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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga gorilla national park

This is home to the Mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. You can follow the Batwa trail here.

Mgahinga gorilla national park is Uganda’s smallest park. The colonial government first declared it a sanctuary in 1930.  However in 1991, it became a national park.

The Volcanoes

Mgahinga covers the slopes of the three Virunga Volcanoes. These include Mountain Muhavura (4,127 m) and Mountain Gahinga (3,474 m).  The other is Mountain Sabinyo  at 3,645 m. The three dormant volcanoes are climbed to the top. Nonetheless, they require no mountaineering experience.

Naturally, tropical rainforest covers the three mountains. There is a crater lake at the top of Mt Muhavura. Meanwhile,the views from the lake reach the Rwenzori mountains.

On one side, the Volcanoes national park is for Rwanda. But the Virunga belongs to  Congo. These three parks form the Virunga Conservation Area. This is an area of 434 sq. km. Each country protects its 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, it has only one habituated gorilla family. That is the Nyakagezi group. Thus the gorilla permits are limited to only 8 per day.

Mgahinga provides hikes to the volcanoes. Similarly, the caves plus golden monkey tracking.

The Batwa trail is an interesting activity in the park. The Batwa (pygmies) guides explain how the Twa people lived in the forest.  Previously, they were residents of the forest. However, the government evicted them to create the park.

Biodiversity:

This park is a home to almost half of the left Mountain Gorillas.  Yet, it is within the Virunga Massif. It is also a habitat of the rare golden monkeys. The park has the Albertine endemic bird species. There are 70-plus mammal species.

The large mammals in the park include Elephant and Buffalo.

Size of Mgahinga gorilla national park 

33.7 sq. km (8%) of the Virunga Conservation Area (VCA).

Location of Mgahinga

The park is found in the far south west. It shares borders with the Rwanda and D.R Congo. In addition, the park is situated 15 km from Kisoro town.

Accessibility:

The Entebbe to Kampala through Kabale and Kisoro is 505 kms.

Tourism activities:

Clearly, Gorilla and golden monkey tracking are the main activities. However, hiking and bird watching are also popular. There are nature walks as well. You can experiences the cultures while on the Batwa trail. And lastly cave exploration.

Accommodations around Mgahinga

The Mount Gahinga lodge is of high budget. On the other hand, the Travellers Rest is of Medium budget.

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