Location. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located far deep in the South western part of Uganda on Uganda’s border with Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, its nearing Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Virunga National Park of Democratic Republic of Congo inclusive of Virunga Massif.
Geography. This Park is about 15 km by road south of Kisoro town and approximately 55 km by road west of Kabale which is the largest city in the sub-region. Mgahinga National Park is located within Bufumbira county of Kisoro District.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park includes three of the eight Virunga Mountains volcanoes in the Virunga massif and these volcanoes include Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhabura, and Mount Sabyinyo. Muhabura and Gahinga Volcanoes are situated on Uganda-Rwanda border, while Sabyinyo situated on the Uganda/Rwanda/Democratic Republic of the Congo borders. Mgahinga is characterised with a thick tropical and afro-montane forest comprising of different big tree species and other plant species, bamboo forests are also situated within the park plus different swampy areas where most of its species are habited
Biodiversity. Mgahinga National Park in the South western part of Uganda provides habitat for different Wildlife species which include Wild animals, primates, different plant species, different insect species including butterflies, Mantis, bees, mosquitoes and more, different reptiles which include geckos, chameleon, snakes like python, gaboon viper, black cobra and more, and different bird species recorded sightable including forest birds and water birds.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the second Gorilla hosting destination in Uganda if not Bwindi impenetrable National park both located in the South western part of Uganda; Mgahinga has least numbers of Uganda’s gorilla population with only one habituated Gorilla family for trekking known as “Nyakagezi Gorilla family”. Mgahinga is also popularly known to be the only destination in Uganda providing habitat to the species of Golden monkey primates which are mostly found in the bamboo forested areas.
How to get there? Since this Park is located in the South western part of Uganda, by road the best route to reach this Park is Kampala- Masaka- Mbarara highway including the enroute stop over at the equator for some brief explanation about the equator, photographs and snacks, then continue with the journey up to the Park using suitable 4×4 wheel drive Safari jeep. It’s about 482 kms from Kampala up to Mgahinga National Park taking about 8-9 hours for the drive. Another option of reaching this Park is by landing in Rwanda at Kigali airport and transfer, cross borders either via kyanika or Katuna border up to Mgahinga National park, this is considered to be a shorter route when compared with that from Kampala.
What to do. Several exciting activities are done while in Mgahinga National Park and include as listed below.
Gorilla trekking. This involves visiting the shy endangered Mountain Gorillas in the mist and share with them, one hour period is allowed while in the presence of these apes seeing them playing with their young ones, feeding, laughing plus taking photos and videos of them for memories. To visit these shy endangered Mountain Gorillas you must buy a Gorilla permit which issues you permission and it costs $600 USD per person usually booked in advance before your trekking dates such that it’s processed in time.
Golden monkey tracking. Golden Monkeys in Uganda are only habited in Mgahinga National Park, the tracking is usually started in the morning from the park offices after a short briefing by officials in a group with a park ranger following the well-established routes heading to the jungle in search of these primate species, there is no limited number of people suggested for the tracking like how it’s done for Mountain Gorillas but rather they depend on number of people available for the activity. These primates are mostly found in mountainous areas characterised with bamboo forests, so the tracking requires you to be physically fit. The permit for Golden Monkey tracking costs $ 50 USD per person in Uganda.
Batwa trail experience. This usually involves visiting the Batwa people in their local communities and experience their ways of living through participating in their cultural dances, home work like peeling Matooke, fetching firewood and water, playing games and more. The experience also involves a village walk meeting with the local elders in their communities, this experience usually goes for almost a full day while with these people.This experience costs $80 USD per person.
Accommodation. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is situated with different categorised accommodation facilities provided for tourists to stay while on a visit to this exciting park. These facilities are categorised into three which include budget, midrange and luxury facilities.