Mgahinga gorilla national park activities
Mgahinga gorilla national park activities; Mgahinga gorilla national park is the smallest protected area in Uganda located in southwestern region in Kisoro district bordering with Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Congo. Mgahinga gorilla national park harbors a number of wildlife species including the endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, black and white colobs monkeys, mammals like forest elephants, buffaloes, bushbucks, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, duikers, different bird species and three Virunga volcanic mountains namely Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabinyo. Mgahinga gorilla national park offers a number of interesting activities which include
Mgahinga gorilla national park activities
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Gorilla trekking is the major activity in Mgahinga gorilla national park and it starts early in the morning with a briefing about the rules and regulations at the park headquarters. After the briefing you will be allocated a park guide who is well conversant with different trails in the jungle and start trekking. Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park takes about 30 minutes to 6 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 view other primate species, mammals, bird species among others. Once the gorillas are found you will be able to spend one hour with them in their habitat which gives you an opportunity to learn more about their habits, behaviors, watch them feed, breastfeed, play, groom young ones, take photos and record the beautiful moments to show people back home after the safari.
Golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Golden monkey trekking is an active and the second best done activity in Mgahinga gorilla national park after gorilla trekking and it also starts with a briefing at Ntebeko park headquarters. After the briefing you will start trekking in the forest with a park guide following trails of leftover bamboo leaves, shoots and fruits. During golden monkey trekking which takes about 30 minutes to 4 hours, you will be able to view different wildlife species and once the golden monkeys are located you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their habitat which gives you a chance to learn about their lifestyle, behaviors, watch them play, feed, jump up in trees among others.
Batwa trail experience in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Batwa trail experience is an exciting activity in Mgahinga gorilla national park where tourists get an opportunity to interact with the Batwa people who used to live in Mgahinga gorilla national park before it was gazette into a national park. Batwa trail experience in Mgahinga gorilla national park starts with a prayer from twa guides praying to the Batwa god of the forest Biheeko who they believed offered protection to the people especially before going for hunting trips. During the Batwa trail you will pass through the forest where the Batwa used to stay, learn about different medicinal plants and their importance, demonstrate their hunting and gathering skills, demonstrate how they made fire by rubbing two dry sticks against each other, how they made bamboo cups among others. The Batwa trails will also take you to Garamba cave which is located beneath Mount Gahinga where they Batwa king used to live and also acted as a food store and hiding place from their enemies. During the Batwa tail experience you will listen to their ancient stories, cultural songs from Batwa women, their lifestyle among others.
Bird watching in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is a home of over 250 recorded bird species including forest birds, Albertine endemic bird species and migratory birds which makes it one of the best birding destinations in Uganda. During bird watching in Mgahinga gorilla national park you will be accompanied by an experienced park guide who will help you to spot different bird species such as black kite, double collared sunbird, white necked raven, speckled mouse bird, paradise flycatcher, pin tailed whydah, Kivu ground thrush, olive woodpecker, Ruwenzori batis, blue headed coucal, archers robin chat, yellow vented bulbul, Ruwenzori turaco, olive pigeon, Ruwenzori nightjar among others.
Mountain climbing in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mountain climbing is an adventurous activity in Mgahinga gorilla national park where tourists get a chance to hike the three Virunga volcanic mountains which include,
Mount Muhabura which is 4,127 meters above the sea level and hiking Mount Muhabura takes about 8 hours round trip passing through rocky grounds, shrubs, grasses and once you reach on top you will enjoy great views of mount Rwenzori, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, lake Edward, Virunga volcanoes among others.
Mount Gahinga which is 3,474 meters above the sea level and hiking takes about 6 hours round trip passing through farmlands, thick bamboo forest and when you reach on top you will be able to see a crater filled swamp and giant lobelia.
Mount Sabinyo which is 3,669 meters above the sea level and takes about 8 hours to reach at the summit. During mount Sabinyo hike you will pass through dense forest covered by African montane vegetation, Rugezi swamp and when you reach on top you will be standing in three countries that is Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
Best time to visit Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mgahinga gorilla national park can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best period is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. During the dry season there is little or less rainfall in the national parks therefore gorilla trekking trails and hiking trails will be passable compared the wet season when the trails are muddy and slippery hence making gorilla trekking and mountain hiking difficult.
Mgahinga gorilla national park can also be visited during the wet season in the months of March to May and November because that’s the best period for bird watching where bird lovers will be able to view colorful and 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 transport means whereby you 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 4 WD safari vehicle.
You can also access Mgahinga gorilla national park from Kigali Rwanda whereby you will fly to Kigali international airport and then connect to the park via Cyanika border which takes about 3 to 4 hours’ drive.
Mgahinga gorilla national park can also be accessed by air transport means where by you will book charter or scheduled flights from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kisoro airstrip or Kihihi airstrip. Domestic flights to Mgahinga gorilla national park can be booked by your trusted tour operator.