#Travulous compares travel to and across #Uganda and #Rwanda


(Posted 01st June 2023)


Rwanda Vs Uganda
How do they Compare?
Dear ATCNews Readers, Dear Traveler,
When reviewing leading safari destinations in East Africa, the two country comparisons which are often highlighted are Kenya compared with Tanzania, due to the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem, and Rwanda versus Uganda, as both destinations are home to the endangered mountain gorillas.
This month, we have decided to focus on the comparison between Rwanda vs Uganda. Although our East African office is based in Rwanda, we are looking to open additional offices in the region. As such, being located in Kigali is not an influencing factor in our country assessments. We love Rwanda and Uganda equally, and in the comparison table below, we have attempted to compare and contrast both countries by their similarities and differentiators.
When comparing the two countries, bear in mind that, geographically, Uganda (241,550 km²) is much larger than Rwanda (26,340 km²), which explains why the country has more national parks and wildlife reserves. Uganda has also had more time to develop its tourism industry. Due to the unfortunate events of Rwanda’s recent history, the country has, at best, had 25 years to rebuild its infrastructure and develop its tourism industry, which is not an easy feat. When our CEO, Richard, first started working in Rwanda in the early 2000s, he used to book clients into the two leading gorilla lodges in Volcanoes National Park (VNP), namely Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge and Virunga Lodge. Fast forward 20 years, and today there are numerous properties in VNP to choose from, with additional new properties scheduled to open in the near future.
In terms of comparing gorilla tracking experiences, apart from the obvious cost of gorilla permits and some of the luxury property brands on offer, there is little to differentiate between Rwanda and Uganda. Talk to us if you would like to find out more, including which location is better suited to your particular needs and fitness levels.
Country Introduction
Known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’, Rwanda is a lush and hilly country, home to the endangered mountain gorillas who live amongst the bamboo-covered slopes of the Virunga Massif in Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda is a safe and peaceful country and one of the cleanest on the African continent. Innovative conservation programs have been very successful, with wildlife numbers increasing every year
Uganda is an impressive destination in the heart of East Africa. It is a land characterised by great lakes, waterfalls, dramatic mountains and thriving wildlife populations. Home to the source of the Nile River, the continent’s largest lake, Africa’s tallest mountain range, fabulous national parks and wildlife reserves, including the highest concentration of primates on earth, Uganda has so much to offer its visitors
Country Statistics
  • Official name: Republic of Rwanda
  • Local name: Rwanda
  • Population: 13,462,000
  • Population per km²: 511.1
  • Area: 26,340 km²
  • Capital: Kigali
  • Bordering: Burundi, DRC, Tanzania, Uganda
  • Official name: Republic of Uganda
  • Local name: Uganda
  • Population: 45,854,000
  • Population per km²: 189.8
  • Area: 241,550 km²
  • Capital: Kampala
  • Bordering: DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania
Rwanda has a year-round tropical highland climate. Rain is commonplace in Rwanda, with the driest months being June to mid-September and the wettest from mid-February to May and mid-September to mid-December
Uganda enjoys a tropical climate with most temperature variations determined by elevation and presence of lakes. Rain showers are commonplace, with the dry seasons being December to March and June to August
National Parks
Rwanda is home to 4 national parks including Volcanoes, Akagera, Nyungwe and Gishwati Mukura. The country has no Wildlife Reserves or Wildlife Sanctuaries
Uganda has 10 national parks including Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley. The country also has 11 Wildlife Reserves and 1 Wildlife Sanctuary
Big Five
Akagera is the only national park in Rwanda which is home to the Big Five. In partnership with African Parks, Akagera has successfully reintroduced lions and rhinos into the national park
Apart from rhinos, which can only be seen in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the other members of Uganda’s Big Five can be spotted in Murchison Falls, Kidepo Valley and Queen Elizabeth national parks
Gorilla Tracking
604 mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Massif, an area which encompasses Volcanoes NP (160 km²) in Rwanda, Virunga NP (7,900 km²) in the DRC, and Mgahinga NP (33,7 km²) in Uganda:
Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda)
  • 96 permits per day (12 groups with 8 permits per group)
  • Permit price: $1500
  • 10% of permit price goes to the communities bordering the parks
459 mountain gorillas live in the Bwindi-Sarambwe ecosystem, an area which encompasses Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP (321 km²) in Uganda, and Sarambwe Reserve (9 km²) in the DRC:
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP (Uganda)
  • 144 permits per day (18 groups with 8 permits per group)
  • Permit price: $700
  • 20% of permit price goes to the communities bordering the parks
Golden Monkeys & Chimpanzees
Chimpanzees in Rwanda are found in Nyungwe National Park as well as Gishwati Mukura National Park. Golden monkeys are found in Volcanoes National Park as well as Gishwati Forest
Chimpanzees in Uganda live in Kibale National Park, Kyambura Gorge, Kalinzu Forest, Budongo Forest and in the Semliki Valley. Golden monkeys are found in Mgahinga National Park
There are approximately 703 Bird species to be found in Rwanda, predominantly located in Nyungwe NP in the west of Rwanda and Akagera NP in the east of the country
There are approximately 1090 Bird species in Uganda. The best parks for birding are Murchison Falls NP, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP, Mgahinga Gorilla NP and Semuliki NP
A snapshot of some of the wildlife organisations operating in Rwanda:
  • African Parks
  • African Wildlife Foundation
  • Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
  • Gorilla Doctors
  • International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP)
  • Save the Chimps
  • The Gorilla Organisation
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
A snapshot of some of the wildlife organisations operating in Uganda:
  • African Wildlife Foundation
  • Born Free Foundation
  • Gorilla Doctors
  • International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP)
  • Jane Goodall Institute
  • Save the Chimps
  • The Gorilla Organisation
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
Listed below are a selection of some of the activities available in Rwanda:
Kigali City Tour, Music, Fashion & Style, Museums, Art Galleries, Canoeing, Kayaking, Boat Cruises, Gorilla Tracking, Colobus Monkeys, Ellen DeGeneres Campus, Dian Fossey Grave visit, Chimpanzee Tracking, Golden Monkey Tracking, Congo Nile Trail, Big 5 spotting, Game Drives, Hot Air Balloon, Volcano Summit, Birding, Community Walk, Canopy Walkway, Karisoke hike, Kwita Izina baby gorilla naming ceremony, Chimpanzee Tracking, Imbabazi visit, Dian Fossey events, Behind the Scenes, Horse Riding, Cycling Tours, Cooking classes, King’s Palace, Intore Dancers, Umuganda, Zipline, Craft distilleries,
Tea Plantation visit, Genocide Memorial sites, Sports Tourism
Listed below are a selection of some of the activities available in Uganda:
Kampala City Tour, Kampala Motorbike Tours, Art Galleries, Museums, Fashion & Style, Music, Tea Plantation visits, Canoeing, Kayaking, Boat Cruises, Gorilla Tracking, Chimpanzee Tracking, Golden Monkey Tracking, Colobus Monkeys, Big 5 spotting, Game Drives, Tree Climbing Lions, Hot Air Balloon, Volcano Summit, Birding, Community Walk, Waterfall walk, Horse Riding, Chimpanzee Tracking, Behind the Scenes, Tea Demonstration and tasting, Whitewater rafting, Cycling Tours, Sports Tourism, Cooking classes, Street Food Tour, Murchison Falls, Source of the Nile,
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Community Experiences, Kings Palace, Mountaineering, Zipline, Equator Tour
Ethnic Communities
In today’s Rwanda, the country’s population are encouraged to recognise only one ethnicity; namely ‘Rwandan’
Uganda is home to over 57 ethnic communities, each with their own unique language, food and culture
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
With no inscribed World Heritage sites, Rwanda’s tentative list includes Nyungwe Nartional Park and the Genocide memorial sites, namely Nyamata, Murambi, Bisesero & Gisozi
Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP, Rwenzori Mountains NP and Kasubi Royal Tombs are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, with an additional 5 sites on the tentative list
Tourist Accommodations
Although less expensive accommodation options are available, Rwanda markets itself as a high-end luxury destination, which is reflected in the price level of it’s lodges and tented camps
Uganda offers a wide choice of accommodation options, from mid-range to luxury properties. The luxury lodges and tented camps are not as expensive as the ones in Rwanda
Transportation Network
The network of roads and highways in Rwanda comprises of a total length of approximately 4,700 km. The condition of the roads in the country are generally of good standard
(Source: WorldData info)
The network of roads and highways in Uganda comprises of a total length of approximately 20,500 km. In many places in Uganda, roads are not as well maintained as in Rwanda
(Source: WorldData info)
Beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and sorghum are the most common foods in Rwanda. Dairy products are also widely consumed, particularly a traditional drink of curdled milk. Meat, primarily beef, goat, and chicken are also on the menu, as is freshwater fish. Sorghum and banana beers are common. The national drink is Urwagwa, a banana beer
Popular dishes in Uganda include Matoke (a staple made from bananas), millet bread, cassava, sweet potatoes, chicken and beef stews, and freshwater fish. White potatoes, yams, corn, cabbage, pumpkin, tomatoes, millet, peas, sorghum, beans, groundnuts, and goat meat are also consumed. Dairy products are popular. The national drink is Waragi, a banana gin
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Get in touch if you are planning to attend, we would love to meet you!
Whether you are a Travel Advisor, Tour Operator, or an Independent Traveller, here are 7 reasons why you should consider using a local DMC with offices and staff based in East Africa for your next journey:
Competitive Tour Pricing
When dealing with a local DMC, book direct instead of using multiple intermediaries, thus eliminating unnecessary layers of additional costs
Local Destination Expertise
Create unique and meaningful tailor-made itineraries featuring properties and activities that truly reflect your interests and passions
Superior Customer Services
Speed up booking turnaround times and boost customer satisfaction levels by dealing directly with local staff and eliminating middle companies
Tailored One Stop Solution
Benefit from one point of contact for the provision of ground transfers, flights by private jet or helicopter, and accommodation bookings
Comprehensive Duty of Care
If something on your trip does not go according to plan, a DMC with local staff has the best connections to solve any issues in a timely manner
Wider Accommodation Choices
Choose a DMC that is not affiliated with any accommodation brands to receive impartial advice that is best suited to your needs
Complete Financial Protection
Your money is fully protected, safely held in a trust account managed by independent trustees, with the funds only used to pay for your trip
If you are not already working with Travulous, why not test our services to determine if we are able to meet your specific requirements?
Travulous will be offering Familiarisation Trips for Travel Advisors and Tour Operators to visit Rwanda in late 2023 and early 2024. Although our FAM trips in 2023 are now fully booked, we still have a few places remaining on our 2024 departures:
  • 30 OCT – 06 NOV 2023 : Fully booked
  • 02 – 09 NOV 2023 : Fully booked
  • 08 – 15 APR 2024 : Spaces remaining
  • 04 – 11 NOV 2024 : Spaces remaining
Site inspections will include luxury properties in Kigali, Akagera NP and Volcanoes NP, including The Retreat, Magashi, Kwitonda Lodge, Bisate, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge and Gorilla’s Nest, to name a few
As a special addition to the Volcanoes NP segment of the FAM trip, you will be led and be hosted by one of Travulous’ inspiring and knowledgeable Tour Leaders who worked with Dian Fossey at the original Karisoke Research Centre in the 1970’s and 1980’s. They will share their stories of what it was like working with Dian and will provide insights into how conservation has progressed over the years.