Top Safari Activities in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park ; Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of Uganda’s inhabitant for critically endangered mountain gorillas besides Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and other primate’s species can be seen during the trek, its nature is rewarding with good scenic landscape among others. The park is located in southwestern region of Uganda in Kisoro district and was established in 1991 covering an area of about 33.9 square kilometer and it’s under protection of Uganda Wildlife Authority a government body. Meanwhile, the park is located in the Virunga Mountains and surrounded with three inactive volcanoes namely Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabyinyo. More so, the park ranges from 2,227 to 4,127 meter and is part of the Nile River watershed area.
Location; Mgahinga Gorilla national park is about 15 kilometers by road south of the Kisoro town and estimates 55 kilometers by road west of Kabale the largest city in the sub-region.
Climate; The park’s area experiences two wet rainy seasons; February to May and September to December.
Wildlife; Overall, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is surrounded with bamboo forest, Albertine Rift montane forests, Ruwenzori Virunga montane moorlands with tree heath as well as an alpine zone that lies at higher altitudes. All these are inhabitants of diversity of mammal species with over 76 animal species as the most sought full are the great mountain gorillas and active golden monkeys and other species to see includes black and white colobus ,leopard ,bushbuck ,black-fronted duiker ,giant forest hog ,bush pig and other small predators. The park is also a great location for birding Albertine Rift’s endemic birds and some bird species to see here include; Mountain masked apalis, Rwenzori turaco, Red-throated alethe, Stripe-breasted tit, Blue headed sunbird, Rwenzori double-collard sunbird, Mountain masked apalis, Montane nightjar, Red-faced woodland warbler as well as Grauer’s swamp warbler among others.
Accessibility; The park is approximately 8 to 9 hours’ drive from Kampala main city to the main visited destination and the traveling is tantalizing with great views of the country side, rolling hills, tea and banana plantation with scenic land scenic.
Alternatively, you can access the Mgahinga Gorilla National park by a domestic flight from Entebbe International Airport and lands you to Kihihi Airstrip or Kisoro Airstrip..
Here are various activities tourists can do on safari in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park;
Gorilla Trekking –Mountain Gorilla Trekking
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to the world’s endangered mountain gorillas that attracts millions of tourists to come meet up with our lovely cousins said to share 98% DNA of genes. This is activity starts early in the morning at 7am after breakfast head to park headquarters for briefing about dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking experience. After you will meet up with the park ranger to lead you to the gorilla family, you will hike through bamboo forest where you will be able to spot other species. The trekking experience can take about 30 to 6 hours’ drive, the duration depends on the location of gorillas or how far they moved in their search for food. But before you go for gorilla trekking activating put this in mind that there some guideline or instruction you need to follow by the guide; If you’re ill or sick not allowed to trek gorillas, if you have to ease yourself while gorilla trekking, ask the range to make you a hall for about 30cm and after you must bury it. Flash photography not allowed and all treks must be 15 years of age and above as well as only 8 people to trek gorillas per group, Top Safari Activities in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Once you locate them, the ranger will give you 1 hour to spend with them learn about their life style, play, feeding, take pictures and video recording of gorilla for your future remembrance. All you need not to forget is a clear digital camera.
Golden Monkey Tracking
These two activity they may look the same gorilla trekking experience and golden monkeys. Although, golden monkey species these are active species that gives a reward time for you watching them as they play around different tree branches and how they move while feeding as you keep on following them. It’s done on hiking through the bamboo forest trails as in search of habituated monkey family and if you locate them the experience is fantastic. While on visit to the park remember to bring your camera to freeze your golden monkey adventure memories, pair of binoculars of spontaneous birding, hiking gear such as waterproof hiking boots, gloves, rain poncho ,long sleeved shirt among others .
Bird watching – Mgahinga Albertine Rift Endemics
The park is a birding paradise where you can be able to spot beautiful bird species such as Cape Robin-Chat, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Handsome Francolin, Kivu Ground Thrush and Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Batis, Cape Ribin, White-starred Robin, Brown Woodland Warbler, Greater Double Collard Sunbird, Malachite and Scarlet-tufted Sunbirds, Striped breasted Tit, Western Green Tinker bird among others. Mgahinga Gorilla national park is good location for viewing various checklist of Albertine Rift Endemic especially done on the gorge trails. On your birding safari here be ready to bird the whole day or even you can pack your lunch boxes.
Visit Batwa Trail
Before the Mgahinga being established into a national park, the area was a home for Batwa people and mountain gorillas plus other species. Of which the Batwa used to live the mountain gorilla in peace and harmony. Note they are known as the hunter gatherers. Then later had to be shifted to the area and some remained they stay around the park, of which some participate in the tourism industry as porters and guides. Visit them and experience their beautiful life time on how they live with mountain gorillas in the forest, enjoy their traditional dance and songs. As your hiking the forest, you can visit Garama cave which used as their hiding ground during the Bantu invasion that happen years back.
Volcano Hiking or Mountain Climbing
This activity is rewarding as the as interesting volcanoes that form part of the Virunga Ranges found in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda at the same time. For each of these mountain it has its own translation; Sabyinyo means old man’s teeth, Gahinga means Pile of stones and Mahavura means a guide. Mount Muhavura is the highest of them all with the advantages of gainful views of other Virunga Mountains from its summit. It can be viewed from as far as Kisoro town and is justifiably called the guide given has leads one to the other mountains in the ranges. More then, Mountain Sabinyo is a gateway to Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo while in Uganda. While at its peak you’re geographically standing in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo at the same time. The way that leads to the summit of Sabinyo is filled with mushy vegetation whose Uncomfortable impact can be reduced by dressing attire like the waterproof hiking boots. Climbing up Mount Gahinga, you can also a hike through a bamboos forest. There is no challenge in climbing each of these three mountains to its summit in a day as long as you are in good physical shape.
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