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Frequently Asked Questions
We offer both individual and group tours. There is an option of choosing between already set itineraries or customizing your trip. Our group tours tend to be small, ranging from 2 to 10 people.
The current price (as of July 2020) for a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is $700 USD. There is no discount available for gorilla permits. However, the price of a gorilla permit in Uganda is still considerably cheaper compared to the USD 1,500 charged per gorilla permit in Rwanda.
Bamboo Ecotours is a local company based in Kisoro town adjacent to Bwindi National Park. We understand the Uganda tourist market very well and we do our best to offer low-cost tours while still providing high-quality services for our clients. For instance, we negotiate for lower accommodation rates in order to attract clients who may not be able to afford an expensive safari.
The distance between Kisoro and Rushaga gorilla tracking point is 35km. Nkuringo, the other section with gorillas on the southern side of Bwindi is 45km from Kisoro town. Plan for about a 2.5-hour drive from Kisoro to Nkuringo, especially given the rough roads in the area.
The best way to transfer to Bwindi/Kisoro from Kigali is to use a rented car or tour operator vehicle. Public transport from Kigali to the Uganda border is also available but may take more time and a bit inconvenient. The drive from Kigali to Bwindi takes between 4-5 hours.
Yes, we offer pick-ups both in Kigali, Rwanda and Kampala/Entebbe. About 90% of our tours start in Kigali, Rwanda. The reason is that Kigali is closer to Bwindi National Park (4-5-hour drive) compared to Kampala/Entebbe, which can take up to 9hrs by car to reach Bwindi National Park.
On a visit to Kisoro town, southwestern Uganda, the best local restaurants to buy a local meal or drink are the Coffee Pot Café, Serena Magadir, Terrace Land Restaurant, and Golden Monkey Guest House.
Our most popular tour is the 3-Day Gorilla Trekking Safari. The 3-Day Gorilla Trek typically starts and ends in Kigali, Rwanda with a pick-up in Kigali on day one, gorilla trekking on day two, and driving back to Kigali on day three.
It is possible to get to Kisoro in Uganda or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park by public transport from Kigali. From Kigali, catch a bus from Nyabugogo station to Musanze (Ruhengeri) and then get a matatu from Musanze taxi park to Cyanika (Uganda/Rwanda border). From the Uganda border, you can board a taxi or catch a bodaboda (local motorbike) to Kisoro town.
No, Kisoro doesn’t have an international airport but instead a domestic airport/airfield. Kisoro airport is mainly used by small planes taking tourists to track mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. AeroLink provides direct flights from Entebbe airport to Kisoro airport on a daily basis. If you are interested in booking a gorilla trekking experience at Bwindi National Park, consider flying with AeroLink Uganda. Flying between Entebbe and Bwindi is a better option considering the drive time from Entebbe to Bwindi National Park can take up to 10 hours.
The chance of seeing the mountain gorillas on a trek to Bwindi National Park is 100%. Uganda has about 15 gorilla families that have gone through a habituation process and are visited regularly by tourists from all over the world. 14 of these groups are found in Bwindi and one group, Nyakagezi (as locally known) is located in the nearby Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. All you need to see a gorilla is a tracking permit and you are guaranteed to encounter the great apes in their forest homeland. Bamboo Ecotours can secure your tracking permit all year round (which not all tour operators can promise).
Yes. We handle bookings for gorilla trekking permits for various regional and international tour companies. We also arrange transport logistics from Kisoro town, where we are based, to the gorilla trekking trailhead in Bwindi National Park.
Gorilla habituation is a fun activity that is open for tourists at Bwindi National Park. With a gorilla habituation experience, you basically join Uganda Wildlife Authority trekkers who are training a new family of gorillas. The purpose of the habituation is to orient gorillas to get familiar with humans. Gorilla habituation experiences are limited to four hours compared to the usual gorilla trek of one hour. One permit for the habituation experience at Bwindi National Park costs $1,500 USD compared to the normal gorilla trekking permit of $700 USD.
The gorilla trekking experience at both parks is the same. However, Mgahinga has only one habituated gorilla group compared to Bwindi National Park, which has up to 15 habituated gorilla groups. Bwindi also has four trekking gates at Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga. Bamboo Ecotours clients tend to trek at Rushaga or Nkuringo gates since it’s much easier to secure gorilla trekking permits plus Rushaga and Nkuringo are closer to the Rwandan border for visitors traveling to Uganda via Kigali or via Kisoro airport.
Kalinzu Forest Reserve is a haven for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda. Given the proximity of the Kalinzu Forest to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu forest is a recommended area to visit while gorilla trekking in Uganda. Kalinzu is a few minutes’ drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park’s main peninsular at Mweya. Visitors to Kalinzu forest have more than a 50% chance to see the chimps.
With the regular chimpanzee trekking, visitors are allowed to trek to a group of chimpanzees that are already trained to interact with humans. When tourists get to the forest, they observe the chimpanzees feeding habitats, behaviors, etc, for a limited amount of time. At Kibale National Park, chimpanzee trekking is either done in the morning and/or in the afternoon. On the other hand, the chimpanzee habituation experience is when visitors join a group of Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers and researchers who are training chimpanzees to get familiar with humans. The habituation experience at Kibale National Park for visitors takes the whole day with a short break for lunch. The process of fully getting a group of chimpanzees habituated for tourism takes at least two years.
Bamboo Ecotours recommends the following lodges to our guests looking into overnight stay close to Entebbe International Airport. Most lodges provide airport transfers on a complimentary basis or charge a small fee. For standard/budget accommodation, check Via Via Guest House and Karibu Guest House. The Boma Hotel Entebbe, 2 Friends Guest House Entebbe, and Saffron Beach Bistro and Cottages are the recommended midrange guest houses in Entebbe. For luxury/4-star, check out Best Western Premier Garden Hotel Entebbe and Protea by Marriott Hotel Entebbe.
Bamboo Ecotours recommends the following lodges to our guests traveling via Kigali en route to Uganda for gorilla trekking. For standard/budget accommodation, check Yambi Guest House, Tea House B&B, and Heaven Restaurant & Boutique Hotel. For midrange/comfortable accommodation, Five to Five Hotel, 5 Swiss Hotel, Onomo Hotel, and 2000 Hotel Downtown Kigali are the best options. For luxury/4-5 star, check out Park Inn by Radisson, Kigali Serena Hotel, Kigali Marriott Hotel, Urban by CityBlue, and Ubumwe Grande Hotel.