Head to Head: Rwanda Vs Uganda
Head to Head: Rwanda Vs Uganda
For the next installment of our 'head to head' series, we're casting our eyes over two of Africa's greatest primate-viewing countries and discovering the differences between holidays to Rwanda and Uganda.
Both are known for their excellent gorilla tracking experiences; a day or so spent tracking can be hard work, nothing compares to the hour you spend watching these magnificent creatures, peering at each other through the leaves of the rich, verdant forest. But each country has so much more to offer than just observing its primate families.
Scroll down to find out more about which other experiences can make Rwanda and Uganda holidays unique from each other and find out which destination is right for you.
Craig Kaufmann: what your primates expert says
I like to take my clients beneath the surface of Uganda and am keen to let you learn about both the issues surrounding the wildlife you've come to see, and how local communities and park authorities work together towards a sustainable future. Give me a call to find out how you could meet reformed poachers now working in park anti-poaching units or learn from park authorities about protecting the big predators from locals when they encroach on local livestock on your Uganda holiday.
Rwanda is known for its gorillas, but there's also SO much more to the country than it's world-famous primate trekking opportunities! When planning your trip, I advise you to think about all of the other activities you can do too; I recently thoroughly enjoyed kayaking on Lake Kivu, tried mountain biking, and loved slipping gently downstream in a canoe while admiring stunning views of the Virunga volcanoes. Top it all off with a scenic sundowner and you've got yourself a fantastic active travel experience!
Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda) Vs Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda)
First-time visitors to Rwanda should head for the Volcanoes National Park to seek out one of the resident, habituated Gorilla groups, which may be in bamboo habitat or in closed forest. Experienced trackers lead you into the forested slopes to seek one of the bands of Mountain gorilla. The hour that you are able to spend among these gentle giants is one of the most incredible wildlife experiences to be had anywhere in the world. You may see other forest wildlife such as L’hoest’s monkeys, black-fronted duiker, forest squirrels and birds including the colourful rwenzori turacous.
Our 5-day Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Special costs from £2975 per person
In Uganda, however, resting on the edge of Rift Valley sits the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This is one of the most popular tracking places in the country, where a dense mist-covered rainforest clads the volcanic hills, offering shelter for gorillas, chimpanzees, golden monkeys, black-and-white colobus and blue monkeys. After a briefing from the head ranger on what to expect, head up the forested slopes to search for the Mountain gorillas, the global population of which is estimated at some 800+ individuals.
Our 5-day Gorilla Express Uganda tour costs from £2920 per person
In each park, the trekking may be as quick as 45 minutes or it might take a few hours.
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel (Rwanda) Vs Baker's Lodge (Uganda)
Rwanda's Lake Kivu is staggeringly beautiful and spending a few days exploring the water's edge or kayaking is a fantastic compliment to time spent in the jungles. Whilst there, we recommend staying at the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel; a 5-star hotel in Gisenyi, set on the shores of the lake, boasting wonderful views across the water. Run by the international Serena Hotels chain, is an attempt to bring international standards to this quiet backwater, and it’s a big step up from the other lakeside hotels.
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel is featured in our Safari and Gorillas Tour
In Uganda, one of our favourite accommodations is Baker's Lodge. With eight en-suite safari suites (cottages) on raised decks on the south bank of the Nile River, it's ideally placed for visitors to the Murchison Falls National Park. But the thing that makes it really special is it's superb wildlife-viewing opportunities. The property is shaded by large trees and there is wetland in the area so guests are sure to enjoy the prolific birdlife. Hippo are often spotted and if you stay here for a few days, you're more than likely to wake up and see a herd of up to 200 elephants.
Bakers Lodge is featured on our Pearl of Africa, Uganda tour: 14 days from £8170 per person
Combine the two: The Ultimate Uganda and Rwanda Small Group Wildlife Tour 2020
But you don't necessarily have to choose between the two... Combining the best parts of both countries, our Ultimate Uganda and Rwanda Small Group Wildlife Tour is all set for our 2020 departures.
Apart from taking in an array of unforgettable wildlife sightings, the tour allows you to delve deeper into the relationship between the wildlife, the park authorities and the permanently resident communities. Spend time tracking endangered Mountain gorillas in Uganda and/or Rwanda, something with which few wildlife experiences anywhere in the world can compare.
Learn about Mountain gorilla and wildlife conservation through the eyes of the local rangers, guides, wardens and specialists during talks, presentations, and discussions with the Gorilla Doctors/Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project; the Lion Monitoring/Uganda Carnivore Predator Programme, and the Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) organisation. Enjoy authentic cultural experiences with the Batwa in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and at the Ndere Centre in Kampala.