Mgahinga Gorilla Trekking – Permits bookings & Availability
Mgahinga Gorilla Trekking to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park a home to mountain gorillas with 1 habituated gorilla family for gorilla trekking known as the Nyakagezi gorilla group.
The park is located in Southwestern Uganda. The park covers only 33.7 square kilometers deriving its name from a local word “Gahinga” which means a pile of volcanic stones cleared from farmland at the foot of the volcanoes. Nyakagezi is a place in Mgahinga where there is a lot of sumptuous food attractive to the gorillas.
Just like the park’s name, the area was gazetted to protect the one gorilla family in the park known as the Nyakagezi gorilla group. This group was in the previous century known to be transboundary between Uganda and Rwanda, however, the group is known to live only within the park.
Nyakagezi gorilla group is comprised of 10 members with 5 silverbacks, 2 adult females, and 3 youngsters. The 5 silverback gorillas are Mark, Mafia, Rukundo, Ndugutse, and Bugingo, the 2 adult females are Nshuti and Nyiramwiza and the 3 youngsters are Mutagamba, Nshuti baby and Fred
Many travelers on Uganda gorilla safaris usually prefer to trek gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is home to almost half of the world’s mountain gorillas. Mgahinga park is, however, one of the best places to trek mountain gorillas in Uganda and this is why;
- Tracking the Nyakagezi gorilla group is amazing with the fact that this group is big and social compared to many other habituated gorilla groups. The family is comprised of three silverbacks, 2 adult females, 2 black backs, and 2 infants.
The Nyakagezi family is led by Silverback Mark assisted by Mafia, Ndungutse, and Bugingo. Rukundo is the sole Black back, Nshuti an adult female plus two babies namely Nshuti baby and Fred.
Silverback Bugingo was formerly the lead silverback before Mark took over, however, the former is happily playing the role of the “senior” silverback in the group. Such a group is rare to find since in many families big groups separate to have dominance and 2 silverbacks can’t lead the same group.
- Nyakagezi family is one of the easiest to track given the fact that it prefers a narrow home range for feeding, resting, relaxing, and recreation. In case you are not ready to hike for a long distance, Mgahinga is a better option since they can be found after a short time of trekker rather than those of Bwindi that may require a long time to trek.
- It’s only in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park where mountain gorillas and golden monkeys co-exist therefore the slogan where silver meets gold. In case you would love to see these beauties then it’s good to choose trekking Mgahinga for gorillas and golden monkeys as well. There is no other place where this is possible in Uganda.
- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is closer to Rwanda and therefore easier to return to Rwanda after the trek. In case you are in Rwanda where the gorilla trekking permit is at US$ 1500 and would love to trek gorillas at a cheaper price you can opt to trek in Mgahinga at just USD 600. It’s about a 4 hours drive from Kigali to Mgahinga and therefore you can return after the trek.
Mgahinga Gorilla Trekking Permit cost and booking
An Uganda gorilla trekking safari permit has set costs by the Uganda Wildlife Authority for different travelers. Foreign non-residents pay US$ 700 to purchase an Uganda gorilla permit.
Foreign residents require US$ 600 to buy an Uganda gorilla permit and East African Residents will still be able to purchase a gorilla permit at UGX 250,000. This is the standard cost for a gorilla permit in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
To book for a gorilla trekking permit, a tourist should contact Uganda gorilla safari company or the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Only 8 gorilla trekking permits are available for tourists to book each day and therefore tourists should book in advance to have their gorilla permit ready.
The gorilla permit booking should be done about 6 months in advance. With the fact that the availability of permits isn’t guaranteed, it is advisable to book a permit through a tour company to ease bookings.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one very amazing place to visit for gorilla trekking, bird watching, and hiking safaris in Uganda.
For tourists, who would want to go gorilla trekking in Mgahinga, gorilla tours can be planned with arrival through Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport or Rwanda’s Kigali International Airport. This makes it very affordable yet accessible to visit the park.
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