Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park takes you to Uganda’s smallest but most picturesque national park. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park covers 33 square kilometers and is located at an altitude of 4127 meters above sea level. The park is located in Kisoro District in the southwestern corner of Uganda, bordering Congo and Rwanda. The park was established in 1991 to help protect endangered mountain gorillas. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is known as one of only four places in the world where you can trek with gorillas – the others being Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safaris to Mgahinga

Gorilla Safari to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

The scenery in and around the park is breathtaking, and three extinct volcanoes – Sabinyo, Muhavura, and Gahinga – have slopes built into the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The forest provides shelter and abundant food for mountain gorillas and other animals in the park. Although the park is in Uganda, it is easier to reach from Rwanda, about three hours across the border from Kigali to Chyanika. The park is also accessible by air and road from Kampala.

How Far is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park?

The journey from Kampala takes about eight hours, while a charter flight from Entebbe takes only one hour. There are 80 mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, but only one gorilla colony, the Nyakagyezi family, is usually open to tourists. The group once moved to Rwanda and Congo but has now settled in Uganda for over three years. The gorilla trekking to Mgahinga is great because the park attracts smaller crowds. A regular gorilla colony means that only 8 gorilla licenses can be sold per day.

Visitors are advised to order permits several weeks in advance at the Uganda Wildlife Service office in Kampala or park headquarters in Entebeko. A gorilla license costs $700 in Uganda, compared to $1,500 in Rwanda.

Uganda Gorilla Trekking Trip to Mgahinga

Gorilla Safari to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Best Time for Gorilla Tracking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Gorilla Tours runs all year round. However, the best time to visit the gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is during the dry season from December to February and from June to October. In the dry season, the forest paths are less overgrown and less muddy. Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park begins with an early morning briefing at the park’s only entrance, the Ntebeko Gate.

Familiarize visitors with Gorilla Trekking rules and regulations. The average Gorilla Trekking length in Mgahinga is shorter than in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park because the Nyakagyezi family lives and forages in a smaller area and is easier to find. But depending on where the family is on any given day, Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can be a challenge. Navigating the slopes can be exhausting as they head toward one of the three volcanoes found in the park. If you don’t qualify, maybe you should read about Elder Gorilla Trekking. You can only spend one hour with a gorilla family. Take pictures for an hour and observe the group dynamics.

How is Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Different from Bwindi?

Mountain gorillas are found in only three countries in the world – Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safari can be done in two national parks – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. So how does gorilla trekking in Mgahinga compare to Bwindi?

Gorilla Trekking to Mgahinga

Gorilla Safari to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

  • Number of Mountain Gorillas in Each Park

80% of Uganda’s mountain gorillas live in Bwindi and there are about 400 individuals. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is more popular than in Mgahinga. Visitors have several groups of common gorillas to choose from – 12. There is only one family of gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the Nyakaghez family. However, the Nyakagezi group is one of the best gorilla groups for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda. This is the group with the most silverbacks, more than any group in Uganda, Rwanda, or Congo. Both parks are accessible by road from Kampala and by air from Entebbe or Kajjansi. The flight takes about 2 hours, while the journey can take up to 8 hours.

  • Gorilla Trekking Sectors in Bwindi and Mgahinga

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has four areas where visitors can track gorillas – Rushaga, Nkuringo, Ruhija, and Buhoma. So unlike Mgahinga, double Gorilla Trekking is possible in Bwindi. Visitors can track gorillas in one area and the next day in another. Two gorilla sightings give you a comparative experience tracking different gorilla families and different parts of Bwindi.

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the only park in the world where visitors can see chimpanzees and mountain gorillas at the same time. Mgahinga has its advantages – golden monkeys! Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the only park in Uganda where visitors can track gorillas and golden monkeys at the same time.

Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga

Gorilla Safari to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

  • Chance of Seeing Mountain Gorillas

The chance of seeing gorillas in both parks is high. The gorilla family has a traceable history of migration from Uganda to Congo and Rwanda. They have been in Uganda for the past four years, but you never know when they will decide to visit their brothers in Rwanda or Congo. The only time a visitor can miss a gorilla family in Bwindi is when a certain gorilla family moves too deep into the forest. This is very rare, but the event may be canceled allowing visitors to return to the starting point before dark.

  • Closeness to Other National Parks

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park is close to some of Uganda’s most attractive parks, such as Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kibale Forest Park. Visitors can easily combine Gorilla Trekking with a safari to spot the Big Five. The cost of gorilla trekking in Uganda is the same for Mgahinga and Bwindi. Gorilla permits cost $700 in both countries, but Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park has more accommodations than Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. You may also want to check out our 3 Days Mgahinga Gorilla Trekking Package.

Other Activities During Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Gorilla Trekking

Mgahinga is not just a gorilla trekking, the park is also home to a large number of endangered golden monkeys, colobus monkeys, other primates, leopards, hedgehogs, buffaloes, tortoises, antelopes, golden cats, and wild boars. The Batwa pygmies still live in this forest and, as we will soon see, it is well worth a visit. Let’s take a closer look at these activities:

Uganda Safaris Tour

Golden Monkey Tracking in Uganda

Golden Monkeys Tracking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Golden monkeys can only be seen in the Virunga Mountains, just like mountain gorillas. Golden monkeys are only found in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Considered an endangered species, these adorable blue monkey subspecies are in high demand among tourists. They are one of the most beautiful monkeys in the world.

Nature walks in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

This is done using different forest trails in different parts of the forest. Hiking is possible through volcanoes, forests, swamps (Rugežu Purvis), plantations, and slopes along the shores of Lake Mutanda. Visitors are guided and accompanied by armed rangers. The walk offers several opportunities to spot birds, and tree species and encounter forest animals/primates. If you want to spot primates in Volcanoes National Park, check out the 2-Day Golden Monkey Tour from Rwanda.

Batwa Trail:

The Batwa Trail gives you a chance to see the people who originally lived in the forest. For thousands of years, the Batwa have lived in the caves of Garam, hunting and gathering food from the forest. The Batwa were driven out of the forest and relocated outside the park to preserve Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for tourism and other wildlife conservation activities. They were forced to abandon their original way of life and adapt to life outside the forest. Led by a Batwa guide, the Batwa Trail allows visitors to experience the traditional way of life in the Batwa forest.

There will be demonstration activities such as hunting, fruit picking, singing, dancing, bonfires, and honey gathering. Visitors may be asked to participate in some activities.


Usually given at the bottom of Muhavura and Garam caves. This activity is related to the life and history of the Batwa people. The Batwa often fought with their Bantu neighbors and used these deep caves as meeting and rendezvous places. The cave is now occupied by bats and requires powerful torches to navigate inside. The Garama Caves are said to be so deep that they reached Rwanda.

Hiking Mount gahinga

Hiking Mount Gahinga

Mountaineering in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

A great activity in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is climbing one of the extinct volcanoes found in the park. Each mountain takes just one day to climb, and hiking permits can be purchased at the park office in no time. Let’s take a closer look at each volcano:

Mount Muhavura

4127 meters above sea level is the highest and most demanding climb, requiring 8 to 10 hours of navigation over difficult, cold, and muddy terrain before returning to the starting point. The Muhavra Mountains trek benefits from the ever-changing vegetation, swimming in the crater lake, stunning views of the Rwenzori Mountains, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park, and the wider Virunga Mountains.

Mount Sabinyo in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Locally known as “Old Man’s Teeth” at 3,634 meters, it is the second and most demanding. It takes 8 hours to hike up and down Mount Sabinyo. The point that marks the border between Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is at the top of the mountain. Thus, one person can set foot in three countries in a few minutes.

Mount Gahinga:

The hike up and down Mount Gahinga takes about 7 hours through the bamboo forest with minimal requirements. Visitors will enjoy the beautiful scenery as they climb to the top and discover the large swamp located at the top of the mountain.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Birding Safaris in Africa

Bird watching in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the most popular bird-watching spots in Uganda. Bird watching in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park allows you to spot around 100 species of birds in the montane forests, bamboo forests, swamps, and canyons of the Sabinyo and Gahinga volcanoes. Local bird guides will help you find species such as archer robin, banded Prinia, striped rhododendron, black kite, blue-headed warbler, blue-headed warbler, blue-headed sunbird, bronze, hornbill, chestnut, and others – throated parakeet, ring-necked parakeet, Doherty’s bush bird, double-necked thrush, winged cuckoo, dusky cuckoo, a dark turtledove, equatorial acara, firefly, grebe, gray thrush, handsome franklin, Kivudi’s thrush, Lagden’s Firikei, mountain masked round, olive dove, olive thrush, olive woodpecker, paradise flycatcher, pin-wing, red-throated, Regal Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori Nightjar, Rwenzori Turaco, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Spotted Woodwing, Spotted Woodbird. tit, waxbill, white-necked raven, white-eyed flycatcher, white-star robin, yellow-billed flycatcher, and yellow-eyed nightingale.

Proposed Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safaris Tour Packages