Gorilla tracking is a thrilling lifetime experience you should take time to enjoy. The excitement attached to the first experience anyone gets setting eyes on a wild mountain gorilla is quite a difficult experience to describe. That magical one hour most tourists crave for that is spent with the gorillas does not come cheaply, but it is uncommon to find someone who regretted the financial outlay.
In Uganda, ten families have been habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, with only 8 people who can visit a given gorilla family per day, therefore making a total of 80 people tracking the mountain gorillas on any day at full capacity.
Rwanda also takes 80 persons per day at full capacity, with 8 families and 10 people per family. Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park has a slight edge over Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP because its gorillas are the most wholly habituated, and they are often found in bamboo than the dense forest which makes provides an advantage when taking photographs.
The main challenge faced by many tourists when it comes to tracking gorillas in Rwanda is certainly the price of the gorilla permit, which is a little more expensive as compared to a gorilla permit in Uganda. However, many prefer Rwanda because of the ability to do the gorilla trek even in one day and fly back home the same day which is very impossible to do in Uganda. The drive from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park is about 2 hours, as the distance between is just 116 km. On the other hand, the drive to Bwindi from Entebbe / Kampala is an 8 hour plus, due to the estimated distance of about 500 km. In this case, you will spend at least 3 days if you really wish to do your gorilla trek tour travelling to Bwindi from Kampala, another doing the gorilla trek, and the other driving back to Kampala / Entebbe. All this will be considered by your tour operator on handling your quotation regarding this tour package.
The long drive to Bwindi is quite tiresome but on the other hand very interesting with great sceneries all through like the Equator, Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park with abundant wildlife for some lucky tourists, terraced mountains with flowing rivers, and a lot of rural Africa. This may however not be the case for the drive from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park. The drive is shorter and not so much to see, only the scenery of the Virunga mountains.
Quite a number of tourists do opt to fly over from Entebbe to any town near to Bwindi to be able track the gorillas in time without any hustle. You can arrange your flight from the airstrip to Bwindi, and back at an estimated cost of $250.
A lot more time and transport is spent to track the mountain gorillas in Uganda as compared to Rwanda although this cost is compensated for by a cheaper gorilla permit.
The roads to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are not so comfortable to drive on; you should expect a bumpy ride as a few sections are filled with pot holes, yet in the case of Rwanda; it is a more comfortable drive on smooth tarmac at least up to the Volcanoes National Park head office. However, the roads from the Volcanoes park office to the gorilla trek section can only be accessed with a raised 4×4 vehicle.