth national park, the most powerful waterfalls at Murchison falls national park, the longest river on earth; River Nile; the second tallest mountain on earth, the snowcapped Rwenzori and the array of mammals such as the lions, buffaloes, African elephants, giraffes, and the different antelope species among others.
From your destination to Kigali, you can use Rwandair or Fly emirates among others for non-East African residents; whereas from Kigali to the only two asylums of the endangered mountain gorillas in the western part of Uganda; Bwindi impenetrable forest national, and Mgahinga national park. Entering Uganda to track the Gorillas is through either Katuna border which takes you to Kabale district, the northern and southern sectors namely Ruhija and Buhoma of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, or via the Chanika border in Kisoro district, which is a clear access to Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors.
Hosting the highest concentration of Mountain Gorillas globally (over 450), Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is such an amazing gorilla tracking destination. Bwindi is located in western Uganda and was established in 1991 with a primary reason of protecting the forest, unique bird species, the rare landscape and the endangered mountain gorillas which are believed to be so unique and different from the rest of the mountain Gorillas in other destinations such as Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has four sectors with up to 17 gorilla groups in all the different sectors, open for tracking by a group of not more than eight people aged 15 and above for only 1-6 hours, through the lush vines, a fusion of shrubs and undulating hills and valleys among others. Not only is Bwindi home for the endangered mountain gorillas; but also the unique primate species such as Chimpanzees not open for tracking, baboons and monkeys; rare tree species; bird species, and a unique landscape among others.
Buhoma sector is the oldest and most visited sector in the region of Bwindi, with several gorilla families notably; Mubere group; with 8 members, Habinyanja family with about 17 members, and Rushegura family with about 17 members among others; Nkuringo sector with Kapisho group, Nkuringo family, Christmas family, and Bushaho family among others; Ruhija sector with Mukisa family, Oruzogo family, Bitukuru family, Kyaguliro family and Rushaga sector with Nshongi group with roughly 25 members and the largest group in Uganda; and Nshongi sector with Mishaya family, Busingye family, Musinguzi family, and Kahungye family. Gorilla trekking at Bwindi impenetrable forest is done per sector and it commences at 8:30 am with a pre trekking briefing by the park rangers who verify the trackers' documents, explain the dos and don'ts of Gorilla trekking and allocate participants to the different Gorilla groups of their choice before escorting to the jungle for a 1-7-hour exercise, plus one extra for closely studying the Creatures and asking all the questions you need.
The smallest national park in Uganda, Mgahinga gorilla national park is the other remarkable Gorilla tracking destination in Uganda and the entire world. It was established in 1991, to conserve the thriving rare tree species, the golden monkeys, birds, reptiles, mammals, and the endangered mountain gorillas. This destination is the most interesting and easiest place to do tracking since it has only one Gorilla group which often feeds around the same area, less crowded thus no congestion, and the landscape is not so steep thus easy to track. Since 2012, the Nyakagezi Gorilla group; the only family at the park was opened for tracking by visitors from all over the world. The group used to room up to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a behavior that has since stopped and the creatures settling at the park all day and night. They are very funny, gentle, and exciting as compared to other families in the sister national parks.
Nyakagezi family has 9recored individual broken down as 4 silver backs, 2adult females, 2 infants, and one juvenile and their names are; Bugingo; the oldest of them all, mark the leader now, Mathew (silverback), Nkanda (juvenile), Mafia (a silverback), Rukundo (infant) Nshuti (adult female), Mutagamba (infant) and Nyiramwiza (adult female). Gorilla trekking at Mgahinga gorilla national park commences at 8:30 am at the park's headquarters with a pre trekking briefing which lasts for about 30 minutes; with the park rangers explaining the rules that govern the park, and verify all participants’ gorilla tracking documents, before encountering the gorillas for about 1-6 hours, and an extra hour of watching the stunning appearances of the apes, the human-like behaviors, and the beauty engulfed in the diverse wilderness. At dusk, the apes erect nests in the vegetation, and tree branches for a night, before shifting to another region the following days.
Kigali to Bwindi Gorilla Trekking
Cost of gorilla trekking permit in Uganda. Gorilla trekking permits to track the Gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park cost 700usd, basing on the July 2020 Uganda wildlife Authority. The money is used for supporting the surrounding communities such as the Batwa pygmies; one of the shortest people on earth whose lives depended on the forest where they lived as gatherers and wonderers; paying the rangers and security personnel's in the park; and the catering for a medication of the gorillas in case of any disease outbreak and injury. However, the total trekking safari depends on how long the safari will last, the category of accommodation facilities and transportation means.
Best time to have a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda from Kigali. The Uganda -Rwanda borders are open for Tourists all year round; both day and night as long as you possess all the necessary documents for entrance and exiting the two nations. Uganda experience two seasons; rain season from March to May and November to early December, whereas the dry season runs from June to August and December with slight or no rains. With gorilla trekking that involves moving on foot and in a jungle; the best time to have your trip is during the dry season; when the ground is not slippery that can cause you to fall; no abrupt rainfall to disorganizes the experience and no too much coldness that can live you shivering.
Packing list for gorilla trekking in Uganda. for a comfortable trekking experience, you should get these and more items; a good hiking boot for Hiking, a pair of stockings to protect your legs from scratches; a professional camera for photography; binoculars to watch distant creatures; umbrella for any unforeseen rainfalls; visa and passport for identification; medical insurance to cater for any harm while in the park; and long-sleeved shirts and trousers for body protection. Accommodation for gorilla trekkers in Uganda. All those organizing for safaris to Mgahinga or Bwindi should not worry about where to sleep or feed because these parks have a luxury, budget and mid-range lodges, resorts, home stays, bandas, and camps in and around the parks, with clean water, good security, tasty cuisine, and ample space for meditation or refreshment.
Extra activities for gorilla trekkers in Uganda. In a country that offers plenty of adventure opportunities for all her visitors, there is more you can explore after visiting you closest relatives the endangered Mountain Gorillas at either Mgahinga nations park or Bwindi Impenetrable national park, and they include; an amazing guided nature walk; golden monkey trekking at Mgahinga national park; game drive and boat cruise at Queen Elizabeth national park; chilling by the calm waters of Lake Bunyonyi; second Switzerland in Africa; and an amazing cultural encounter with the Batwa pygmies among others.
Uganda Gorilla trekking safari from Kigali is a great offer, and a perfect way of saving money, spending less time on the road, and discovering what two countries can offer for a person with a strong passion of catching a glimpse of his or her closest relatives in the Wild; the endangered mountain Gorillas. Booking this trip is what you need because from the word go, the fascinating undulating hills appear; hospitality doesn't hide her face and the magnificent sceneries speak for themselves.
The endangered mountain Gorillas; loved, embraced, and visited by hundreds of visitors all year are human’s closest relatives with over 95% human DNA, similar characteristics, and social setting. They live in groups called a troop, led by a dominant silverback, whose role is to lead the group to new territories, settle disputes, and protect the group against any possible enemy attacks. It is assisted by the other two silverbacks which happen to be either the sons or brothers; Black backs whose role is to offer security, the mature sexual females, and then the infants. Gorilla trekking is fun, so exciting, and unforgettable, done on foot throughout the unspoiled African Jungle. it starts early in the morning with a pre trekking briefing by the park rangers who tell you the dos and don'ts, verify the different documents, and allocate you to the different gorilla families with which you will be allocated and guided for about 1-7 hours, and one extra hour to Just relax with the gentle apes, watch the mammals feed their young ones; silver backs pose with the magical bodies; the adolescents climb trees whereas the infants seek refuge at their mothers.