Where is best to see the Mountain Gorillas?
Whilst both Uganda and Rwanda are home to the Mountain Gorilla, it is important to understand the differences between gorilla trekking in these different destinations and which will be most suitable for your visit to the Mountain Gorillas.
Rwanda is traditionally thought of as the easier gorilla trekking destination because the vegetation is thinner, thus allowing easier viewing and hiking. In Uganda the gorillas live in thick rainforests necessitating tougher hiking.
In Uganda, the distance from the Kampala Airport to Bwindi will take you about 9 to 10 hours by car and often requires an overnight stay at Lake Mburo National Park en route (charter flights are available and will take about 1.5 hours) By contrast, Kigali (Rwanda's capital) is approximately 2 to 3 hours by car to Volcanoes National Park from the airport (in most instances a visit to Uganda exclusively for the gorillas will require an extra 1 to 2 days on the itinerary, depending on flight arrival/departure times) Rwanda is more accessible for gorilla viewing.
Gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda are however more expensive, USD1500 versus USD600 in Uganda (subject to change). Uganda also gives you the opportunity to pre-book the gorilla family you will be seeing, whereas in Rwanda the decision is made on the morning of the trek. Both permits entitle you to one hour with your chosen gorilla family.
Uganda is a more complete safari destination than Rwanda, offering much more than Mountain Gorillas. Should you want a fully inclusive safari of one country, Uganda comes out tops. If you are looking to only see the mountain gorilla and nothing else, Rwanda is best in our opinion.
Please note that it is possible to visit both Uganda and Rwanda for a full primate safari experience.