Mgahinga Gorilla National Park | Uganda Gorilla Trekking Experience
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the Kisoro district of southwestern Uganda. It is the smallest of the three national parks of the Virunga Reserve. The other two parks are Virunga National Park and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwanda Volcanoes National Park, all of which make up 434 square kilometers of this reserve. Established in 1991, the park is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Service and covers an area of 33.7 square meters. km, it is located from 2227 m to 4127 m above sea level.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park covers 3 Virunga volcanoes, Mt. Muhavura (4127), Mt. Gahinga (3474) and Mt. Sabinyo (3645). The name Mgahinga is derived from the Kinyarwanda word “Gahinga” which means “heap of volcanic lava for cultivation”. Added “Sabinyo” meaning “old man’s tooth” and “Muhavura” meaning “guide”. Mghinga Gorilla National Park was created mainly to protect the mountain gorillas and the endangered golden monkeys also use the same park.
Brief History of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
The three volcanoes mentioned above are truly amazing places and trekking to their summits will provide an unforgettable experience. Gahinga peak has a beautiful swamp, Muhavura has a crater lake, and Sabinyo offers the best and most amazing experience ever, you can climb the peaks of 3 countries; Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda.
The slopes also offer a fantastic view of the vegetation. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to around 39 species of mammals, including mountain gorillas, buffalo, and elephants, as well as the endangered golden monkey. Others include; giant wild boar, antelope, leopard, spotted hyena, black antelope, etc. It also has about 79 species of birds.
Although only one tracked group in the park is the Nyakagezi gorilla population, tracking is now allowed in the park before this group of gorillas could move from country to country until they had to make Mgahinga their home. Gorilla is now available in Uganda. order is recommended.
How to get to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park?
The park is located 510 kilometers from Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and can be reached by road or plane.
It takes about 9-10 hours by road from Kampala to Mgahinga, it is about 8 hours to Kabale city of 434 kilometers and 76 kilometers from Kisoro city, this route is paved, a little hilly, and steep. You can also take the route from Kabale town, past the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, and rejoin the Kabale-Kisoro tarmac. From Kisoro to the park approx. 14 km to the main entrance of Ntebeko Park. The park can be reached by plane, you can book your flight from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro Airport in advance by plane, you will save more time and be less tiring.
Main Safari Attractions in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga
This is the most exciting activity in the park and only Nyakagezi gorillas are tracked in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Gorilla tracking starts in the morning and trackers track these Entebeko giants. There are guides and park rangers who are very knowledgeable about the gorillas and the park in general, so trackers are advised to walk with them and ask questions. This activity should be done while you are in good physical shape, as it is very difficult, such as moving through forests, valleys, and steep hills.
The length of the track can be 2 hours, 4 hours, or a day, depending on the location of the mountain gorillas, as in most cases they move to find food. Bring the appropriate equipment, such as light clothing, a waterproof camera, packed lunch, enough drinking water, surgical masks to wear in front of the gorilla, and anything else the guidelines recommend.
This is an incredible activity, walking through the forest, you will hear the sounds of birds, monkeys and other animals in the trees, unforgettable!
Note: Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Gorilla Permit cost $700 and reservations are recommended
There is nothing more exciting and adventurous than climbing 3 volcanoes. You can climb every peak in one day including;
Mt. Muhavura Means “Guide”
The volcano is 4127 m high and can be climbed in 8 hours, its total length is about 12 km. As you climb the mountain, you will mostly be traversing small bushes, grass, and rocky ground that will open up some of the best views in the country as you can see the mountain peaks once you get to the top. Rwenzori, Victoria Long Volcano, Bwindi Forest, L. Edward in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, and other things. After a long hike, it is advisable to spend the night at the base camp, and before starting the hike, it is advisable to take sleeping equipment, water, a tent, and food with you. Mt. Gahinga means “heap of lava that is cultivated around”.
It takes about 6 hours to hike up the mountain, the hike is in the bamboo forest, and when you reach the top of the mountain in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, you will find a swamp, and the distance traveled is about 8 kilometers. As you will see in some garden piles of stones the name “Gahinga” comes from them.
Sabine Hill means “Old Man’s Tooth”
The hike takes about 8 hours and the hike up is a quiet challenge but a great adventure, hiking through the ruined Sabinyo and diving into canyons and gorges. When you reach the top, you will have an extraordinary experience, you have been to 3 countries before; Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Bird Watching in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
has about 79 different species of birds and you can see the birds through the bamboo forests in the canyons between the mountains. In Sabinyo and Gahinga, you can easily see the Rwenzori Turaco in the mountain forest.
Hikes and Nature Walks
It is done on the side of the mountain, it is a very interesting activity, the hikers do it around wild vegetation, bamboo forests, and Rugeži swamps, which allow you to enjoy the beautiful nature of the agricultural area, the surrounding lakes, for example, there are also forest birds in Mu Lake Tanda.
Tracking the Golden Monkey
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to endangered monkeys.
For many years, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, with its bushland, has been home to indigenous Batwa groups who live, hunt, forage, and perform all other activities in the forest. Therefore, when tourists are in Mgahinga, they can visit the homeland of the Batwa and learn about their life, dress, food, dance, etc. It is a culture unlike any other.
Where to Stay in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park?
A variety of accommodation options are available, from campsites, budget, and mid-range to luxury lodges and hotels, including:
Yunshan Gorilla Inn
Located in Kisoro and Bwindi Impenetrable South, in the Neko Range, this hotel offers luxurious services. It has about 8 brick houses with very nice interiors and fireplaces, 6 of which are double rooms and the other 2 are family-friendly. You can do all the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park activities at this hotel; you can enter it by road as part of a safari or fly from Entebbe to Kisoro and transfer to the hotel.
Nkulingo Safari Lodge
Located on the shores of Lake Mutanda near the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, this cabin offers magnificent views of the volcano. The accommodation is very good and affordable, the standard is high these days. The room and the tent are independent. Other services include room service, laundry, and other services.
There is also camping, but camping can only be done by persons with private camping facilities. The food is delicious because it is prepared and stored in a fully equipped and clean kitchen. Meals are prepared from local products, especially breakfast and lunch.
Traveller’s Nest Hotel
This hotel is located on the outskirts of Kisoro in southwestern Uganda. This hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Uganda, in a quiet location with a wonderful view of Mount Virunga. it has a fireplace and nice, comfortable rooms.
Mgahinga Rest Camp
Located close to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, it consists of 9 thatched and 3 en-suite tents, most of which face Lake Mutanda and have private balconies. You can be in 3 countries including Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda while staying at this holiday camp. There is electricity produced by solar panels. Here you can do all kinds of activities like bird watching, gorilla tracking, mountain climbing, golden monkey tracking, and much more.
Mgahinga Mountain Lodge
Located on the edge of the Virunga volcano, this lodge offers a great atmosphere and amazing views. The rooms are nice and the meals served at this hotel have stories and are delicious.