Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – Uganda Gorilla Trekking Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is positioned in the southwestern side of Uganda. It shelters 3 of the 8 Virunga volcanoes; Mount Gahinga (3474m), Mount Sabyinyo (3645m) and Mount Muhabura (4127m) and it spreads to form part of the larger Virunga Conservation Area. It is also bordered by Rwanda to the south and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the west.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park occupies an area of only 33.7sq.kms which makes it the smallest of the 10 Uganda safari parks. The park shelter both mountain gorillas and golden monkeys plus 6 unique vegetation zones (the tree heathers, Afromontane, bamboo, montane woodland, montane forest and former farmland). It was founded as a national park in 1991 and today, it stands out as one of the best gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking safari destinations.
Wildlife species in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park the world’s iconic tourist attractions making it one of the most visited Uganda safari parks. The park shelters over 76 mammal species including among others the endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, golden cats, patas monkeys, spotted hyenas, golden cats, elephants, bush bucks, buffaloes, blue monkeys, baboons, black and white colobus monkeys.
Bird-life of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Over 180 bird species have been recorded in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park including the Albertine rift endemic species. This protected area has different bird habitats hosting diversity of birds making it one of the important birding sites in Uganda.
Birding in this park involves sighting birds such as the cinnamon bracken warbler, olive pigeon, western green tinker bird, white starred robin, Rwenzori turaco, Kivu ground thrush, Rwenzori batis, cape robin, archer’s robin chat, malachite, greater double collared sunbirds, striped breasted tit, brown woodland warbler, scarlet tufted sunbirds, Doherty’s bush-shrike, blue headed sunbird, black headed waxbill, Alpine chat, fire finch stonechat, rufous chested swallow, red throated alethe, red necked spur fowl, paradise flycatcher, pin-tailed whydah to mention but a few.
Things to do in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is stands out as the only gorilla safari park where tourists can track mountain gorillas without worries of overcrowding. The park accommodates only 8 visitors on gorilla trekking safari each day because it has only one gorilla family (Nyakagezi group) set for tourism purposes. It is the best alternative for tourists who miss to track mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with over 20 habituated gorilla family groups.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a lifechanging experience you shouldn’t miss out while on Uganda safari. It takes you on foot-walk experience starting from Ntebeko gate after briefing at early in the morning and it can last for about 2-6 hours.
To engage in this remarkable primate experience on Uganda safari in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, a valid permit is a must-have tool. You can book a gorilla permit through our reservation team at $700 (for non-foreign residents), $600 (foreign residents) and Ugx 250000 (East Africa citizens). Directly, you can purchase gorilla permits through Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
Golden Monkey Tracking
Golden monkey tracking is one of the most thrilling primate adventures offered to tourist on safari in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Over 40 to 65 golden monkeys have been habituated for tourism purposes and this is the only Uganda safari park where golden monkey tacking is carried out.
A bird watching safari in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park provides the best bird sighting experience to visitors on Uganda safari. There are many birding trails to explore but the Gorge trail is remarkable for bird enthusiasts.
The various birds to identify on birding tour in this park include olive pigeon, western green tinker bird, white starred robin, Rwenzori turaco, Kivu ground thrush, Rwenzori batis, cape robin, archer’s robin chat, malachite, greater double collared sunbirds, striped breasted tit, brown woodland warbler, scarlet tufted sunbirds, Doherty’s bush-shrike, blue headed sunbird, black headed waxbill, Alpine chat, fire finch stonechat, rufous chested swallow, red throated alethe, red necked spur fowl, paradise flycatcher, pin-tailed whydah.
Guided Nature Walks
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers the best on-foot experience to tourists on Uganda safari. Guided nature walks/hikes in this park are best carried out around the mountainous areas of the park. This takes you through the park’s unique vegetation, Rugezi swamp for breathtaking view of Lake Mutanda, farmland, birds and a lot more.
There are 3 magical conical peaks in Mgahinga National Park, each offering breathtaking view of the park’s surrounding areas. It is a must-visit park when it comes to volcano climbing adventure in Uganda. The 3 volcanoes in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to consider for hiking include Muhabura volcano which takes hikers about 8 hours, Gahinga (this is where the park takes its name) and it is well-known as a pile of Lava stones heaps. Hikers require 6 hours to complete hiking through Gahinga volcano and Sabyinyo Volcano takes visitors 8 hours to make a complete hike.
Garama Cave Exploration
The Garama caves are nestled about 4kms from Ntebeko gate. These caves extend about 200m and they are famous as the Batwa’s sacred place. It is possible visiting these caves while on Uganda gorilla safari in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Batwa Trail – Batwa Cultural Experience
If you are interested in cultural safari experience, a visit to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is worth while on Uganda safari tour. The trail gives tourists insight into the Batwa’s unique lifestyles, traditions, dances, music performances, the ancient hunting and gathering techniques and many more.
Best time to visit Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is open to tourists all year-round. But the dry season is considered to be the best to navigate through the park while on gorilla safari or golden monkey tour. The dry months here occur from June to September and December to February. They are the most preferred months by tourists on gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda.
This doesn’t mean, no activity is conducted in the park during the rainy/wet season which starts from March to May and October to November. Most lodges in the park reduce on the rates for accommodation and this makes the wet season the best if you are on Uganda budget safari.
Where to stay in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Not sure of where to stay while on Uganda safari in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park? Some of the classic accommodation options in and around this premier gorilla safari park include Mount Gahinga Lodge (Luxury), Traveler’s Rest Hotel Kisoro, Mucha Hotel Kisoro (Mid-range), Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Amajambere Iwacu community camp (Budget).
How to access Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
The two best options you can access Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are by road/by air. By road, tourists can commence their journey from Entebbe/Kampala through Masaka-Mbarara to Kisoro/Kisoro. You will take about 8-9 hours driving and a 4×4 Uganda safari vehicle is recommended.
You can also drive from Kigali via Katuna/Chanika border to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and this is approximately 3-4 hours’ drive. By air, flight services can be scheduled from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe airport to Kihihi or Kisoro airstrip where you can be picked then transferred to the park.
Book Your Uganda Gorilla Safari to Mgahinga National Park