Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the most outstanding protected locations in the world, despite its tiny size. With a total size of just 33.7 square kilometres, this park is the smallest in Uganda. It is situated in the southwest of the country. It is a portion of the Virunga Conservation Area (VCA), which also contains the national parks of Virunga in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Volcanoes in northwest Rwanda.
Between 2227 and 4127 metres above sea level, this scenic park is home to three of the Great Virunga Massif’s volcanoes. They include the volcanoes Sabyinyo (from which it derives its name), Gahinga (from which it derives its name), and Muhabura (which is located at a height of 4127 metres). This park, one of Uganda’s top ten most beautiful parks, was gazetted in 1991.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park attractions
This park is home to roughly 39 different animal species, but most significantly, it is also where some of the 1004 mountain gorillas that exist in the world today are found. Others include bushbucks, elephants, golden monkeys, buffaloes, spotted hyenas, giant-fronted pigs, black-fronted duikers, and 79 different kinds of birds.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park activities
While on safari at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, you may participate in the following activities:
Mountain gorilla trekking
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s second gorilla trekking location. Early morning briefings on the dos and don’ts to be followed while in the jungle looking for a troop of mountain gorillas start off treks in this park. The only gorilla troop in this park that has been habituated and is easily accessible to tourists is Nyakagezi. In Mgahinga National Park, only 8 people are permitted to monitor these animals, and permits cost $700 per person and $1500 for gorilla habituation experiences.
Depending on where the mountain gorillas are, their habitat’s characteristics, and your trekking pace, a trek to see them in this park might take you anywhere from two to six hours or even more. The gorilla habitat experience lasts all day. While searching for these gorgeous primates in the rainforests, you have the opportunity to see a variety of animals, including monkeys, birds, and others.
Mountain or volcano climbing
If you are interested in the most exciting volcanic activities, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one wonderful site you need to include as a must in your vacation itinerary. This park is home to three volcanoes that are a component of the Great Virunga Massif. The guide is literally indicated by Mount Muhabura, which was included. You may trek through this volcano, which has a height of 4127 metres, in around 8 hours.
Along with breathtaking views of the enchanted peaks of the Virunga Mountains, Mount Rwenzori, Bwindi Forest, and others, hiking also exposes you to little bushes, grasses, and rocky terrain. You need water, a tent, food, and sleeping equipment if you want to spend the night at base camp on a lengthy trip.
Another stunning volcano in this park is called Mount Gahinga, and its name refers to a mound of lava stones where farming is done. This volcano may take six hours to climb through a bamboo forest, but hikers are rewarded with breathtaking vistas. The second is the Sabyinyo Volcano, often known as “old man’s teeth.” It takes around eight hours to climb, so if you’re looking for a somewhat more difficult trip, this is the spot for you.
From the summit of this volcano, you can see well into Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
One of the most important birding places in Uganda, this park is home to 79 different kinds of birds. The black kite, paradise flycatcher, white-necked raven, double-collared sunbird, whydah, ibis, Ruwenzori nightjar, dusky crimson wing, Ruwenzori turaco, yellow-vented bulbul, Kivu ground thrush, and waxbills are just a few of the species you could spot in this area when on a birding trip. The rainy season is most likely the ideal time to go bird-watching in this area.
Hiking and nature walks
For the most amazing views of the mountain’s rich flora, Rugezi swamp, and bamboo forest, which provides stunning vistas of the farmlands, Lake Mutanda, and other sights, nature hikes are best taken along the mountain’s edge.
Tracking of golden monkeys
When on a safari in Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, seeing a golden monkey is one of the most stunning things you can do. Permits for golden monkey trekking cost $60 per person, and you may pay an additional $100 to participate in the golden monkey habituation.
Beyond primate activities, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has other attractions. When you visit this park, you may also take part in exciting cultural activities, particularly in Batwa village. You may discover more about the Batwa’s daily routine, customs, and cultural practices by going on a cultural safari.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park accommodation
While on safari in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, visitors can stay in a variety of lodges, including Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, which is located in the southern region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park just along the Nteko ridge; Nkuringo Safari Lodge, which is located along the shores of Lake Mutanda not far from Mgahinga National Park; Traveler’s Nest Hotel, Mount Mgahinga Lodge, Mount Mga
How to get to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
There are two ways to get to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: by plane and by vehicle. You will travel by road for 8 to 10 hours, maybe beginning in Entebbe or Kampala. The road from Kampala to Kabale may be taken, and then you can connect to the Ntebeko section gate. Alternatively, you may fly into Kisoro Airstrip from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airfield and then drive directly to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Best time to visit Mgahinga Gorilla National Park?
Any time of the year is a good time to visit Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Any potential traveller should, however, be aware of the dry and rainy seasons before starting a road journey to this destination. The dry season occurs from June to September and from December to February, whereas the wet season typically begins from March to May and from October and is marked by high rainfall.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is undoubtedly one of Uganda’s most breathtaking parks, to sum up. Despite its small size, this park has a lot to offer, and your experiences there will stay with you forever.