Where to see gorillas in Rwanda

Rwanda is a much smaller country than Uganda, so lends itself better to a short trip in combination with a safari or beach stay elsewhere in East Africa.

The Volcanoes National Park is only two hours drive on tarmac road from Kigali and the International airport. For one visit to the gorillas, you will need a minimum of two nights stay, and three nights would be ideal.

Rwanda has more than twice the number of habituated mountain gorilla groups than Uganda and so permits are generally more easily available and less expensive.

Rwanda gorilla groups

There are currently seven main groups that can be tracked in Rwanda; the Susa, Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Hirwa, Kwitonda and Group Thirteen.

The groups vary in number from around 9 to 39 individuals and all currently have at least one silverback male. Of the seven groups, there are a couple that tend to be found on the saddle between Mount Sabyinyo and Mount Gahinga which is around a two hour walk from the park entrance.

Whilst it is not possible to book a permit for a specific group, your chances of having a shorter walk are higher than in Uganda. Nothing is guaranteed though and you may find yourself tracking a group such as the Susa, first studied by Diane Fossey and often found on the slopes of Mount Visoke, a five hour hike away.

Mount Sabyinyo

Rwanda

Mountain gorilla


Where to see gorillas in Uganda

Uganda is a larger country to explore than Rwanda, and it takes two long days of driving to reach the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest from Entebbe, broken up with an overnight stay halfway at Lake Mburo.

Once at Bwindi we would recommend three nights before continuing your safari around Uganda.

Uganda gorilla groups

There are four habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi and none tend to be found near to the park entrance.

The groups are called the Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura and Nkuringo and range in size from 10 to 20 individuals, each with one or two silverbacks.

The terrain in Bwindi means that you sometimes start your trek at the top of the hills, descend on foot into the valley to see the gorillas, and then climb up the slopes at the end of the day, which can be more arduous.

In short, Uganda tends to be a harder option than Rwanda.

Mother and Baby Gorilla

Conserving Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and reducing local poverty

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