Gorilla trekking in Uganda apparently takes place in two national parks that don’t fall so far away from each other. These national parks include Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park though most gorilla safaris take place in Bwindi.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site situated in the district of Kanungu, Kisoro and Kibale. It’s a home to over 400 mountain Gorillas that accounts for half the worlds population of these apes. The number in Mgahinga is relatively low which has long made Bwindi Forest a number one destination for years.
These two national parks are always available to give an opportunity to tourist who would love to encounter the day to day life experience with these endangered primates for a full hour under normal gorilla trekking and close to 5 hours when carrying out Gorilla habituation.
Mountain Gorillas can also be seen along the Virunga Conservation Area that is apparently also shared by Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Congo’s world heritage site – Virunga National Park.
It is a good practice to always compare these two Mountain Gorilla destinations of Uganda before reserving your permit. This article has all the reasons regarding Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park being the best place to for Mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda.
Bwindi forest apparently has about ten habituated Mountain Gorilla families in total where as Mgahinga has only one family – the Nyakagezi family.
As you may know, Bwindi has four sectors: Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo and all these have their own family(s). This gives tourists an opportunity to choose between sections and also rewards a much more diverse experience should any trekker opt for more than one trek.
Bwindi Forest National Park has a good number of Chimpanzees and bird life, a perfect opportunity for any tourist to catch up with these apes and birds for one. You can purchase a gorilla tracking permit and end up spotting Chimps along with a couple of extinct birds. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park used to harbor mainly gorillas until Golden Monkeys were introduced to diversify tourism within the national park. This is partially why the national park is referred to as a place where one meets gold and silver.
Bwindi has 98% more lodging options compared to Mgahinga. These accommodation facilities range from budget to mid-range and luxury with a wide array of equally good options to choose from.
Lastly, seeing gorillas in Mgahinga is not a guarantee since these gorillas tend to move to neighboring countries back n forth. This isn’t any close to Bwindi’s case where you are guaranteed of seeing Mountain Gorillas except in very rare scenarios where you might fail to see them due to long treks and the fact that you have to make it back to the starting point before dusk.
Both national parks can be accessed by air and road. Flights take not more than 2 hours from Entebbe International Airport using Aero link. The northern and southern part of Bwindi can be accessed through the Kihihi airstrip then followed by roads though both parks are served by Kisoro airstrip.
If one is using road transport, both national parks can be accessed using the same route that runs through Mbarara, Kabale and Kisoro.
Bwindi is much pretty much closer to other Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kibale Forest National Park (primate capital of the world) compared to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Queen Elizabeth national park is just 2 hours away from Bwindi by road. This park boasts in huge numbers of tree climbing lions and the Kazinga channel – a place known for its high concentration of Hippopotamuses.