Mgahinga Gorilla National Park- the place where silver meets gold.
On today’s edition of our Uganda safari destinations, you should visit in 2020-2021, let’s make A Uganda safari day tour to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Where is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park located? / Which district is Mgahinga Park found?
A Uganda safari tour adventure to Mgahinga National park takes on a 482 km or 9-10-hour drive from Kampala the capital city of Uganda to the southwestern district of Kisoro where this park is located. Mgahinga national park is bordered by Rwanda in the south, Democratic Republic of Congo in the west Kanungu district in the north and Kabale district in the east. Mgahinga National Park lies at an altitude between 2227m-4127m above sea level on the Mgahinga volcano ranges of Sabinyo, Gahinga, and Muhavura hence making it part of the greater Virunga Conservation Area undertaken in the three countries of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
What are the weather conditions of Mgahinga Gorilla Park?
This park experiences an equatorial tropical climate with an average temperature range of 18-200C, the minimum temperature range is 7-15OC and the maximum temperature range is 22-28oC. It receives an average amount of rainfall of 60 mm or 2.4iches every month. The annual rainfall amount received in this forest ranges between 1400-1900mm or 55-75 inches throughout the year with most of it received in two periods of double maximum between February- May and between September – December. The humidity levels range between 77-88% every day.
What to see while in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Mgahinga gorilla park is one of the unique parks given the wide spectrum of the attractions to see while on A Uganda safari visit to this park. Some of the attractions that will easily catch your eyes while on a visit to the park include primate species Mountain gorillas with these being the main attractions here. Golden monkeys are also present here and this is where this park gets the pet name of “Silver meeting gold” given the existence of both Mountain gorillas and the Golden monkeys. 180 bird species can be found in this park with some of them being endemic to the Albertine rift and some of these include the following as slender-billed starling, Kivu ground thrush, plus the white-bellied Robin-chat, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Mountain Buzzard, Mackinnon’s Fiscal. Another thing that will really attract you to this park is its 3 proudly standing volcanoes which include the Gahinga volcano which stands at 3474m above sea level, Sabinyo volcano which stands at 3669m above sea level and finally Muhavura which is the highest volcano standing at 4127m above sea level. What makes this park stand out from the crowd of other parks is the existence of the Batwa people or commonly referred to as pygmies who are believed to be the original custodians of these forests who have lived in them for over the last 1000 years.
How many gorillas are found in Mgahinga?
Mgahinga is part of the largest Gorilla conservation area known as the Virunga massif which combines the gorilla population of 2 other gorilla parks ie Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in D.R. Congo and Mgahinga shares its boundaries with both of these parks. The Virunga Massif is home to an estimated 604 gorillas according to the recently published results of the 2019- 2020 Gorilla population census. During A Uganda gorilla safari adventure in Mgahinga, you are likely to into close contact with the only gorilla family that has been habituated here by the Uganda Wildlife Authority together with other partners. However, as of the late last year 2019, 1 gorilla family named Hirwa crossed from Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda into Mgahinga Gorilla Park taking the tally of habituated gorilla families in this park 2 families.
How to get to Mgahinga?
Getting to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can be done by either using road or air transport means. For someone who is having only a few days to visit Bwindi, air transport is ideal since this park lies so far away from Uganda’s capital city. There are numerous flight charter companies that operate chartered flights to Kisoro airstrip which is the nearest airstrip to Mgahinga with the commonest being Aerolink Uganda flight company. However, if you can’t afford to pay the heftier flight ticket to Kisoro you but you would wish to still visit Mgahinga in the shortest amount of time possible, then you can choose to begin your Uganda gorilla tour from Kigali Rwanda’s capital and then drive to Mgahinga which is only 140km or 3-4 hours drive to get there. A drive to Bwindi from Kampala which is about 494km or 9-10 hours promises nothing but pure joy as you will enjoy exciting road stops at Mpambire drum center and have an encounter with local artists as they manufacture a wide variety of local musical instruments such as the drums, African chairs. You’re next en route stop will be done at the Equator which is 77km from Kampala where you get to have an equator experience on how to differentiate the Northern from the Southern hemispheres and also have a photo moment. From here you will proceed with the journey. Enjoy a locally inspired lunch buffet at Igongo country hotel. Continue with your journey to Bwindi passing through the beautiful Mirama hills that have been tamed by locals who are growing bananas and other foods stuffs on the slopes of these hills. Along the way look out for sightings of local people carrying riding bicycles loaded with farm produces such bananas. You won’t also miss seeing women carrying their children monkey style as they have them strapped in their backs. A final stop will be made at the Great Lakes Museum in Kabale where you get to encounter the African tree of life. This tree is made of different sculptures that depict the different forms of life of Africans. You can take a moment a pose for photos before you continue with the rest of your journey to the lodge in Mgahinga which may take you about 1-1.5 hours to get there.
What to do when you visit Mgahinga National Park?
Given the fact that Mgahinga is home to a wide range of attractions including gorillas, birds, and the indigenous Batwa people, all options of activities are on the table and it will definitely depend
on your own safari interests. However, most visitors to Mgahinga are gunning for that incredible Gorilla safari hiking adventure so as to encounter these mountain giants and also an encounter with the Batwa people fascinates many travelers to Mgahinga. If you’re interested in a gorilla encounter in Mgahinga, you will need to spend the night before the gorilla encounter in one of the several Uganda safari lodges that are found within or the outskirts of this park. This is mainly because gorilla trekking begins quite very early in the morning at 8:00 am. If you spent your previous night in Mgahinga lodge, you will have an early morning breakfast served at 6:30 am comprising of a wide assortment of bites ranging from truly delicious tropical organic fruits and confectionaries to give an energy boost for the gorilla trekking in Mgahinga experience ahead of you where you get to meet one of the gorilla families in this park for a full hour. Depart from the lodge with your packed lunch and gather at the park center where you will be welcomed by the park warden who will take you through the history of gorilla conservation in Mgaihnga. While here still you get to have a miniature cultural performance from the local Batwa people who will showcase their musical skills to you. With your armed ranger in the lead, embark on a trek, searching for your allocated gorilla family, On seeing the gorillas, count yourself among the lucky people who have managed to see these endangered mountain giants in their natural habitat. You will be granted a full hour with these magical beings to watch them as they go about their daily lives and if you’re lucky you might get to see the young gorillas break the 7-meter rule as they get closure to you to have you incorporated in their games. After the full hour of contact with these gorillas, you will transfer back to the park center where you get awarded a Gorilla tracking certificate for your tracking efforts.
How do I get a gorilla permit?
You can get a gorilla permit for your Uganda gorilla safari adventure from Uganda Wildlife Authority which has its headquarters located in Kamokya in Kampala. In order for you not to miss out on securing yourself a gorilla permit, its advisable that you acquire one 3-6 months in advance. However, you can also buy an all-inclusive package from any of the several indigenous tour operators that are found in Uganda such as Wild Gorilla Safaris, Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd, Car hire rentals Kampala Uganda, Kenya Safari Tours, Tanzania Safari Tours, and Safari Uganda Safaris, A Uganda safari
How much does a gorilla trekking permit in Mgahinga cost?
A Gorilla trekking permit in Mgahinga is relatively cheap as it costs only 600$ as of today but it was increased by an additional 100$ hence it will cost 700$ beginning July 1st, 2020. Even with this increase accounted for, the gorilla trekking permit in Mgahinga will still cost 800$ less than a similar gorilla tour permit in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
Which lodges /accommodation are found in Mgahinga National Park?
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has got numerous safari lodges that range from luxury to mid-range and budget lodges and these found in the different park sectors.
Some of the luxury lodges in Mgahinga include Mount Gahinga Gorilla Lodge
Mid-range lodges in Mgahinga include Lake Chahafi Resort, Muntadala Lake Resort
Budget Lodges include Travellers Rest Kisoro
Next time we will visit Kidepo Valley, National Park.
At Wild Gorilla Safaris, we strive to meet all your Africa safari needs as we have got virtually the safari packages that will give you a memorable Africa safari experience. For anyone interested in Uganda wildlife safaris packages we have got you covered with wide range of packages that are tailored basing on the number of days you have and the destination you would like to visit on your Uganda safari tour. If you’ve got only a few days, then choose from our short Uganda wildlife safaris which run from 2 days to 5 days such as 2 days Uganda wildlife safari to Murchison falls or 5 days Uganda wildlife safari with chimpanzees and many more. For those that have got more than 5 days, then I suggest picking from our compressive long Uganda wildlife safaris that run from 6 days to as many as 21 days such as
On top of an epic Uganda safari adventure to many of these savanna parks, you have an opportunity to encounter mountain gorillas. Yes, a Uganda gorilla tour experience is very possible when you visit gorilla trekking Uganda destinations Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. A Uganda gorilla safari to any of these parks gives you an opportunity to meet any of the 19 gorilla families that have been habituated to give you nothing but the ultimate Uganda gorilla tours experience, you can ever think of.
If you’re interested in Uganda gorilla safaris these are available in both short Uganda gorilla safari packages such as 3 days gorilla tours in Bwindi and 4 days Bwindi gorilla tour and wildlife in Lake Mburo. There are also long Uganda gorilla tours that run from 6 days to as many as 18 days while featuring many other things along the way to the gorillas. After a magical gorilla tour in Uganda, you can always visit Lake Bunyonyi Uganda and enjoy the stunning views of this magical lake. A visit to Lake Bunyonyi gives you an opportunity to experience a boat ride on Africa’s second deepest lake.
Rwanda is also another gorilla destination you wouldn’t want to miss out on, hence if you are planning for a Rwanda gorilla safari package, check out some of our Rwanda gorilla tours packages which also come in form of short Rwanda gorilla safaris for those that have got only a few days in Rwanda but those that have got more days, then Long Rwanda gorilla trekking safari packages will do you good as they also give you a chance to visit other Rwanda safari attractions.
Congo as well is another gorilla destination and we have numerous Congo gorilla safari packages that will take you on a Congo gorilla tour adventure to either Virunga National Park for an encounter with mountain gorillas or Kahuzi Beige National Park where you will encounter Eastern lowland gorillas. Besides gorilla safaris and wildlife encounters in Uganda, you can still explore Uganda’s diversity using any of our wide range of day trips that visit other sites that are near the capital city Kampala or Entebbe international airport such as a Mabamba birding day trip to Mabamba island Kampala city tour day tour Jinja day tour and 1-day Ngamba island chimpanzee safari. Check out our great east Africa safari to such as Kenya safari tours and Tanzania safari tour that take you on an Africa wildlife safari adventure to Kenya and Tanzania respectively.
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