Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

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This is the smallest of Uganda’s national parks with (34sq km). Located on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains, in the extreme southwest corner of Uganda. The Virungas are yet another haven for the persecuted Mountain Climbing Gorillas. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the southwestern corner of Uganda. The Park covers the northern slopes of the three northernmost Virunga Volcanoes: Mt. Gahinga (3,474 m), and Mt. Sabinyo (3,645 m). Mt. Muhavura (4,127 m) with a small Crater Lake and Lake Mutanda found nearby the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the African Great Lakes region.

The Park is about 10 km south of Kisoro and is bordered to the south by the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and to the west by the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The park serves up some challenging but rewarding treks of three of the Virunga Volcanoes (Mt. Muhabura, Mgahinga and Sabyinyo) and unique flora and fauna. A choice of hikes allows for all abilities, ranging from the 8 hour return trip to the summit of Mt. Muhabura, to gentle strolls across the lower slopes beneath the magnificent three peak backdrop. Gorilla Tracking is the most popular activity that is done in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Most travelers to Mgahinga visit the park for mountain gorilla trekking. There is one habituated gorilla family i.e Nyakagezi Gorilla Family plus a troop of habituated golden-monkey tracking which are endemic to the Albertine Rift and more-or-less restricted to the Virungas, can also be tracked. Challenge yourself an engage in this life changing activity and achieve an excitement of a lifetime. There’s also the Batwa Trail leads from the base of Muhavura Cave. This walk is conducted by Batwa guides who provide insights into their traditional forest life and culture. The Batwa used to live with the gorillas in harmony within the Mgahinga Forests.

Apart from Gorillas, there Elephants, leopard, giant forest hog, bushbuck, buffaloes and serval. Other mammals resident in the park (but rarely seen) include golden cat, side-striped jackal, giant forest hog and bush pig. 115 species of bird flutter through the forests, including Rwenzori turaco and mountain black boo among others considered endemic to the Albertine Rift. There are several guided mountain hikes on offer where birders get an opportunity to tick of some Afro-alpine endemics such as the scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is ideal for birding. Bird through different places including the Buffalo Wall, forests, wetlands and other habitats. Some of the birds to see include ibis, speckled mous, fire finch and many others found in the area. The traveler can also explore the 342m long Garama Cave that lies beneath a plateu northern edge of the park, 3km from Ntebeko. It is set in the former farmland zone but in earlier times, the cave forest when it was occupied periodically by Batwa who used it as a council chamber and a retreat.

Accommodation Mgahinga NP

There exceptional accommodations ranging from budget to upmarket (luxurious) safari lodges delivering well-appointed guestrooms and suites for comfortable stay at reasonable rates. These include Mount Gahinga Lodge, Mount Gahinga Rest Camp, Bwindi Jungle Lodge, Mount Gahinga Lodge, and Camping in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Community Campground and Mutanda Island Lodge.

Accommodation in Kisoro

A wide choice of lodging is available in Kisoro. Kisoro Town which is 14kms to the gate of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers a wide range of accommodation facilities ranging from the basic Camp-site to the luxurious full board hotels, these include Kisoro Traveler’s Rest, Sky Blue, Mount Gahinga Rest Camp, Virunga Hotel, Mgahinga Safari Lodge, Rugigana Campsite, Mubano Hotel, Mucha Hotel, Muhabura Motel, Montana Guest House, 3 Way Gorilla Resort, Landmark Guest House, Kisoro Tourist Hotel and Kisoro Travelers Lodge.

Common activities include:

  • Mountain Gorilla tracking
  • Golden monkeys tracking
  • Wild life
  • Canoeing and Fishing at Lake Mutanda
  • Biking
  • Nature walks
  • Volcano hiking
  • Batwa trail
  • Birding
  • Garama cave exploration

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

The Dry seasons from June to August and December to January are the best time for trekking gorillas. The park stays open throughout the year, but in heavy rain, the trails might be difficult to walk and time with the gorillas and photography can be compromised.

Best Time for Bird Watching

The birdlife in Mgahinga is good year-round, but at its best from April to mid-May and from October to November. June and July have the least rain, and March to mid-May have the most rain. The heavy rains might result in delays due to impassable roads and slippery hiking trails, which can limit your bird-watching time. The main nesting season is in May and June. From late May through September, food is abundant. Migratory birds are in the park from November to April.

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