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Best Time to Visit Uganda & Rwanda for Gorilla Trekking

In so many ways, Rwanda and Uganda are similar. In all their entirety however, beauty remains a constant factor. The two countries are located in Eastern region of Africa continent and share a border (Rwanda sits on the south western border with Uganda). They are blessed with a generally green cover in most parts of each country which have been of great importance in the conversation and flourishing of wildlife. Some of the wildlife in both countries is endangered and to that include the elusive mountain gorillas.

Mountain gorillas are a subspecies of Genus Gorilla. These creatures are the world’s largest primates and have great similarities with their compatriots, the Eastern lowland gorillas. Mountain gorillas are declared endangered species, after many decades of being poached, killed for meat, and their habitats being encroached on. There’s therefore much attention towards their protection and conservation in both Rwanda and Uganda.

Mountain gorillas are by and large interesting primates to meet and it’s notable that such an activity is only possible in East Africa, where they can be trekked in their natural habitat and not anywhere else in the world. Mountain gorillas live in groups and this is the most central feature as regards gorilla tourism, since it guarantees presence of specific mountain gorillas in known areas or sectors. The main tourism activities around these primates are trekking and habituation experiences.

Mountain gorillas in these two countries are conserved within gazetted national parks, like Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

It’s traceable in Kisoro, Rubanda and Kanungu districts, South Western part of Uganda. It’s one of Uganda’s 10 national parks, conserved under the stewardship of Uganda Wildlife Authority. It was established in 1991 and is comprised of the magnificent Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, from which the National Park’s name originates.

The National Park covers an area of 32,000 hectares. ‘Bwindi’ has strong cultural attachments from the people that dominated its vicinity, the Banyakitara (People from ‘Kitara’). “Omubwindi” became the commonly referred name to this forest expanse by the indigenous communities around it, which means “place of darkness.”

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest when viewed closely, is filled with darkness as the eyes sketch the far compact forest and other sections of the forest are made of bamboo vegetation. This mixture of vegetation has for ages made full penetration into the forest harder. This in turn led to the forest being crowned ‘impenetrable’ due to its thickness. This forest boosts about 90 fern species, and averagely 150 unique tree species. Within the high and low-lying flora are the mountain gorillas to which Uganda has half of the world’s population. The over 20 mountain gorilla families are memorable to trek and habituate.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Just like Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, it’s located in the western part of Uganda. It’s situated at the southwestern tip of Uganda at the border with Rwanda. Kisoro district is the closest gateway and precisely where the park is located. The park is home to 3 volcanoes i.e. Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura.

Mgahinga has only one habituated mountain gorilla family known as the Nyakagezi Gorilla family. It’s an awesome family whose trekking is often coupled with hiking the highlands therein and viewing the golden monkeys.

Volcanoes National Park.

Different from the preceding two National Parks that are found in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park is in Rwanda. It’s at the north-western edge of the country and has 5 volcanoes that form the Virunga ranges. Their slopes are highly fertile with volcanic slopes that have for many decades supported growth of tropical rainforests and scattered alpine vegetation. The national park is the only spot in Rwanda from where tourists are able to visit and trek the numerous families of mountain gorillas in Rwanda.

Other activities within these National Parks.


All the above explained mountain gorilla locations in the two countries are highly forested and close to the Western rift valley which makes it an attractive home for hundreds of bird species. The national parks also have highlands that have numerous highland birds such as the blue turacos and Rwenzori batis. Other birds include the Rwenzori Nightjar, handsome spurfowl, African Darter, African forest kites, forest Eagles, and many others.

Hiking adventures.

Besides gorilla trekking, volcano hiking is a common experience here. It’s usually combined with mountain gorilla trekking; however, visitors can take on hiking adventure as a distinct activity altogether. This is common in Mgahinga National Park on Mountains Sabyinyo and Muhabura. Tourists are however advised to be of good health and mental physique to achieve a fulfilling hiking.

Nature walks.

All the parks such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park present excellent trails for nature walks as tourists get refreshing views of the beautiful nature and topography. On the trails in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, tourists are able to view other attractions such as the thousands of plant species, rivers, streams, and caves.

Other primates.

Trekking especially in Mgahinga National Park and Volcanoes National Park doesn’t end at merely trekking mountain gorillas. There are golden monkeys that are present only in eastern Africa and nowhere else in the world.

Trekking these creatures is interesting as tourists get to view their fascinating beauty. Additionally, there are other monkey species in all the national parks such as the blue monkeys, baboons, mangabeys and colobus monkeys.

Best time to visit Uganda and Rwanda for gorilla trekking.

This is an obvious recommendation on when to best visit the three national parks in Uganda and Rwanda. June to September and December to February bring with them the best sunshine and general perfect weather conditions that foresee an interesting tour within the three parks.

The periods within those months are dry seasons within the tropics. Therefore, visitors should expect less weather interruptions during this season.

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