Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the southwestern corner of Uganda. The Park covers the northern slopes of the three northernmost Virunga Volcanoes which include Mt. Muhavura (4,127 m), Mt. Sabinyo (3,645 m) and Mt. Gahinga (3,474 m), Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest national park in Uganda which is about 33.7 km). It is one of the only two parks in Uganda that offer habitat for the endangered Mountain gorilla. Mgahinga National Park is bordered to the south by the Republic of Rwanda and to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each of these countries protects its own portion of the Virungas. Mgahinga National Park was gazetted in 1991 and is a part of the Virunga Conservation Area, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has two wet rainy seasons; February – May and September- December of each year. The maximum amount of rainfall in a year is 250mm and Minimum is 10mm
Mgahinga is one of the locations in Uganda where mountain gorillas can be found; the other being Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The park has one habituated gorilla group, although the group at times crosses to Rwanda, which means Mgahinga is not a reliable spot for viewing gorillas. The habituated gorilla in Mgahinga is called the Nyakagezi, which has 9 members, 2 silverbacks, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has unique bird fauna; about 79 bird species have been recorded within the park, including several species endemic to the East Congo Montane region, over 295 species in the Virungas are endemic to the Albertine Rift Afromontane region representing 59% of the total of known endemic species for the For the Virunga Conservation Area as a whole.
In Mgahinga National Park there is volcano that offers 3 challenging peaks to climb. A climb up the mountain takes one up a ridge along the eastern side of the climb to peak. If you are to continue, the climb to the peak 11 involves walking a ridge with breath-taking drops into gorges of Rwanda and Uganda.Birdwatching is yet another activity done with the park.
In terms of accommodation Kisoro town offers a wide range of accommodation facilities ranging from basic campsites to luxurious full board hotels, including: Virunga Hotel, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Mt. Gahinga Rest Camp, Nkuringo Safari Lodge and Traveller’s rest. camping is also done in Mgahinga, there is enough space at the park gate and Mt. Gahinga Rest Camp. There is also excellent traditional bandas managed by the local community.
Reaching Mgahinga National park from Kampala it takes about 8 to 9 hours which is about 540km.
ACTIVITIES IN MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK
Gorilla Tracking in Mgahinga Gorilla
Though not in large numbers, gorillas of Mgahinga are easily seen in their natural habitats and this makes tracking more, They even migrate from Rwanda and Congo to Uganda because the park has a thick rain forest with a wide variety of tree species and gorillas are known to be vegetarians.
Birding in Mgahinga Gorilla
The Gorge Trail between Gahinga and Sabinyo provide a good view of the Dusky turtle Dove, Cape Robin-chat, Kivu-ground Thrush, Olive Thrush, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bronze Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Black-headed Waxbill and Streaky Seedeater.
Volcano Climbing in Mgahinga Gorilla
The three volcanoes in this park can be summited, taking a full day each. These mountains are Mount sabinyo, Mount. Gahinga and Mount. Muhavura.
Cultural Encounters in Mgahinga Gorilla.
The cultural encounters include the Batwaindegineous;they lead visitors through the forests and introduce them to their old home – and the techniques they used to survive in it.