According to the 2011 gorilla census, there are only 880 mountain gorillas left in the whole world. This makes the mountain gorillas one of the most endangered apes. About 440 mountain gorillas (Almost half of the total population) is found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda, and the remaining population is distributed in the Virunga volcanic mountain ranges shared amongst Uganda (Mgahinga National Park), Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) and Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National Park).
It is only in African where you can see the gorillas in the wild. Mountain gorillas leave in groups (Families) headed by the Male Silverback, and the number of people allowed to visit each gorilla family per day is limited to 8 persons maximum. This aims at promoting sustainable tourism development. The trek in search of mountain gorillas is quite strenuous and you must be physically fit. You are headed and guided by park guide accompanied by rangers with guns just in case of any attacks by wild animals such as forest Elephants and Buffaloes although this is very rare. Uganda and Rwanda receive so many tourists from different parts of the world with the major interest being to see gorillas in the wild. Below are the top 5 gorilla safari packages in Uganda and Rwanda.
This is most popular in Rwanda for travelers with limited time in Rwanda or Africa, for instance, business travelers, and those coming to Rwanda seminars and Volunteers among others. Also, this trip loved by budget travelers who never want to spend a lot in accommodation near Volcanoes national park. A 1-day gorilla trip is possible because of the short driving distance from Kigali city / Kigali Airport to Volcanoes national which takes on 2 hours drive. This trip starts early at 4:30 am drive from Kigali to arrive at Kinigi volcanoes national park headquarters by 6:30 am. You will return to Kigali on the same day after the trek. Note that some gorilla groups are far and some a near. So for one-day gorilla trekkers, you should ask to be allocated to a nearby gorilla group so that you return early for lunch and hit the road back to Kigali.
Unlike a 1-day gorilla tour, the 2-day gorilla trip offers an opportunity to see gorillas in the wild and take some short excursions such as visiting the Gisozi genocide memorial museum or explore Musanze caves or visit local communities. This is loved by people with limited time in East Africa or Rwanda.
Because Rwanda has less in terms of other wildlife, many visitors enjoy other wildlife in neighbouring countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, and Botswana and then connect to Rwanda for ONLY mountain gorilla tracking, and maybe genocide memorial museum. On this trip, you spend one night at any lodge of your budget near volcanoes national park. The same trip is possible to southern Bwindi national park in Uganda from Kigali through Gatuna or Cyanika boarders. Note that gorilla permits in Rwanda cost US$1500 each and US$700 in Uganda for foreign non-residents.
3) 3 Day Gorilla safari package in Rwanda or Uganda
The 3-day gorilla safari package very popular in both Uganda and Rwanda. To start with Rwanda, the 3-day gorilla trip offers an opportunity for extra activities such as second gorilla trek, golden monkey tracking, adventurous hike to the graveyard of the late Dian Fossey, Musanze caves exploration, Mount Bishoke climbing or genocide memorial tours. This is because of the short distance from Kigali city to the home of gorillas (2 hours drive.
On Uganda side, You can only do gorilla tracking and maybe a simple community walk to people around Bwindi National Park This is because of the driving distance from Kampala to Bwindi National park which takes between 8 to 10 hours drive.
This is most popular for adventurous travelers and photographers interested in more than one gorilla trek. You have an opportunity to trek gorillas twice and end your trip with golden monkey tracking. Here you track different groups of mountain gorillas and you get different experiences. The same trip is possible in Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda
The 5 days gorilla trek in Uganda starts and ends in Kampala, with an opportunity to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National park, and enjoy fantastic game safaris and boat cruise along the Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Among the animals to see in Queen Elizabeth include Lion, Leopard, Elephants, Buffaloes, tree-climbing lions in th Ishasha sector, hundreds of hippos along the Kazinga channel and over 600 bird species. The park is also endowed with chimpanzee tracking and other primates in Kyambura gorge.
Alternatively, a 5 day gorilla safari can start from Kampala and end in Kigali and vicevarsa. It is a great opportunity to experience the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in southwestern Uganda.