Gorilla Trekking is not better in Rwanda

Posted by on August 3, 2020

The Myth of Gorilla Trekking being Better in Rwanda than in Uganda

Despite what you may read or hear – Gorilla Trekking is not better in Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking – it is the experience, the encounter with the Gorillas that counts, not the Country that you trek in.

Gorilla Trekking is not better in RwandaGorilla Trekking is not better in Rwanda. Gorilla Trekking being better in Rwanda is a myth happily propagated by Rwandan Tourism, Travel Agents, International Tour Operators that are sympathetic to Rwanda.

Even Ellen Degeneres and the Arsenal Football are part of the choir, proclaiming that the best Gorilla Trekking is in Rwanda. 

Gorilla Trekking is not better in Rwanda that we know as a Tour Operator that sells Gorilla Safaris on both sides of the border. Many of us read Travel Magazine articles. We see the TripAdvisor Posts, venture into forums such as Fodors or Lonely Planet’s Thorntree Forum, you will come across prejudiced, biased opinions often biased, preconceived views leave out the reality on the ground. 

Ugandans would say using Uglish (Ugandan English) that the authors of such posts are simply spewing Buffaloes.  Meaning that they do not know what they are talking about. 

Those that claim that Rwanda is better for Gorilla Trekking than Uganda most often have never trekked Gorillas in UgGorillla Trekking is not better in Rwandaanda or even DR Congo. They are merely passing on an anecdotal diatribe or their own prejudicial thoughts as others have done.

Gorillas, though closely related to Humans, do not share the thoughts of those that push Rwanda is the best country for Gorilla Trekking. They have no nationalistic, patriotic feelings.

They are looking for the best habitat and move across the borders created by humans. In 2019 the Rwandan Hirwa Gorilla Family took up residence in Uganda’s National Park. In the same way, the Ugandan Nyakagezi Gorilla Family used to cross so-called international borders.

Gorilla Trekking is not better in Rwanda.  To us, Gorilla Trekking is an encounter with the Mountain Gorillas, it is the encounter that is important and not the country where the encounter takes place.

Rwanda is not better than in neighboring countries. Rwanda, Uganda, DR Congo all offer Quality Gorilla Encounters, but few, if any, lodge a complaint.

Gorilla Trekking is not better in RwandaGorilla Trekking is not better in Rwanda. While Rwanda has become the economic Wunderkind of Africa. Kigali is looking like an African Singapore and one of the top Convention Destinations in Africa, giving Nairobi a run for their money. A country where visitors feel at home, a country that shows forth the future face of Africa today.  Fantastic growth miracles in a country that literally rose like a phoenix from the hell of one of the most horrific genocides in history. All factors that should and do receive accolades from around the world. Yet all those positive and heartwarming factors do not make Rwanda a better place to trek Gorillas as travel articles, news articles, blogger posts, forum purports that it is.

One reason why so many believe that Rwanda offers a better Gorilla Trekking experience is that Uganda has  “kept quiet” about what Uganda offers to visitors. Since Rwanda’s permit price increase, there have been no attempts by the Ministry of Uganda, Tourism, the Ugandan Tourism $800 less than what they cost in Rwanda. That Uganda offers the same experience, at half the price for a gorilla Safari. No, that Uganda has chosen to keep quiet. Quiet about its treasure, about the affordability that comes without a compromise in the quality of the trekking experience.

Yet despite Uganda keeping quiet, it became the Premier Gorilla Destination not by intentional design, but by default. Uganda’s Gorilla Tourism sector should be thankful to Rwanda for promoting Gorilla Tourism in Uganda. Yes, you read correctly. When Rwanda raised the price of permits from $750 to $1,500, it triggered the “great gorilla trekker migration” to Uganda. When Rwanda decided to become a high-end deluxe gorilla destination, it drove many budgets, midrange, and even luxury Trekkers to Uganda.

Gorilla Trekking is not better in RwandaGorilla Trekking is not better in Rwanda. It is not Rwanda, but Uganda that has half of the remaining Mountain Gorilla Population. It is only Uganda that offers two distinct gorilla habitats.  First, there is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a UNESCO Heritage Site, a Park chosen by CNN as the most beautiful place in the World, as one of the Best Hiking Trails in the World and as one of the best parks in Africa.

Additionally, there is Mgahinga Gorilla Park, where one tracks Gorillas on the sides of the brooding Virunga Volcanoes. The same Volcanoes found in Rwanda and where the tracking conditions are identical.

The fact is that thousands have voted with their feet and chosen to trek in affordable Uganda, making it the premier Gorilla Destination. Ask one of them whether they had a lesser experience trekking Gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla Park or Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.  You will hear a resounding no.  Uganda has become the Premier Mountain Gorilla Destination.

Rwanda is not better than Uganda when it comes to Gorilla Trekking, the bottom line is that Rwanda is more expensive than Uganda. The cost factor makes Uganda affordable.  Affordability will be especially important when the COVID-19 pandemic ends. The epidemic has caused economic havoc around the world. There will be fewer travelers that will have the funds for a Safari. It comes down to affordability without compromising the experience.

What inspires Tourists from around the world to trek Gorillas in Uganda? 

Let us bring together why  Gorilla Trekkers are choosing Uganda as their trekking destination.Gorilla Trekking is not better in Rwanda

  • Affordability – Uganda offers the lowest priced safe Gorilla Safaris.
  • Almost twice the gorilla permits that Rwanda offers. The reason is that Uganda has more Mountain Gorilla over half of the remaining population.
  • More Gorilla Trekking choices than any other country. Pick of the park, choice of more time with Gorillas, private treks at an affordable price.
  • Uganda Gorilla Parks are Safe, Secure, and Guerrilla-Free. It is the only country that has had no guerrilla activities in its Gorilla Parks for over 20 years.
  • Affordable, quality midrange, and exclusive Lodging. 
  • More Gorilla Safari Add-ons such as the best Chimpanzee Trekking in East Africa, 10 National Parks, Wildwater Adventures, Mountain Climbing, and tropical islands where to relax and chill out.

When it comes to marketing itself, unlike Rwanda with its marketing wizardry, Uganda lags a bit behind. Things have greatly improved, but things could be better. One sees all kinds of experts leading Uganda Tourism, but seemingly missing are passionate about Uganda marketers that can see beyond the now accepted norm. Changes will come, market forces will drive them. In the meantime, Uganda, at this time, is the premier Mountain Gorilla Destination, despite what others might say.

More to read: Comparing Gorilla Trekking Rwanda versus Uganda

Jon Blanc