Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park cover an expanse of 33 sq kilometers and is the smallest park found in southwestern Uganda at the border of Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. However this park is one of the most fascinating ass it is located on the slopes of 3 of the 6 virunga Volcanoes and these are;
Mt. Gahinga at 3,474 meters, Mt. Sabiny at 3,645 meters and Mt. Muhavura at 4,127 meters, and although it is a very small park it is very important because it is a haven of the Mountain Gorillas that are facing extinction. This park together with Parc National des Virunga and Parc National des Volcans found in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda respectively make up the Virunga Conservation Area which covers 434 sq kilometers and the park particularly comprises of only 8% of the total expanse of the conservation area. The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is situates in kisoro District in Bufumbira County. The parks landscape is dominate by huge Virunga cones that give it a panoramic view.
Although mountain gorilla are the main attraction in this park, the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is habitat to a variety of wildlife with 76 species of mammals like the golden monkeys, the Black & White colobus monkeys and the blue monkeys, big forest hogs, leopards and forest elephants in addition to a wide variety of birds. This park is one of the most spectacular parks in Uganda and it has wonderful breath taking sights that extend to the Bwindi in the north and the horizon is majorly dominated by the volcanic canoes of the spectacular Virungas and all these overwhelming views will surely give you a memorable experience.
Surrounding the park are various local communities among which is the African pygmy Batwa tribe which many years ago survived by gathering fruits and hunting in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Later, this natives were transferred to another place after the establishment of the park to shelter mountain gorillas. this cultural group is good at entertaining its visitors and selling to them handmade crafts which serve as beautiful souvenirs .
Mountain Gorilla Tracking
The main activity in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Mountain Gorilla tracking. The park has one gorilla family or groups that is habituated and it is made up of 9 members three adult females, two infants, two juveniles and two silverbacks. Tracking in this park is not so challenging especially after the the habituated family set camp in
Mount Sabiny Hiking
Another exhilarating adventurous activity in the park is Hiking. Volcano climbing is challenging although very interesting. Tourists will be able to hike the Mt. Sabinyo which is 3,645 meters, Mt. Gahinga at 3,474 and the 4,127 meters high Mt. Muhavura setting off from Mgahinga National Park. On the peak of Mt. Sabinyo you will see the spectacular ‘Old Man’s Teeth.’ The crown of the mountain is eroded like an old man.
Garama Cave Exploration
The Garama cave is another exhilarating feature in the Mgahinga. it is one among the historical caves in which the crafty Batwa people once lived and based as they fought against their neighbors. The Batwa pygmy community lived a lifestyle of the warriors and often fought the nearby Bantu tribes. The 342 meter long and the 14 meter deep Garama cave is now being occupied by bats. Trips to the local communities of the Batwa can be arranged for tourists interested exploring and experiencing the traditions, norms and lifestyle of the pygmy African.
Birding in Mgahinga National Park
The park is gifted with a variety of rare bird species, with a totaol record of close to 79 types of birds at the moment which are only found in the Eastern Congo Montane area. the commonest bird species in the park are Ibis, Whydah, Fire Finch Stonechat, Waxbills, the Yellow Vented Bulbul, Speckled Mouse birds and the Grey Capped Warbler. The whole of the Virunga Conservation Area is a habitat to more than 295 bird species unique to the to the Albertine Rift Afromontane area representing 59% of the overall total of recorded endemic species. For bird watching devotees, local guides are present to take you through the exciting bird tour. Always remember to carry along your necessary birding equipment.
Tips on Gorilla Tracking by UWA
Always maintain your voice low or remain quiet as you tracking. You will hear and view the gorillas if you follow that.
Don’t move less than 7m or 21 feet close to the gorillas
Don’t wave or even point at the gorillas as they may consider that a threat.
If approached by the giant gorillas, slowly move back from them to maintain a 5m separation.
Never use flashes when taking photos. This may greatly threaten the gorillas.