- Ben Tinsley
Uganda or Rwanda? Best place to see the Mountain Gorillas
Tracking Mountain Gorillas should be on any wildlife lovers bucket list, and it is certainly one of the greatest (if not the greatest) wildlife experiences money can buy. But where is the best place to see them?
Well, the format for tracking in both Uganda and Rwanda is very similar. In both countries, you track a family of gorillas in a group of up to 8 people to help prevent the spread of disease. Upon sighting them, you stay with these magnificent animals for one hour to prevent too much disruption to the gorilla’s lives (If you would like to stay with the gorillas for longer, the Uganda Wildlife Authority offers a “Habituation Experience”, where you help get new families used to humans. Get in touch for more information on this). You will also have to be physically fit, as the hike to see the gorillas is through dense jungle, up muddy slopes and can take several hours. If fitness is a concern however, then we know the easiest locations to track and have the connections to ensure that you track the gorilla group that is closest to the starting point. There is also a great choice of accommodation available in both countries, to meet all sorts of budgets, ranging from $50 to $1600 per night for a room.
The main difference between the two countries is cost. The cost of a gorilla tracking permit in Uganda is $600USD, compared to Rwanda’s eye-watering $1500USD. The permit price includes park entry and guides to take you to the gorillas. In both countries, the cost of the permits largely goes to the conservation of these amazing animals and their habitat, but some also goes towards research and to charitable projects located around the parks as well.
So why would anyone choose Rwanda over Uganda? Well, the journey times from the only international airports of both countries (Kigali in Rwanda and Entebbe in Uganda) is drastically shorter for Rwanda than Uganda. Meaning if you are just planning on a short stay, then Rwanda is the easier option (If you are planning a short stay on a budget, then you can fly into Rwanda and then cross the border to Uganda, which is in fact quicker than flying into Entebbe and making the journey south).
Wherever you decide to track gorillas, we promise it is an experience that you will never forget!