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Anyone been to BOTH Uganda and Rwanda for Gorilla Treks?

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Aug 22nd, 2012, 08:02 AM
  #1
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Anyone been to BOTH Uganda and Rwanda for Gorilla Treks?

Had pretty much decided upon Rwanda for a 2013 trip to see gorillas - combined with Mahale and Kenya. But TA suggested looking at Uganda to reduce overall cost of the trip. Sounds like Uganda has more foliage (ie impenetrable forest) and harder hiking compared to Rwanda. Anyone been to both who can offer some first hand advice?
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 06:03 PM
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Uganda was tough, in some parts we were scrambling up steep hillsides on all fours. Haven't been to Rwanda yet, but from what I've read, the hiking is not as difficult compared to Uganda. Gorilla permits cost $250 more in Rwanda.
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 06:51 PM
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Yes we have done 2 treks in each. Our hardest trek was actually in Rwanda because the Susa group had climbed high & it was very rough hiking. It was an amazing day though. Our 2nd trek in Rwanda was very easy. Almost too easy! In Uganda our 1st day was easy & our 2nd day longer & some very vertical/steep sections but not like our Susa day in Rwanda. If you click on my name you should find my reports on both trips.
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Aug 25th, 2012, 02:28 AM
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Thanks Jules - just read your Uganda and Rwanda reports. Makes me even more interested in Uganda now - especially the rhino walks and the chimp habituation treks... hmmm. Have you been to Mahale? That is only 1 hr with the chimps and expensive, so I'm wondering if we might skip Mahale and just go to Uganda and Kenya on this trip...?

Since you've been to both Uganda and Rwanda (with regards to gorillas) which would you recommend for a first timer? (not my first time in Africa but to these countries specifically). I think Uganda would be a little cheaper if only for the gorilla permits alone, unless they up the price for 2013 like Rwanda did for 2012.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 08:32 AM
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How much are the permits now in Uganda? - my kids went when they were living in Kampala in 2007-09, and it was $500 per, but I thought they had gone up to $1000 already.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 09:23 AM
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As of right now they are still $500.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 08:55 AM
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No we have not been ot Mahale. When we were orig thinking of the trip that became Uganda the aim was to see chimps. We were thinking Mahale & maybe gombe. When we started to look at everything the cost of that compared with Uganda where we could get so much more chimp time for our money made us rethink our plans. About then we got excited about going to a new country in Africa that we had not been to before. We have been to Tanz a few times which we love. So once we started looking at Uganda it was just natural to grab the oportunity to go gorilla trekking again too!! As far as which place (Rwanda or Uganda) for gorilla trekking it really would depend on the rest of your plans. Although now with Rwanda being so much more expensive that would definately influence me.
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Aug 31st, 2012, 02:56 PM
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Thanks Jules - appreciate the response. Am now seriously considering Uganda for both gorillas and the chimp habituation trek.
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Oct 22nd, 2012, 06:53 AM
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Cateyes, I hope you went with your Aug 31 inclination if time and money allow.

Having done numerous treks in both countries, Rwanda offers superior viewing ability. Compare $1000 in Rwanda to $350 Uganda in low--meaning rainy--season, and that could be the deciding factor. $650 per permit is a lot of $$$! I've been told that rainy season gorilla viewing can offer the advantage of the whole family out in the open post-rain to dry off. I've only gone in dry season. Also decent to outstanding views in both countries.

That blog link in the post above mine labels a picture of a mother cheetah and several cubs on a termite mound (classic cheetah posing) as "leopards." As a result, it makes me suspect of anything that blog has to say. The photo also claims the shot was taken in Lake Mburo. I am not aware of any cheetahs in Lake Mburo. But please correct me if I am wrong and maybe I'll plan a trip there to look for my fav African cat. Lake Mburo is known for birdlife, including the shoebill stork, and for being one of the few places in Uganda for zebra, plus it has impala (a species that is common elsewhere but uncommon in Uganda.)

Do you have an itinerary yet Cateyes? If you do it will probably be exactly what I did since we seem to have a habit of copying each other's trips!
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Oct 22nd, 2012, 03:47 PM
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Thanks for everyone's input!! I have actually booked my trip for Aug 2013 (with Eben Schoeman of Eben Safaris - have used him before). We are going to Rwanda after all, for 2 gorilla treks and 1 trek to see golden monkeys. Then on to Kenya. I got a tentative itinerary for Uganda and Kenya, but the price was about the same (actually slightly more) than Rwanda and Kenya. When i questioned Eben (thinking the quote would be much less) his explanation was that he books only with operators on the ground that he totally trusts will provide reliable service. He indicated that the infrastructure in Uganda is the worst in East Africa, and can easily lead to problems for travelers that are not going "very high end" and flying every where. That plus the long travel times between things I wanted to potentially see in Uganda (gorillas, rhino walk, Murchison falls) made it seem overall less desirable than Rwanda. I'm really pleased with the overall cost of the trip to Rwanda and Kenya, even though the permits are $750 each. So that's what we are doing next August (2 weeks on the ground in Africa) - very excited about the trip!!!
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Oct 22nd, 2012, 08:00 PM
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Looks great Cateyes!
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Oct 22nd, 2012, 11:53 PM
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@ Cateyes555

Uganda's Infrastructure is not so bad and do not think that every one who comes does Flying Safari Packages. May be you contacted some tour operators who are not domestically located for your Uganda Rwanda Package prices. I f you had got a Ground tour operator, am sure the prices would have been cheap even for Rwanda Kenya. the Long distances are there but there are possible stops like in Hoima and Fort portal if you are to travel from Murchison to Bwindi. this gives you another opportunity to experience a true African Culture. Other wise, i wish you a nice trip Next year and will wait for your trip report and photos.
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Oct 23rd, 2012, 10:10 AM
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DestJungle - I'm sure there are many good operators in Uganda! Didn't mean to imply otherwise. I was already committed to one TO and feel compelled to go with the information he gives me, as I do trust his judgement.

Thanks Lynn - I have written down the guides in Rwanda that you liked so much - Kirenga and Theogene. Will see if I can get lucky enough to get one for our treks
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Oct 23rd, 2012, 05:13 PM
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Volcanoes did a great job for me in Uganda. Years back I used Mantana 2 times, also great.

A Rwanda & Kenya trip is a sure winner!
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