Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the far south western part of Uganda bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo is Uganda’s second national park where mountain gorilla tracking is carried out.

Though mountain gorillas form the major attraction to the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the park also supports other additional wildlife which includes 76 mammalian species such as golden monkeys a localized and distinctive race of the Blue Monkeys, Black and White colobus monkey, leopard, forest elephant, and giant forest hogs as well as a number of bird species.

The park is also arguably the most scenic park in Uganda, offering panoramic views that stretch northwards to Bwindi and a southern skyline dominated by the steep volcanic cones of the Virungas, surely one of the most memorable and stirring sights in East Africa.

The park as well protects over 79 bird species including those endemic to the East Congo Montane region

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga National park is the smallest park with its 38 sq. km and located in the extreme southwest corner of Uganda bordering with Virunga National Park in Congo and Park des Volcanoes in Rwanda. The park is comprised of parts of three extinct volcanic mountains: Mt Muhavura (4127m), Mt. Gahinga (3474m) and Mt. Sabinyo (3669m) which act as an attraction to the mountain climbers. The park also acts as an attraction because it inhabits a diversity of mammals in the forest such as the great primate including 3 adult females, 2 silverbacks, 2 juveniles and infants. Other mammals include buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, golden monkeys, giant forest hog, several varieties of small rodents and small predators.180 species of birds are found here especially the Rwenzori Turaco and the Red Tufted Malachite Sunbird and crowned crane.

Activities

  • Gorilla trekking: This is the major tourist activity in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. In the park there is one habituated gorilla family. It consists of 9 members, 2 silverbacks, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants. Tracking from this park is easier given that this habituated family is no longer quite mobile since it has established its base at Nyakagezi.

  • Volcano hiking due to the presence of 3 extinct volcanoes. Mt. Gahinga (3474 m) takes its name from the small piles of stones found in the fields called “Gahinga”. On the 6 hours round trip hikers will pass through pure Bamboo forests. Mt. Sabinyo (3669 m) offers 3 challenging peaks to climb. It takes 8 hours for a round trip to cover the 14 km stretch. Mt. Muhavura (4127 m) provides some of the best views of the country. The hike takes 8 hours round trip covering 12 km.

  • Guided walk to the Garama cave which is 342m long and 14 deep and is now inhabited by bats. Sabinyo Gorge trail is of particular interest to bird watchers and it takes half a day passing through bamboo forests. Another trail leads to the Rugezi Swamp where it is possible to see birds, elephants and the giant forest hog.

  • Birding
    Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has got a number of unique bird species. The park has so far recorded about 79 bird species some of which are endemic to the East Congo Montane region. Common bird species in the park include Ibis, Whydah, Speckled Mouse birds, and Fire Finch Stonechat, Grey Capped Warbler, Waxbills, and Yellow-Vented Bulbul.

  • Local Community Tour – The park is also surrounded by different local communities including the Pygmy Batwa African tribe which in the past lived by hunting and gathering fruits from Bwindi Impenetrable forest.