Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the Uganda`s national park with an area of 33.7km2 in size, is the Ugandan part of the bigger Virunga Conservation Area, which is a jointly protected area with Congo and Rwanda. The park covers the northern slopes of three extinct northern volcanoes namely Mount Gahinga (3.474 m), Mount Sabinyo (3.669 m) and Mount Muhavura (4.127 m).
Mgahinga is part of the Virunga Conservation Area (434km sq) which is a larger ecosystem includes two adjacent parks in Congo and Rwanda respectively.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is cultural heritage featuring in the history, folklore and traditional healing practices for local people. Mgahinga is named after Gahinga Mountain plus the initial of Muhavura Mountain. “Gahinga” is a Kinyarwanda word which means a pile of volcanic lava stone heaps around which cultivation is carried out and this is where the park derived its name.
Unique Attractions/ What to See in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park-Uganda
Mgahinga National Park is a famous home for a wider population of golden monkeys and some families of mountains gorillas summed as Nyakagezi a trans-boundary species.
The vegetation of the park is typically afro-montane with a permanent bamboo forest. About 76 mammal species have been recorded in this park, including bushbucks, buffaloes, golden monkeys, elephants, leopards. A count of 115 bird species can also be spotted in this park, including the endangered Rwenzori Turaco, black kite, crowned hornbill and crowned crane.
What to do/Activities in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park-Uganda
Volcano climbing, each of the three volcanoes can be climbed with a day trip hike as recommended by the lonely planet, without special mountain equipment. The Batwa Cultural Experience, visits to the Garama Cave for an outstanding cultural experience which is 432 m. in length and was initially a home of the pygmies’ population.
The main activity still remains “Gorilla tracking” to the only one habituated family of mountain gorillas. A number of one day nature walks are available from the gate at Ntebeko (the Sabinyo Gorge trail and Rugezi Swamp trail), especially for bird watching activities, Golden monkey trekking is now famous at the park.
Where to stay/ Accommodation in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park-Uganda
For clients who want to visit this park accommodation can be organized from the basic Camp-site to the luxurious full board hotels, these include Mt Gahinga Lodge (luxury facility), Kisoro Traveler’s Rest Hotel & Kisoro Tourist Hotel (mid Lodge), Mt. Gahinga Rest Camp, Rugigana Campsite and Mubano Hotel (Budget facilities)
Accessibility/How to get Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda
One can access Mgahinga National Park by road or air transport. Daily morning flights from Entebbe Airport are readily available to Kisoro Airstrip.
From Kampala, Mount Muhavura is about 540km (about 8 hours) via Kabale on an excellent paved road surface at the top of Kisoro town. On a daily basis, public transport is available by bus. It is about 13km from Kisoro town to Mgahinga Gorilla National park and can be accessed by public transport.