Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda is dominantly a primates national park located in southwestern Uganda and the smallest park in Uganda but also very influential in the tourism sector because of its abundance in primates. The phrase “where silver meets gold” is derived from the fact that the park has majorly the silverback gorillas and the golden monkeys as well as several other primates.the park covers the northern slopes of the three northern Virunga Volcanoes. To add on, the park is 10km south of Kisoro and is bordered by the Volcanoes national park(Rwanda) in the south and Virunga national park(DRC) in the west.
History of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda
The park gets its name from Gahinga that is the local word for the “piles of volcanic stones” Mgahinga Gorilla national park was gazetted as a game sanctuary in 1930 by the British administration and later declared a national park in 1991. In Mgahinga’s past, there were several poachers lingering in the park causing insecurity and in 1989, a survey was made and several wire Traps were discovered and destroyed. The park managed to maintain security till the m23 Congolese rebels took refuge in the park but were defeated in 2013 and since then the park has been stable till now.
- Wildlife in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda
The park is a Primate dominated area therefore the tourists are guaranteed the sighting of several primates such as the Gorillas, golden monkey, black and white colobus monkey and several other monkeys. However, the chances of seeing other animals such as Buffaloes, Elephants, bushbucks, and carnivals are close to none.
The park is also a Birders paradise because the park has over 115 bird species with a variety of Albertine birds these include the white-necked raven, Black kite, Pin-tailed whydah, Double-collared Sunbird, Ibis and so many more birds. This experience lasts all year but the best times to catch these birds in April to mid-may and October to April.
- Relief and vegetation in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda
The relief is dominated by the Virunga mountains making it favorable for the mountain Gorillas. The vegetation in the park is majorly Afro-montane due to the cool climate. The vegetation types include Bamboo which takes up about 60% of the entire vegetation, Lobelia, Haegenis and several other species. The different vegetation types include Afromontane, Tree heathers, montane forest, Bamboo, Montane woodland and former farmland. Lastly, the Virunga Ranges have eight volcanoes with three conical peaks found at Mgahinga National park.
- Activities done in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda
The key activity at Mgahinga National park is Gorilla trekking. In this activity, The Tourists will be able to track down the Nyakagezi gorilla group which frequently roams in the forests of Rwanda and Congo making them easy to track down. This activity starts early in the morning and it is an exciting adventure because you are able to sit with the gorilla families and watch them go about with their daily activities.
The park also has Golden monkey tracking. The golden monkey species are a very rare species therefore tracking them is a very thrilling activity. These monkeys are known for their bright orange golden body and they live in the bamboo forests in groups of 3-30 individuals.
Mgahinga National park is the ideal destination for Birders because they are able to trek to the Rugezi swamp, the bamboo forests or the Sabinyo Gorge for the most exciting bird watching experience. This activity takes 3 to 4 hours and provides spectacular sightings of the bronze Sunbird, Dusty Turtle dove and a variety of other fascinating birds.
The park also offers hiking and nature walks through the rest to the deep Sabinyo Gorge, this is the perfect opportunity to see a few birds especially the Rwenzori Turaco. This allows hikers to sight the calderas on top of the Gisozi hill. This park is next to various mountains such as Mt. Gahinga, Mt.Muhavura and Mt.Sabinyo which will definitely be exciting for the Tourists that desire adventure in their lives.
Another activity is the cultural encounters with the Batwa people. While on this encounter, the Batwa will demonstrate hunting styles, collect honey, point out medicinal plants and show how to make Bamboo cups. This activity is quite exciting and there are also traditional dances and folk songs.
- Accommodation in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda
The tourists comfort while at Mgahinga National park will be catered for at several lodges such as Mount Gahinga safari lodge, Countryside Guesthouse, Virunga guesthouse, Nkuringo safari lodge, Golden monkey guest house, Mutanda Eco community center, Birds Nest at bunny resort, Buyonyi overland resort, Virunga hotel and campsite, Kisoro Travelers and Kisoro Tourist Hotel.
You can take a road trip from Kampala to Mgahinga Gorilla national park using Kampala-Kabale-Kisoro road and it takes about 8 hours to get there. Alternatively, a flight from Entebbe International airport to Kisoro that takes about an hour to get there is also available.
In conclusion, Mgahinga National park is ideal for Primate lovers and a vacation away from the city to a quiet and serene place.