Why you should do gorilla trekking in Uganda from Kigali
This gorilla safari from Kigali is organized to cater for our clients interested in doing gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Trekking from Kigali also enables our clients to save on their gorilla safari in terms of accommodation which is not possible with trekking mountain gorillas from Entebbe International airport to Bwindi impenetrable national park because both on the arrival and departure day you have to meet the costs of accommodation. However, we also organize gorilla safaris that start from Entebbe/Kampala to Bwindi impenetrable national park for those interested in exploring more of Uganda’s natural beauty. During the 8 to 9 hours of drive from Entebbe international airport/Kampala, you will be able to stop over at the equator for photographs, beautiful scenic viewing, see various towns like Masaka, Mbarara among many others, beautiful vegetation cover, the local people doing their daily activities and the long horned Ankole cows grazing on the planes along the highway to Bwindi impenetrable national park.
For our luxury clients and short time travelers, Aerolink and fly Uganda are available for you to fly you from Kajjansi airstrip to Kihihi airstrip in Kabale district then our driver guide will transfer you to the lodge we would have booked for you.
Bwindi impenetrable national park
Mountain gorilla in Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park is located in south western Uganda dotted at the edge of the Albertine rift valley which is the western branch of the great East African valley. It was gazzetted in 1942 as Bwindi Impenetrable forest reserve then upgraded to a national park status in 1991 to protect the endangered mountain gorillas. In 1994, it was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site because of its ecological importance.
The 327km squared of Bwindi impenetrable national park is endowed with a variety of attractions like the elusive mountain gorillas, birds, other primates like baboons, L’hoests, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, Debrazza monkeys and an estimated number of 300 to 400 chimpanzees which are not habituated and are rare to see. Bwindi impenetrable is the only park where mountain gorillas coexist with the chimpanzees in the same park.
Bwindi impenetrable national park also has other mammals like forest elephants, bushbucks, forest duikers, bush pigs, giant forest hogs although the forest elephants are rarely seen. Bwindi impenetrable national park also inhabits 350 bird species like chapins fly catcher, tit hylia, handsome francolin, regal sunbird, rwenzori batis, strange weaver, montane oriole and many others, 220 butterfly species, 27 frog species, chameleons and geckos. It should be remembered that Bwindi impenetrable national park is a home to a half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world and is estimated to be hosting over 400 mountain gorillas with the rest being conserved in Mgahinga national park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo. According to Bwindi census, the number of mountain gorillas has increased to 1,063 mountain gorillas in all the three national parks because of the great role played by different conservation bodies like Uganda Wildlife Authority, The International Gorilla Conservation Programme, and World Wildlife Fund among others
The ancient tropical rainforests of Bwindi impenetrable national park was a home for the Batwa people who are the original people who inhabited it 370,000 to 400,000 years ago.
With the entire tourist attractions in Bwindi impenetrable highlighted above, CNN Travel ranked Bwindi impenetrable national park as the most beautiful place in the world.
The main activity in Bwindi impenetrable national Park is gorilla trekking and is one of the best activities to do on an African safari but there are other activities to be done like gorilla habituation, hiking in Bwindi impenetrable forest, birding, village walks like buhoma village walk, Batwa cultural experience, nature walks, community tours and mountain biking.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is divided into four sectors where gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation can be done and they include the following below.
Buhoma sector located in the north of Bwindi impenetrable national park and this sector has the most accessible mountain gorillas. It’s also in this sector where you can experience the Batwa who are one of the oldest people in Africa.
Rushaga sector located in the southern parts of Bwindi impenetrable national park
It’s also a home to five gorilla families and it’s the only sector where gorilla habituation is done.
Nkuringo sector which is also a home to the Nkuringo gorilla family and also gives a chance to view Virunga volcanoes. You can also do Buniga forest walks in this sector.
Ruhija sector. Apart from gorilla trekking, you can also do nature walks in the bamboo zones of this sector.
Gorilla trekking Uganda permit
In order for one to do gorilla trekking or habituation in Uganda and Rwanda, one has to have a gorilla permit which allows him or she to participate in the gorilla trekking and habituation. Our clients have to book with us in advance so that we purchase for them gorilla permits from Uganda Wildlife Authority since there’s competition for them from various tour operators. Those interested in doing gorilla trekking and gorilla habituations in Rwanda buy them from Rwanda Development Board. Always remember a gorilla permit is used by a single person and valid only for one day.
In Uganda, gorilla permit costs 600$ for foreign non residents, foreign residents buy them at 500$ and East African citizens buy them at 250,000 Ugandan shillings but starting 1st July, gorilla trekking permit will cost 700$ for foreign non residents and that of foreign residents will cost 600$. The increment was done by Uganda Wildlife Authority due to the increased costs incurred in the conservation of these endangered mountain gorillas. The money charged for gorilla trekking is worth the gorilla trekking experience.
Gorilla habituation permit still remains at 1500$.
In Rwanda, gorilla trekking permit costs 1500$ per person.
Limits for gorilla trekking
Age. The minimum age is 15 years and any one below that age is unfit to trek the endangered mountain gorillas.
Number of trekkers. 8 people are allowed to visit a gorilla family in a day.
Brief itinerary for gorilla trekking in Bwindi from Kigali
Our experienced driver guide will receive you from Kigali Airport then transfer you to Bwindi Impenetrable national park through the Katuna border then proceed to Bwindi Impenetrable national park where by you will be received by workers from the lodge we will have booked for you.
Wake up very early in the morning for breakfast and get your packed lunch on board then be transferred to the trekking sector for briefing by guides, rangers and researchers. Our driver guide will make sure you are at the trekking destination by 7am for briefing.
After briefing, you will go for gorilla trekking under the guidance of guides, rangers and researchers. The one hour with the gorillas will be for observation, asking guides, rangers and researchers questions and taking photos.
Transfer to Kigali airport or hotel.
Reasons for gorilla trekking in Uganda from Kigali
Before Rwanda Development Board increased it’s gorilla permit from 750$ to 1500$, Many clients preferred to do gorilla trekking in Rwanda than Uganda because of the short drive time which would take 2 hours compared to that of Uganda from Entebbe to Bwindi impenetrable national park which would take 8 to 9 hours. In 2017, Rwanda Development Board increased It’s gorilla permit from 750$ to 1500$ which was a big blow to those who were interested in trekking mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Since the increment was implemented, so many clients prefer doing gorilla trekking in Uganda from Kigali because not all are willing to buy the 1500$ Rwanda gorilla permit yet there’s a cheaper one in Uganda.
Some of the advantages of starting a mountain gorilla safari from Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable national park include the following below.
Trekking mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park from Kigali saves money. This is because a gorilla permit in Uganda costs 600$ and that of Rwanda costs 1500$ making the one of Uganda cost friendly but starting on 1st July, a gorilla permit will cost 700$ for foreign non residents and that of foreign residents will cost 600$.
You won’t spend money on accommodation on both the arrival and departure day because you can arrive and transfer to Bwindi national park on the same day which is not possible with a gorilla safari from Entebbe/Kampala to Bwindi.
It makes it easy for us to organize short trips for our clients who have fixed time. The short distance makes it possible to visit Bwindi national park in two days. You arrive in Kigali city and transfer to Bwindi national park on day one and on the second day you go for gorilla trekking then drives you back to Kigali for departure.
Bwindi impenetrable national park has a variety of lodges ranging from luxury, midrange and budget lodges. Tourists who want to do gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park from Kigali still have access to the luxurious lodges like Mahogany Springs luxury lodge, Lake Mulehe Safari lodge, Buhoma lodge and many others.
Tourists who are interested in relaxing and chilling after gorilla trekking can do it at Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mutanda. Lake Bunyonyi has 28 islands with beautiful scenery and both are free from Bilharzia and dangerous animals like crocodiles, hippos and snakes.
Bwindi Impenetrable national park has more gorilla families compared to any other places where mountain gorilla trekking is done. Bwindi impenetrable national park has 12 habituated mountain gorilla families with Rushaga sector having the majority with 5 gorilla families. The Bikingi gorilla family in Rushaga is still undergoing the habituation process.
It’s a short drive from Kigali airport to Bwindi Impenetrable national park. It takes about 4 to 5 hours driving from Kigali to Bwindi impenetrable national park and this is because Rwanda limits driving speed from 40km/hr to 60km/hr. and this prolongs the drive hours but the drive would have taken about 3 hours.
Tourists get enough time to relax and prepare for gorilla trekking when they are transferred from Kigali airport to Bwindi impenetrable national park. The long distance and long hour drive from Entebbe/Kampala makes the tourists tired and uncomfortable during the trek.
There are more habituated gorilla families near the border of Uganda and southern Bwindi (Rushaga sector). This sector has five gorilla families which are always visited by tourists hence more chances of seeing the rare mountain gorillas.
Trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda from Bwindi impenetrable national park gives tourists a chance to see the beautiful sceneries along the way from Kigali airport to Bwindi impenetrable national park. The beautiful scenery is characterized by rolling hills covered by the green vegetation and meandering rivers flowing through the valleys of the rolling hills. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Rwanda is country of a thousand hills.