Top 5 Things to do in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Top 5 things to do in Mgahinga gorilla national park: Mgahinga gorilla national park is located in southwestern Uganda in Kisoro district. The park covers a total area of 33.9 square kilometers hence making it the smallest national park in Uganda and it’s a home of unique wildlife species including 76 mammals such as forest elephants, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, bushbucks, duikers, primates like mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, l’hoest monkeys and different bird species. Mgahinga gorilla national park offers a number of interesting activities which visitors can engage in during the safari in Uganda including;
Top 5 things to do in Mgahinga gorilla national park
- Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Gorilla trekking is one of the most popular activities in Mgahinga gorilla national park which involve moving into the tropical rainforest in search of the habituated gorilla family. The park is a home of one habituated gorilla family Nyakagezi which is available for trekking on a daily basis. Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga forest starts very early in the morning at around 9:00am with a briefing about the rules and regulation to follow during trekking. After the briefing you will be allocated a park guide who is knowledgeable about the mountain gorillas and also conversant with gorilla trails to follow.
During trekking which takes about 30 minutes to 7 hours you will be able to view other primate species such as l’hoest monkeys, baboons, variety of birds, plants among others. Once the mountain gorillas are found you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you a chance to learn about their lifestyle, behaviors, watch them feed, breastfeed, groom young ones, play, rest, take photos and record videos with a flash less camera.
- Golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Golden monkey trekking is an exciting activity that starts very early in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters just like gorilla trekking. After the briefing you will enter the jungle in search of the golden monkeys with an experienced park guide who is well conversant with different trails to follow.
Golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park takes about 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on where they are located because they are active primates which like to move from one place to another in search of food. Once the golden monkeys are found you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their habitat which gives you an opportunity to watch them feed, jump up in tree branches, watch them play, rest, take photos and record the incredible moments to show people back home after the safari.
- Bird watching in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mgahinga gorilla national park harbors more than 184 bird species including Albertine rift endemic species, forest birds and migratory birds which makes Mgahinga forest one of the best birding destinations in Uganda.
During birding you will be accompanied by an experienced bird guide who will help you to spot different bird species such as black kite, double collared sunbird, speckled mouse bird, white necked raven, African paradise flycatcher, fire finch stonechat, olive pigeon, kivu ground thrush, archers robin chat, yellow vented bulbul, olive woodpecker, dusky crimson wing, Ruwenzori turaco, Ruwenzori batis, handsome francolin, Ruwenzori nightjar, blue headed coucal, alpine swift, moorland chat, cape robin chat among others.
- Batwa trail experience in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Batwa trail experience is an interesting activity in Mgahinga gorilla national park where you will get an opportunity to interest with the Batwa and how they lived in Mgahinga forest before it was gazetted into a national park. The trail experience is conducted by Batwa guides and it begins from the base of Muhavura cave.
During the walk you will be able to learn about the traditional life, culture, view different medicinal plants which were used to cure different diseases, learn how to make bamboo cups, their gathering and hunting techniques, visit the sacred Ngarama cave which used to be the kings palace, store and hiding place, enjoy cultural dances and sorrowful songs about their life in the forest by the Batwa women among others.
- Volcano climbing/ Hiking in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mgahinga gorilla national park has three of the eight volcanic mountains which can be climbed during your safari.
Gahinga volcano is the smallest volcano of the three volcanic mountains in Mgahinga gorilla national park. Mount Gahinga stands at an elevation of 3,474 meters above the sea level and the hike takes about 6 hours depending on your level of fitness. Once you reach on top you will enjoy views of a crater filled swamp with sub-alpine plants, lobelia.
Mount Sabinyo is another volcanic mountain in Mgahinga gorilla national park which rises at an altitude of 3,669meters above the sea level. Hiking mount Sabinyo takes about 8 hours round trip, during trekking you will enjoy scenic views of Lake Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwenzori ranges among others and once you reach the summit you will be standing in three countries at the same time that is Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
Mount Muhavura is another volcano in Mgahinga gorilla national park which rises at an altitude of 4,127 meters above the sea level which makes it the highest volcanic mountain of the three. Hiking Mount Muhavura takes about 10 hours to reach the summit depending on your level of fitness and during trekking you will pass through different zones, enjoy stunning views of wildlife among others. When you reach the summit you will have views of Rwenzori Mountains, other Virunga volcanoes, views of Lake Edward, Queen Elizabeth national park among others.
When 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 in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. During the dry season the park receives less rainfall therefore gorilla trekking and volcano hiking trails will be dry and passable.
Mgahinga gorilla national park can also be visited in the wet season during 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 migratory bird species.
How to get to Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda and can be accessed by both road and air transport means.
Road transport means, when using road transport you will drive from Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Kisoro and then connect to the park headquarters at Ntebeko which takes about 8 to 10 hours drive.
Mgahinga gorilla national park can also be accessed from Kigali Rwanda whereby you will fly to Kigali international airport and then connect to the park headquarters via Cyanika border which takes about 3 to 4 hours drive.
Air transport means, when using road transport means you will book charter or scheduled flights with Aerolink Uganda from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kisoro airstrip. Domestic flights to Kisoro airstrip can be booked by your tour operator.