Gorilla trekking-Mgahinga National Park.
Gorilla trekking-Mgahinga- Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one fascinating and thrilling activity that is hardly mentioned when gorilla trekking in Uganda is being talked about and yet the park is a little hidden treasure with a size of 33 square kilometers. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a scenic beauty that travelers should seriously consider visiting any time of the year. The park is located in the southwestern region of Uganda in the district of Kisoro. The Uganda Wildlife Authority took a step to gazette Mgahinga into a national park in 1991 and the main reason was to protect the critically endangered mountain gorillas.
Mgahinga is composed of three dormant volcanoes – Mount Gahinga, Muhavura and Sabyinyo. The three volcanoes are covered by four main types of vegetation – Albertine, montane forests, bamboo forests and semi-alpine forests. The mountain ranges in Mgahinga rise at an average altitude of between 7,000 to 13,000 feet making it a perfect environment for mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and countless species of birds. It is also one of the original homes of the Batwa pygmies.
There are about 80 gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park that are both habituated and wild. Only one gorilla family is fully habituated in Mgahinga, and it is this family that a number of tourists from far and wide come to visit on a gorilla trekking safari. The Nyakagezi gorilla family of Mgahinga was habituated in 1991 but it was until 1994 that it was made available for Gorilla trekking-Mgahinga to travelers. This gorilla family is unique for it has an ousted silverback living together with the entire family, peacefully at that. The Nyakagezi gorilla family has a total of five silverbacks, a rear occurrence for it is not common to have such a big number of silverbacks living together. The family also has 2 adult females, 3 juveniles and 1 infant. Visiting them while on a gorilla trekking safari would be rewarding for the juveniles are a pack to marvel at with their curious and playful nature.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park starts early in the morning with a briefing by the rangers on what to expect, and the rules and regulations to be followed during the trek. Travelers then embark on the search of the mountain gorillas at 8 am. During the Gorilla trekking-Mgahingat, travelers can lookout for a number of attractions like mammals, birds and the rangers and guides can share with you their knowledge of the park and its inhabitants and point out worthy features. When you do encounter the gorillas, travelers are allowed one hour with them and you can take pictures, videos or simply enjoy their presence as they go about with their activities say eating, playing, grooming each other, making nests for a nap or spend the night and so on. You then get to back after the allocated time and be awarded a certificate of successfully having trekked the gorillas. The whole trek can take between 30 minutes-4 hours or more depending on the location of the gorillas.
Mgahinga National Park is about 490kms away from Kampala (9 hours of driving). The park can be accessed by both road and air. The road journey start from Kampala through Mbarara, Kabale, Kisoro and finally to Mgahinga national park. A traveler can also use a charter flight by Aerolink to either Kisoro Airstrip or Kihihi Airstrip and then embark on the ground transportation to Mgahinga national park. It is advisable to land at Kihihi airstrip since the weather is more conducive for air transport than Kisoro which is sometimes disrupted by too much fog in the atmosphere. The Gorilla trekking-Mgahinga permits cost the same as that of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest ($700) since the travelers gets the same experience. Only 8 gorilla permits are available in Mgahinga national park since there is only one family to track. You can find out more from our
Best time for gorilla trekking at Mgahinga National Park.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park takes place throughout the year, but it is during the dry season of June-September and December-February that travelers are most recommended to visit as the roads are less slippery. Rains in this rainforest fall at any time though, packing warm clothing is important.