Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga National Park – ”Where Silver Meets Gold”

Mgahinga National Park is the smallest National Park in Uganda that covers 33.9km.sq and is located in the South western part of Uganda. The park was founded in 1991 and happened to be one of the few national parks in the world that habour Mountain Gorillas the rest being Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is also blessed with a unique type of primates known as the Golden Monkeys which can also be found in Volcanoes National Park.

Mgahinga National Park is also blessed with unique features like Mount Sabinyo and Mount Muhavura which are situated in the Virunga Ranges which cut into Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. Tourist are usually thrilled when they go hiking on these Virunga mountains. Among the other attractions that a traveler can find in Mgahinga National Park is Lake Mutanda and the Batwa People who give a great cultural experience when they visit the park.

Explore Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Virunga National Park Safaris

Mgahinga National Park Safaris

Virunga Gorilla Trekking Families

Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga

Congo Gorilla Safari Lodges

Golden Monkey Trekking in Mgahinga

Congo gorilla operators

Tour Operators

Virunga Information

Travel Information

Virunga Gorilla Permits

Gorilla Trekking Permits

Explore the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga gorilla national park is the smallest national park in Uganda located in southwestern region in Kisoro district bordering with Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo. The national park was gazette in 1991 mainly to protect the endangered mountain gorillas and it covers a total area of 33.7 square kilometers. Mgahinga gorilla national park is a home of about 39 mammals including the mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, duikers, giant forest hogs, about 115 bird species and three Virunga volcanoes that is mount Muhavura which is 4127 meters above the sea level, mount Gahinga which is 3474 meters above the sea level and mount Sabinyo which is 3645meters above the sea level.

Top things to do in Mgahinga gorilla national park

Gorilla trekking

Gorilla trekking is the major activity carried out in Mgahinga gorilla national park. Mgahinga gorilla national park is one of the destinations in Africa that harbor the endangered mountain gorillas and other destinations include Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Democratic republic of Congo. Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park starts in the morning with a briefing about the rules and regulation at the park headquarters. After the briefing you will start trekking in the jungle with an experienced guide which takes about 30 minutes to 7 hours depending on where the mountain gorillas are located because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. During trekking you will be able to see other primate species, birds, different plant and tree species among others and once the gorillas are found you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you an opportunity to learn about their behaviors, habits, watch them feed, breastfeed, play, take photos and record the moments.

Golden monkey trekking

Mgahinga gorilla national park also offers golden monkey trekking which is an interesting and active activity that involves moving into the forest in search of the golden monkeys. Mgahinga gorilla national park is the only destination in Uganda that harbors the endangered golden monkeys and trekking starts in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters just like gorilla trekking. After the briefing you will start trekking in the forest in search of the golden monkeys which takes about 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on where the golden monkeys are located. Trekking of the golden monkeys in Mgahinga gorilla national park is not so strenuous like gorilla trekking because golden monkeys live in lower areas, during trekking you will look out for fresh leftovers of bamboo shoot because golden monkeys do not leave behind clear evidence of their previous day’s location. Once the golden monkeys are found you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their environment which gives you an opportunity to observe their behaviors, watch them jump from one tree to another, take photos with flash cameras, record the moments among others.

Mountain climbing

Mgahinga gorilla national park has 3 dormant volcanoes within its heart where visitors can do hiking adventures. They include Gahinga volcano which is 3474 meters above the sea level, Gahinga is the smallest of the 3 volcanoes in the park and hiking takes about 6 hours round trip depending on your hiking speed. When you reach on top of the summit you will find the Crater filled with swamp and giant lobelia.

Mount Sabinyo which is 3669 meters above the sea level and hiking takes about 8 hours round trip. During the hike you will pass through steep ridges, dense forest with Afro-Montane vegetation where you will enjoy scenic views of primates like golden monkeys, duikers, forest elephants, different bird species among others. When you reach on top of the summit you will be standing in three countries that is Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.

Mount Muhavura which is the highest volcano of the three volcanic mountains in Mgahinga gorilla national park. Mount Muhavura stands at an altitude of 4127 meters above the sea level and hiking takes about 10 hours. During hiking you will pass through different vegetation zones and the summit offers spectacular views of other Virunga volcanoes, Queen Elizabeth national park, Lake Edward, Rwenzori mountain ranges, 

 Bird watching 

Mgahinga gorilla national park is a home of more than 115 recorded bird species which makes it one of the best birding destinations in Uganda. There are different birding destinations in Mgahinga national park such as Montane forest, bamboo belt, the gorge trail between Gahinga and Sabinyo among others. During bird watching bird lovers will be able to view different bird species including Rwenzori batis, brown crowned Tchagra, regal sunbird, blue headed sunbird, streaky seedeater, Rwenzori batis, bronze sunbird, dusky turtle dove, olive thrush, cape robin chat, red faced woodland, alpine chat, scarlet tufted malachite sunbird, Montane double collared sunbird, handsome francolin, crowned crane, black kite, crowned hornbill among others.

Batwa trail experience

Mgahinga gorilla national park was formally a home of the Batwa tribe or pygmies before it was gazetted into a national park. The Batwa trail experience begins with a prayer and gives you a chance to meet with the Batwa people, experience their ancient ways, explore their ancient cultures. During the Batwa trail experience the Twa guide will demonstrate their hunting, honey harvesting and gathering skills, show off how to make bamboo cups, fire by rubbing two dry sticks against each other, visit Garamba cave which acted as food storage and hiding place for the Batwa among others. The trail ends with storytelling and dance presentations by the Batwa women. 

Best time to visit Mgahinga gorilla national park

Mgahinga gorilla national park can be visited all year round though the best time is during the dry season also known as the peak season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. During the dry season there is less rainfall in the park therefore access roads, hiking and gorilla trekking trails will be passable compared to the wet season when the trails are muddy and slippery which make trekking difficult.

Mgahinga gorilla national park can also be visited in the wet season also known as the low season in the months of March to May and November. The wet season is characterized by heavy rainfalls but it also has some advantages like fewer crowds, lodges offer discounts and it’s the best time for bird watching where bird lovers will be able to view migratory bird species.

How to get to Mgahinga gorilla national park

Mgahinga gorilla national park is located in southwestern part of Uganda and can be accessed by road and air transport means

Road transport, when using road transport visitors will drive from Kampala or Entebbe via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Kisoro and then to the park headquarters which takes about 9 to 10 hours drive in a 4WD safari vehicle.

Mgahinga gorilla national park can also be accessed from Kigali Rwanda where by visitors will fly to Kigali international airport and then connect to Mgahinga gorilla national park by a safari vehicle through Cyanika border which takes about 3 to 4 hours drive.

Air transport, when using air transport means to Mgahinga gorilla national park you will book scheduled or charter flights with Aerolink Uganda to Kisoro airstrip and then connect to the park headquarters or lodge. Air transport is the best option for visitors who do not like travelling long distances and flight bookings can be made by your tour operator.