Difference between Gorilla Trekking in East Africa : Gorilla trekking is an experience that nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers cannot afford to miss. It is an opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the most endangered species on the planet: the mountain gorilla. This activity can be enjoyed in three East African countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Each country has its own unique features and experiences to offer. In this article, we will explore the differences between gorilla trekking in the three East African countries.
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Uganda is known as the “pearl of Africa” and is home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. The gorillas can be found in two national parks: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Uganda’s gorilla trekking experience is unique because it is not as commercialized as Rwanda’s. The trek can take anywhere from 1 to 8 hours, and the terrain can be challenging. However, the rewards are immense. Trekkers will encounter not only gorillas but also a variety of other wildlife, such as colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, and forest elephants. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park also offers cultural experiences, including visits to local communities and traditional dances.
Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Rwanda is known as the “land of a thousand hills” and is home to the Volcanoes National Park, where tourists can experience gorilla trekking. Rwanda is the most popular destination for gorilla trekking in East Africa due to its relatively easier trekking experience. The trek usually lasts between 30 minutes to 3 hours, and the terrain is less challenging than Uganda’s. Rwanda’s gorilla trekking experience is also more regulated and structured, with a maximum of eight people allowed to visit a gorilla family per day. This ensures a more personalized and intimate experience. Additionally, the park offers the “Kwita Izina” ceremony, a traditional naming ceremony for baby gorillas, which has become a major attraction.
Gorilla Trekking in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
The DRC is home to the Virunga National Park, which is the oldest national park in Africa and the only place in the world where visitors can experience both gorilla trekking and hiking an active volcano. The gorilla trekking experience in DRC is similar to that of Uganda, with challenging terrain and a longer trek. However, the park also offers unique experiences such as gorilla habituation, where visitors can spend a full day with a gorilla family, observing their behaviors and activities. The DRC is also the most affordable destination for gorilla trekking.
How much is gorilla trekking in the three East African countries
The cost of gorilla trekking varies depending on the country and the specific national park. Generally, the cost of gorilla trekking includes the permit fee, which allows visitors to track gorillas in their natural habitat, and the services of a guide.
In Uganda, the cost of a gorilla trekking permit is currently USD 700 for foreign non-residents, USD 600 for foreign residents, and UGX 250,000 (approximately USD 70) for East African citizens. The permit fee includes park entrance fees, ranger fees, and a certificate of gorilla trekking. The cost of hiring a guide varies depending on the trekking company, but it usually ranges from USD 30 to USD 50 per day.
In Rwanda, the cost of a gorilla trekking permit is currently USD 1,500 for all visitors. The permit fee includes park entrance fees, ranger fees, and a certificate of gorilla trekking. Rwanda’s gorilla trekking experience is more structured, and the park assigns visitors to specific gorilla families. This ensures a more personalized and intimate experience, but it also means that visitors must book their permits well in advance.
In the DRC, the cost of a gorilla trekking permit is currently USD 400 for all visitors. This is the most affordable option among the three East African countries. The permit fee includes park entrance fees, ranger fees, and a certificate of gorilla trekking. However, the DRC is considered a more challenging destination for gorilla trekking, and visitors are advised to take caution and follow safety guidelines.
It is important to note that the permit fees in all three countries are subject to change, and visitors should check with the respective national park authorities for the latest information. Additionally, visitors may incur additional costs for accommodation, transportation, and other activities.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking is an unforgettable experience that every nature lover should experience at least once in their lifetime. Each East African country has its unique features, from the challenging terrain in Uganda to the personalized experience in Rwanda and the gorilla habituation in DRC. The choice of destination will ultimately depend on the trekker’s preference, budget, and desired experience. Regardless of the destination, one thing is certain: the opportunity to witness these gentle giants in their natural habitat is an experience that will stay with you forever.