Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the most favorite gorilla trekking destinations in Africa. It is a magnificent protected area in Kisoro district, Southwestern Uganda and it is bordered by Rwanda to the South and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This park is accessible 8-9 hours’ drive from Entebbe/Kampala or 3-4 hours’ drive from Kigali.
Mgahinga was created in 1991 with aim of offering refuge to mountain gorillas. It spreads to cover 33.7sq.kms of land area and it forms the vast Virunga Conservation Area (VCA). The VCA makes up the Virunga region and it encompasses Virunga National Park in Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Despite being the smallest park in Uganda, Mgahinga is a magical travel destination of its own as it protects both the rare mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in the same habitat.
Named after Gahinga Volcano (3474m), Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is undoubtedly a splendid destination with 3 beautiful volcanoes that make up the Virunga Massifs. They include Mount Gahinga (3474m), Mt. Sabinyo (3645m) and Mt. Muhabura (4127m).
If there is one park with unique vegetation zones then it is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. There are 6 distinct vegetation zones and they range montane woodland, afro-montane, bamboo, tree heathers, montane forest, former farmland. Each of the park’s vegetation zones shelters incredibly distinct species of wildlife.
If it is unusual species of wildlife that you are searching for then Mgahinga is one best place to be. Over 76 unique mammal species exist in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda. They include the endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys (this is what makes Mgahinga Uganda’s only place where gold meets silver). The park also prides itself as a home to buffaloes, golden cats, forest elephants, black and white colobus monkeys, spotted hyenas, patas monkeys, blue monkeys, bush bucks.
For visitors whose interest is centered on avifaunal species, Mgahinga is one of Uganda’s birder’s haven. The park protects the estimated number of 180 bird species including the largest population of Albertine rift endemic species. This makes it one of Uganda’s Important Bird Areas. The amazing avifaunal specie Mgahinga boasts of include the Western green tinker bird, Rwenzori batis, Rwenzori Turacos, cinnamon bracken warblers, Kivu ground thrush, fire finch stonechat, red necked spur fowl. Other species include Doherty’s bush-shrike, paradise flycatchers, alpine chat, greater double collared sunbirds, brown woodland warblers, cape robin, scarlet tufted sunbird, red throated alethe, black headed waxbill, malachites.
Trip activities in Mgahinga National Park
There is no outstanding gorilla destination in Africa tourists can enjoy a gorilla trek without crowds than Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The park takes only 8 visitors who go to trek its only one habituated gorilla family ‘Nyakagezi group’. Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga is exceptional experience providing you a chance to get up close with mountain gorillas and treks begin at Ntebeko gate.
Mgahinga gorilla trekking permits are obtainable at US Dollars 700 for foreign non-residents, US Dollars 600 for foreign residents and Shs. 250000 citizens within East Africa Community. You can contact our reservation team to help you book your gorilla permit or book for it directly through Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Golden monkey tracking
Golden monkey tracking is one exciting experience any enthusiastic primate lover shouldn’t miss on Mgahinga gorilla safari. It offers holidaymakers a chance to sight the golden monkeys and these unique species range within the Virunga region. Mgahinga so far has 40-65 golden monkeys already habituated and they are open for golden monkey tracking.
Birding is astonishing activity visitors on Mgahinga gorilla safari shouldn’t miss to add on their bucket-list. They include the red necked spur fowl, cinnamon bracken warblers, Rwenzori turaco, olive pigeon, Kivu ground thrush, greater double collared sunbirds, rufous chested swallow, Alpine chat, blue headed sunbird, Rwenzori batis, red throated alethe.
Guided nature walks
Nature walks in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offer the best of walking safari experience. Visitors get to explore various habitats while sighting birds, viewing unique vegetation, Lakes, swamps and others.
The 3 conical peaks to expect to explore on hiking safari include Muhabura Volcano which can be trekked for 8 hours; Gahinga volcano 6 hours and Sabinyo 8 hours. These 3 volcanoes make up part of the 8 Virunga Massifs.
The Batwa trail offers the best African cultural experience. It is the best way to interact with the Batwa pygmies who lived in the forest for about 500000 years while hunting and gathering fruits. Your cultural experience will include listening to stories, enjoying entertainment from the Batwa, dances, learn about their traditions and others.
Garama caves offer the best caving experience to holidaymakers on Uganda safari in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These caves extend 200 by length and served as a sacred place for the Batwa pygmies. You can reach Garama caves 4kms from Ntebeko gate.
When to visit
The best time to travel for a holiday tour in Mgahinga is during the dry season especially if you are interested in gorilla trekking or golden monkey tracking. The dry months of the year to consider when planning your next gorilla safari trip start from June to September and December to February. Birding is best carried during the wet/rainy months of the year; March to May and October to November.
Mgahinga gorilla safari lodges range from budget, mid-range to luxury and they include; Mount Gahinga Lodge, Traveler’s Rest Hotel, Mucha Hotel Kisoro, Kisoro Tourist Hotel and Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp.