Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

About Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga is a part of a larger ecosystem and is sited on the clouds at an altitude of between 2227m and 4127m. it was formed to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests and it’s also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.

Its most striking features are its three conical, extinct volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga range that lies along the border region of the Uganda Congo and Rwanda mgahinga forms part of the much larger Virunga conservation area which includes adjacent parks in these countries.

The park is a home to the 300 gorillas located in the Virunga massif. And its where gold meets silver where gorillas are house with the same habitat of the golden monkeys. And the cultural practices of the local’s cover the north slopes of the three northern Virunga volcanoes- muhavura, gahinga and sabinyo.

The park derives its name from Gahinga a Kinyarwanda word for a pile of volcanic lava stone heaps around which cultivation is carried out. Muhavura means guide and sabinyo means the old man’s teeth. It’s bordered to the south of Rwanda and to the west by DR Congo. Sabinyo is deeply eroded with jagged crown and deep gorges and ravines, gahinga has swamp filled- crater about 180 wide and muhavura as a small crater lake about 3m wide at its summit. While at the top of sabinyo you get to be set foot in all the three countries of Uganda, DRC and Rwanda at the same time.

Accessibility to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in southwestern Uganda, near the borders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is part of the larger Virunga Conservation Area, which encompasses three national parks across the three countries. Accessibility to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can be achieved through various means including air travel, road transportation, and public transportation.

Air Travel:
The closest international airport to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Entebbe International Airport, located near the capital city of Kampala. From Entebbe, visitors can take a domestic flight to Kisoro Airstrip, which is the nearest airstrip to the park. Several domestic airlines operate flights between Entebbe and Kisoro, including Aerolink Uganda and Eagle Air. The flight duration is approximately one hour.

Road Transportation:
Road transportation is another option for accessing Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. From Kampala, visitors can take a scenic drive through southwestern Uganda to reach the park. The journey takes approximately 8-10 hours depending on traffic and road conditions. The most common route is via Kabale town, passing through beautiful landscapes and rural communities.

Public Transportation:
For those seeking a more affordable option, public transportation is available to reach Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. From Kampala, travelers can take a bus or shared taxi (known as matatu) to Kisoro town. The journey typically takes around 10-12 hours depending on traffic and stops along the way. Once in Kisoro, visitors can hire a local taxi or boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) to reach the park entrance.

Activities at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

One of the main activities at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is gorilla trekking. This allows visitors to get up close and personal with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. The park is home to one habituated gorilla group, known as the Nyakagezi group. Trekking to see these magnificent creatures is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers a unique opportunity to observe their behavior and interactions.

In addition to gorilla trekking, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers other activities for visitors to enjoy. One popular activity is hiking. The park has several well-maintained trails that lead through its beautiful landscapes, including the stunning Virunga Volcanoes. Hiking enthusiasts can choose from a variety of routes, ranging from short walks to multi-day treks. Some of the notable trails include the Sabinyo Gorge Trail, Mount Gahinga Trail, and Mount Sabyinyo Trail.

Another activity available at the park is golden monkey tracking. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the few places in Africa where visitors can see these unique primates. Golden monkeys are known for their vibrant colors and playful nature, making them a delight to observe in their natural habitat.

Bird watching is also a popular activity at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The park is home to over 180 bird species, including several endemic and rare species. Bird enthusiasts can explore the forested areas and wetlands within the park to spot a wide variety of avian species.

For those interested in cultural experiences, the Batwa Trail offers a chance to learn about the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This guided trail takes visitors through the forest, showcasing the traditional hunting and gathering techniques of the Batwa people. It also provides insights into their rich cultural heritage.

Overall, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers a range of activities that cater to different interests and preferences. From gorilla trekking to hiking, golden monkey tracking, bird watching, and cultural experiences, visitors can immerse themselves in the natural beauty and cultural diversity of this unique national park in Uganda.