Mgahinga gorilla national park is one of the two parks in Uganda that host the endangered mountain gorillas and it is also a very important habitat for the endangered golden monkeys. Mgahinga gorilla national park is situated in Kisoro district via Kabale, south-western Uganda, and 510kms about 8 hours on a good tarmac from Kampala Uganda’s capital and largest city and then a further 76km to kisoro town on a mountainous tarmac road with steep ascents and descents. The park can also be reached by air using daily flight from Entebbe airport to Kisoro air field. Mgahinga gorilla national park derives it’s from ‘’Gahinga’’ a Kinyarwanda word for a pile of volcanic lava stone heaps around which cultivation is carried out. The park covers an area of approximately 434sqkm which includes two adjacent parks, Rwanda's volcanoes, and the DR Congo's Viringa National park. The park sits high in the clouds at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. Mgahinga gorilla national park offers three extinct volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga range that lies along the border region of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. The park is so rewarding sharing the love of gorillas with that of golden monkeys is so breathtaking. Climbing to three northern virunga volcanoes including Muhavura, Gahinga and Sabinyo, reaching the top of the volcanoes is so fascinating. Their view of the volcanes and gorges with cool breeze of freshness is unrivalled. Hikers though they don't require special mountaineering years it considers your physical fitness. Mgahinga gorilla national park is also blessed with a big number of birds over 180 species are recorded at the park.
Activities done at the park
This is the major tourist activity done at Mgahinga gorilla national park, the guides are readily available to take you through the forest to have an encounter with these rare species , tracking begins from Ntebeko Entrance gate at 8:00am daily and last between two to six hours. Gorilla tracking is one of the most interesting activities done on earth and Mgahinga has one gorilla group known as Nyakagezi gorilla group and this tend to cross borders to Rwanda or the democratic republic of Congo, so it’s always advised to consult with your travel tour company whether the group is available before confirming your gorilla permits.
Golden monkey tracking:
Mgahinga gorilla national park is one of the few parks not only in the east but also in the central Africa to host this endangered primate species which is endemic to the albertine Rift, they can be found on the high bamboo forests on the Ganinga trail. There are about 3050-4000 individuals in the Virunga area which 42-60 are habituated in Mgahinga.
Golden monkeys are regarded the most beautiful primate on earth meeting them in a close distance in their nature habitat is regarded memorable. In the process of tracking other forest wildlife may be seen including the Giant forest hogs, bush pigs, forest buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, golden cats, side striped jackals, black fronted duikers and South African porcupines.
This small park is a home to over 180 bird species to mention bird species includes the Ibis, Pin-tailed Whydah, Speckled Mouse bird, Stone Chat, Grey-capped Warblerthe list is endless, the baboo forest and the montane forest are best spotting areas where the beautiful Rwenzori Turaco can be seen. The park has good experienced guides good at spotting different bird species.
Hiking and nature walk:
Hiking around the foot hills of the Virunga Volcanoes gives visitors a chance to view various species of birds, primate species like the golden monkey, view the wild vegetation, bamboo forest, and glorious views of surrounding lakes and agriculture villages in a very close range.
For an experience to learn more about the African people Mgahinga gorilla national park offers it the best, over the years mgahinga dense forest where home to the indigenous Batwa –hunter gatherers and fierce warriors who depended on the forest for shelter food and medicine. Ounce you meet this batwa group of people they will take you through the forest and introduce to you their techniques like hunting skills, fire making skills, and they can also entertain you through their cultural dance and music.
Hiking on one of these mountains Muhavura, Gahinga, Sabinyo doesn’t require a lot of experience only it needs some levels of physical fitness. Hiking go from 1-8 days depending on the hiker’s interest. As you ascend you will be in position to explore the beauty of the park and the surrounding area.
Traveller's Rest Camp, Sky Blue, Mt.Gahinga Rest Camp, Virunga Hotel, Mgahinga Safari Lodge, Rugigana Camp Site, Mubano Hotel among others.