Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is described as ultimate gorilla destination and features as Uganda’s smallest protected areas. This incredible national park is located in southwestern part of the country and covers an area of about 33.7 square kilometers. Despite its smallest size, the park offers the most thrilling adventures to hikers and climbers as well as lifetime experience for gorilla enthusiasts and not to forget golden monkey encounters. Mgahinga National Park offers refuge to 3 out of the eight Virunga Mountains ranges, locally known as Mufumbiro Mountains a local word that denotes the Mountains that cook.
How to reach Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga National Park can be accessible by simply flying in Rwanda Kigali International Airport and you will be able to trek the mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Kigali is 3 hours to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the two protected areas in Uganda where gorilla trekking is done. There are over 80 mountain gorillas in Mgahinga National Park with only one habituated gorilla family for tourists to track every day. Nyakagezi group is comprised of 9 individuals with mark as silverback gorilla.
Golden Monkey trekking
Besides rare mountain gorillas, you can also engage in golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga National Park. Golden monkey tracking and gorilla safaris can be incorporated together. These striking creatures are habituated and this means they won’t fear as they are used to human presence. Habituation process lasts for 2 years. The rare golden monkeys weigh from 10 to 25 pounds and they feature golden bodies, cheeks and tails with black limbs, crown on their heads and tail end. Golden monkeys are sub species of the blue monkey and are thriving in the bamboo forests of the Virunga Mountains.
In addition to gorilla trekking, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park also offers bird enthusiasts a chance to realize their dreams with spectacular bird species. While on birding safari, you will have a chance to sight pin tailed whydah, speckled mouse bird, stone chat, grey capped warbler, wax bills, yellow vented bulbul, paradise fly catcher, Rwenzori batis, double collared sunbird, Rwenzori nightjar, fire finch, white napped raven, black kite, Rwenzori Turaco and many more. Over 79 distinct bird species are confined in this park, making it one of the important birding areas in Uganda.
There are 3 majestic Virunga Mountains in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. For this adventure, you will need to hire a porter, tents, enough drinking water, packed lunch and many more. A trek through these mountains offers spectacular views especially from Mount Sabyinyo which comes with afro montane vegetation with its lobelia, giant heather and many more. The hike lasts for at least 3 days and check on Lake Bunyonyi or Lake Mutanda but make sure that you are physically well
The Batwa forest trail
The Batwa are the first people to live in the forest and they harmoniously lived for over 500000 years. They are described as the forest dwellers. They stayed in the forest while hunting and gathering and left without any negative impact on the environment. A face to face encounter with the Batwa is such exceptional experience that you shouldn’t miss out in life while on safari in Uganda. The trail allows you to explore the Batwa lifestyle, cultures, how they hunted, gathered honey, herbs for medicine, made clothes, ate berries and many more. You will also explore the Garama cave where you encounter the Batwa in depth, their dances, musical performances and any others.
Hitting the trails in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
For this adventure you will need much time to hike through the trails within the park.
You will need moderate physical fitness if you are to hike within the foothills of the park. Most of the trails here do not last beyond five hours. Hiking adventures can be incorporated with the rest of activities within the park.
In conclusion, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s smallest conservation area that comes with amazing adventures for adventure enthusiasts. For visitors who are planning their safaris in Uganda, safaris in Mgahinga National Park can be combined with other activities from other protected areas.