Activities in Mgahinga Park, Mgahinga gorilla national park is the tiniest national park in Uganda covering an area of 34km/sq situated in the far southwestern Uganda within the central African Virunga forests bordering sharing the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. This is another gorilla park in Uganda which suggest for that lifetime African adventure experience with Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mgahinga is located in the Virunga massif mutually sharing on the half of the world remaining mountain gorilla population dwelling in the Virunga conservation area.
About Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a rich biodiversity of the Kigezi region which has highly influenced on the regional economic transformation. The park was gazetted in 1991 with the purpose of conserving endangered mountain gorillas, this made the government to forcefully evict the Batwa pygmies who also inhabited in the forest. The park is strategically located at the edge of the Albertan rift valley which has decorates the forest with conical sloping and mounts.
Mgahinga is a unique forest which crowned with thick forests mounts sheltering beautiful flora and fauna within the region. Though the park is famous for its exciting gorilla adventures, the park has a lot to offer as it the only home for the unique golden monkeys endemic to Mgahinga. Also, it accommodates other primate species, over 115 bird species fly in tress of Mgahinga. Additionally, expect to find forest elephants and Buffalos interesting tree species with endemic species, butter flies among so many things. Mgahinga National Park is not a gorilla destination one should always rely on to trek mountain gorillas here, there is only one gorilla family meaning only a group of 8 guests can trek gorillas here daily.
How to access Mgahinga Gorilla National Park?
From Kampala on a road trip when seated in your safari vehicle you not less than a day to access Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. It’s a full day drive taking about 10 hours to drive from Kampala- Mbarara –Kabala – Kisoro then reach Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, it’s an adventurous drive through rolling western landscapes. However, also can do a fly to Rwanda and trek gorillas in Uganda and a drive from Kigali to Mgahinga can take about 5 hours. For the quick transfer, can decide to take a quick flight from Entebbe to Kihihi airstrip in Kisoro and relocate to the park from the airstrip for about an hour drive to reach the park.
The four activities to do in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Gorilla trekking adventure
Arguably gorilla trekking posse to be Africa’s most exciting adventure, trekking gorillas rewards with such unforgettable adventure experience. Not like other gorilla parks Mgahinga has a sparse gorilla population which proposes a most quiet gorilla adventure. With only one habituated gorilla family (Nyakagyezi gorilla family) available for trekking it means only 8 guests will be in the forest for gorillas on a daily basis.
Yes, for trekkers opting to be in a park with a sparse population, this is a perfect place to be. Additionally, you can secure a permit to trek gorillas from Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in advance about 3 month before the trekking date.
Trekking at Mgahinga is unpredictable as you have to walk a large portion of the forest before encountering the gorillas. However, the chances to finding giants are very high. Make sure before embarking for the trek you’re fully covered with long-sleeved shirt, trekking jungle boots, a bottle of drinking and some sugary eats. If you don’t trust your physical standings can decide and hire a porter from the local people who cost only US $10 to aid carrying your cargo. Trekking at Mgahinga can last from 1 hour to 8 hours when you’re looking for the jungle gentle giants.
Golden monkey trekking
In Uganda golden monkeys are endemic to Mgahinga National Park, Activities in Mgahinga Park, and here one has an opportunity for a close-up encounter with the golden monkeys. Golden monkeys at Mgahinga forest can be found along your gorilla trekking trail which baptize the park a place where gold meets sliver finding a silverback living along with the golden monkey. These monkeys are habituated to ensure an amazing wild encounter with them. To trek golden monkeys one should have a trekking permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) costing US $60 and for the golden monkey experience cost US $100.
Mountain Climbing adventure
The Virunga massif is characterized by raised landscapes and Mgahinga is raised up to 4127m. Beside gorilla trekking taking on a climbing adventure is another adventure score of the park. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is has three dormant volcanic mountains which propose for the super hiking experience and these 3 hikes include Mount. Sabinyo, Mount. Gahinga and Mount. Muhavura.
The hiking points
The most taxing hike is the Mount Muhavura (4127m) its trail cover 12km which is a seven hour hike. Mount Sabinyo (3669m) being at the border rewards with a scenic view of the three bordering countries of Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. The Sabinyo trail covers 14km being the longest trail for 8 hours and the most done hike. And the least burdening is the Mount Gahinga (3474m) the trail is 8km which takes about 6hours to hike. Taking on a climbing adventure at Mgahinga is not for heart faints but doesn’t require any kind of climbing experience but can get the experience from here.
Batwa Cultural Trail
The local cultural tour through the communities; UWA arranges these and the Batwa people take you around their communities narrating their forest stories of how the government forcefully evicted them without any compensation, this also a major Activities in Mgahinga Park.