Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the far south of the country, adjoining the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. It is 1 of only 2 strongholds in Uganda offering a protected habitat to the Mountain gorillas, while it is Uganda's smallest national park.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Highlights
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located on Uganda's far south-western border shared with Rwanda. It is the smallest national park in Uganda, but it forms part of the greater Virunga Conservation Area adjoining with the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Here is 1 of Uganda's 2 populations of protected Mountain gorillas.
There is 1 habituated group of gorillas (as opposed to Bwindi National Park's 4 groups) in Mgahinga and they have the freedom of crossing the fenceless border into Rwanda, making gorilla trekking less reliable in this park.
Mgahinga Gorilla Park headquarters are responsible for protecting Uganda's portion of the Virunga Conservation Area (of which it only makes up 8%). There are 3 of the 8 Virunga Mountains that lie on the Rwanda-Uganda border; all 3 of which can be hiked to in one day by guests staying in the Mgahinga.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a tropical rainforest, located at the base of volcanoes. It makes up 8% of the Virunga Conservation Area that is shared between Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC.
Mgahinga also boasts 3 peaks, which are part of the famous and beautiful Virunga Mountain range. These peaks are Mount Gahinga, Mount Sabyinyo, and Mount Muhavura, the highest peak in the national park. All peaks can be hiked.
This park was created with the purpose of protecting the Mountain gorilla, but it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey, as well as protecting the heritage of the indigenous Batwa pygmy tribe.
Guests at Mgahinga will discover all the nooks and crannies of this mountainous and luscious area. There are many caves dotted along the slopes, one of which has particular Batwa history.
Mgahinga is very small in size and there is not much on offer regarding accommodation. There is the town of Kisoro very close by, which could offer a place to stay, but we have only one recommendation for a lodging in Mgahinga:
Mount Gahinga Lodge is an eco-friendly lodge situated at the base of the three Virunga volcanoes in Mgahinga Park. This is a luxury lodge with 9 thatched bandas, equipped with ensuite bathrooms, and a sun-room with a view of the volcanoes and valleys below. The terrace and lush gardens at the lodge provide a peaceful setting for afternoon relaxation.
Guests at the lodge have the freedom and access to explore the national park, hike the volcanic peaks and view the Crater Lake at the summit of the highest one. The Batwa Trail is offered to guests at Mount Gahinga, which is an incredibly interesting and unique look at the history of the area.
How to Get There
Uganda is a very special destination in East Africa, neighbouring Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are 10 national parks in Uganda, and due to its small size, most of these destinations are accessible by road.
Sun Safaris will fly guests to the main international airport in the country, which is in Entebbe. This is the primary entry point into the country, located less than 50km from the capital city, Kampala.
Most national parks do have local airstrips, which can be used for guests to reach their safari destinations in record time, but at quite a cost. Light air transfers to the parks will depart from Entebbe International Airport at scheduled times.
Alternatively, upon arrival in Entebbe, guests will connect with a road transfer arranged by Sun Safaris to take guests to their booked accommodation.
Mgahinga Park Game Viewing and Activities
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park consists of a lush, tropical rainforest at the base of 3 extinct Virunga volcanoes. Plenty of bamboo and mosses are found along the slopes, which aside from creating beautiful scenery, act as a food supply for Mountain gorillas roaming around the area.
This is Uganda's smallest national park at only 33.7 sq km and it is at a high elevation with some peaks reaching over 4000m. The area is full of birdlife, mammal and plant life. Guests can look forward to sightings of the mountain gorillas as they move around the area, but they can move into Rwanda, so sightings in Mgahinga are not reliable.
The local Batwa pygmies are indigenous hunter-gatherers in the area who have lived amid the mountains of Mgahinga for many years. It is an exciting and interesting part of a visit to this park to meet with and speak to the Batwa people. Take a guided tour with them and learn about the names of the volcanic peaks and what history they have.