Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour from Kigali Rwanda

Uganda Gorilla Trekking tour from Kigali, Rwanda? That might not be the first thing you think about doing when you arrive in Rwanda, the land of a thousand Hills. But of course, with the high concentration of mountain gorillas in Uganda (at least half the World’s population of these Giant Apes), you can imagine that Uganda offers the most unforgettable gorilla trekking adventures. And you can go gorilla trekking in Uganda with Native Africa Tours.

Uganda is the home of Gorillas

Uganda has half the World’s population of mountain gorillas living in two incredible Protected Areas- Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. However, even with its high concentration of these Giant Apes and the resultant numerous habituated gorilla families, as well the relatively cheaper gorilla permits, travelers will rather trek gorillas from Rwanda. We shall give you one of the reasons.

Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour from Kigali

Firstly, seeing mountain gorillas up close in their natural habitat is one of Africa’s most riveting and indescribable wildlife experiences. And this experience is possible in only three African countries- Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda alone has half the population, while the remaining half is shared among Rwanda and DRC (35% and 25% respectively). Rwanda is another wonderful gorilla trekking destination, but its hefty gorilla permit costs discourage travelers on a budget.

Why start your Uganda gorilla trekking tour from Kigali?

Back to the reasons why gorilla treks in Uganda aren’t as popular as they should be. One of the reasons is the location of gorilla trekking destinations from Entebbe and Kampala (the starting points for gorilla tours). Travelers have to drive 8-9 hours from Kampala or Entebbe to get to Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks, which is hectic, considering gorilla treks are also physically challenging. One would say flying to nearby Airstrips to the Parks is the best option, but this is costly hence not favoring travelers on a budget.

This is where our Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour from Kigali comes in as the perfect solution. All you have to do is arrive in Kigali and then drive to Bwindi or Mgahinga, which is halfway, the journey from Kampala or Entebbe to any of the Parks. One important detail to remember is that you are visiting two countries during one single trip hence be mindful when applying for your Visa. Nonetheless, there is the East African Tourist Visa that allows you to explore these two countries (and even Kenya if you wish to) multiple times for tourism purposes and is valid for 3 months/90 days.

Uganda Gorilla Trekking permits

As earlier mentioned, Uganda Gorilla Trekking permits are relatively cheaper than in Rwanda. Permits currently cost $800 per person for foreign non-residents, and $700 per person for foreign residents.  Visitors under the foreign resident category will be required to present valid work permits as proof. Permits also cost $500 per person for travelers from the rest of Africa other than East Africa, while Citizens from the East African Community member states pay Shs.300,000 for Uganda Gorilla permits.

A Gorilla permit is the number one requirement that will authorize you to access Bwindi or Mgahinga to track one of the habituated gorilla families. Talking of gorilla families, are 20 in number, and each of them is visited by a maximum of 8 visitors per day. This therefore means that at least 160 gorilla permits are issued each day by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. One important detail you have to always pay attention to when booking Uganda Gorilla Permits is the location/gate, which will indicate Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, or Nkuringo for Bwindi, or Ntebeko for Mgahinga National Park. This is because it determines where your accommodation will be based. While some sectors/gates are not far from each other, others are very far.

For instance, you can stay at Buhoma and trek mountain gorillas from Ruhija and vice versa, but you cannot trek from Nkuringo/Rushaga because they are over 5 hours away from Buhoma/Ruhija. However, you can stay in Rushaga and visit Nkuringo gorilla families and vice versa.

What is the best time to go Uganda Gorilla Trekking tour from Kigali Rwanda?

Uganda Gorilla Trekking from Kigali Rwanda is every primate lover’s happy place and any time of the year is a wonderful time to visit Bwindi and Mgahinga. However, if you had to choose, we would say the best time to undertake this gorilla tour is in the dry season. This is from June to September and December to February for some reasons. Of course, the dry season experiences less rain hence making it less challenging to navigate the forest while searching for the mountain gorillas.

Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour from Kigali

Thanks to the reduced precipitation levels, vegetation is sparser and forest trails are drier hence making it less challenging to go searching for the Giant Apes in their natural habitat. However, it is difficult to get gorilla permits during these months if you don’t book in advance. For this reason, we recommend booking your gorilla safari at least 6-12 months in advance if you hope to visit during the high season.

What about the Wet Seasons?

Although the wet season (March to May and October to November) is marked by heavy rains and denser vegetation, it doesn’t rain all day and gorilla treks have never been canceled due to bad weather. The wet season has mild weather and provides excellent photography opportunities as skies are cleared of dust and vegetation is greener. Also, you will be surprised that there are higher chances of spotting mountain gorillas faster than it is during the dry season when Giant Apes move deeper into the forest or to higher altitudes. It is undeniable that forest trails become muddy and slippery during the wet months but if you plan appropriately, you will enjoy your adventure. This coupled with the reduced rates offered by some Safari lodges in the wet months/low season make some perfect time for travelers on a budget.

Now let’s burst your bubble

Mountain Gorilla natural habitats are generally heavily forested (being a rainforest region), hence rains can be experienced at any time of the year. However, the only difference is in the intensity. Regardless of the time you intend to undertake our Uganda Gorilla Trekking tour from Kigali Rwanda, it is important to be prepared and pack certain essentials. These include a waterproof rain jacket, a waterproof backpack, gardening gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long safari pants, a hat, sunglasses, a first aid kit, and an insect repellant. A gorilla safari without a good camera is incomplete because you will need to have memories of your unforgettable trip. You will also need a pair of binoculars, a first aid kit, toiletries, and sunscreen among others.

Getting to Uganda for your Gorilla Trekking Tour from Kigali

Your arrival point should be Kigali Rwanda. Depending on the time you arrive in the land of a thousand hills, you will either spend overnight in Kigali or continue straight to Uganda. If you arrive anytime beyond 1200 hours, we recommend spending the night in Kigali and Native Africa Tours can make arrangements for that. Your journey from Kigali to Bwindi or Mgahinga will take about 4-5 hours, with the border crossing at Cyanika or Katuna while taking in breathtaking views of the countryside from both countries.

In conclusion, Gorilla Trekking is one of the unmissable wildlife experiences in Africa. But sometimes visitors are limited by budget and time. Our Uganda Gorilla Trekking tours from Kigali Rwanda is an excellent option for travelers interested in visiting gorillas on a budget yet wouldn’t want to drive all day to get to the National Park. Talk to our safari experts to arrange your gorilla safari of a lifetime. 

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