Comparing Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi and Mgahinga

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Comparing Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi and Mgahinga

One of the most exciting wildlife encounters is gorilla trekking. Only four national parks offer the opportunity to see gorillas, including Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Parks in Uganda.

Due to the presence of the remaining half of the mountain gorilla population in Uganda’s two national parks, Bwindi and Mgahinga, the country is unique.

Due to its extensive biodiversity, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. Aside from mountain gorillas, Bwindi is home to 120 different kinds of mammals, including side-striped jackals, African civets, giant forest pigs, small antelopes, and the African Golden Cat.

In the park, you can see chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s monkeys, and Black-and-White Colobus monkeys. This magnificent woodland is home to 310 bird species and more than 220 types of butterflies. The Frazers Eagle Owl, African Green Broadbill, Brown-necked Parrots, and White-tailed Blue Flycatcher are a few of the noteworthy bird species.

The other location in Uganda where tourists can go gorilla trekking is Mgahinga National Park. It is Uganda’s smallest National Park and is located at the base of three extinct volcanoes.

Unlike Bwindi, Mgahinga is a part of the larger Virunga region, which also contains the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The rare mountain gorillas and golden monkeys are the main draws. Other options for visitors include hunting for smaller primates and mammals, doing nature or forest walks, climbing mountains, and birding.


We should start by pointing out that Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to around 45% of the remaining mountain gorillas, clearly distinguishing it from all the other gorilla parks. It has a 321 sq km area, making it a lot bigger park than Mgahinga.

More than 35 gorilla groups have been identified in Bwindi, 15 of which are habituated and accessible for gorilla trekking. Only one habituated gorilla troop is accessible to tourists at Mgahinga. Furthermore, there are four main sectors of the park in Bwindi where you can do gorilla trekking, each of which has multiple gorilla groups.

Only four visitors are permitted to spend 4 hours with the gorilla family in each of the two habituated groups in the Rushaga and Nkuringo regions.

Only in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is it possible to have this one-of-a-kind experience. It differs from traditional gorilla trekking, which only allows 8 tourists to spend an hour with a gorilla family.

For some people, these first evaluations should be enough to put an end to the discussion. There could be even more reasons to support Bwindi, and as we’ll see in a moment, Mgahinga must also have some unique qualities.

In both parks, seeing the gorillas is now a given, but in Mgahinga, it wasn’t always the case. The Nyakagezi tribe, which has now relocated to Mgahinga, was notorious for crossing into Rwanda and occasionally the DR Congo, which would suspend all gorilla trekking operations in the park. You never know when they’ll decide to start making cross-border visits again.

Both in Bwindi and Mgahinga, gorilla trekking can be challenging because it requires traversing difficult and treacherous terrain in search of the gorilla families. The Nyakagezi group in Mgahinga, however, is widely acknowledged to be a much simpler group to trace.

In comparison to the majority of the gorilla groups in Bwindi, they have a smaller home range. Visitors to Bwindi may need to travel further into the forest in order to find some of the gorilla groups because it is such a huge forest.

The search for some gorilla groups in Bwindi, meanwhile, only takes a couple of hours because they are located close to the starting points.

There are fewer people when going gorilla trekking in Mgahinga. Fewer people are there and there are fewer crowds before and after gorilla trekking, which may provide some visitors more space to quietly take in the beautiful environment in the park.

The fact that Mgahinga is the only park in Uganda where visitors may see both the critically endangered golden monkeys and Mountain Gorillas gives it an obvious advantage over Bwindi. This suggests that gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking are both possible for tourists.

However, Mgahinga’s possession of the adorable Golden Monkeys does not completely negate Bwindi’s possession of Chimpanzees. Visitors to Bwindi who go gorilla trekking may see chimpanzees on the paths. Mgahinga has no chimps.

Unlike in Bwindi, gorilla trekking in Mgahinga offers tourists the chance to engage in mountain hiking. Choose between Mount Muhavura, Mount Sabinyo, or Mount Gahinga, three of the volcanoes in Mgahinga. Visitors who ascend any of these volcanoes will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Mgahinga National Park and the chance to see primates like Golden Monkeys, forest creatures, and birds along the way.

Mountain climbing is not permitted in Bwindi, giving Mgahinga a definite advantage.

If you enjoy exploring caverns, you might want to think about going gorilla trekking in Mgahinga. Gorilla hiking at Mgahinga is worthwhile if you visit the Garamba and Muhavura caves, which the Batwa originally utilised for food storage, royal dwelling, gathering, and war preparation.

While in either park, guests are welcome to go see the Batwa people. Prior to their sorrowful eviction from the park in 1991, the Batwa pygmies were the main and original community living there for thousands of years.

The continuous decline in mountain gorilla, golden monkey, and other park animal populations was partially ascribed to the Batwa’s presence in the area.

It was decided that the Batwa needed to be transported elsewhere in order to advance gorilla conservation projects. Due to the Batwa’s incomplete integration into their new towns or their nearby houses, this choice was not beneficial to anyone.

In general, visiting Mgahinga National Park makes it more fascinating and rewarding to learn about the Batwa way of life. Unlike Bwindi, the Batwa path in Mgahinga allows visitors to spend more than 5 hours immersed in the Batwa culture.

In Mgahinga, some Batwa are permitted to work as local guides and show you around the forest’s sacred sites, historic caves, previous military hiding places, dances, languages, traditional tales, costumes, and hunting customs. In Bwindi, after going gorilla trekking, guests typically spend less time with the Batwa outside the park.

Both national parks provide visitors the chance to take nature walks, but Bwindi may once again have the advantage. There are a number of well-established routes in the Bwindi Forest, including the Rushura, Bamboo, and waterfall trails. Visit the nearby settlements to discover the local dialects, dances, and methods of brewing beer.

A gorilla trekking safari costs about the same in both national parks. Both in Bwindi and Mgahinga, gorilla licences cost $700. However, the total cost of the gorilla tour could range from $1700 to $2000, depending on the standard of the accommodations and transportation.
Both Mgahinga and Bwindi must abide by the same gorilla trekking laws.

These guidelines were created to aid in the protection of gorillas. A gorilla troop may only be tracked by eight people each day, and only for a maximum of one hour.

In both parks, you must be at least 15 years old to go gorilla trekking. It is against the law to arrive unwell with contagious illnesses. In Bwindi and Mgahinga, it is forbidden to use a torch, smoke or make extra noise when around gorillas.

The gorilla trekking packing lists for Bwindi and Mgahinga are identical. You would need to bring long sleeve shirts, jeans, water-resistant hiking shoes, long stockings, a hat, sunscreen and a walking stick no matter which park you decide to visit. Prescription medication, a camera, binoculars, water, and a snack will ensure that your gorilla trekking experience is enjoyable in both gorilla parks.

Half of the surviving mountain gorillas in the world live in Bwindi. Visitors can monitor gorillas or participate in the gorilla habituation experience while seeing chimpanzees along the route at one of its 15 habituated gorilla groups. In Bwindi, there are fantastic trails and excellent nature treks.

Primate enthusiasts can take a full African Safari because to Bwindi’s proximity to Queen Elizabeth National Parks.

One gorilla family lives in Mgahinga, and it may be the largest habituated population to be found in any mountain gorilla habitat. While affording guests the ability to undertake golden monkey trekking, mountain hiking, and a more comprehensive experience with the Batwa pygmies, Mgahinga gorilla trekking experiences are less crowded. You can make your own choice.

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