Mgahinga national park- Mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and Batwa trail
Mgahinga national park was first declared a game sanctuary in 1930. It was gazetted a national park in 1991. Mgahinga national park is Uganda’s smallest amongst the ten parks.
The park covers the northern slopes of the three northern most Virunga Volcanoes: Mountain Muhavura (4,127 m), Mountain Gahinga (3,474 m), and Mountain Sabinyo (3,645 m). The three dormant volcanoes can be climbed and 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 and westwards is Democratic Republic of Congo. Each country protects its own part of the Virunga volcanoes. 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.
Gorilla tracking is still the main tourism activity. However Mgahinga national park is less visited than Bwindi Impenetrable national park. This is because this park only has one habituated gorilla family (the Nyakagezi group). Mgahinga provides challenging hikes to the volcanoes and magnificent caves plus golden monkey tracking.
The Batwa trail is an interesting activity around Mgahinga national park. The Batwa (pygmies) local guides explain how the Twa people used to live in the forest before they were forcefully evicted.
It’s a home to half of the remaining Mountain Gorillas within the Virunga Massif and a habitat of the rare golden monkeys. It also has the Albertine endemic bird species. 70-plus species large mammals have been recorded including Elephant and Buffalo.
Size of Mgahinga: 33.7 sq. km (8% of the Virunga Conservation Area (VCA).
Location: 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.
Accommodation: Mount Gahinga Lodge(High budget), Travellers Rest (Medium budget)