A brief about Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is the second Uganda gorilla safari destination after Bwindi impenetrable national park. These are two of the four national parks in the whole world with mountain gorillas, Uganda is privileged to have the biggest number.
Situated far South West of Uganda, in Kisoro district, the park is 33.7km2 about 8% of the great Virunga massif (also known as Mufumbiro)/the Virunga conservation area. The whole massif covers 434km2(168sqmi) inclusive of Volcanoes National park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Virunga altitude ranges between 2,227m-4,127m. Mgahinga gorilla national park covers the norther slopes of the northmost Virunga Volcanoes of Mt. Muhavura, Mt. Mgahinga and Mt. Sabinyo.
Gahinga is a “Kinyarwanda” word from the people of Rwanda meaning a pile of volcanic lava stone heaps. Mahavura meaning guide and sabinyo meaning old man’s teeth, therefore “can I take you for a guided walk through a pile of volcanic lava stone heaps to the old man’s teeth during your Uganda safari?”
The mountain gorilla trekking experience in Mgahinga is exceptional
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park is not so popular like in Bwindi impenetrable national park but, what tourists miss out is an exceptional experience.
The habituated gorilla group in Mgahinga is known as Nyakagezi with over 10 members, 4 silverbacks, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants. The gorillas are part of the 604 gorillas in the Virunga massif.
Since gorillas in the Virunga massif are transboundary, the group is thought to not be reliable since it could easily move to either Rwanda or Congo but, this is not so of recent. Those who take time to go for a Uganda gorilla trekking safari in Mgahinga national park can attest to this.
How to plan for a gorilla trek in Mgahinga gorilla national park
For a gorilla trekking experience in the lush slopes of Mgahinga national park, a tourist needs to purchase a gorilla trekking permit. The permit goes for $600 per person each day.
The permit must be purchased early from the Uganda wildlife Authority offices in Kisoro. The good news is, the permits can also be purchased on ground.
Why the Mgahinga gorilla trekking experience is unique
Bamboo trees in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park makes the visibility and photography of mountain gorillas better, this gives chance for as many photos as possible.
Trekking mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla national park is perfect with the golden monkey trek. Nothing better than meeting gold and silver in one habitat.
Its only during a hike in Virunga that you get an all East and Central African experience only on a Uganda gorilla trekking tour as you set foot on Uganda, Rwanda and Congo just within 8 hours.
Activities that come along with gorilla trekking in Mgahinga
Don’t miss the golden monkey trekking experience. The golden monkey (Cercopithecus kandti) is an Albertine rift endemic found in the Virunga volcanic mountains. The gorillas are restricted to the bamboo highland forest numbering to about 3000 to 4000. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the best park for a golden monkey trek. On top of the trek, you can have a 4-hour golden monkey habituation experience.
For those interested in mountain hiking, you can try out Mgahinga, Muhavura and Sabinyo mountains. With the altitude ranging from 2,227m-4,127m, this will be a challenge for you. It will take you about 8 excruciating hours to get to this whole new world.
The Batwa trail cultural experience is one of a kind. The Batwa are pygmies who were the first people of the Forest, but however relocated to the areas near the forest. The Batwa are the best people to tell you all about the forest (their former home). They will entertain you after that excruciating trek with their traditional dances and lifestyle.
Historical exploration of the dormant volcano areas will lead you to the caves formed by lava tubes on the steep slopes like Garama cave near Ntebeko -the park head quarter that was a hiding place for the Batwa(pygmies) with their king during times of conflict. The Batwa forest trail will give you a remarkable Uganda Cultural safari as insights of the forest are revealed to you by the former owners of the forest (Batwa) as they demonstrate life skill that helped them survive in the jungle.
Safari to Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and have the best of the wild gold and silver from the silver back mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Of course, there’s nothing better than gold but more, more and more gold.