Birding in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Birding in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: Mgahinga gorilla national park is Uganda’s smallest national park which covers 33.7 square kilometers and it estimates 9 to 10 hours’ drive from south of Kampala and another option you can fly from Entebbe Airport by Aero link with a scheduled or chartered flight to Kisoro Airstrip a nearby landing site to Mgahinga. Above all, the park is most renowned as a gorilla trekking destination and golden monkey tracking not knowing that the volcanoes, forest and vegetation around also give out great sights to birdwatchers. It is also paradise of birders with over 185 species recorded and 12 of them are considered endemic to the Albertine Rift. In addition to that, there are many guided mountain hikes on offer where birders get amazing chances to watch out some of Afro –alpine endemics like the Scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird while the migratory birds are present from November to April.
These are the notable bird species to sight see in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park that include; Black Kite, Pin-tailed whydah, Double-collared sunbird, Speckled mouse bird, Paradise flycatcher, Ibis, Speckled Mouse birds, Fire Finch Stonechat, Waxbills, Grey Capped Warbler, Archer’s robin chat, Blue-headed coucal, Dusky crimson wing, Kivu ground-thrush, Olive pigeon, Ruwenzori batis, Ruwenzori nightjar, Ruwenzori turaco, Alpine, Yellow-Vented Bulbul mentioned but few.
Best Time for Birding – Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
The bird watching in Mgahinga gorilla national park is done yearly but the best is from April to Mid-May and from October to November when fruits are in abundant. June and July have the least rain, then March to Mid-May have the most rain. Note, the heavy rains might result into interruption of bird watching due to impassable roads and slippery hiking trails. The main nesting season is in May and June, from late May through September food is abundant. The migratory bird species exist in the park from November to April.
What to Carry with you on your safari?
Below are the essentials to carry with along your birding tour to Mgahinga Gorilla national park, they include; pair of binoculars, digital camera, enough mineral water bottle, safari guide books, rubber shoes, first aid box, insect repellent, waterproof bag to safe guide your camera.
Besides bird watching, Mgahinga gorilla national park offers special game viewing opportunities, golden monkey and gorilla trekking expeditions. The park is home to over 76 mammal species although they are difficult to glimpse in the jungle forest vegetation, animals include bush pigs, forest buffaloes, side striped jackals, black fronted duikers, giant forest hogs, south African porcupines, golden cats among others.
Apart from Birding, one can engage in other activities as listed below;
Gorillas /Gorilla Trekking Experience
Mgahinga is home to one habituated Nyakagezi gorilla group. The gorilla family which is led by silverback Bugingo who is more than 54 years old and father to most of the group like to his silverback sons, Mark and Mafia plus two blackbacks, Rounds and Ndugutse who love to pose and to swing on the trees. There are also two females Nshuti and Nyiramwiza.
Gorilla trekking experience is truly humbling activity that starts early in the morning after briefing about the rules of gorilla trekking in the jungle. You will start to hike in the forest in search for mountain gorillas. Once gorillas are located one hour is given to you to spend with them while watching their interesting social way of life as well as memorable photography.
Golden Monkeys Tracking
This is the second done activity in Mgahinga national park which can be encountered in the dense bamboo forests on the Gahinga trail. It is a rewardable chance to track these striking creatures in Virunga areas.
Visit Ntebeko Visitor’s Centre Images
This is the starting point for nature walks, golden monkey, volcanoes hiking, gorilla trekking and a short route to Batwa trail. The trailhead long Batwa trail is at the base of Muhavura. Exhibits displayed inside the building relates to the Virunga environment. The place provides good birding and views of the volcanoes.
Batwa Garama Cave in Mgahinga Gorilla park
This cave is famous because lot can be discovered from here like things of the early man, located just close to the park headquarters.
The park boosts with over 76 mammal species which can be easily seen along your visit such as forest hogs, bush pigs, forest buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks many more.
Accommodations-Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
On visit to Mgahinga gorilla national park travelers can sleep in comfortable facilities such as Mount Gahinga Lodge, Mount Gahinga Rest Camp, Community Campground, Virunga Hotel, Mgahinga Safari Lodge, Montane Guest House among others.