Comparing Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi National Park And Mgahinga National Park
While some people may regard it usual that gorilla tours in Uganda are conducted in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park, on the other hand, there is need for one to understand in depth what differences the two parks have. Both parks lie in the southwestern part of Uganda just at the extreme Albertine Rift Valley. Besides, the other destinations where you can go to track mountain gorillas include the Virunga National Park in the eastern side of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Rwanda Volcanoes National Park.
Prior making a trip to Uganda for gorilla trekking, one needs to be convinced beyond doubts that the choice you made is the best. It is for this reason that we needed to help you further as you plan for your next gorilla safari holiday to Uganda and we have come up with a comparison between gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Bwindi National Park features among the very few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Uganda and boasts of more than 480 mountain gorillas and this represents about half of all the world’s remaining population of these rare creatures. Mgahinga National Park also lies southwest of Uganda within Kisoro district. Compared to the rest of gorilla destinations, Mgahinga National Park is the smallest and also with fewer mountain gorillas. About 80 individuals of these unique apes call this park their home.
In terms of habituated gorilla groups, Bwindi National Park is a home to about 19 families and this represents about 152 permits unlike Mgahinga National Park where there is only gorilla family (Nyakagezi) which has been habituated and ready for gorilla tracking. Due to this, Mgahinga normally serves as an alternative destination in case you missed to track gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Also Mgahinga National Park ha same terrain as Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, meaning, it is very easy to hike in search for the gorillas. And ever since Rwanda doubled the price of gorilla permits from US$750 to US$1500 in May 2017, Mgahinga National Park receives huge volume of tourists because it shares same terrain with Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda, easy to hike, and rewards with clear pictures. However, because there is only one gorilla group, other tourists go to Bwindi National park after failing to get permits in Mgahinga.
The available habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park can only be tracked in four of its sectors that include Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuringo and Ruhija. The groups include Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura and Katwe in Buhoma region; Kyaguliro, Oruzogo, Bitukura in Ruhija region; Nkuringo, Christmas in Nkuringo sector; Nshongi, Busingye, Kahungye, Bweza in Rushaga sector. In total, Bwindi National Park has about 19 gorilla groups set for this life time experience compared to Mgahinga. In Mgahinga National Park it is only Nyakagezi group that is available for visitors to track each day.
Whereas both parks feature mountain gorillas and bird species, on the other hand, Mgahinga National Park mountain gorillas co-exist with the striking golden monkeys which makes it a little exceptional from Bwindi National Park.
Besides, Bwindi National Park allows visitors to also engage in gorilla habituation experience the only newly introduced tourism product in the whole world and only conducted in Bwindi Forest (Rushaga Sector) and not even in Mgahinga National Park. Gorilla habituation experience currently costs US$1500 per person. (Also see the Difference between gorilla tracking and habituation experience)
The other difference is that, more accommodation facilities are found within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park compared to Mgahinga National Park. They range from budget to luxury and in Bwindi they include among others Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, chameleon hill lodge, clouds mount gorilla lodge, Buhoma community camp or Bandas, Gorilla forest camp, gorilla safari lodge, Mahogany springs camp, Ruhija gorilla safari lodge, Gorilla mist camp, gorilla valley lodge, Nkuringo gorilla camp, silverback lodge, eco marvels gorilla resort, Engagi lodge Bwindi and all these are found in Bwindi and many budget lodges. In Mgahinga National Park some of the lodges to spend a night on include Mount Gahinga Lodge, Mucha hotel Kisoro, Travelers’ rest hotel Kisoro and others.
In conclusion, both Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park are ideal for gorilla trekking but Mgahinga National Park accommodates only fewer number of tourists as there is only one habituated gorilla family for visitors to trek.