Tourist Activities in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in South Western Uganda in the district of Kisoro at the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda in the Virunga mountains incorporating 3 volcanoes; Sabinyo, Gahinga, and Muhavura. The altitude ranges from 2,227m to 4,127m and the park has an area cover of 35 square kilometers making it the smallest in Uganda.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is adjacent to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo forming the transboundary Virunga Conservation Area.
The park was established in 1930 as a gorilla game sanctuary and later upgraded to a national park in 1991. Mgahinga is a word derived from “Gahinga” a Kiyarwanda word meaning a pile of volcanic lava stone heaps around where cultivation is done.
What to do in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Hiking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is done in the volcanic peaks all of which can be hiked in a day. Climbing to the top of these peaks rewards you with stunning views of the Virunga ranges and the surrounding environment.
This is one of the world’s sought-after wildlife experiences. The activity starts in the morning after the briefing. While walking through the trails, you will be accompanied by an armed game ranger and besides encountering mountain gorillas, you will also spot other primates and animal species. The gorillas can be located in 2-3 hours depending on their location and you will be allowed to spend one hour in their presence watching them play, feed, and go about their daily lives.
Golden Monkey Trekking
The golden monkeys are endemic to the Virunga ranges. Golden monkey tracking also starts early morning with a briefing. The activity takes about 30 minutes to 3 hours and once you encounter the striking orange-coated monkey, you are given one hour to watch them and observe their habits. One can also opt for the golden monkey habituation experience and here you spend more time with them.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the best birding destinations in Uganda with several scenic locations in the forest to spot different bird species like; Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori Double-collared sunbird, Archer’s Robbin, Strange Weaver, African Hill Babbler, Crested Mantled Flycatcher, Dusky Crimsonswing, Shelly’s Crimsonswing, Doherty’s Bushrike.
The Mgahinga forests are home to the local Batwa pygmies. The trail leading to their communities goes through the Gama caves. You will get an opportunity to experience their traditional way of living through the performance of music and dance, food gathering, and many other activities.