Frequently Asked Mgahinga National Park Questions
Frequently asked Mgahinga National Park questions. Mgahinga’s National Park may be Uganda’s smallest National Park but this doesn’t mean it has fewer activities to offer for tourism. The park seats on 33 sq km of land bordered by a backdrop of three volcanoes Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura, and Mountain Sabyinyo.
It is one of the famous homes of the world’s only leftover mountain gorillas. Nyakagezi gorilla trekking family is the only habituated family in the park but at times crosses into Rwanda. Several other primates find comfort in the park too like golden monkeys, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus, and so many others.
During a hike to the top of Sabyinyo Mountain in Mgahinga National Park, you get to enjoy the view of lush green Rwanda, D. R. Congo, and the Uganda border. Hiking other mountains in the park give you a beautiful surrounding vegetation view coupled with unique plants along the slopes
Mgahinga National Park has abundant birdlife because this pristine forest provides a perfect nesting ground for over 79 bird species. Even Albertine endemics find a safe spot in Mgahinga National Park. The park is an enjoyable spot for birders as every second you get to identify at least a new bird species.
What Activities To Do In Mgahinga National Park
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National park
On top of the list is gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National park. Each day trekkers wake up for briefing at the ranger station at Ntebeko Visitor Center. Each person must have a booked gorilla trekking permit although permits for this park are issued according to the availability of mountain gorillas. The gorillas from the Nyakagezi gorilla family the only family open for tourism cross to Rwanda or D.R.Congo sometimes.
You must have a certificate confirming having been vaccinated against Covid -19 or have negative Corona Virus results taken at least 72 hours before your gorilla trek. Carry your trekking gears and in a small group, you head for the mighty jungle search.
Mgahinga trails have thicker vegetation close to the trails because it is less disturbed so carry gorilla trekking gears that will support you in this adventure. You can pack tracking boots that can withstand steep slopes, dirt-friendly long trousers and a shirt, a flash-less camera, a pair of binoculars and so much more.
Briefing at Mgahinga starts early morning about 0745 hours to 0830 hours and a ranger guide escorts you into the forest to begin gorilla trekking. Lookout for other primates too like blue monkeys, black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, and many others.
Birding in Mgahinga National Park
Over 79 bird species have been recorded to nest in Mgahinga National park. it is one of the special Uganda Birding destinations giving you chance to spot a range of birds including rare Albertine endemics. Some birds you may spot include Kivu Ground Thrush, Malachite Sunbird, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Rwenzori Turaco, Montane Double-collared sunbird, and so many others.
Most of the avian attractions may be found on the excellent Gorge tail which loops halfway up mountain Sabyinyo. This tail traverses a variety of montane habitats.
Hiking The Mountains
Mgahinga National park is shielded by 3 distinctive volcanoes Mountain Muhavura, Mountain Sabyinyo, and Mountain Gahinga. Each of these mountains can be hiked within a day and no special hiking gear is required.
- Hiking mountain Sabyinyo
Ascending and descending mountain Sabyinyo may last about 8 hours walking a distance of about 14 km. You walk through a narrow ridge overlooking deep gorges, and go passed steep and muddy crumble to arrive at the top.
While at the top, you can see Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo from the same point.
- Hiking Mountain Muhavura
From the top, mountain Muhavura is capped by a crater lake. Ascending this mountain gives you incredible views of lash alpine vegetation and panoramas. Taking the Muhavura trail is the quickest and shortest ascending route with incredible dramatic plants and 5 other Virunga Volcanoes come into view too. This round trip lasts about 8 hours.
- Hiking Mountain Gahinga
Hiking Gahinga Mountains walks you through the bamboo forests towards lash vegetation growing from the crater. You get to experience a lovely view and lovely Virunga forest canopy. This hike lasts about 6 hours.
Golden Monkey And Primate Walk In Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park is one of the hosts of Golden monkeys. These are some of the rarest species of monkeys. They are only living in the Virunga area only in the entire world. Their body structure is covered with golden brown hairs at the back and is larger than any other monkey specie.
The golden monkeys are fun to follow because of their humorous nature. They keep the forest busy all day long and although they have been habituated, nature always pops up. Expect to keep on your feet when following them because they are forest ninjas.
Each golden monkey’s permit cost $100 at Uganda Wildlife Authority but never enter the forest without a ranger guide even when trekking the golden monkeys.
More primates also live in the park-like black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys, L’Hoest’s and so many others.
Batwa Trail and Garama Cave Walk
Walking into the ancient life of the Batwa pygmies starts from the Muhavura base to Garama Cave. This walk is conducted by a Mutwa Guide with special knowledge of past forest behavior and culture.
The Garama cave which is about 342 meters long was the council chamber and evacuation point for the Batwa after raiding the Bafumbira farmlands. This cave lies beneath a plateau near the northern border of Mgahinga National Park
When at the cave the Batwa try to demonstrate how they carried out their passed life like hunting, medical care, cooking and so much more. A dance group may entertain you with plays, music, and drama emulating the past life and beliefs upon request.
How To Book Mgahinga National Park Gorilla Permits
The Uganda Wildlife Authority has the mandate to sell and issue gorilla trekking permit cards for all gorilla parks. Walking in to secure a gorilla permit may be challenging because of the overwhelming demand for the permits. Some travelers reserve their gorilla permits as early as a year in advance so you need to check availability.
Gorilla permits in Mgahinga national park are purchased based on the presence of the Nyakagezi gorilla family which is mobile. This family sometimes crosses to D.R.Congo or Rwanda.
The cost of a Mgahinga National Park gorilla trekking permit per person is $800 per day
How To get To Mgahinga National Park
From Kampala City, Mgahinga National park is about 540 km and by road, you take about 8 to 9 hours excluding stops. When you take a drive from Kabale, the winding road of about 80 km leads you to Ntebeko Visitor Center the headquarters of the park. This drive is about 2 hours on a bumpy road.
Kajjansi Air Strip / Entebbe Airport to Kisoro
Each day daily domestic flights depart Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport for the Kisoro Airstrip. You need a transfer vehicle to take you to Mgahinga National Park.
Charter flights can be arranged upon request from either Kajjansi or Entebbe Airport.
What Accommodations To Book In Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park accommodations can be accessed close to the park or in Kisoro town. They range from Luxury accommodations, Moderate accommodations to Budget accommodations.
Some Accommodations Available include
Volcanoes Camp, camping, Traveler’s Inn, Kisoro Tourist Hotel
When Is The Best Time For Booking A Gorilla Trekking Safari In Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park is open for tourist booking all year round since the Nyakagezi gorilla family has been staged in Uganda for the past years.
Trekking at Mgahinga National Park is more challenging because of the volcanic work and sometimes the gorillas feed from the slope where there is bamboo availability.
The severe rainy seasons push the gorillas to the slopes of the volcanic mountains making the search more challenging too.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking In Mgahinga National Park
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National park takes from 2 hours to three-quarters of the day depending on the mobility of the gorillas. The gorillas at times search for new feeding grounds and other times fight with wild families which pushes them into hiding in case they lose.
This makes the time to locate the mountain gorillas so unpredictable. Each day a team of ranger guides follows the gorillas before tourists are allowed to start gorilla trekking. When they locate them, the group of tourists takes the route later that leads to where they were located.
What To Pack for Activities In Mgahinga National Park
The soils in Mgahinga National park are volcanic and softer. They tend to be soggy and muddy scramble so you need to wear trekking boots that will withstand this.
Rainproof gears since it rains any time without warning.
Water bottle to carry drinking water for rehydrating during the hike to locate the gorillas and birds.
A camera to reserve photos and memories of your Mgahinga forest experiences and wonderful views.
Energy snacks to re-energies during the trek and forest walks.
Some hard cash to change into local currency in case you wish to do any transaction.
Warm wear that is trousers and long sleeved shirt to cover up your body from forest stingers like biting nettles.
A waterproof light bag to carry your belongings with while in the jungle.
Masks to wear before gorilla trekking and change into when you locate the mountain gorillas.
A pair of binoculars to catch a clear picture of fur-ranging attractions like birds, mountain tops, monkeys, gorillas and so much more.
A cape or large brim hat to protect your hair from dripping water from leaves.
Insect repellant to smear your body with before heading for any forest activity.
For more information about frequently asked Mgahinga National Park questions, please contact Encounter Africa Safaris by phone or email. You can also visit our trip advisor Review page to find out what other clients say about our service.