Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Vs Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Vs Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park: Gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park Uganda and Volcanoes National Park exceptionally offer primate enthusiasts a lifetime chance to search for mountain gorillas on foot. The gorilla trekking adventure allows trekkers to enjoy a close encounter with these massive apes in their natural habitat, learn about their behaviors, and most importantly, have a chance to take pictures of them.

Comparing gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park is useful, especially if you need guidance on the destination to choose for your gorilla holiday. Bwindi and Volcanoes National Park are among Africa’s premier mountain gorilla destinations. Visiting both parks is a great idea because it allows you the perfect comparison when it comes to gorilla trekking adventure in Africa. We have several gorilla tour packages designed and combine both gorilla trekking in Uganda, particularly Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

Here are some of the insights to guide you as you decide on the destination to visit for gorilla trekking;

Vegetation cover & trekking experience

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is largely comprised of a compact tropical rainforest while Volcanoes National Park consists largely of bamboo forest. Considering the nature of vegetation, Bwindi is densely vegetated and Volcanoes National Park is slightly clear and you can easily observe gorillas while foraging. It also favors the photography experience and visitor navigation while in search of the large apes. Overall, the two gorilla safari parks have something for nature lovers to experience, a good reason you should consider visiting both.


Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a prominent gorilla park lying in the far Southwestern part of Uganda. Accessing Bwindi from the heart of Kampala –the capital and commercial city can take visitors 8 to 9 hours of driving and this may vary depending on the route. If you are crossing from Kigali Rwanda via the Katuna/Cyanika border to Bwindi National Park, you can spend 4-5 hours.

Visitors with limited time or who do not wish to use road transportation can embark on a fly-in gorilla trip. If the weather conditions are favorable, the flight from Entebbe International Airport/Kajansi Airfield to Kisoro/Kihihi airstrip can go for 2 hours.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Vs Volcanoes

Accessing Volcanoes National Park from the city center (Kigali) can take guests between 2 and 3 hours’ drive in a mechanically fit 4×4 safari vehicle. This makes Volcanoes National Park the most accessible gorilla safari destination of all the 4 major East African mountain gorilla parks.

En-route to destinations

Traveling from the heart of Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park brings visitors plenty of things to encounter depending on the route. Taking the Masaka-Mbarara route allows visitors to make stopovers at the Equator crossing, and Igongo cultural center where you won’t only enjoy meals but also explore the unique traditions in the Ankole region.

In case you travel via Queen Elizabeth National Park, you have a chance to enjoy a game drive at Ishasha –the Southern section of the park which allows you to enjoy the sight of the tree-climbing lions. Besides, this sector is also most popular for topis, and unique bird species.  These abundant en-route opportunities for exploration on the Uganda road trip to Bwindi may not come when you are traveling to Volcanoes National Park. But expect to enjoy the breathtaking views of Rwanda’s landscape characterized by rolling hills and beautiful homesteads.

Additional places to visit

Beyond Bwindi, there is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for tourists to explore. This is Uganda’s smallest National Park but is most popular for mountain gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking, and golden monkey habituation. Other 8 wildlife parks can also be visited combined with gorilla safaris but require longer trips.

Additional National Parks in Uganda include Murchison Falls National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Semuliki National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Mount Elgon National Park, Kibale National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park. There are also 12 wildlife reserves and rich forest reserves with wildlife.

In Rwanda, there are only an additional 3 National Parks to be visited including Akagera National Park, Gishwati-Mukura National Park, and Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Gorilla families

Plenty of the habituated gorilla groups live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the park accounts for about 23 habituated gorilla families. These are distributed across the 4 regions of Bwindi including Mishaya, Kutu, Mubare, Karisimbi, Kyaguriro, Nshongi, Kutu, and others. In Rwanda, 12 habituated gorilla groups exist in Volcanoes National Park and include among others Bwenge, Karisimbi, Amahoro, Susa A, Hirwa, Ugenda, Agashya, and others.

The cost of the gorilla permits

The cost of gorilla permits for Bwindi and Volcanoes National Park isn’t the same. The gorilla permits for Bwindi National Park are available for booking at USD 800 per person for foreign non-residents, USD 700 for foreign residents, and USD 500 for African guests outside East Africa and citizens in East Africa –Ugandans inclusive pay Uganda shillings 300,000. Obtaining your gorilla permit is possible when you deal with a trusted tour operator on the ground.

In Rwanda, valid gorilla permits are sold out at USD 1500 per person and apply to all categories of guests on the Rwanda gorilla tour to Volcanoes National Park. The 12 gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park translate to about 96 gorilla permits, which is slightly to about 176 permits available for Bwindi gorilla trekking alone.


The highest point of Volcanoes National Park is Karisimbi Volcano and overall, the altitudinal range is 2400 to 4507 meters. Bwindi National Park’s altitude ranges from 1160 to 2607 meters.

When to travel for gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Volcanoes National Park?

Both Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park can be visited at any month of the year. But the most ideal period to consider exploring the endangered and rare mountain gorillas in the two protected areas is usually around the dry season. This is from June to September and the other phase occurs from December, January to February. If you want to enjoy some discounted offers, especially from the gorilla safari lodges then try paying a visit around the wet or rainy/off months of the year; March, April, May, or October, November.

Things to carry for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Vs Volcanoes National Park

The must-have items for your gorilla trekking vacation include a long-sleeved shirt, trousers, a good camera which is free of the camera, a daypack, snacks, insect repellents, a pair of binoculars, first aid kit or medical kit, an additional battery for the camera and socks. Other items include a safari hat, sunscreen, toiletries, a rain jacket, waterproof walking or hiking boots, and others.

Accommodation options in Bwindi Vs Volcanoes National Park

Bwindi National Park features different gorilla lodges across its 4 sectors. The popular lodges in and around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest include Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi Community Haven. Engagi Lodge, Bwindi Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Bakiga Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Agandi Lodge and others.

The accommodation choices for visitors on a gorilla tour to Volcanoes National Park include Bisate Lodge, Kinigi Guesthouse, Muhabura Hotel, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, Sabinyo Silverback Lodge, Amakoro Songa Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Best View Hotel to mention but a few.

At this point, you must have answered all your worries regarding Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Vs Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park. Book a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda and Rwanda for a better adventure.

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