Are you planning to visit Uganda for gorilla trekking to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat but you would like to know the top spots for gorilla trekking in Uganda before choosing where to go for gorilla trekking, in this article we explain in detail about the differences between the only 2 national parks in Uganda where gorilla trekking is done that is between Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to help you choose accordingly?
About Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the only 4 national parks home to the endangered mountain gorillas in the world, other national parks include Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in DR Congo. Bwindi Forest National Park is one of Africa’s oldest forests with a diverse biodiversity with various species which include 350 birds, 310 butterflies, 200 trees, 51 reptiles, 88 moths and 120 mammals, the park is also home to several primates including chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s monkey and the major one the Mountain Gorillas. The global population of mountain gorillas is 1064 individuals and half of these can be found in Bwindi forest, the park has over 15 habituated gorilla family groups open for gorilla tracking with 8 gorilla permits allocated to each group per day.
About Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s smallest national park which is located on the border with Rwanda. It is one of the national parks that make the great Virunga ranges with others including Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in DR Congo. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is made up of 3 extinct volcanoes which include Muhavura, Gahinga and Sabinyo. It is home to the endangered mountain gorillas and Golden monkeys, other species including birds, reptiles and forest mammals can be sighted during your visit at this park.
Difference between Gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park
Top spots for gorilla trekking in Uganda. Difference between Gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park are the only 2 national parks where gorilla trekking is done in Uganda. These are home to over 50% that is half of the remaining Mountain Gorilla population in the world. Other national parks where you can do gorilla trekking are Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in DR Congo.
Are you planning and interested in going for gorilla trekking in Uganda and you are finding it hard to choose where to go for gorilla trekking in Uganda between Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, here below is the comparison based on our expertise to help you choose and decide where to go for gorilla trekking experience between the two parks in Uganda.
Top spots for gorilla trekking in Uganda. The whole truth is that both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park have mountain gorillas and there is no big difference when it comes to the experience obtained at the end of your trek. However there are many things you can base on to compare gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park with Mgahinga National Park for you to choose where to book and go for your gorilla trekking and these include the following;
In terms of Vegetation and trekking experience, Mgahinga National Park mountain gorillas are in the Virunga/hills with mainly bamboo as the main vegetation while in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, these mountain gorillas are in a thick impenetrable tropical rain forest with varieties of trees and plants. It is believed that Mgahinga National Park gorillas are easy to see because of the kind of vegetation, making it easy to take clear photographs compared to Bwindi given gorillas in here are found in the thick forest.
In terms of accessibility, both Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park can be accessed by road or Air. By road you will drive from Kampala/Entebbe which is 8-9 hours drive via Kabale town and proceed to Bwindi or Kisoro to get to Mgahinga National Park. It is also possible to get to Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park via Kigali which then becomes 4-5 hours drive only. With this, you land in Kigali, use the East African Tourist Visa (which allows you to visit both countries at ago) and then trek gorillas in Uganda at an affordable price.
In terms of Lodges, Both National Parks have Budget, Mid Range and Upmarket Lodges where you could choose to stay during your trek. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best place for gorilla trekking for those interested in staying in super luxury lodges on international standards compared to Bwindi. These lodges offer great and luxury services some are ranked among the best in Africa and the country at large for example Gorilla Sanctuary Forest Camp, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge and Buhoma Lodge among others.
In terms of Gorilla families, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has more gorilla families open for trekking than Mgahinga National Park. Bwindi has 19 habituated gorilla family groups this means 152 Gorilla permits are available every day for gorilla trekking in Bwindi. Mgahinga National Park has only one Gorilla family hence only 8 Gorilla permits are available each day for gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park. This makes it more flexible to get gorilla trekking permits in Bwindi compared to Mgahinga National Park especially during the peak season months.
In terms of distance to see Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with that in Mgahinga National Park, The issue of walking longer or short distance depends on the given gorilla family allocated to you on the day of trekking at of the national parks. In both Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park gorilla families are allocated depending on the interest and physical fitness of given individual. If for example, you want a shorter trek, you will have to inform the park authorities on the very day of trekking so that you are allocated such family. If you want a medium or longer trek, then you do the same. It should be noted that while they will try to give you a family that requires shorter walks, the behavior of gorillas might affect the experience if for example gorillas decide to move further as you look for them you will need to move a longer distance still.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is also closer to other National Parks compared to Mgahinga National Park. With just 2 hours drive you can visit Queen Elizabeth National Park for Big game wildlife viewing and 4 hours to Kibale Forest National Park for Chimpanzee trekking hence making it easy to combine your memorable gorilla trek with an extra adventure in other parks.
Best time for gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park
Both parks are open for gorilla trekking all year round but it is also important to note that the forest is a tropical rain forest and can receive rain at any time. The best months to track gorillas include; June to August and December to February since they receive the lowest rainfall and the forest is less slippery. On the other hand, when you happen to travel during March to May and November there are chances of higher rainfall, you will be able to get discounts from some lodges for your accommodation.
Why book your gorilla trek in Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park with Eco Adventure Safaris?
Eco Adventure Safaris Limited offers low budget gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. We combine gorilla trekking safaris with eco-friendly and unforgettable high-end adventure and wildlife safaris that help preserve biodiversity, conserve wildlife and uplift local communities, these include chimpanzee trekking, Big 5 safaris and game viewing, Mountain Hiking, Boat cruises excursions and Cultural encounters to give you a memorable and best African Safari experience including popular and great African safari destinations Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia. Feel free to contact us here about the top spots for gorilla trekking in Uganda