Thursday, February 19, 2015

Comparing Gorilla Trekking Tours In 2015 : Uganda Vs Rwanda – Compare prices, tracking experience, hardness,etc

Comparison of 2015 Gorilla Tracking in Uganda and Uganda – Which is the best place to do a gorilla trek – Uganda or Rwanda? Which is more viable or cheaper: Bwindi or Volcanoes National Park, Which is more easy to access, Is tracking Rwanda better than Uganda?
 
 
Call it gorilla trekking or tracking or whatever, but it’s one of those really thrilling, lifetime experiences you should take time for before you leave planet earth. 
 
The exhilaration attached to the first setting eyes on a wild mountain gorilla is difficult to describe. Yet in the same sense, that magical one hour spent with the gorillas does not come cheaply considering that a permit goes for US$750 in Rwanda and $600 in Uganda – but it is unusual to find someone who regretted the financial outlay. gorilla-permit-discount-uganda-2015-at-350
 
Only 8 persons can visit a given gorilla family per day. In Uganda, ten families have been habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP, and so can host 80 persons tacking the mountain gorillas on any day.  
Rwanda can also take 80 persons per day. All else being equal, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park has a slight edge over the rest because its gorillas are the most wholly habituated, and they are often found in bamboo than the dense forest which makes photographing easier.

The major challenge with tracking gorillas in Rwanda is certainly the price of the gorilla permit at US$750 compared to Uganda’s US$600 per permit. However, Rwanda’s pride is in the ability for one to do the gorilla trek even in one day and fly back home which is impossible for Uganda. Volcanoes National Park is located 116 km from Kigali and can be driven in just 2 hours. On the other hand, Bwindi is located 500 km from Kampala/ Entebbe Airport and a drive can take 8 hours plus. In that sense, you will spend at least 3 days for your gorilla trek tour – one travelling to Bwindi, another doing the gorilla trek, and the other driving back to Kampala/Entebbe. If a tour operator is making you a tour package, they shall definitely have to consider this cost and include it in your tour cost.
 
 
However, the long drive to Bwindi is quite enchanting with great sceneries all through like the Equator, Lake Mburo National Park ( for some Queen Elizabeth National Park with abundant wildlife), terraced mountains with flowing rivers, and a lot of rural Africa. This is not so really the case for the drive from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park.
Some tourists have also opted for flying over from Entebbe to towns near to Bwindi (Kihihi and Kisoro) to track the gorillas. A round flight ticket costs $250 with AeroLink Uganda. In that case you will need to arrange your transfer from the airstrip to Bwindi, and back as well. (Talk to our preferred agents for assistance to organise this please).
 
You will certainly need spend more on transport and time to track the mountain gorillas in Uganda than it’s for Rwanda although this cost is compensated for by a cheaper gorilla permit.
 
Besides, some sections of the roads to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are not so comfortable to drive on yet in the case of Rwanda, you drive on smooth tarmac at least up to the Volcanoes National Park head office. Not to mention though, the roads leading from Volcanoes park office to the gorilla trek trail-heads can only be accessed with a raised 4x4 vehicle.
 
 
help_booking_gorilla_treks
 
Comparison of The Gorilla Trekking ExperienceA tree climbing lion perched in a fig in Queen Elizabeth Natonal Park along the way to Bwindi
Rwanda-SACOLA-traditional-dancers-perfom-before-gorilla-trackingIn general, the experience can only be different due to the way a particular gorilla family behaves in front of the trackers, how long and tough one has to track before reaching the gorillas and the way the park staff conduct the exercise. Personally, I found the Rwanda gorilla tracking package more charming that the Ugandan one on the tracking day. Should we say that this’ because of the gorilla permit price difference? Anyways, on your gorilla tracking day in Rwanda, you will definitely get more than that. At about 7:00 AM, tea/ coffee dispensers with cups are laid for visitors going for the trek. You are free to take as much as you wish. As visitors are enjoying the tea/ coffee, they are entertained by the lively traditional dance troupe (SACOLA Traditional Dancers) who bring on a wholesome Rwanda traditional cultural experience all visitors enjoy.

Of course you can get this in Uganda in evenings (at a fee) from the various traditional cultural groups that are near the park. However, the drive from Kampala to Bwindi is a very fabulous one traversing at least another national park (either Kibale or Queen Elizabeth National Park famous for tree climbing lions and many other big mammals, or Lake Mburo National Park) and not to miss- the Equator. In a way, even before you arrive Bwindi you have had a bit of the ‘Pearl of Africa’ as is fondly known. To many, driving along paved eucalyptus avenues to the gorillas in not the best deal. Indeed many to purchase tour packages combining both Rwanda and Uganda, first doing Gorillas in Rwanda and then crossing to Uganda to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park for the BIG 5 safaris and chimpanzee tracking among other tours.
 
Lets compare the tour costs in general.
Because of the long drive one endures from Kampala to Bwindi, the general cost is increased (even when you travel by public buses). It even increases more because you have to travel 2 days (to and from Bwindi). However, the increased cost is countered by the low cost gorilla permit of US$600 ($350 in April and May, November 2015). A low budget 3 days gorilla trek tour in Uganda goes for about $1250 (with gorilla permit, accommodation, and transport). The two days Rwanda gorilla trek costs about $1220 ( with gorilla permit, accommodation, and transport) and a three days Rwanda gorilla tracking tour costs is about $1280 (with gorilla permit, accommodation, and transport) . Costs samples got from Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris website effective Jan 2015.
 
Other things in addition to the actual gorilla tracking
Lastly, if you are not travelling just to see the mountain gorilla, and you want to include other activities in your visit, Rwanda may not be the best choice. Many tourists have continually had to cross to Uganda after their Rwanda gorilla trek to tour other reserves like Queen Elizabeth National Parks so endowed with abundant wildlife one cannot see in Rwanda. This is why probably folks continue enduring the long drives to Bwindi yet there is an easy way out.
 
At the end of the day – the ultimate jury are those who are looking as to which country to visit in order to track Gorillas – it is not Rwanda, not Uganda, not the Democratic Republic of Congo but where their pockets and hearts choose. If you precisely want the mountain gorillas and nothing else, go for a one-day gorilla trek but if you are a one who wants it and all of it, go for the long drive – you won’t regret…

Have you been on a gorilla trek in Rwanda or Uganda? What was your experience? What have you had about tracking gorillas in Rwanda Vs Uganda? Let me hear you views.
from the Rwanda/Uganda border post in Chanika - ivan.

Related articles:
My mountain gorilla tracking experience in Bwindi's Oruzogo gorilla family
How To Book Gorilla tracking & Trek Permits in Uganda and Rwanda
Affordable Private Road Transfers to Bwindi
Uganda Cuts Gorilla Trek Permit Prices to $350
Mountain Gorillas Aside, Why Does Earth need Bwindi so badly?

Mountain Gorilla Trekking Tour Packages in Rwanda and Uganda
3 days Uganda Gorilla tour
4 days Rwanda Gorilla Tour -
2 days Gorilla tracking Rwanda with tour price
3 day Gorilla tracking Rwanda with tour price
5 days Gorillas trek Rwanda and Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda
5 days Rwanda, Uganda Gorillas
6 days gorilla tracking, wildlife safari
14 days Uganda Rwanda Safari
7 days Uganda Gorilla Safaris
9 days Gorillas, primates wildlife
8 days Uganda Gorilla Game safari
7 days Gorillas, chimpanzee, wildlife -


 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tourism Visa fees for foreigner residents in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya Waived

Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda have waived visa fees for foreign residents to allow easy access to the region’s diverse tourism experience.

According to Yamina Karitanyi, the Rwanda Development Board’s Head of Department for Tourism and Conservation, the waiver was agreed on under the Northern Corridor Integration projects initiative.

Known as the East Africa Tourist Visa (EATV), foreign residents nolonger have to pay the $100 fee for the visa that is valid for 90 days effective December 15, 2014.

Karitanyi, said the waiver on the single East Africa Tourist Visa was the next step in consolidating and enriching the region’s tourism potential.

“We are approaching the rest of the world as a unified and rich tourist destination with varied experiences for travellers. We are also positioning East Africa’s tourism assets collectively as part of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects,” Karitanyi said at the weekend.

She added that joint marketing programmes will be carried out annually and will cover road shows such as the International Tourism Board (ITB) and World Travel Market (WTM) in 2015.

She pointed out that going forward, the partner states will lobby for a single stand during international tourism marketing events.

Outlining the modalities of implementation, Karitanyi said eligible foreign residents shall be issued with inter state pass on exiting the host state and visitor’s pass endorsed in their passports on arrival by presenting valid work/resident permits.

Other immigration procedures and regulations will, however, be maintained.

In preparing for the joint marketing programmes, she noted that the partner states were already gearing up the teams involved by conducting destination training workshops and disseminating information on the use of national identity cards, student/voters cards and the East Africa Tourist Visa.

Uganda Tourism Board’s Chief Executive Officer Stephen Asiimwe, said the development will bring exponential benefits to foreign residents living in the region.

“Our countries have a rich tourist menu on offer; from serene beaches, to pristine wildlife and nature, exquisite reserves, to hospitable people. It is the place to visit. Our products are inexhaustible and this waiver offers our region the best place to live and work. We encourage this community to be a part of the endless discovery, encounter and adventure of the best tourism episode of Africa at the least affordable price,” Asiimwe said.

“We encourage the private sector to take advantage of this opportunity to offer unbeatable packages while maximising win-win offers.”

According to Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director, Muriithi Ndegwa, this gives an opportunity to foreign residents in the three Partner States to explore the immense diversity of wildlife, landscapes, culture, and heritage, among other renowned attractions either for weekend gateways, corporate retreats or annual family holidays.

The just concluded 8th Northern Corridor Integration Summit attended by Presidents; Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Paul Kagame, and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, held in Nairobi last week, also directed Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure to convene a meeting of Airline Industry stakeholders and finalise negotiations on the 5th Freedom Traffic Rights on Entebbe-Nairobi-Juba-Nairobi meant to address outstanding issues to reduce the cost of air travel in the region and report to the next Summit that will be held in Kigali.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Uganda 2015 April May Gorilla Trek Permit Prices Reduced to $350 (special promotion)

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has cut all gorilla tracking permits prices in Bwindi for the month of April and May 2015. For promotional gorilla tracking tour packages please visit www.gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com  and remember to ask for this discount to be passed on to you when booking your gorilla tour for April/May 2015..
 
The discounted prices apply to gorilla tracking permits for April and May 2015.
Prices for gorilla trek permits go as per the following tourist types:
 
Foreign Non-residents = $350
Foreign Residents to $250
Ugandans - 100000 UGX

Industry observers have see this move as an intention by to draw more tourists to the gorillas in the low season months to Uganda, more especially the Ugandans.

However, Rwanda has maintained the gorilla tracking permit price at $750 and there seems to be no hope of reviewing this price in the near future in consideration of the low tourist seasons. We have in the passed documented comparisons in gorilla trekking experiences and costs in Rwanda Vs Uganda.

Mountain gorillas are only found in DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda and the total number for this critically endangered species is estimated at 780. Almost half of these are believed to be in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the rest leaving in the Virungas (Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Congo’s Virunga National Park).

Because of the insecurity in parts of DR Congo, it is only safe to track mountain gorillas either in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park or Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mgahinga’s gorillas are quite unreliable as they keep crossing borders, which makes tracking them uncertain. The experience offered by the three parks is broadly similar, so the biggest factor now determining where you go is either the cost or availability of the gorilla permit.
Only 8 persons can visit a given gorilla family per day. In Uganda, ten families have been habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP, nine of which are available for tracking and one is dedicated to research thus making the total permits available per day 77 gorilla families. Rwanda can only take 56 persons per day.

To claim you cut off the gorilla tour price please send an email to info@gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com or visit the website  (http://www.gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com) and ask for reduction in gorilla tour price to reflect this discount.

See you on trek!
 
 
 
Related articles:
Comparing Gorilla Trekking Tours : Uganda Vs Rwanda – Compare prices, experience, hardness,etc
My mountain gorilla tracking experience in Bwindi's Oruzogo gorilla family
How To Book Gorilla tracking & Trek Permits in Uganda and Rwanda
Uganda Cuts Gorilla Trek Permit Prices to $350
Mountain Gorillas Aside, Why Does Earth need Bwindi so badly?

Mountain Gorilla Trekking Tour Packages in Rwanda and Uganda
3 days Uganda Gorilla tour
4 days Rwanda Gorilla Tour -
2 days Gorilla tracking Rwanda with tour price
3 day Gorilla tracking Rwanda with tour price
5 days Gorillas trek Rwanda and Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda
5 days Rwanda, Uganda Gorillas
6 days gorilla tracking, wildlife safari
14 days Uganda Rwanda Safari
7 days Uganda Gorilla Safaris
9 days Gorillas, primates wildlife
8 days Uganda Gorilla Game safari
7 days Gorillas, chimpanzee, wildlife -

 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rwanda now screening visitors from USA, Spain too for Ebola

Rwanda now screening visitors from USA, Spain too for Ebola

The Rwanda ministry of Health has issued health safety guidelines to incoming passengers from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, USA and Spain or traveled to those countries in the last 22 days.

The passengers are to call a toll free line (114) on a daily basis to report about their health status for the duration of their stay in the country or for 21 days if they are to stay longer.

Spain recorded deaths of two missionary priests who separately contracted Ebola in Sierra Leona and Liberia. However the Spanish nursing assistant who worked on them successfully recovered from the virus.

USA has recorded one death, two confirmed infections of two nurses while more than 100 are being tracked.

More than 45,000 have died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria (yesterday declared Ebola-free).

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Press Release: Health Status of Uganda Regarding Marbug Virus, Ebola

Press Release
October 15th, 2014
Health Status of Uganda


Uganda Tourism Board informs all visitors, travellers and tourists, domestic and international that the Health status of the country is okay contrary to some media reports.
On 28th September 2014, one case of the Marburg hemorrhagic fever was reported and the people closest to this individual were immediately quarantined. Results after screening them confirmed negative of the Marburg virus and they still remain under the watch of health professionals.

As a country, we pride in the safety of all our visitors, tourists and nationals both in safety and health issues. To this effect, the Ministry of Health has urged members of the public to avoid unnecessary body contact such as handshakes.

We further wish to reiterate that Uganda is Ebola-free and to-date not a single case has been reported within our borders.

Whereas we pledge to keep all our visitors and travelers informed about the situation in the country, we also urge the media to report accurately and encourage visitors to come to our country.

Uganda Tourism Board
Plot 42, Windsor Crescent, Kololo
Tel: 0414 342 196/7 or Fax: 0414 342 188
E: utb@tourismuganda.info

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Construction of Uganda Martyrs Museum Commences

The construction of Uganda Martyrs Museum in Namugongo yesterday picked steam with Uganda president Yoder Muse Venice donating shs.410m during a special service for fundraising and laying its foundation stone. 

The shs 36bn multipurpose complex Museveni was told, is expected to be built in phases with its tentative completion date being late 2018. 

The site upon which the museum is being built is the place where 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic martyrs were burnt to death in 1886 on the orders of Kabaka Manga the then king of Buganda kingdom the biggest tribe in Uganda. 

The leadership of the church of Uganda hope the complex will help add value to a historical site that annually draws thousands of pilgrims and tourists to Uganda on account of its significance to the Christian faith. The Martyrs Day is celebrated every June 3, at the shrine. 

Drawing parallels between history of Uganda martyrs and Ugandan's struggle to free their country from fangs of tyranny, a jovial Museveni lacing his speech with biblical verses, said "the culture of heroism and martyrdom is part of Uganda's history. 
"Bazillion Okello confronted some peasants in Luwero and gave them a condition to either reveal where the rebels were or face death. They chose to die although they knew where the rebels were hiding, " Museveni said.

"So, Uganda's heroes, just like the Martyrs died for a noble cause for which we remember them every year." 

Museveni, who had carried along shs 40m in cash, increased his pledge to shs 400m with the balance of shs 360m to be paid this week. 

Museveni also auctioned a portrait of Petero Kisosonkole - the landlord who donated 48 acres of the land where the museum is being built - at shs 65m, with himself forking out shs 10m for it.

In order to raise the tourism potential of the museum and the annual Uganda Martyrs fete in Namugongo, Museveni promised that the road from Kireka to Namugongo will soon be revamped with public walkways. 

Earlier, the archbishop of Uganda,the Most Reverend Stanley Ntagali led the service graced by Vice President, Edward Ssekandi, the Catholic Bishop of Kampala Diocese,  Dr. Cipriano Kizito Lwanga and the top echelon of the Anglican Church in Uganda. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2014 Africa Ebola Spread– Are travellers to Uganda, Rwanda Affected?

We understand that there is concern over the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and we would like to reassure everyone  that to date there have been no reported cases of Ebola in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania,  Botswana, South Africa or Zambia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states: 'The risk of a tourist or businessman/woman becoming infected with Ebola virus during a visit to the affected areas and developing disease after returning is extremely low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas from which primary cases have been reported. Transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animal, all unlikely exposures for the average traveler’s.'

The WHO is also taking stringent measures in asking countries affected by Ebola to conduct exit screenings of people leaving at international airports, seaports and major land crossings in order to prevent the virus spreading. The Government of Kenya has further decided to temporarily suspend entry into Kenya of passengers travelling from and through the affected West African countries.

ebola-outbreak-africa-2014-map

See more details at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/resources/distribution-map-guinea-outbreak.html

The map above is a cartographer's representation highlighting the vastness of Africa in comparison to other countries. This will help you to better visualize the distance between the affected Ebola areas and our camps and lodges.

Ebola Spread in 2014
In March hospital staff alerted Guinea's Ministry of Health and then the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, (MSF). They reported a mysterious disease in the south-eastern regions of Gueckedou, Macenta, Nzerekore, and Kissidougou.

It caused fever, diarrhoea and vomiting. It also had a high death rate. Of the first 86 cases, 59 people died.

The WHO later confirmed the disease as Ebola.

The disease spreads

Gueckedou is a major regional trading centre and by the end of March, Ebola had crossed the border into Liberia and it was confirmed in Sierra Leone during May.

In June, MSF described the Ebola outbreak as out of control.

Nigeria had its first case of the disease in July and in the same month two leading doctors died from Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

We will update you accordingly should this position change.