Mgahinga Gorilla National park is another paradise to see Uganda’s amazing gifts of Mother Nature. It is home to the endangered mountain gorillas as well as a great profusion of different bird species. Established in 1930 primary as a gorilla sanctuary, it is part of the Virunga Mountains Complex. However, in 1991, the park was gazetted, and several nearby local communities relocated.
Although Mgahinga is among Uganda’s smallest National Parks, it makes up the cross-border wildlife reserve that extends to the D.R Congo as well as Rwanda – the Virunga complex.
It covers 33.7 square kilometers and lies at an altitude-range of 2,227 meters and 4,127 meters.
The southern side of the park offers breathtaking views of the towering Virunga volcano cones while heading northwards is the verdant Bwindi forest.
The primary tourist activity enjoyed within Mgahinga Forest national park is Gorilla tracking Safari. The gorillas that live in this park freely cross boundaries from Uganda into Rwanda (Parc National des Volcanoes)
What to do in Mgahinga National Park.
Gorilla Tracking Safaris; these offer exciting an unforgettable encounters with the highly endangered giant mountain gorillas. This starts very early in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters and then you set out in groups with park rangers and guides.
There are approximately 45 mountain gorillas that spend some months of the year within Mgahinga Park, and these keep shifting into the forests of D. R Congo and Rwanda. Sadly the habituated mountain gorilla family moves typically between Mgahinga and Muhavura, so there is no 100% guarantee of seeing the gorillas on your visit.
Interesting although they demand some level of physical fitness, good hiking boots, warm clothes as well as rain gears are necessary. The least demanding routes take 6-7 hours Ntebeko to mount Gahinga and offer you breathtaking views of the verdant forest and different birds living in the bamboo zone. The swampy crater at the peak of Mt. Muhavura, on the other hand, is home to duikers and bushbucks. The ascent to this peak as well will reward you with views of; the Great Rift Valley, Mt. Rwenzori, Lake Edward, and other volcanoes of the Virunga Ranges.
Nature Walks To Garama and the Cultural Batwa Trails.
The local Batwa guides are the ones that conduct the nature walks as they follow the trail from the foothills of Muhavura and ascend to Garama cave. During this walk, you will learn about the intriguing rare culture and lifestyle of the Batwa pygmies. As you set out to explore the cave, we recommend that you carry your torch plus some extra batteries.
There is also another trail that leads to the rare forest birds and wild animals. It goes along the Rugezi swamp, and during this, you will have a chance to see some elephants as well as the giant hogs.
Golden Monkey Tracking Safaris.
This forest is home to the blue monkeys also called the bamboo-associated-texa primates listed among the endangered species in the world. However, what is unique is that these monkeys are actually widespread in this park.
You will also find the golden monkeys characterized by the bright golden-orange color on their body, cheeks as well as the tail which are endemic specifically to the Albertine Rift.; This is a chance to trek these playful monkeys and observe them humorously leaping from one tree branch to another.
How to Get to Mgahinga National Park, Access.
The park can be reached by either road or air transport.
Its located in southwestern Uganda 540 km and approximately an 8hrs drive from the capital Kampala; or charter flights from either Kajanzi airstrip or Entebbe airport to Kisoro.
Accommodation in Mgahinga National Park.
The various accommodation facilities around the park in the nearby towns range from the budget, mid-range to luxury accommodations.