Katuna border is a small town in Kabale district shared by Uganda and Rwanda, it is located 21kms south of Kabale town. on the Rwanda side, it is called Gatuna. Katuna is the closest entry point from Kigali to Uganda by road compared to the other main borders of Mirama hills and Chanika boarders. It is located 80kms North of Kigali and 100kms from Kabale town.
Safari Vacations and Travel Services Ltd Organizes Gorilla tracking tours from the Katuna border but we can as well pick you from Kigali at your Hotel/residence or from Kigali International Airport. We do have gorilla tour packages to Bwindi impenetrable national park that start to and from Kigali.
Bwindi forest national park is located in southwestern Uganda at the edge of the western rift valley. It is shared by the districts of Kanungu, Kisoro, and Rubanda. It covers an area of 331kms squared and stands at an altitude ranging from 1160 meters at its northern end tip to 2607metres at Rwamunyonyi peak which is the highest point in the park. The annual temperature range is between 7-20 degrees Celsius and the coldest months are June and July. The Bwindi Forest receives annual precipitation of 2390mm with the months of March, April than September- November recording the highest amount of rainfall.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has a rich diversity, its A home to 120 species of mammals,360 species of birds of which 23 are Albertine rift endemics, and over 200 species of butterflies. It’s an Afromontane forest with more than 324 species of trees of which 10 cannot be found anywhere else in Uganda. Some of the mammals in the park include; Elephants, duikers, and primates such as Baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, Vervet monkeys, L’hoest monkeys, blue monkeys, chimpanzee, and mountain gorillas.
Gorilla tracking is the main tourist attraction in Bwindi, mountain gorillas live in only three countries in the whole world that is Uganda in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park, Rwanda in volcanoes national park, and Democratic Republic of Congo in the Virunga national park. The population of mountain gorillas in the world is estimated at around 1200 and more than half of the population lives in Bwindi impenetrable national park.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has more than 18 habituated gorilla families, these families live in different sectors of the park that is the Buhoma sector in the north, the Ruhija sector in the east then Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south. Buhoma has four habituated gorilla families including Mubare, Rushegura, Habinyanja, and Katwe gorilla families. Ruhija has four gorilla families that are Bitukura, Oruzogo, Kyaguriro, and Mukiza. Rushaga has 7 gorilla families that are, Nshongi, Mishaya, Bweza, Busingye, Kahungye, Mucunguzi and Bikingi. Nkuringo has Bushaho, Christmas, and Nkuringo gorilla families.
Gorilla permits are sold by the Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) which is the body that manages all the National Parks in Uganda. you can contact them directly to buy a gorilla permit to use a trusted tour operator like Safari Vacations and Travel Services Ltd to avoid all the hustle of delayed replies. Please note that we do not charge any fee to secure a gorilla permit for you if you book all the tours with us.
Each gorilla family is supposed to be tracked by a maximum of 8 people for 1 hour every day.
Due to the high demand for gorilla permits in Uganda especially during the high season in the months of June- August, and December- February, we normally advise our clients to buy their permits at least 4 months before the trip. when you send in an inquiry, we check with UWA about the preferred dates and when we find Availability we do reserve the permits for you, send an invoice for you to make a payment and after the money reflects on our account we buy the permit and send you a scanned copy.
Crossing the Katuna border is fairly easy. During the morning hours when the tourists are crossing the border is usually not busy. Most of the public passenger buses that come from Kigali to Kampala and vice versa cross at night.
A gorilla permit in Uganda costs $700 per person per trek and if valid only on the date of tracking.
Why do I have to track mountain gorillas in Uganda?
Tracking mountain gorillas in Uganda has become common due to the fact that gorilla permits in Uganda are cheaper in Uganda compared to Rwanda where a gorilla permit costs $1500 which is more than half of the gorilla permit in Uganda which costs $700. When you track in Uganda you save $800 on every permit bought.
How far is it from the Katuna border to Bwindi impenetrable national park?
The distance and time depend on the location where you are going to, if you are traveling to the Buhoma sector its 120kms that is 3 hours. If you are going to the Ruhija sector its 70kms from the Katuna border (2 hours), then if you are going to Rushaga and Nkuringo its 80kms and 100kms respectively. Alternatively, you can access the southern sectors of Bwindi impenetrable national park through the Chanika border in the Kisoro district. Its 2 hours from the Chanika border to the southern sectors of the park.
At Safari Vacations and Travel Services Ltd, we do combine gorilla tracking with other safaris such as wildlife safaris, Chimpanzee tracking safaris. We do tailor make our safaris depending on our clients’ needs. Contact us for all your inquiries about your Safaris that do start from Katuna border or Kigali.