Guide to Self Drive in Rwanda

The guide to Rwanda self-drive offers a hustle free alternative to find the best rental car. Self-drive tours have currently turned the most sought-after way to explore and experience Rwanda. For first time travelers, traveling in Rwanda comes with challenges but with this guide to Rwanda self-drive, we bring to you amazing tips to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable road trip.

Plan for a day Rwanda self-drive

Planning for a day self-drive in Rwanda is the best. You have several activities to engage in the morning, afternoon and evening. Each activity offers a distinct and unforgettable experience. Rwanda is a destination with only 4 pristine parks, each with unique attractions and they include Volcanoes National Park for mountain gorilla trekking, Akagera National Park a big five game safari, Nyungwe Forest National Park and Gishwati-Mukura National Park magical primate destinations worth visiting for chimpanzee tracking.

Make good use of get-out points

After you have entered the park, first, take an hour or more and walk around. This is to allow you enjoy inspiring bird sounds, feel the cool breeze of refreshing environment and not to leave out the beautiful sceneries.

Drive slowly

The best way to enjoy a self-drive in Rwanda is by driving slowly. When you drive faster, you will miss a lot. Most wildlife blend with the environment and for those who speed off, they won’t have a chance to enjoy a good glimpse of them in the wild.

Always check your vehicle;

This should be done thoroughly before setting off for your actual self-drive in Rwanda. There are key areas to cross-check including the conditions of the car tyre, if there is a spare tyre in its good shape, oil level, wiper blades, if there are some leakages.

Avoid driving at night as much as you can.

This is so risky first; most streets don’t have lights and you may bump into robbers. This makes driving at night not safe at all.

Carry road maps and GPS;

Provided that you are on a self-drive in Rwanda. These key items are essential in finding direction. Some rental cars in Rwanda can be hired and GPS plus road maps offered at a free cost or small amount of money.

Make stops/breaks

Make breaks more often to have yourself refresh a little after a long drive. This is also to allow you get some food, refuel the vehicle. Some of these services aren’t available in the parks.

Always respect traffic laws

This can save you not only from dangers while on the road trip but also from charges you didn’t plan for. First, ensure that you always on a seatbelt, not to drink and drive and read the road signages.

Take keen attention on the weather changes

Control your driving speed considering the weather pattern. While in the rural areas, the roads can really be slippery, muddy because some of them are murram with even potholes. If you are headed for a holiday in the remotest part of Rwanda, then a 4×4 rental car should be a must to book.

Observe the park rules and regulations

Breaking any the set park rules and regulations can land you into a fine. Observe all the rules as stipulated to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable road trip.

Find affordable accommodation within your budget

All safari destinations in Rwanda have a range of lodging options right from budget to luxury. If you are headed to Akagera, then you can spend a night in Akagera Lodge, Magashi Tented Camp, Ruzizi Tented Camp, Dereva Hotel/camping; in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, you can choose Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Bisate Lodge, Kinigi Guesthouse.

Kalandula Falls

When you visit Africa, the beauty of the surroundings and the simple ambience of this region, astounds you. There is something very special about the water bodies here, that makes tours a must. Come to Central Africa and enjoy the beauty of the Kalandula Falls, which is one of the most popular water bodies here in this part of the world. This horseshoe shaped broad waterfall lies along the River Lucala and is found in northwest Angola. Plunging from a height of 344 feet, the sight of this gigantic water body is mesmerizing.

It is also known by the name of Duque De Braganca Falls, Calandula Falls, and the Dianzundu Falls. Officially known as Kalandula, the falls were called the Duque De Braganaca during the civil war in Angola in the years 1975 to 2002. Then it was called Dianzundu and finally the original name rests today.

Kalandula Falls in Angola
Though not widely known, but popular amongst tourists, this is around 400 meters wide and is one of the largest African waterfalls in terms of volume. With the best scenic landscapes, tours to Angola are never complete without a visit here. With the dense vegetation in the semi arid regions, the beauty of the subtropical grasslands and savannas is worth a look. Explorers who have visited these falls in recent times say that this is a water body, which is the fourth biggest and the most beautiful natural waterfalls in the entire world.

Tourist Attraction in Kalandula Falls Kalandula Falls side view

Central Africa is a land filled with vegetated expanse and beautiful sights of water bodies. Tours here are exciting and fill the travel kitty with cherishable memories. The Kalandula Falls are one such example of making your travels special here. As the falls fall from a great height, tourists love to engulf themselves in these watery pleasures and thus make a memorable tour for themselves.

Rainbow at Kalandula Falls
With the sights of a serene paradise and the look of a damsel in waiting, the Kalandula Falls are the best ways to enjoy torus to Angola.

Things To Do & See In Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into vast, palm-dotted savanna. First gazetted as a game reserve in 1926, Murchison falls is Uganda‘s largest and oldest conservation area, hosting over 76 mammal species and 451 bird species.

The park is bisected by the Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park, and the calm stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert.

The park gets its name from these magnificent falls that are the major attraction to this park. Regular visitors to the park get their eyes on different wildlife at the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes, and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles, and aquatic birds are permanent residents.

Notable visitors to the park include Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, and several British royals.

How to get there
you may be wondering how to get to Murchison falls National Park, but by means of road, it will take you around 5hours with about 305 km from Kampala. Paara covers a distance of about 85km from Masindi town by the shortest route.

A direct or longer route will cover an area of about 135km. Alternatively one may decide to take on the Budongo forest route that will provide magnificent views of Lake Albert from the direct position of the rift valley escarpment over Butiaba.

You can still access Paara from the north through Chobe Gate, Karuma Falls along with Tangi. The Gate that is close to Pakwach covers an area of about 25km to Paara in addition to Wankwar Gate close to Purongo.

People with Vehicles or public means will definitely go through the Nile at Paara. It has a fixed time from 07.00 and 19.00. Besides road, Murchison can be accessed by air at the Pakuba landing site for the charter flights and this takes about 19kms from Paraa and Bugungu covers an area of 13kms from Paraa.

ACTIVITIES IN MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK

Murchison Falls

This is the main attraction of the park from which its names after as well as river Nile with crocodiles and hippos at the river banks. The most magnificent view of the waterfalls is on the top of where the sight and sound of the Nile roaring through a wide. The site can be reached either by car and a 30 minutes climb or leaving the Paraa launch boat cruise.

Game Drives

The park is also composed of woodland, wetland, savannah as well as the tropical forest that is well known to be a habitat for different bird species and mammals. Among the mammals, many can be spotted including the lions, hippopotamuses, Rothschild’s giraffe, warthog, Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, Jackson’s-hartebeest, and elephants.

Game drives take place early in the morning and a tourist is able to see plenty of games. At Nyamsika Cliffs is where one can enjoy a picnic, the view, and gaze at elephants and other wildlife on the green grassy hillsides and river below. Game drives are exquisite when accompanied by a tour guide. The best time for the game drive is during the dry season.

Boat cruise

The Launch trip begins at the Paraa landing area at the point where the river Nile enters into Lake Albert and takes you to the bottom of the falls. While on the cruise you will sight hippos, waterbucks, crocodiles, buffaloes, and elephants. You will also see water birds such as cormorants, Fish eagles, ducks, Kingfishers, bee-eaters, and the shoebill.

The cruise is between 9 am and 2 pm daily however exceptional schedules can be arranged with the park management. The cruise takes you for 17Km from the bottom of the falls at Paraa for 3hours. The cruise from Paraa to River Delta is 28km and takes about 4-5hours. Fishing is available in the river above and below the fall. Do bring your own fishing equipment if you’re interested in finishing. Examples of fish available in the river to catch are Nile perch, tiger fish, and more

Bird watching

Bird Species commonly seen between Paraa Rest Camp and Ferry crossing are; Spotted Mourning Thrush, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Silver Bird, Bluff-bellied Warbler, Blue-napped Mousebird, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaverBlack-headed Gonolek, Green-winged Ptyilia, and Black-headed Batis, this is the best site for the localised White-rumped Seed-eater.

Common Nocturnal Species in the area include Verreaux’s owls, Nightjars such as long-tailed and Pennant-winged nightjar which usually is watched between the months of March – September. Also available is the amazing standard-winged nightjar watched from November to February. Other bird species include: African Skimmer, White African fish eagle, long-toed plover, Gray Crowned crane, Goliath Heron, and more

Nature walks

Tourists get to explore the wild on foot while in the Murchison Falls Conservation area. There is a trail at Paraa winds throughout low hills, gullies, and forest around the river. Nature walks happen at top of the falls, KaniyoPabidi, and Rabongo Forest.

The Rabongo Forest Ecotourism Centre is located on an island of tropical river forests in the southeast of the conservation area. Savannah grasslands surround the forest. With a tour guide, one can explore primates like the Red-tailed monkeys, Black & white colored monkeys, Chimpanzees, birds, trees, and medicinal plants.

Kanio Pabidi is a serene area of natural forest within Budongo Forest Reserve, where you can walk beneath mature mahogany and ironwood trees. Chimpanzee tracking is the most famous activity. You certainly see many forest birds, including the Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, the White-thighed Hornbill, and Puvell’s Illadopsis found nowhere else in East Africa! Kaniyo Pabidi is on the Masindi – Paraa road, 8 kms from Kichumbanyobo gate.

Conclusion; Are you planning a wildlife safari to Uganda, Murchison fall national park with all it has to offer should be listed first on places you should visit.

Top 10 Things to Do in Rwanda

Top Things to Do in Rwanda

1.Go gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, a place Dian Fossey called home for about 30 years. Gorilla tours are available all year round and you can easily book your trek with a local travel agency in Rwanda.

2. Take a ride on the Kigali City Tour bus and learn all you need to know about Rwanda’s capital city. Hop between Kigali ‘happy hours’ in the city’s most famous hotels; quench your thirst at local bars including Le Must, Sundowner, and Virunga Sports Bar; enjoy the evening ambience of Kigali’s resto-bars including Republica Lounge, Papyrus, Chez Lando and Mangaroca; live entertainment and Salsa dancing at Pasadena; and dance the night away at Kigali’s nightclubs

3. Go bird watching at Nyarutarama Lake or Nyabarongo wetlands

4. Enjoy Kigali’s diverse cuisine including traditional Rwandan food, Chinese food, North African cuisine, Italian pizzas and pasta dishes, Indian food, and North American & European cuisine

5. Visit Rwanda’s most famous and upcoming artists at Bushayija, Ivuka Arts, and Inganzo Art Galleries

6. Enjoy plays, musical performances and art exhibitions at Ishyo Arts Centre, Shokola and Laico Umubano Hotel

7. Find souvenirs at Africa Gift Corner, Mode Savane, CAPLAKI, ATRAC, COOPAC (KBC), and many more throughout Kigali

8. Get in shape playing golf at Nyarutarama Golf Course; basketball at Petit Stade; tennis at Cercle Sportif, Nyarutarama Tennis Club or Laico Umubano Hotel; enjoy a great work out at the Serena Maisha Gym or Laico Umubano Gym; and jogging along the Golf Course or the Prime Minister’s round about.

9. Get pampered at Ituze Spa and Serena Maisha Spa in Serena Hotel

10. Enjoy movies at Cine Star and Cine Silver

6 Popular Rental Cars for Self Drive in Uganda

Book a rental car for a self-drive with us and discover Uganda the pearl of Africa like a local. When it comes to self-drive safaris in Uganda and East Africa, we definitely stand out. We pride ourselves as providers of world-class car rental services and whether you need a car suitable for self-drive tours, guided safaris, city expeditions, business, conference, we have you sorted.

Our fleet of rental cars for self-drive range from 2×2, 4×4 rentals available for you to navigate any part of Uganda. Get in touch with experts and grab the best rental car deals for your all Uganda self-drive tours.

Popular rental cars for self-drive in Uganda

  • 4×4 Toyota Rav4
  • Toyota Land Cruiser TZ/TX
  • Toyota Safari Van
  • Toyota Hiace (Drone)
  • Land Cruiser extended
  • Safari Land Cruiser

4×4 Toyota Rav4

4×4 Toyota Rav4 is arguably the top most preferred rental car for self-drive safaris. It falls within sport car category, compact and robust. We have a 4-speed automatic and manual transmission with the best features and capability to tackle the hilly side of Uganda. When it comes to fuel consumption, no need to worry because Toyota Rav4 can save you a lot on fuel costs. This is available in smaller 3 door and this is suitable for 2pax, especially on camping tour or book standard 5 door with capacity of 4pax still at affordable rates.

Toyota Land Cruiser

When it comes to Uganda safaris, look no further than our ultimate 4×4 Toyota Land Cruisers. Our land cruisers are stylish, comfortable and tough especially while on off-road terrains. If your plan is to explore remotest side of Uganda say national parks, wildlife reserves consider 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser a must-book and you won’t have regrets. All our Toyota Land Cruisers (TX/TZ) are equipped with radios, adequate room for luggage, powerful engine and you enjoy unlimited mileage.

4×4 Toyota Hiace (Drone)

Toyota Hiace make up on the top most looked for vans for hire by holiday makers on Uganda safaris. We have several Toyota safari vans including Toyota Safari Van with capacity of 9, Super custom with capacity of 5 and Toyota Hiace Drone.

Safari Van

Explore the different side of Uganda with our comfortable Safari van car hire. If you plan to travel with friends or as a family then the best choice is renting Toyota Safari Van for all your Uganda safari trips. It is budget friendly and features a pop-up roof thus guaranteeing you ultimate game viewing experience in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park or Kidepo Valley National Park.

Stretched Land Cruiser

Hire a comfortable stretched Toyota Land Cruiser model for all your Uganda tours at affordable rates. This is available with capacity of up-to 6pax, features pop-up roof for excellent wildlife viewing in pristine Uganda safari parks.

4×4 Toyota Safari Land Cruiser

Rent a 5-door Land Cruiser with capacity of 5-8pax and have a memorable Uganda safari holiday. This features a powerful diesel engine of 400cc, pop-up roof for game viewing, 2 spare tyres and available at pocket-friendly price.

Best 4X4 Rental Cars to Hire in Tanzania

4×4 rental cars in Tanzania: Renting a car in Tanzania offers a pocket-friendly car hire deals for 4×4 self-drive safari tours in Tanzania or chauffeur driven. Our 4×4 Tanzania Car rentals are reliable thus guaranteeing you a chance to start your journey with speed and at your convenience. We have the right car hire to match your budget and travel needs.

Are you planning for a self-drive tour in Tanzania or visit Tanzania’s magnificent national parks, reserves? Choose any of our 4×4 rental cars in Tanzania and have an experience of a lifetime. Our 4×4 rental cars for self-drive tour or guided safaris come with spare tyres, GPS, camping gear, wheel spanner, jack, air conditioner, radio, car explanation booklet, comprehensive insurance among others.

Land Cruiser LX

Rent the latest Land Cruiser 78 series with rooftop tent for all your self-drive tours in Tanzania. You can book our 4×4 Land Cruiser Lx with or without a driver at affordable price. It is the perfect choice if you plan to explore Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park or for any rugged off-road driving. We have the best Land Cruiser Lx-diesel engine, adequate space.

Land Cruiser Prado

Explore and experience the beautiful savanna safari parks in Tanzania-Serengeti National Park, Selous, Lake Manyara or Tarangire National Park differently using our comfortable 4×4 Land Cruiser Prado rental cars. This comes with pop-up roof to offer you amazing and clear view of wildlife; air conditioning, CD player and you can hire automatic or manual transmission.

Land Cruiser V8

If adventure is your thing then there is no better way to explore Tanzania’s magnificent Kilimanjaro on hiking tour or wildlife safari in Lake Manyara than in Land Cruiser V8 rental car.

4×4 Toyota Rav4

Toyota Rav4 is a good economy 4WD rental car available among our 4×4 car hire. It is compact and exist in automatic and manual. It is equipped with 4-5 doors, air bags, capacity of 2-4pax, powerful engine, CD player, FM radio, air conditioner and many other features.

Safari Land Cruiser

Rent our custom made 4×4 Safari Land Cruiser perfect for safaris and equipped with pop-up roof. It is a 4×4 rental with 5 doors, air conditioners, CD player, capacity of 6-8pax, adequate space for luggage and visitors and available in manual transmission.

Toyota Land Cruiser TX/TZ

Toyota Land Cruiser TX/TZ is special among the 4×4 rental cars. It is perfect in tackling tough terrains on Tanzania safari. This is equipped with air conditioner, pop-up roof for excellent wildlife viewing, diesel engine (with best fuel consumption rate), capacity of about 7pax, Radio, Mp3 player, automated windows.

4×4 Land Cruiser Hard Top Extended

If game drive is your thing on Tanzania safari then hiring a 4×4 Land Cruiser Hard Top Extended should be a must-do. A road trip in Toyota Land Cruiser Hard Top Extended car hire is incredible especially for travelers in need to go for game drives in the Serengeti National Park or Lake Manyara National Park. It is well-equipped with air conditioner, mini-fridge.

Rwanda Ranked 7th Best Travel Destination

According to the Forbes Bucket List, Rwanda the country of a thousand hills has been ranked the 7th best country on 19th November 2020 despite the pandemic coronavirus. In the whole world Rwanda ranked among the twenty-one best places with the classic travel for great sights and convenient travel. Rwanda is not only a clean country but also the true definition of beauty that is rich in culture, wildlife, rolling hills, lakes, birds and rivers.

Forbes said in a statement that Rwanda is a country that truly reinvigorates your soul and defines the spirit of travel and which is beyond reasonable doubt because it’s one of the special places in the world where you feel emotionally attached to the land, the people and nature”.

Despite of its history about the genocide, Rwandese never gave up on beautifying their country and is one of the best destinations in the whole world.  Rwanda is one of the places that Dian Fossey settled to research more about mountain gorillas and this made it more popular for tourists.

What made Rwanda a seventh best travel destination?

The Mountain gorillas

One of the top adventure activities in Rwanda is mountain gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park.The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is the government agent in charge of all the touristic attractions in Rwanda but works along the trustees companies that make tour safaris unforgettable to the tourists. Despite the fact that mountain gorillas are found in the Volcanoes National Park, they can only be accessed by gorilla permits which advised to be booked six months before the travel due to high demand on market.

The Volcanoes National park inhabits 10 gorilla families which are habituated and these include Susa A, Karisimbi Gorilla family, Amahoro gorilla family, Agashya gorilla group, Umubano Gorilla group, Kwitonda family, Hirwa gorilla group, Sabyinyo gorilla family and Ugenda gorilla family. Fortunately, each gorilla group is visited by 8 individuals on  a gorilla trek so that the great apes can be protected from mass tourism.

Rwanda is one the best luxury places for gorilla trekking and the gorilla permits cost US$1500 per  person unlike Uganda gorilla permits which cost US$700 and Congo gorilla permits which cost US$450.

Other Places to Visit in Rwanda

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe is one of the most important forest conservation areas in all of Africa with a spectacular array of biodiversity such as 1068 plant species, 322 bird species and 75 mammal types. The main activity taking place in this forest is chimpanzees trekking but other activities within are nature walks to the canopy, hiking from Uwinka visitor center and many others.

In Nyungwe Forest National Park, chimpanzee population is second highest in Africa after Kibale Forest National Park; the park has different trails to walk through to search for these great apes. During   trekking you will have an opportunity to see chimpanzee swing in trees, mother chimps cuddling the baby chimps. There are over 500 chimpanzees living in Nyungwe Forest National park.

Just like any other trekking activity, chimpanzees trekking starts early in the morning by 5am and this means you will be required to be at the trekking point early in the morning which normally starts with briefing about the does and don’ts with the chimpanzees in the forest. For you to trek chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park you will need a Chimpanzee permit which can be purchase through Africa Tours Adventure or directly through Rwanda Conservation Board.

Akagera National Park

While in Rwanda, there is no trip in Africa that is complete without game drive. The guides are well trained and they know spotted areas with mammals and birds. They are managed by African parks organizations so guides are professional to make tour safaris memorable to visitors. There are high chances of visitors to see  lions, Rhinos, zebras, hippos, Nile crocodiles, elephants and giraffes.

The National Bardo Museum, Tunisia

Tunisia is very famous for the exquisite structures and beautiful constructions and is a favourite of many tours in this part of the world. The National Bardo Museum is a lovely place to visit and is popular for its beautiful collection of mosaics, seen in the many rooms of the museum and they are very carefully arranged.

This celebrated museum has a history of the past and has a great collection of Roman sites in Tunisia. Dating back to the 13th century it was called the Hafsid Palace and was again rebuilt in the 17th and the 18th centuries during the rule of the Husseinite Beys who ruled over the place at that time. The National Bardo Museum is a Roman museum and has some of the most beautiful exhibits that show a lot about the life in the prehistoric era. The first floor has the most fascinating collections of Islamic rooms with an influence of traditions and popular arts. There is a certain opulence in this city in Northern Africa and is enhanced by its Meditteranean influence.

Tunis has had many influences in the past of and has shared the diversity of vivid traditions and various cultures, which form a part of its historical past. This is a very old museum in Tunisia, was established in the premises of Beylical palace, and has a princely look. With many objects taking birth from excavations across the country, this museum is divided into many departments, which makes tours around this fascinating area a great pleasure.

The various historical stories of Tunisia have been illustrated in the museum and one can go back to the enchanting times of the Punic-Libyic period, and the early Christian and Roman periods and details about the Byzantine and Vanda eras.

With fascinating and enchanting past histories, the enthralling National Bardo Museum in Tunisia is worth every bit of time spent here.

Things to Consider before Hiring a Car in Uganda

Before one hiring a car in Uganda or Rwanda from any car agent of company, there are certain things he/she should consider to ensure that he gets the best services. It’s embarrassing to spend your money on services that are below standard and not worth the money. This is why maximum cautiousness is required when selecting where to get a car from. In this case let’s look at Uganda and Rwanda because it’s where car hire is developing rapidly. Below are some of the things one should look at;-

Credibility;

This is so important especially when it’s the first time for someone to book with a specific company. I know this is difficult to determine my tourists when just booking online but there are some measures one can use to prove this like checking if the company is listed on the various tourism platforms like the Association of Uganda Tour Operators. Reading through the reviews given by different clients that have used that company on the various tourism portals is important. If a company has excellent genuine reviews then its credibility is perfect and you can go on and book with it.

Experience;

Experience companies always offer the best services and therefore one should put that in mind while selecting a company to use. Experience normally comes with the number of years a company has been in a particular business. While selecting a company to book a car from, it’s important to check how many years it has been renting out cars to people. The least number of years one should consider is 8 years. Companies that have just started lack the necessary exposure and experience so they won’t guarantee a tourist the best services for their money.

Office location;

Some people ignore this factor but is important. Since tourists book their safaris online and they choose companies to travel with from far away in their countries, there is great chance of dealing with a thief. Some people open up websites with the sake of taking advantage of tourists who want to visit Uganda or Rwanda. Some even pretend to be car hiring companies yet in actual sense they don’t exist and their company is not registered. Its therefore important for someone to determine whether the people he/she is dealing with have a physical office which is well know. This is for security purposes so that if anything happens a client has to know where to go and claim his/her money.

Conditions of the cars;

Since safety is key while traveling, it’s a good practice to always select those companies that have good vehicles which do not put the lives of clients in danger. Since cars have to be serviced regularly, tourists should ensure that they go with those that take the initiative to service their cars. Old vehicles are not to se while on a safari and therefore only those companies that use new cars are worth traveling with.

There are other factors to consider but those listed above are the most important especially for security and safety reasons. Always book with the best car hire agents for a real adventure.

What are the Best Parks for Gorilla Trekking in Africa?

There are only two populations of mountain gorillas left in the world. Mountain gorillas are found on two separate locations, the first one lives in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, with groups scattered between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The second population lives deep in the thick Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. As of September 2016, the estimated number of mountain gorillas remaining is about 880.

The distribution of mountain gorillas is entirely within national parks, but despite their protected status, all three countries inhabit similar rugged terrain and have similar habits. Individual mountain gorilla groups vary in their accessibility. The regulations and quality of local gorilla guides and trackers is similar in Rwanda and Uganda.

It’s important to know what you’re getting into before setting out for budget gorilla trek in Africa. The hike through the forest is challenging and tough-going (your guides will often have to machete a path through the ferns that clog the undergrowth), but it’s within reach for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. You will get muddy though and sweaty. Beneath the forest canopy the humidity is very high, and it’s a good idea to bring a canteen of fresh water to hydrate as you go.

Uganda has two places where these Mountain Gorillas may be seen, one is Mgahinga Gorilla Park; a stunning park and a component of the Virunga chain of towering volcanoes that extend into the DRC and Rwanda, and then in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Bwindi forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has more than half of the rare estimated population of 480 mountain gorillas. The park is situated in the south western park of Uganda on the edge of the Albertine Rift montane forests. Trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda is a truly unforgettable experience that offers a great privilege for the rest of your life time. No safari to Uganda would be complete without experiencing this particular wonder at least once.

The must see life experience is the first single hour you can spend in the wild with our so close related gorillas. As the venture is starting with a good hike to the last know where about of the family, it takes you through beautiful scenery. The clear cutting line of trees and farmland shows so clearly the pressure of humans on the wildlife.

Back in the nature, in Bwindi you will have looked like over a century ago. Marvelous and impressive you have to find the gorillas here deep in the jungle with some less restraining hike, they are just across the farmland and showing their gentle nature close by. You can take videos and pictures of them playing, sleeping, swinging from trees, and many others, the guides visit the gorillas every day, for over many years before they may host the guest from all over the world. The relatively high price to pay for the 1 hour visit is worthy every drive and some is used to protect the species and land for future generations.

In Rwanda, gorilla trekking takes places in Volcanoes National Park lying north western Rwanda bordering Virunga national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. Virunga National Park is known for its haven for the rare and endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest. The park is home to five of eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains including Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo and span 160km covered in rain forest and bamboo.

The park was the base for the zoologist Dian Fossey.  Of all attractions in Rwanda, the one that really draws people to visit Volcanoes National Park, are the rare mountain gorillas. A thrilling trek through the cultivated foothills of the Virunga’s offers stirring views in all directions entering the national park with armed guides and trekkers leading you in the mysterious intimacy of the rain forest jungle alive with the calls of colourful birds and hooting of the rare golden monkeys.

In Democratic Republic of Congo, gorilla trekking takes place in Virunga National Park. Trekking mountain gorillas on foot starts early in the morning and after border formalities you are transferred to a ranger’s station where the trek commences. Your rangers will lead you through the cultivated lands and then into the dense rain forest and as close as is allowed to a gorilla family. The rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of where they are. However, they are free roaming animals, and their sighting cannot be guaranteed. Trekking can take anywhere from 1 hour to 8 hours and it can be quite tiresome, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. No camera flashes and you avoid sustained eye contact or finger pointing. If a gorilla moves toward you, step calmly out of the way. If one charges, follow the guide’s instruction to drop to the ground in submission.