Gorilla Trekking Uganda Vs Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda Versus Gorilla Trekking In Uganda

What is gorilla trekking?

The term ‘gorilla trekking’ refers to an activity of moving into the jungles of rain forests on the quest to find a species of gorillas. Gorilla trekking often involves walking long or short distances by a visitor while searching for a particular habituated gorilla family. It is an activity which could last from about 30 minutes to several walking hours depending on the movement of a gorilla group in the Jungle, it also depends on your level of fitness and how fast you can hike. Once a gorilla family of interest is sighted, visitors are then allowed a maximum of one-hour ultimate gorilla experience in the midst of the giant apes.

An overview of gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is purely a life-changing adventure rewarding visitors with a close encounter to the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Before the trek, a cup of tea or coffee is served to visitors at the park headquarters (Visitors’ information centre) Along with it is a traditional performance which gives guests a good start for their exciting day’s adventure before being briefed by a ranger on how to behave while on the trek. Later on, groups of eight individuals are led through the tracking trails on an adventure to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Each hiking group is assigned a ranger and two armed guards, accompanied by porters to ensure the guest’s safety from jungle animals such as Elephants. The hiking experience in the search for the mountain gorillas in the Jungle is so interesting and unpredictable since gorillas are free to loam about in their natural habit hence rewarding trekkers with long or short treks depending on the movement of a gorilla family one is meant to track. Once the gorilla family of interest is spotted, visitors enjoy one hour with the gentle apes while they incredibly admire how graceful and peaceful these gentle giants are.

An overview of gorilla trekking in Uganda

Gorilla Family in Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda

The memorable gorilla trekking experience in Uganda begins 8:30 am with guests being briefed about what is expected of them during the tracking experience. Later, visitors grouped into groups of eight where each group is assigned a park ranger. Thereafter, the groups embark on the journey to the tracking trails on a quest to find the rare mountain gorilla species. Gorilla trekking in Uganda (Bwindi National Park) is more strenuous compared to Rwanda and time-taken ranges between 1 – 7 hours depending on the movement of a gorilla family a visitor has planned to track. Once the gorilla family is sighted, visitors are the then allowed a one-hour unforgettable moment with a gorilla group after which they head back to the park.

Differences between Rwanda’s gorilla trekking and Uganda’s gorilla trekking

For quite some time, visitors have wondered whether there exists a difference if a guest chooses tracking gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda. Therefore in this article, I try to draw the difference between gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda as well as what the two countries share in common in terms of gorilla trekking adventures. Here some of the differences between Rwanda’s gorilla trekking and Uganda’s gorilla trekking;

  • Gorilla trekking destinations

Uganda has only two destinations which offer visitors an out of the ordinary gorilla trekking experience. These are mainly Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park located in the southwestern part of Uganda. Rwanda, on the other hand, has only one gorilla trekking destination- Volcanoes national park situated northeast of Rwanda. With reference from the above information, Uganda has more gorilla trekking destinations compared to Rwanda.

  • Cost of Gorilla trekking permits

Rwanda charges a fee of 1500 USD for a visitor interested in tracking gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. This fee includes park entry charges, guiding and a certificate for accomplishing the trek. In Uganda, a gorilla permit costs 700 USD. Looking at the two gorilla permit charges, Rwanda offers quite an expensive gorilla trekking safaris compared to Uganda.

  • Habituated Gorilla families

Rwanda has a total of twelve habituated gorilla families currently that are available for gorilla trekking. These include Igisha, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Agashya, Kwitonda, Umubano, Hirwa, Bwenge, Ugyenda and Muhoza and Susa although one (Hirwa gorilla group) has been a resident in Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda for the past few years.

Gorilla Trekers in Bwindi Forest – Uganda

This is different from Uganda which has a total of 19 habituated gorilla families currently all available for gorilla trekking experiences. These include Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Nkuringo, Mishaya, Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye, Nsongi, Bikyingi, Rwigi, Katwe, Mucunguzi, Bushaho, Mukiza, Kyaguriro for research and Nyakagyezi in Mgahinga gorilla park. Therefore, Uganda has more mountain gorilla groups available for trekking compared to Rwanda.

  • Road distance to gorilla trekking locations

In Uganda, travelling to Bwindi impenetrable national park from Kampala is usually about 450-490km approximately 8 – 10 hours drive by road depending to which gorilla sector you are heading to. Similarly, road distance from Kigali Capital of Rwanda to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is about 170km approximately 4 hours drive. On the other hand, Mgahinga gorilla is 495km from Kampala approximately 10hours drive by road. From Kigali city of Rwanda to Mgahinga gorilla national park is about 131 km approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes.

However, in Rwanda, Volcanoes national park is about 106 km from Kigali close to 2 hours drive on a smooth road from Kigali- Rwanda’s capital. Therefore, it is undeniably true that Rwanda’s gorilla trekking destination is nearer and easily accessible in terms of road distance compared to gorilla trekking destinations in Uganda which may require long hours of driving.

  • After gorilla trekking activities

Visitors to the pearl of Africa (Uganda) get to enjoy a variety of activities after gorilla trekking. These include white water rafting, game drive in different savannah parks such as Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo and Kidepo Valley, birding, boat cruise, hot air balloon trips, cultural tours, chimpanzee trekking, golden monkey tracking, Elgon and Rwenzori mountain climbing, nature walks and so much more.

Visitors to Rwanda on another hand enjoy a few after gorilla trekking activities such as golden monkey trekking, birding, Kigali Genocide memorial museum, canopy walks, chimpanzee trekking and cultural encounters at Ibyiwacu cultural centre. This is different from Uganda where a visitor has a variety of after trekking activities to enjoy. Thus in case, a visitor is interested in exploring more attractions than mountain gorillas, Uganda would be an ideal destination to enjoy this.

According to Mr Philimone, the managing Director of 4×4 Tanzania, he receives many tourists interested in seeing lots of Africa’s wildlife in Tanzania, after which they fly to Rwanda purposely for gorilla tracking experience.

Most importantly, visitors to Rwanda enjoy a traditional performance before gorilla trekking which gives them a good start for their exciting day’s adventure. This is usually during breakfast where they enjoy a cup of coffee along with local music, dance and drama before being briefed by a ranger on how to behave while trekking gorillas. This is different in Uganda where traditional performances are enjoyed often during evening hours around borne fires after trekking usually at an incurred cost. However of recent, only in Ruhija sector, some traditional performances take place at the park headquarters before the actual hike.

Similarities between Rwanda and Uganda’s gorilla trekking

Although gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda has several differences, some features remain similar about the two countries in regard to their trekking adventures. Here are some of those similarities between Rwanda’s and Uganda’s gorilla trekking;

  • Time for an ultimate gorilla experience

Both Rwanda and Uganda reward visitors with a one-hour ultimate experience with the gorillas. This is usually after finding a gorilla group of interest where visitors can observe the gentle apes, take lifetime photographs, learn about their behaviour and head back to the park after this.

  • Gorilla trekking time

Both Rwanda and Uganda gorilla trekking time lasts from 30 minutes to four hours or more depending on the movement of the mountain gorilla group one is tracking. Whether short or long trekking time both countries offer a remarkable gorilla adventure.

  • Recommended age for trekking

In both countries, visitors must be 15 years and above for them to be allowed to go gorilla trekking. This restriction is meant to prevent the spread of diseases especially chickenpox and mumps from gorillas to humans and vice versa. Similarly, persons below the age of 15 are considered unfit to take on the difficulties that may arise during gorilla trekking.

  • Briefing of visitors

In both countries, visitors are first briefed before they embark on the quest to trek gorillas. The activity is mandatory for every visitor who plans to trek gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. Briefing in both countries is done in the morning hours before embarking on the trek. It is often a caution-guided session given to visitors in preparation of how to behave themselves along the trekking trails and in the midst of the gorillas.

  • Number of Visitors

In both Rwanda and Uganda, only a maximum of eight visitors allowed to trek a gorilla group in a day. This number restricted to only visitors who are free to have around one-to-two porters each to help a guest around with carrying the luggage and whatever one would need during trekking.

  • Distance from the Gorillas

Visitors to both Rwanda and Uganda are advised to always stay 7 meters away from the gorillas while in the midst of the mountain gorillas. This is done to protect mountain gorillas from catching human diseases.

  • Gorilla trekking season

Both Uganda and Rwanda are all year round gorilla trekking destinations. However, the best time to trek mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda is during the dry seasons. This would be during the months of June to August and December to February. This is because during the fore mentioned months, the tracking trails are not very slippery and the gorillas are easy to spot, unlike the rainy season where gorillas tend to take shelter in the forests and are quite hard to spot.

  • Gorilla trekking rules and regulations

Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is governed by a numbers of rules which all visitors ought to abide by. These are usually divided into three sections; before trekking, during trekking and after trekking. The rules in both countries come along with high penalties in case a guest violates them, thus compliance is always encouraged.

  • Number of times a gorilla group can be visited daily

In Rwanda and Uganda, a gorilla group can trek once a day. This is often one set of visitors per gorilla family daily. This is done to minimize behaviour changes of the mountain gorillas as well as to ensure that other habituated mountain gorilla groups are visited.

  • Packing list for gorilla trekking

Both Rwanda and Uganda require guest to be very well prepared for the trekking adventure in order to have an amazing gorilla safari. The packing list in both countries often involves necessary items to ensure a visitor enjoys a great trekking experience. Here is a list containing some of the vital items that visitors need to carry for gorilla trekking in both countries; hiking boots, long-sleeved shirt and trousers, a rain jacket, a backpack, a hat, sunglasses, insect repellant, camera and many others.

In conclusion, the question of whether its Uganda or Rwanda’s gorilla trekking on chooses lies on which form of gorilla safari adventure a visitor is interested in. One needs not to forget that both countries are undoubtedly amazing mountain gorilla destinations which reward guests with exceptional gorilla trekking safaris.

Comparing Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

gorilla-trekking-adventureGorilla trekking activities in Uganda and Rwanda are carried out in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park respectively. Only 8 people can visit a given gorilla group for every day. In Uganda, so far 19 gorilla groups have been habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, and so can have 152 persons tracking mountain gorillas on any day.

Rwanda can likewise take 80 persons for every day. All else being equivalent, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park has a slight edge over the rest since its gorillas are the most wholly habituated, and they are regularly found in bamboo than the thick forest which makes photographing easier.

The main challenge with gorilla trekking in Rwanda is positively the cost of the gorilla tracking permits at US$1500 contrasted with Uganda’s US$700 for every gorilla permit. In any case, Rwanda’s pride is in the ability for one to do the gorilla trek even in one day and fly back home which is difficult for Uganda.

Volcanoes National Park is found 116km from Kigali and can be driven in only 2 hours. Then again, Bwindi Forest National Park is located 500km from Kampala / Entebbe International Airport and a drive can take over 8-10hours. In that sense, you will spend no less than 3 days for your gorilla trek in Uganda; Day 1 for travelling to Bwindi, day 2 for gorilla trek and Day 3 for driving back to Kampala or Entebbe Airport. In the event that a tour operator is making you a safari package, they ought most likely need to consider this expense and incorporate it in your tour cost.

Nonetheless, the long drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is very charming with extraordinary views all through like the Equator, Lake Mburo National Park (for some Queen Elizabeth National Park with plenteous wildlife), terraced mountains with streaming rivers, and a lot if rural Africa. This is not so really the case for the drive from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park.

Some voyagers have likewise decided on flying over from Entebbe airport to Kihihi and Kisoro airstrips on the edges of Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla parks. It is only 45 to 60 minutes of flight. A round trip ticket costs about US$250 with Aero Link Uganda. In that case, you will need to organize your transfer from the airstrip to your booked accommodation in Bwindi Forest National Park, and back also. (Talk with our preferred agents for support to arrange this please).

You will absolutely need to spend more on transport and time to track the mountain gorillas in Uganda than it’s for Rwanda despite the fact that this cost is compensated for by a cheaper gorilla trekking permit.

Besides, some areas of the roads to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park are not so comfortable to drive on yet in the case of Rwanda, you drive on smooth tarmac at least up to the Volcanoes National Park head office.  Also, however, the road heading from Volcanoes National Park office to the gorilla trekking start points must be accessed with a raised 4×4 vehicle, preferably Land Cruiser, Land Rover, Nissan Safari or Patrol and Rav4.

Step by Step: How to Book Gorilla Permits

How To Book A Gorilla Permit

A gorilla permit is an essential tool every visitor should have and it is what lets you visit a habituated gorilla family in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Booking a gorilla permit is one important step in planning a gorilla safari in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.

Mountain gorillas exist in only the three countries (Uganda, Rwanda and the DR Congo) and gorilla permits can be booked through a credible tour company/agency and for this case, simply get in touch with reservation team to assist you secure your gorilla permit while you sit back home. Alternatively, gorilla permits can be booked directly through a respective conservation agencies depending on the country you plan to visit for gorilla safari.

Congo Mountain Gorillas

Gorillas in DR Congo

Respective gorilla destinations issue out gorilla permits to tourists who are above 15 years and each permit lets you visit only one habituated family with only an hour of a magical encounter. In Uganda, gorilla permits can be booked through our reservation team. We are a credible tour company in Uganda offering authentic gorilla trekking experiences and our team is available 24/7 to ensure you make your dream come true. Procedure of booking a gorilla permit in Uganda through a tour operator/company or Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)-an organ in charge conservation and management of wildlife in and outside protected areas in Uganda.

  • Contact our reservation team or at reservation team at UWA.
  • We shall cross check to find out availability of dates you intend to go trek mountain gorillas.
  • After, we shall get back to you as soon as possible.
  • You will be required to submit your details.
  • A deposit of 30 percent will be required for you to make and the rest can be cleared within 91 days to actual gorilla trek.
  • Payments can effected through account details provided to you by us or the tour operator you choose to deal with or reservation team at the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Once you make payment or deposit, the tour operator secure or book for you the permit.

To book a gorilla permit through tour operator is easier than booking direct with UWA given the tedious process. 80 percent of all the gorilla permits are given to only members of Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) and this means, booking with UWA leaves you with only 20 percent.

How much are gorilla permits?

Between now and 30th June, Uganda issues out gorilla permits at $600 per person-for foreign non-residents, $500-for foreign residents and 250.000 Uganda Shillings for East African residents.

However, effective 1st July, 2020 each gorilla permit in Uganda will be obtained at $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and 250.000 Uganda shillings for the East African citizens. Obtaining a gorilla permit in Uganda lets you visit gorillas in Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

In Rwanda, gorilla permits are issued out at $1500 per person. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is conducted only in Volcanoes National Park which is set in the Northern Province. To secure your gorilla permit in Rwanda, you can still get in touch with a credible ground tour operator or do so through a reservation team at Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

In the DRC, each gorilla permit is obtainable at $450 per person. Visitors on Congo gorilla safari can go gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park and permits can be booked through a registered tour operator or reserve it through the park authorities. Besides mountain gorilla trekking, DR Congo is known for Eastern lowland gorilla trekking which is conducted in Kahuzi Biega National Park.

When to book a gorilla permit

To book a gorilla permit in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC, you are advised to do so at least 3 to 4 months before the actual tracking date. Usually, other visitors do book permits even a year before the embarking on the actual trip. Please note, gorilla permits are scarce in the months of June, July, August, September and December, January, February. This is because the demand for gorilla permits increases during the peak season.

Choosing the most suitable places to stay for your Gorilla safari

In Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has four sectors where gorilla tracking takes place. There sectors are;

  • Buhoma
  • Ruhija
  • Nkuringo
  • Rushaga

Each of these sectors has different habituated gorilla groups, and each sector has different accommodation options, ranging from basic / budget lodges and campsites to mid-range and luxury lodges.

Gorilla Close Up Lodge

Gorilla Close Up Lodge

Before choosing any accommodation unit, make sure that, that lodge or camp site is located in the sector where your gorilla permit was booked. All sectors are distant from one another, therefore, staying in one sector and tracking gorillas in another sector can ruin your gorilla trekking experience! For example, if you book accommodation in Buhoma sector, with gorilla permit for Ruhija sector, you will be required to wake up early and drive for 90 minutes in the Jungle for your trek. Things become worse if your accommodation is in Buhoma sector and gorilla permits for for Rushaga or Nkuringo sectors, to be honest, you can not make it in time because the journey takes more than 3 hours.

In conclusion, for any plans to visit Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo for mountain gorilla safaris, please make sure you reserve your gorilla permit early to avoid the last minute disappointments, and be careful while booking your accommodation unit.

Prices of Gorilla Permits 2020/ 2022

Gorilla Permit Prices In Uganda, Rwanda And Democratic Congo Republic

Gorilla permit prices in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) vary significantly. Each country has it’s set price for gorilla trekking permits. However, the three countries are the only three in the world where you can trek mountain gorillas which today remain fewer than 1063. Obtaining a gorilla permit lets you trek habituated gorilla family in the respective country’s gorilla parks. A gorilla permit is one essential document every visitor needs to have when it comes to gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo.

Mountain gorillas exist only in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda; Volcanoes National Park in Northwestern Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in Eastern DR Congo. For any plans to trek mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo, it is advisable that you reserve your permit at least 2-4 months or even a year prior embarking on the actual trek.

Gorillas in the Jungle

Gorillas in the Jungle

Gorilla permit prices in Uganda

Gorilla permit prices in Uganda as for January to 30th June 2020 range as follows; $600 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents, Uganda shillings 250000 for East African citizens. From 1st July 2020-2022, Uganda will be issuing its gorilla trekking permits at $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents and Uganda shillings 250000 for the East African citizens.

However, for visitors who may wish to enhance on their gorilla experience, they can opt for gorilla habituation experience and each gorilla habituation permit for this adventure costs $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents and Uganda shillings 750000 for the East African citizens.

Gorilla permits in Uganda are obtainable in two ways. You can book a gorilla permit in Uganda through reservation team of your travel agency or tour operator, or reservation team at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) an organ that conserves and manages wildlife in and outside Uganda’s protected areas, and also in charge issuing out gorilla trekking permits to visitors. Please note, only persons above 15 years are considered eligible to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo.

Gorilla permits in Uganda can be obtained at least 2-4 months or a year before you set off for actual gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Gorilla treks in Uganda are only conducted in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These protected areas are set in Southwestern Uganda about 9-10 hours’ drive from Entebbe or Kampala, and 4-5 hours from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla permit prices in Rwanda

Gorilla permits in Rwanda are obtainable at $1500 per person. Rwanda increased the price of its gorilla trekking permits from $750 to $1500 which applies to all visitors on Rwanda gorilla safari to Volcanoes National Park where gorilla trekking is conducted in the Land of a Thousand Hills.

Like Uganda, gorilla permits in Rwanda can be secured through your travel agent or tour operator offering excellent gorilla safari experiences. Alternatively, visitors can reserve their gorilla permits directly through reservation team at Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is done only in Volcanoes National Park which is situated in northwestern part of the country. It currently consists of 10 habituated gorilla groups; Ugenda, Karisimbi, Agashya, Bwenge, Umubano, Amahoro, Kwitonda, Susa A, Sabyinyo and Hirwa.

Gorilla permit prices in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo issues out its gorilla permits at $450 per person. You can reserve your gorilla permit in the DR Congo through your tour operator or travel agent, or directly through the park authorities and Virunga Foundation.  Booking gorilla permit in DR Congo allows you to visit the mountain gorillas in the magnificent Virunga National Park in the East and Eastern Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park.

Gorilla Trekking Congo

Gorilla Trekking Congo

What are the requirements for booking gorilla permits in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo?

To book a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo, you should be 15 years and above. Booking gorilla permits also depends on the availability of the dates you wish to trek mountain gorillas or Eastern Lowland gorillas in DR Congo. You need a valid passport which you will be required to present to the respective park authorities before setting to search for mountain gorillas.

The details on the passport should tally or match with those of the gorilla permit. To reserve your gorilla permit, you are required to effect payment depending on the bank details submitted to you by the tour operator you are dealing with, or reservation team at respective conservation organs in gorilla destination you plan to visit.

What is included in your gorilla permit price in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo

Gorilla permit prices in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo include park entrance fees, service of the park rangers and guides. Please make sure you reserve your permit early before the actual trek to avoid any disappointment.

Additionally, the activity is done only in the morning in all destinations, start with a briefing from the park officials about gorilla trekking experience in the Jungle. The briefing starts at 7.30 am, therefore, one must spend the first night near the park headquarters, there are many accommodation options around each gorilla park. Don’t forget to carry some packed lunch or snacks and bottled mineral water for refreshment.

2 Baby Gorillas Born In Virunga National Park

The birth of two new mountain gorilla babies has brought happiness and also good news in Virunga national park. The birth came from two different gorilla families in Virunga and this brought multiplication of the number to nine new gorilla births this year.

The 19 year old Kayenga mountain gorilla gave birth to a boy baby gorilla, being her third child in the Bageni gorilla family which has 30 members. And the second baby gorilla was given birth by an 8 year old mountain gorilla known as Anangana. This was its first born baby a girl making 11 members in Humba gorilla family.

Virunga national park is found in Democratic Republic of Congo and it is famous for its endangered mountain gorillas. And for the last decade they have played a great role in increasing the overall population which now stands at an estimated 1004 individuals after results were revealed in the recent population survey of mountain gorillas.

Virunga national park is UNESCO world heritage site and Africa’s oldest natural reserve and it is found in one of the most restless area of Democratic Republic of Congo. The country has been deeply affected by the country’s political situation. And earlier this year, 5 park rangers and a driver were killed. Then in

May the park closed its gates from guests until 2019 after three people, a ranger was killed and two British visitors were abducted, but later released unharmed.

The park was established in 1925 during the regime when Democratic Republic of Congo was still a

Belgian colony. Virunga national park is Africa’s most biologically diverse protected area.

This park stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the south to the Ruwenzori Mountains in the north, to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Mgahinga gorilla national Park in Uganda and Rwenzori Mountains.

Besides mountain gorillas, Virunga national park also protects the low land Grauer’s gorillas and the eastern chimpanzees. This makes the park a destination that hosts three big apes.

However, mountain gorillas remain the major attractions in Virunga national park and it is one of the few parks in the world that host these highly endangered gorillas.

Travelers like to trek the gorillas in Virunga because the low prices of permits and the park is not congested compared to other trekking centers like Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga gorilla national parks. Virunga national park is still fresh for new discoveries since it has not had a lot of tourism activity for a long time making it a perfect place for those who want to relax, research and adventure at the same line.

Besides mountain gorillas, Virunga national park is arguably the most biologically diverse national park in the world, it has a lot more to offer to travelers like a variety of wildlife, lakes, forests, more than 700 bird species and it is also the home of Mountain Nyiragongo, one of the active volcanoes in the world.

Virunga national parks shelters up to 8 habituated gorilla families. The encounter with the gorilla in this park is an excellent and magical experience that brings you close to the rare and gentle primates in their natural habitat.

Virunga national park is also part of the broader Virunga conservation area that stretches from Uganda, Rwanda and D. R. Congo and contains a massif of 8 volcanic mountains and 2 important national parks, Volcanoes national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Rwanda and Uganda respectively.

Book a gorilla safari in Democratic Republic of Congo and grab yourself a chance to get a life time experience with the mountain gorillas in Africa’s largest and oldest national park.

Kizigo West Game Reserve

Kizigo West Game Reserve was established in 1982 and sprawls near the Rungwe Mpera Concession hence offering an extensive ecosystem in which to manage and hunt. Extending for about 4000 square kilometers (400,000 hectares), Kizigo West Game Reserve is found within Manyoni in Singida region and is also adjacent to Muhesi Game Reserve, part of the greater Ruaha Ecosystem.

General Climate and Vegetation of Kizigo West Game Reserve
There are two main seasons (rainy and wet), the long rains begin from March to May and the short rains from October to November while the dry season ranges from June to September and December to February. Anyone that visits this site will concur that the dry season is perfect for game viewing while the wet season is ideal for birding much as roads become muddy and literally impassable, thus 4X4 vehicles are recommended.

The Reserve is characterized by an extraordinary Itigi thicket and Miombo woodland forest that is scattered through the open savannah plains but there are also scattered water holes, rocky outcrops, riverine valleys and springs.

Wildlife species within Kizigo West Game Reserve

Kizigo West Game is popular for its beautiful appearance as well as abundant wildlife species, particularly the big maned lions and outstanding populations of the Sable and Roan antelopes.  Other animals to expect here include bushbucks, Grysbok, common duikers, greater kudus, warthogs, Oribis, baboons, giraffes, Lichtenstein Hartebeest, Dik-dik, leopards, zebras, impalas, buffaloes, elands, Klipspringer, Reedbucks, Roan antelopes and many others.

Things to do within Kizigo West Game Reserve

The main activities conducted within this exceptional Game Reserve are game viewing and nature walks where antelopes, leopards and lions are mainly spotted as well as hunting. The best time for hunting is from July to October, and is also ideal for game viewing. Much as the best time for visiting the Reserve is the dry season, tourists who visit during the rainy season also achieve remarkable safari experiences.

Where to Stay

The best accommodation facility within Kizigo West Reserve is the Kilumbi Camp found at the heart of the Reserve allowing guests to enjoy the captivating views of the vast plains but also the wildlife species that roam around the Camp. However, Camping is also available within the designated Campsites allowing visitors to experience the wilderness in a different way.

How to Get There

This Game Reserve is found within Manyoni in Singida region (at the central circuit of Tanzania tourism) and can be reached by both road using 4WD Vehicles and air where chartered flights with light crafts can be organized from Arusha (travel time being at least 2 hours) and Dar es Salaam (travel time being from 2-2.25 hours).

 

Tips to Save Money on Gorilla Tour

Tips On Saving For Your Next Gorilla Tour in Uganda

If you have ever had a trip to Uganda, you will concur that gorilla trekking is the most adventurous and fulfilling safari activity but also the most expensive. However, did you know you can actually save a lot of money on that Uganda wildlife and gorilla tour that appears expensive to undertake? Well, it is not rocket science but just a matter of following the following workable and proven tips;

  • Give your expected budget to the tour operator you intend to book with

Much as most tourists are always hesitant to give their target budget for the whole safari to the tour operator, it is sometimes important if you wish to save some money on your gorilla trekking safari. This allows the booking agent to look for the best deals especially when it comes to transport and Safari Lodges/Safari camps/Hotels at the budget you have given thus allowing you to save.

  • Plan in advance

It is obvious that last minute bookings can lead to booking for more costly accommodation facilities and the safari as a whole because demand certainly exceeds supply; hence it pays to book in advance. Most tour operators have long standing relationships with good Lodges, meaning with that, a facility can be booked on your behalf in advance.

  • Conduct the safari during the low season

Much as the discounted gorilla permits for low season (April, May and November) were scrapped off (by the end of 2017), some Safari Lodges  still offer discounted rates for rooms hence you can be able to save on your gorilla tour in Uganda.

  • Plan how you will travel around the country

If you find a cheaper means of transport to travel within the country, there are high chances that you will save a lot of money while on your gorilla tracking adventure. Possible means to move around Uganda include public means, whereby, you can connect from one destination to another by Buses. For example, you can use a bus from Kampala to Kisoro near bwindi gorilla national park and Mgahinga national park. Alternatively, you can cheaply rent a 4×4 car like Toyota Rav4, Nissan xtrail or Toyota Prado and drive your own gorilla adventure to the gorilla parks.

  • Long stay rates

Someone who spends more nights in one Hotel or safari lodge is likely to spend lesser money than someone who spends nights in two or three different hotels because in most cases, you may end up paying three instead of four nights spent. Surprisingly, most of these deals are not indicated on the Hotel websites thus it would be good to ask the tour operators.

  • Target specific Brand name

Just like you always pay more money for a particular brand of shoes or jeans, the same applies to the Safari Lodges thus tour operators always know good places at relatively lower rates.

  • Book with one Tour Company

This usually applies to Companies that also own Hotels/Safari Lodges because there are chances that companies having three or more accommodation facilities can offers discounted rates for longer stays at their facilities.

  • Travel in a group

Another important tip for saving during your gorilla safari is by traveling as a group with friends or family members, especially when it comes to transportation around the country or spending overnights at a Safari Lodge.

  • Mix up some of the Accommodation Facilities

We all like the best products but sometimes you may not enough money to spend nights from certain Safari Lodges, thus you can always mix the facilities up by getting the expensive an cheap ones during the safari. Also, being cheap doesn’t mean that they are of poor quality or not nice but you will be surprised that cheap accommodation facilities offer comfortable facilities.

  • Keep watch on your Traveling

In most cases, if you intend to explore many destinations in the country, you might end up spending a lot for the flight costs and other additional costs for transfers to and from Entebbe International Airport thus you would rather land at Kigali International Airport and proceed for gorilla trekking within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park because it tends to be shorts and more convenient than Entebbe Airport. With this, you will be able to save a lot of money during your gorilla tour in Africa.

Wanale Ridge and Water falls

The Magnificent Wanale Ridge and Waterfalls

The Eastern region is one of the most endowed places in Uganda much as most of its attractions are not known and others are not explored at all. This region is where you will find the Mount Elgon National Park, Sipi Falls, Mabira and Busitema Forests, Tororo Rock, Nyero Rock Paintings and now the breathtaking Wanale Ridge and waterfalls also found in the same area.

Located at about 6 kilometers from Mbale Town, this wonderful waterfall is where water cascades over 2092 meters (6864 feet) down the sheer cliff rock wall into a deep valley. The most interesting thing of visiting this ridge and waterfall is that you can get the chance of exploring the Sipi waterfalls located at just a few kilometers away. Any tourist visiting Mbale District will be able to see this towering Hill with its stunning appearance from within and a distance (in the neighboring districts), thus making it a wonderful attraction and anyone that ascends to its peak will agree that it is exhilarating.

Wanale is said to be named after one of the sons of Masaba, the ancestor of the people of Bugisu and is also through to be the origin of Nabarwa, the Kalenjin woman who persuaded the Bamasaba to get circumcised before getting married. Also, the Nkokonjeru name that Semei Kakungulu’s people used to refer that the mountain came from the legend of Wanale, son of Masaba who reared only white chicken and it is also said that Wanale lived on top of the Mountain.

There are also several Caves beneath the Mountain much as most people only know one. When you hike through a trail at the western edges of the ridge, you will be led to the Khaukha Cave to discover some of the mysteries and hidden meanings to its calligraphic wording on the wall. Legends have it that the Cave has an ill-omened water streams referred as “Mwausa”.

The Wanale Ridge is undeniably one of the most stunning sights to behold and when you stand at the edge of the cliff with a rocky formation surface that is large enough to carry a while school, you will be rewarded with phenomenal views like never seen before. With four jaw-dropping waterfalls flowing from each corner of the ridge, it extends across and covers large portions of Bugisu land. Anyone that hikes this area can’t help but jump into the natural Jacuzzi-like River after reaching the peaks of Wanale Mountain/ridge while others will stare at the areas below and around with awe, thus making it a moment to remember. The most visible waterfall from the cliff is Namatsyo waterfall that falls/drops at several meters from the mountaintop over 2092 meters (6864 feet) down the bluff cliff rock into the valley.

How to Reach Wanale Ridge and waterfalls

This site is found within Mbale District, but when you reach the Town, you will proceed for 28 kilometers (18 miles) to Wanale’s Base taking about 30-45 minutes by a taxi or personal car. You will take a left turn after Mbale High Court and proceed with the road that goes down to Busamaga Primary School, where you will take a right turn to Bumboi Road for 15 to 20 minutes.

Kihingami Wetlands Sanctuary

Kihingami Wetlands Sanctuary is a Community-Based Project found close to the lush Kibale Tropical rainforest, within Sebitoli area. Established with the help of Fort Portal’s Kabarole Tours, this ecotourism site definitely preserves a beautiful 13 square kilometer valley that would have otherwise been encroached by the surrounding tea Plantations.

Even with its small size, a number of bird species (totaling to over 230 species) that been recorded within this wetland Sanctuary and some of them include the white-spotted flufftail and the Jameson’s wattle-eye. This Wetlands Sanctuary also offers tourists with perfect chances of seeing extraordinary primate species especially the Red Colobus monkeys as well as other mammals such as the spotted-necked otters.

Things to do within Kihingami Wetlands Sanctuary

Activities to enjoy within Kihingami Wetlands Sanctuary include guided forest walks (charged only Shs 25,000 per person). The local guides are trained by the Kabarole Tours based in Fortportal (initiators of the Project). These walks sometimes lead tourists through parts of the surrounding villages and their farmlands at the edge of the Forest and the woodlands that cross the Swamp area.

Bird watching (at also Shs 25,000) is conducted within the patches of the Kibale Forest and offer chances of seeing several species of birds such as Luhder’s Bush-shrike, Western Citril, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Red-bellied Paradise-flycatcher, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Violet-backed Starling, Western Nicator, Great Blue Turaco, Grey-winged Robin-chat, Green-headed Sunbird, Grey-headed Nigrita, Common Waxbills, Red-headed Bluebill, black crowned night heron, White-spotted Flufftail, African Blue Flycatcher, Brimstone Canary and many others.

When you cross over the lush swamp and through the Papyrus vegetation, you will encounter the Dusky long-tailed cuckoo, the white-winged warblers, Black-faced Rufous warblers, the Masked Apalis and Lizard buzzards among others. If you leave the swamp and walk back through the verdant tea plantation that is bordered by some trees, you will encounter the collared sunbirds, green-throated sunbirds and the Olive-bellied sunbirds as well as the long-crested Eagles among others.

Tea plantation and factory tours (costing Shs 25,000 per person).

There is a tea plantation around the wetland Sanctuary and tourists can always tour to see how tea is harvested and also drop by the factory to see how the leaves are processed into the fine product that we always enjoy.

Besides that, Kihingami Wetlands Sanctuary is a wonderful site for butterfly watching due to the numerous beautiful species of butterflies found in the area.

How to Access Kihingami Wetland Sanctuary

This wetland Sanctuary is situated at about 15 kilometers East of Fortportal Town, just before reaching the Sebitoli section of Kibale Forest National Park.

Therefore, Kihingami wetland Sanctuary is a site where the open canopy and wetland species of birds and butterflies can be spotted alongside majority of the same species inhabiting the surrounding Kibale Forest National Park. There are several species of birds and butterflies worth exploring during tours in the area.

Rwanda For Your Next Vacation

Many people around the world do not know much about Rwanda due to the fact it is a young nation and not that politically prolific. But let’s try to make the world know Rwanda. Rwanda is a small country located in the east African region bordered by Uganda in the North, Tanzania in the East, Burundi in the South and Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a country that lies near the equator and this makes it a tropical country that receives rain and sunshine throughout the year.

When you turn to the touristic part of Rwanda, it is like any other African country in terms of the experience it offers to its visitors which is sand, sun and wildlife. The experience is always different in Rwanda as it has different unique wildlife that cannot be seen anywhere else. The millions of tourists that explore Rwanda have had a lifetime experience and many have returned to Rwanda for more encounters of the amazing wildlife, climate and its hospitable people.

Rwanda is the place to be for every eco tourist due to the fact that it has the most sought after animals in Africa the mountain gorillas that are inhabit in the north east of the country at volcanoes national park situated within the Virunga ranges. Rwanda has a third of these world’s huge primates and it is best place to watch the mountain gorillas in their natural setting. Mountain gorillas are very intelligent animals that have 98.8% DNA similar to mankind and this implies that they have lots of traits similar to mankind. The most intriguing of the traits are the social characters of relating among each other and the ability to use tools like sticks to gather food and also to build shelter. Coming close to the mountain gorillas is an exhilarating moment and it is the closest mankind can get to nature.

Away from the gorillas, Rwanda also has other wildlife to enjoy on a vacation. Rwanda is a home to 13 different species of other common primates namely the chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus, blue monkeys and the grey cheeked mangabey to mention but a few. These are found in Nyungwe forest national park in the southwest of the country. Amongst the common primates chimpanzees take the top notch of excitement. Chimpanzees are also apes like mankind and are the closest relatives of mankind. These are arguably the most intelligent animals in the world next to humans. When a visitor meets the chimpanzees in the wild, he/she can never fail to get mesmerized as these small apes have lots of interesting social displays like the ability to use tools like stones and tree branches to gather food.

In addition to the above Rwanda also possesses the common big animals that is the elephants, zebras, buffalos, giraffes, lions and antelopes and these can be viewed on game drive round Akagera national park located in the southeast. These common animals have interesting to watch in their natural setting as they move and run around the savannah plains looking for survival. These animals are photogenic and every traveler would like to have a photo of these beautiful wild animals.

Rwanda also has other attraction to watch on the vacation like the architectural marvels in the city of Kigali and also its culture by encountering different cultural communities and centers. Rwanda is a country where wildlife grinds with traditional culture and any traveler interested in wildlife and authentic African traditional culture, Rwanda is the place to be on your vacation.

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