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Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest national park in Uganda, covering just 33 kmĀ², but it is very important because of its rich biodiversity. It is located in the far southwest corner of Uganda, in the Virunga mountain range, which includes many extinct volcanic mountains. Only two of these volcanoes, Nyiragongo (3,462m) and Nyamuragira (3,063m), are still active. The park's altitude ranges from 2,227m to 4,127m, with sharp peaks that reach into the sky. Three notable extinct volcanic mountains, Gahinga, Sabinyo, and Muhabura, are prominent features of the park.

The steep, rugged mountainsides are covered with woodland, thick bamboo, and afromontane vegetation. The high altitude and dense forests result in high rainfall and low temperatures, supporting continuous plant growth year-round. These conditions are ideal for many animals, birds, and other species, including the highly endangered mountain gorillas and the rare golden monkey, which is found only in the Virunga range.

Visitors to Mgahinga can enjoy hiking the mountains to see the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, bird watching, and taking in the scenic views. On Gahinga (3,474m), there is a 180m diameter crater swamp with beautiful vegetation, and on Muhabura (4,127m), there is a 36m diameter crater lake at the summit.

Another rewarding activity is visiting the Batwa, the indigenous people of the area. The Batwa are a short-statured people who used to live in the forests, relying on gathering fruits and roots, hunting, and fishing. Their lives were deeply connected to the forests. Visitors can learn about their sustainable way of living and their unique culture.

  • Things to do in Mgahinga National Park
  • Access to Mgahinga National Park
Things to do in Mgahinga National Park

Thing to do in mgahinga national park

Gorilla Trekking

In Mgahinga, gorilla trekking is much like in Bwindi. Treks start around nine in the morning. The length of your journey to reach the gorilla family determines how long the trek will be. You get about an hour to observe the gorillas from a distance of about 7 meters. Afterward, you return to the Park HQ through the forest, usually arriving by early afternoon.

In Mgahinga, there's one habituated gorilla family, the Nyakagazi group, though families from Rwanda also visit. This group includes three baby gorillas, two adult females, and five silverbacks.

Batwa Trail Experience

Before Mgahinga became a national park, the Batwa, or African pygmies, lived here as hunter-gatherers. Though displaced, some still live nearby and work as porters and guides. They share in tourism proceeds, and tipping for their guide services is appreciated.

The Batwa trail experience explores their history and transition. The Garama Cave, a sacred site where they once hid from invaders, offers insights into their past. Their agility in the forest serves as a reminder of their deep connection to the land.

Golden Monkey Tracking and Habituation

Golden monkeys, large and playful, are found in the bamboo forests of the Virunga Volcanoes. Their bright orange-gold bodies stand out against their black limbs and crown.

These monkeys roam the bamboo forest in search of food and are used to human presence. Tracking them involves a hike above 2,500 meters. You can choose a basic walk with an hour of observation or a longer habituation trek with a research team.

Access to Mgahinga National Park

Access to mgahinga National Park

Kisoro village, the entry point to southern Bwindi, is 14 kilometers away from Mgahinga.

To get to Kisoro, you can take a short flight from Entebbe in a small plane, with flights typically departing daily and taking about 90 minutes.

Alternatively, you can drive to Kisoro from Entebbe or Kampala, which takes around 10 hours in one day. Another option is to drive from Lake Mburo National Park, which usually takes 5 to 6 hours.

Popular Safari in Uganda

Check out these popular safaris in Uganda! They're just a few examples of what you can do. You can use these plans to get ideas or start planning. When you're ready, reach out to us, and our team of experts will help you create the perfect safari experience for you