Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the South Western part of Uganda and borders Rwanda and Congo, about 540km from Kampala and an addition of 14 km from Kisoro town. This park is the smallest national park in the country with an area coverage of about 33.7 km 2 but very vital in Uganda’s tourism Industry, as it is one of the only two parks in Uganda that offer habitat for Mountain gorillas offering the opportunity for gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda. Mgahinga Gorilla National park is also famous golden monkey trekking tours and Volcano climbing adventure safaris in Uganda.
Things to see and do in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Gorilla Trekking Safaris
Gorilla trekking is the main tourist activity in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. There is one habituated gorilla family in this park called the Nyakagezi. Tracking Gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can take the whole day. The guide leads you through the jungle for what is referred to as Gorilla Trekking Tour in search of the endangered mountain gorillas, explaining aspects of their ecology and behavior along the way.
The guides will take you to the area where they left the gorillas the day before. Before leaving they may be able to suggest how long the hike might be. While walking, please feel free to ask guides to slow down if they are going too fast and if you need to take rest before getting the next point that may be assumed the gorillas are. Feel free to stop and look at birds or flowers, the guide will ensure that you aren’t left behind.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is gifted with plentiful species of bird fauna; over 80 bird species have been so far recorded within the park, including several species from East Congo Montane region. Examples of bird species include Black kite, Augur Buzzards, Crowned Crane, Rwenzori Turacos, Fiscal shrike, crowned hornbill, Bird watching safaris are carried out along the edge of the park and can be arranged on request, the guides are readily available to take you out for birding from 5-6 p.m. If you book by 10am. That morning. A stroll along the Buffalo wall towards Congo takes you through a wetland where Ibis are, Grey-Capped Warbler, Whydah, Speckled Mouse bird, and Fire Finch are found, Stone chart, Waxbills and Yellow-Vented Bulbul are always seen around the campground. Ask your guide where the best spots are. Always be observant, take your time and go at your own pace. Do not forget to carry your Binoculars as the major instrument in the activity!
When Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was established, the Batwa, a group of indigenous people, were suddenly evicted from the forest and forced to abandon their low-impact, nomadic lifestyle. Now landless, they work for local farmers. The only time they are permitted to re-enter their cherished forest is as tour guides on the Batwa Trail. A visit to the Batwa trail permits visitors to discover the magic of the indigenous people’s old home while partaking in nature walks and learning about the group’s cultural heritage.
Mgahinga avails three extinct volcanoes for physically fit mountain hikers.
Where to stay in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Kisoro offers a wide range of Safari accommodation facilities ranging from the basic Campsites to the luxurious full board hotels, these include; Virunga Hotel, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge ,Traveler’s Rest Hotel, Mt.Gahinga Rest Camp, Virunga Hotel, Mgahinga Safari Lodge, Mubano Hotel among others.
How to get to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park lies in the south western corner of Uganda 540km from Kampala, (Uganda’s capital city), about (8-9 hours) drive via Kabale excluding the stopovers either for lunch or resting. The 80km section is a winding, mountain drive on a murram road that takes minimum of 2hours. A 4WD vehicle is recommended.
By Air: Scheduled flights to Kisoro are readily available operated by Aeolink Uganda from Entebbe to Kisoro Airstrip. ONLY one daily flight is scheduled for Kisoro and this always departs in the morning at 0700Am arriving Kisoro Airstrip at 0810. Same on departing flight out of Kisoro.Only a single flight leaves Kisoro daily returning to Entebbe airport, departing at 0825 arriving at 1125.
Note: Timing may vary depending on the flight routing.