Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park Vs. Uganda’s Bwindi And DRC’s Virunga

  • Gazelle Safari Africa

  • Rwanda
  • Oct 19, 2022

Probability Of Seeing Gorillas

The probability of seeing gorillas in all three parks is over 90%. Before starting your gorilla trekking excursion, a team of trackers surveys the parks to find out where the gorilla families are moving. They will call the ranger leading your team to guide him on trails to follow to get to them.

Ease Of Accessibility

If you wish to trek gorillas and fly out on the same day, flying to Kigali International Airport of Rwanda is wiser. Volcanoes National Park is a 2-hour drive away, and Uganda’s Bwindi is 4 hours away. Virunga National Park is a 7hrs drive away.

However, you are likely to take 8 hours due to the relatively lengthy clearance procedures with the immigration department at the border with Congo and Rwanda. Volcanoes National Park is a better option if time isn’t on your side.

If not in a rush, you can fly through Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport and connect to Bwindi within 90 minutes using either Aerolink or Bar Aviation. These two are domestic safari Airlines with scheduled daily flights and charter flights to Kihihi/Savannah Airstrip or Kisoro Airstrip both being get ways to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. `     

Upon arrival, our driver guide will pick you up in time and drop you at your lodge ahead of your gorilla adventure the next day. When your adventure is done, he will pick you up and follow the schedule on your itinerary.

If you prefer to access Bwindi by road, we are happy to organize a road trip for you from Entebbe or Kampala, Uganda’s Capital. Bwindi is a 9-10 hour drive away from here. The adventure won’t be exhausting, as it’s not an express drive. There will be lots of stopovers at museums, cultural villages, the equator, national parks, and dine-outs.  

Price of gorilla trekking

Although all three parks have the same species of gorillas, their gorilla permits are priced differently. In Rwanda’s case, it used to be $750 two years back but is now $1,500 for all tourists regardless of their nationality. This follows Rwanda’s rebranding as a high-end destination.

On the other hand, Gorilla permits to Uganda’s Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga are still $700 for foreign non-residents, $600for foreign residents, and $250 for East Africans. On the part of Congo’s Virunga National Park, it costs $400 per person for non-nationals, $150 for Congolese residents, and $200 for SADC nationals. The respective fees include park entry fees and guided gorilla trekking by game rangers.

Which park has more gorilla families?

According to a gorilla census done by 20 conservation organizations in May 2018, there are 1,004 gorillas left in the world. This includes both habituated individuals and wild ones, some of which are reserved for research purposes). 604 live in Africa’s oldest National Park, Virunga. The rest live in Bwindi National Park, Mgahinga National Park, and Volcanoes National Park.

However, of the four parks, Bwindi has the highest number of habituated families, totaled at 17, Volcanoes has 10, Virunga has 8, and Mgahinga 1. Each group has 7-42 members belonging to different age brackets.

Where is it easier or harder to trek gorillas?

While Virunga lies at an elevation of 4,880 meters above sea level, Volcanoes are at 2500 meters above sea level, and Bwindi ranges from 1,160m – 2,607m above sea level. Simply put, the terrain of Bwindi is relatively gentler than that of Virunga and Volcanoes. The most recommendable zone of Bwindi is Buhoma and Rushaga.

They offer a perfect balance between tough climbing challenges for travelers needing something unusual, leisurely walks, and people who wish to push themselves to limits close to breaking.

Is it possible for Persons with Disability to Trek Gorillas?

Absolutely Yes! Bwindi and Volcanoes improvise comfortable bamboo stretcher beds with wooden handles and creatively built steel-base sedan chairs with handles. Upon these structures, persons with disabilities can be ferried by four able-bodied men into a part of the forest where gorillas dwell. In the interest of safety, the sedan chair has available seat belts.

What type of accommodation can one expect?

Following Rwanda’s rebranding as a high-end destination, most accommodation options in volcanoes National Park have upgraded their facilities to meet the needs of a luxury traveller. On the other hand, Uganda has vast options for all travellers, up-market, mid-range, and budget.

Is it safe to go gorilla trekking?

The Democratic Republic of Congo has faced on-and-off guerilla wars for over two decades. Most clients prefer trekking in Uganda and Rwanda because they are safe to visit, even with family. This safety has been reinforced through the creation of Police units that focuses explicitly on the safety of tourists. They are called Tourism Police.

Do you have other inquiries about gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda? Gazelle Safari Company is just an email away, info@gazellesafaricompany.com. Having organized trips to the three countries for nearly a decade, we have all the answers you are looking for.


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