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Gorilla Trekking Uganda – why it needs to be Uganda in 2018


Gorilla Trekking Uganda – why it needs to be Uganda in 2018

We have been lucky enough to go gorilla trekking in both Uganda and Rwanda in the last few years and both experiences were magical and life affirming. Providing advice on which destination provides the best gorilla trekking experience is part of what we do and if often about subtle differences in the difficulty of walking to the gorilla families, or the type of photographic experience you can expect. However, there has been a real ‘game changer’ in the gorilla trekking debate, due to the doubling of the permit cost in Rwanda. It’s hard to get your head around a cost of $1500 per person; even when the experience on offer is as humbling and life enhancing, as spending 1 hour with the Mountain Gorillas of Parc de Volcans, Rwanda.

What is the cost of gorilla trekking in Uganda?

So, it is now important to be very clear about the difference in gorilla permit costs between Uganda and Rwanda. The cost in Uganda has stayed at $600USD per person; which is 40% of the cost of the Rwanda gorilla permit. Some keen wildlife photographers want to enjoy gorilla trekking twice during their African primate safari. So, in those circumstances – unless money really is not object – it would be crazy not to go gorilla trekking in Uganda. PLEASE NOTE the Uganda wildlife authorities only promised to ‘freeze’ gorilla permits at $600 for 2018 and it is likely that they to will increase the cost of gorilla permits by 2019. Our guess would be an increase to $1000.

Is the increase in gorilla permit costs justified in Rwanda?

For us here at Wildlife Trails this is the absolute Number 1 question for all of us animal lovers to ask. Yes, there has been very good news coming from Rwanda in the last couple of decades about increasing populations of Mountain Gorillas. Although to be clear, this has been happening in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well – despite some very challenging conditions for the park guards and gorilla scientists on the ground. We hear about a good amount of the cost of the gorilla permits being invested in local communities, better equipment for the park guards who risk their lives to protect the gorillas and initiatives to stop encroachment of commercial plantations into the gorilla habitat. However, lets be blunt here, is that extra $750 going to be used to protect the gorillas, or is the Rwandan government making money on the back of the popularity of gorilla trekking around the world?

Other reasons why you should travel to Uganda for gorilla trekking in 2018

Aside from the huge difference in price for the gorilla permits, you have a great diversity of wildlife in Uganda due to the larger number of national parks and very different topography in this beautiful East African country. Not only is Uganda one of the best birding countries in the world, it also provides both savannah and primary forest wildlife reserves; which provides ideal habitat for rare species, such as the beautiful and bizarre looking Shoebill Stork. Savannah national parks such as Murchison and Queen Elizabeth are more developed than Rwanda’s Akagera – so, chances of seeing big cats such as Leopard and Lions are higher.

I don’t have time for a long gorilla trekking holiday in Uganda!

Don’t worry as there are now some excellent fly-in tours from Entebbe to Bwindi which only take 3 days in total. We would never recommend for safety reasons driving from Entebbe or Kampala in 1 day – taking a gorilla trek on Day 2 and then driving all the way back to the capital on Day 3. Any companies who do so, do not have the safety of their clients and drivers to heart. However, there are no scheduled flights which allow us to create a 4 day fly-in gorilla safari in Uganda.

Is Rwanda better for gorilla photography due to the more open habitat?

From our own personal experience and all the clients we have sent to Uganda and Rwanda since 2006, there is some truth in that argument, as some of the gorilla families in Uganda; particularly in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest, forage and feed in the very dense Primary Forest. On occasion, this can make photography of multiple gorillas or an entire family more challenging, as there are few open spaces. Whereas in Rwanda the less dense secondary forest; or even the plantations where the gorilla families sometimes feed, will produce a more open background for taking gorilla family interaction shots.

Do you want to enjoy 2 gorilla treks in Uganda in 2018 for an incredible price?

Right now, we have an incredible offer on a small group Uganda gorilla trekking holiday which also has a further 5% discount on the sale price. This tour visits both Bwindi and Nkuringo, to show you some of the most beautiful parts of SW Uganda and spend a total of 2 hours with two separate gorilla families – UNMISSABLE!

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