Mgahinga gorilla national park- Mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and the Batwa trail
Mgahinga gorilla national park is Uganda’s smallest park. It was first declared a game sanctuary in 1930. However in 1991, it was gazetted a national park .
The park covers the northern slopes of the three northern most Virunga Volcanoes. These include Mountain Muhavura (4,127 m), Mountain Gahinga (3,474 m), and Mountain Sabinyo (3,645 m). The three dormant volcanoes can be climbed to the top. They require no mountaineering experience.
Tropical rain-forest covers the three mountains. There is a crater lake at the top of Mt Muhavura. The views from the lake reach as far as the Rwenzori mountains. To the south, the park is boarded by the Republic of Rwanda. To the west lies the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Volcanoes national park is for Rwanda while the Virunga belongs to the democratic republic of Congo. These three parks together form the Virunga Conservation Area, an area of 434 sq. km. Each country protects its own part of the Virunga volcanoes.
Gorilla tracking is still the main tourism activity. However Mgahinga gorilla national park is less visited than Bwindi Impenetrable national park. This is because, this park has only one habituated gorilla family (the Nyakagezi group). Therefore gorilla permits are limited to only 8 per day.
Mgahinga provides hikes to the volcanoes and magnificent caves plus golden monkey tracking.
The Batwa trail is an interesting activity around the park. The Batwa (pygmies) local guides explain how the Twa people used to live in the forest before they were forcefully evicted.
This park is a home to half of the remaining Mountain Gorillas within the Virunga Massif. It is also a habitat of the rare golden monkeys. It also has the Albertine endemic bird species. There are 70-plus mammal species.
Large mammals have been recorded in the park including Elephant and Buffalo.
Size of Mgahinga gorilla national park
33.7 sq. km (8% of the Virunga Conservation Area (VCA).
Far south west, bordering Republic of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, 15 km from Kisoro town.
Accessibility: Entebbe-Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara – Kabale – Mgahinga – 505 km
Bird viewing, cultural encounters (Batwa trail), gorilla and golden monkey tracking, hiking and nature walks, mountain / volcano climbing and cave exploration.
Mount Gahinga Lodge(High budget), Travellers Rest (Medium budget)