Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is situated in southwestern Uganda. The Park covers the northern slopes of the three northern most Virunga Volcanoes and these include: Mt. Muhavura, Gahinga, and Sabinyo. The Park is about 10 km south of Kisoro town and is bordered to the south by the Republic of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo in the west. The park is a member and 33.7 sq. km, just 8% of the VCA. The entire Park is in Bufumbira County of Kisoro District.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is 33.7 sq. km and consists of the partly forested slopes of three extinct volcanoes. The huge cones of the Virunga volcanoes dominate the landscape and beckon you as you approach.
They offer a great overview of the area by walking up the viewpoint, just 15 minutes from Ntebeko Gate. Mgahinga Park has great biological importance because throughout the climatic changes of the Pleistocene ice ages, mountains such as these provided a refuge for mountain plants and animals, which moved up or down the slopes as climate became warmer or cooler. The Virungas are home to a large variety of wildlife, including about half the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. There are a number of activities that could be done here, say;
Gorilla and Golden Monkey Tracking
This is the most thrilling tourist activity in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The habituated gorilla family in this park is called the Nyakagezi, which consists of 9 members, 2 silverbacks, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants. However, due to their constant movement it is advisable to check the current location of the gorillas first.
Gorilla tracking can be strenuous and may take the whole day. The guide leads you through the gorilla’s world, explaining aspects of their ecology and behavior along the way. While on your walk you will come across and a number of wildlife species including flora and fauna.
There are 3 major active volcanoes within the park thus Mt. Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhavura. Mt. Sabinyo, which means the Old man’s teeth, offers 3 challenging peaks to climb. A climb up the mountain takes one up a ridge along the eastern side of the climb to the peak. The climb to peak11 involves walking a ridge with breath-taking drops into gorges of Rwanda and Uganda, a dual experience you will achieve here. Finally, the hike up to peak 111 is steep with several ladders and mush scrambling. You are guaranteed to get your hands dirty en-route to peak111! Once on top, you will be in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, what a triple experience that is!!! The journey takes about eight hours round trip to cover the 14km stretch.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is blessed with a unique bird fauna; 79 bird species have thus far been recorded within the park, including several species endemic to the East Congo Montane region. For the Virunga Conservation Area as a whole, over 295 species in the Virungas are endemic to the Albertine Rift Afromontane region representing 59% of the total of known endemic species.
Cultural Encounter-Batwa Trail
The Batwa are an indigenous people: hunter-gatherers and fierce warriors who depend on the forest for shelter, food and medicine. Trailing them enables one to experience the Batwa’s way of life where they’ll demonstrate their hunting techniques, honey gathering skills, point out medicinal plants among others.