Facts about Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; Mgahinga Gorilla National park is popularly known as home to great mountain gorillas which can be encountered in a few destinations whole over the world. More so, the park is renowned as one of the smallest national parks among Uganda’s national parks, located in the southwestern region of Uganda approximately 8 to 9 hours drive.
More then, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was created in 1991 and covers an area of about 33.9 square kilometers that sits in the Virunga Mountains and is composed of three inactive Volcanoes namely; Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Sabyinyo.
According to weather conditions, the park comprises an altitude that ranges from 2,227 to 4,127 meters and is also part of the Nile River watershed area. It is bordered by Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and the southern sector of Virunga National park in the December Republic of the Congo. More facts, Mgahinga Gorilla National park is about 15 kilometers by road south of the town of Kisoro and estimates 55 kilometers by road west of Kabale which is the largest city in the sub-region.
Climate Changes; The park’s area usually experiences two wet rainy seasons which are; February to May and September to December. Mgahinga’s average monthly rainfall varies from 250 mm in October to 10 mm in July.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is comprised of bamboo forests, Albertine Rift montane forests, Ruwenzori –Virunga montane moorlands with tree heath as well as an alpine zone at higher altitudes. All these are inhabitants of wildlife species such as the primates –commonly known as mountain gorillas, and active golden monkeys. The most sought species on safari here are the iconic mountain gorillas which can be grouped in a group of more than 30 individuals splintered between one habituated and two unhabituated families as well as the beautiful golden monkey.
However, the park boosts with endemic species whose number is now restricted to the Virunga and one other forest in Rwanda. Mgahinga National Park is habitant of 76 mammal species including; black and white colobus, leopard, elephants, giant forest hog, bush pig, bushbuck, buffalo, black-fronted duiker, and a range of rodents, bats, and small predators.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is truly hoven of birders with a range of endemic bird species and some of the species to includes; the red-faced woodland warbler, Grauer’s swamp warbler, montane nightjar, stripe-breasted tit, handsome spurfowl, dusky crimson-wing, red-throated alethe, Kivu ground thrush, Rwenzori turaco, Rwenzori double-collared sunbird, mountain masked Apalis, Archer’s ground robin, regal sunbird, strange weaver, montane nightjar, Rwenzori turaco, Rwenzori batis among others.
Historically, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was created in 1991 in an area that used to be a game reserve between the 1930s and 1950, but during those decades the area was converted to a crop field in lower altitudes. Before the area was home to Batwa people but in the early 1990s were relocated to areas outside the national park’s borders.
The park is known as Uganda’s smallest national park and hosts popular tourist activities including; Mountain gorilla tracking, golden monkey tracking, nature walks, volcano hiking, bird watching, and visiting the Batwa community nature walks can be done on the gorge platform. However, travelers visiting Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can take 9 hour drive from Kampala to reach the park. 0r you can connect to Mgahinga national park via the Cyanika border while traveling from Rwanda to Uganda’s Mgahinga which takes about a 4 to 5 hours drive. Alternatively, you can connect to the park by daily domestic flight from Entebbe International Airport to land you at Kihihi Airstrip or Kisoro Airport ‘’1:30’’
Things to Do and See in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park;
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a popular home of the world’s great mountain gorillas thus making gorilla trekking the top key activity in the park. Gorilla trekking is an astonishing activity and the best-done activity on Uganda Gorilla safaris. The trek starts with a briefing about gorilla trekking rules and after, the park range will group you into several 8 individuals and can last 30 to 7 hours depending on the location of the gorillas in their search for food. You will head out in search of gorillas, trackers always keep rules given in your mind for your safety. Once you allocate the gorilla family you were assigned to, an hour will be given to you to watch them as they play, feed, breastfeed, and behaviors as well as enjoy memorable photography and video capturing.
Golden Monkey Tracking
Golden monkey tracking is quite exciting activity that starts early in the morning and can take about 4 hours to look for them. The moment you find them, you will be allowed the opportunity to view and take unforgettable photos of the primates. Trackers can enjoy great sights of these primates as they swing around the tree branches or follow them as they eat thus enjoying the activity. On the visit remember to pack a camera, binoculars, waterproof hiking boots, gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and a rain poncho among others, Facts About Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Volcano Hiking /Mountain Climbing
This is also a stunning activity that can be done on one of three volcanoes namely; Sabinyo, Gahinga, and Muhavura. If you tend to reach one of the peaks which gives a spectacular view of the countryside of Rwanda, along mount Sabinyo you will be able to sightsee mushy vegetation whose uncomfortable impact can be reduced by dressing properly such as waterproof hiking boots.
On a visit to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, never leave the park without visiting the Batwa people in their community. If you tend to visit them, you will enjoy their interesting historical story, enjoy their traditional dance and songs, and visit the garama cave among others.
Mgahinga Gorilla national park is home to various Albertine Rift endemics bird species and bird species to see include; Cape Robin, White-starred Robin, Olive Pigeon, Rwenzori Batis, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, White Starred Robin, Greater Double Collard Sunbird, Brown woodland, Malachite and Scarlet – tufted sunbirds among others.