How To spend 6 days In Mgahinga National Park
Find out how to spend 6 days in Mgahinga National Park. Gorilla trekking is the highlight of Mgahinga National Park but there is more to do in and out of the park. Mgahinga National Park is the smallest National Park in Uganda occupies 33 sq km of land sandwiched with in slopes of mountains Muhabura, Mgahinga and Sabyinyo.
Hiking to the top of one of the mountains gives you a perfect view of untamed nature. An array of birds spend the day roaming the forest including rare Albertine endemics.
Local communities that surround Mgahinga national park are mainly Bafumbira who are farmers and Batwa whose life depended on the forest till 1990s when they were evicted.
Plan For 6 Day Safari In Mgahinga National Park
Day 1 Drive To Mgahinga National Park
Day 2 Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park
Day 3 Golden monkey Trekking
Day 4 hike Muhavura Mountains
Day 5 Visit Batwa and Garama Cave
Day 6 Depart For Entebbe Airport
Details of 6 Day safari In Mgahinga National Park
Day 1 Drive To Mgahinga National Park
Rising up early to drive to Mgahinga National park gives saves you from tight hours of jam in the city center. This is a 540 km drive from Kampala the capital city center and it lasts about 8 hours without stopovers. Take breaks to stretch and ease yourself enroute. Keep your cameras close to take photos of different sceneries like plateaus, Equator point, amazing gardens in the valley and hill slopes, birds, olive baboons and so much more that captivates your eye.
As you draw close to the Mgahinga National Park you feel a drop in altitude and a dense canopy comes into view. Expect to arrive the park late evening hours to check in.
Variety of accommodations are available ranging from Luxury to Midrange to Modest facilities. The choice of where to overnight depends on your budget. Most of these accommodations offer full Board services.
Some accommodations in Mgahinga National Park include Volcanoes Camp, Traveller’s Inn, Kisoro Tourist Hotel
Day 2 Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga National park
After breakfast, walk to Ntebeko Visitor Center for orientation. Do not forget to pack the right gorilla trekking gears plus packed lunch because return time is unknown. The ranger guides take you through all the rules of gorilla trekking like no feeding the mountain gorillas, in case you have a communicable infection volunteer to stay behind because gorillas are susceptible to human infections and so much more.
Nyakigezi gorilla trekking family is the only habituated gorilla family in Mgahinga national park open for tourism purposes. The ranger guides normally follow the trail leading to the area where the gorillas were last seen the previous day.
Look out for more primates like black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, blue monkeys, pottos monkeys, L’hoest to mention but a few.
An array of birds make the trek colorful including members of the IUCN red list the Albertine endemics which may cross your way. Some birds in Mgahinga National park include Rwenzori Turaco, Kivu Ground Thrush, Handsome Francolin, Malachite Sunbird, Lagden’s Bush Shrike.
When you locate the gorillas, your ranger guide will advise on changing into a cleaner mask to encounter the gorillas. After the covid-19 outbreak, gorilla rules were tightened to prevent spread of any communicable infection to them.
Stand at least 8 meters away from them and try not to surround the gorilla family because this makes them feel ambushed. Take photos with a sound proof flash less camera as souvenir of this fantastic gorilla trekking experience in Uganda.
Gorillas are habituated to be in the presence of humans for just one hours so respect the rules. This allows mountain gorillas time to lookout for the day’s meal without human interference. Walk back to your lodge to relax.
Day 3 Golden Monkey Trekking in Mgahinga National park
Golden monkey trekking also has an early morning start with briefing from the ranger guide. Do not forget to carry your packed trekking gears like a pair of binoculars, camera. Insect repellants, tracking boots to mention but a few.
They are some of the most exciting monkeys to follow because of there very active lifestyle. They keep you on your heels throughout the trek. There body size is bigger than the rest of monkeys in the forest. They coated by light brown fur especially the lower back.
Some troupes of Golden monkeys have been habituated to be in the presence of humans despite there timid but active nature. Even regular visits from tourists have contributed to this habituation process.
Children aged 15 and above can participate in Golden monkey trekking too if escorted by an adult. Take photos to preserve memories with these unique monkeys.
Day 4 Visit Batwa And Garama Caves
Spend this day in the Batwa land with a Mutwa guide. Take the Batwa trail from the base of Mountain Muhavura to Garama cave. Learn more about the traditional life of the Batwa pygmies whose depended on the forest before eviction for mountain gorilla conservation in 1990s.
During this trek, you get to learn about the ancient life and culture of the Batwa. The 342 meters long Garama cave placed close to the edge of Mgahinga National Park was the council chamber for the Batwa. This cave was a hiding shelter for Batwa after raiding the Bafumbira.
Lately the Garama caves are the auditorium for traditional Batwa performances and a reminder of there passed life.
Day 5 Hike Mgahinga National Park Mountains
Start the day with a hike to either Muhavura Mountain, Gahinga Mountain or Sabyinyo Mountain which make up the Mgahinga peaks. When you reach the top of any of these mountains, you get a 360 view of Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo border.
Hiking Gahinga Mountain staring from Ntebeko lasts about 6 hours passing through bamboo forest to a swamp engulfed in the crater.
Taking the mountain Sabyinyo hike may last 8 hours to and fro. Three peaks make up this mountain that is Peak 1 before climbing towards peak 2. Peak 2 along narrow ridge that overlooks scenic drops into deep gorges on every side. Peak 3 goes through steep and muddy scramble. These peaks form a summit from which you can stand and see Rwanda, D.R. Congo and Uganda at the same time.
Day 6 Depart from Mgahinga National Park
After spending 6 days in Mgahinga National Park, drive to Entebbe Airport to catch up with your return flight.
How to Book Gorilla Permit For Mgahinga National park
Unlike booking gorilla permits for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga gorilla permits are sold based on availability of the gorillas. The Nyakigezi gorilla family in Mgahinga National Park at times crosses to Rwanda Volcanoes National park.
Each gorilla permit costs $800 per person per day per trek
How To Book Golden Monkey Permits For Mgahinga National park
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) issues golden monkey trekking permits each day. Each permit costs $100 per day.
When Is the Best Time To Book Gorilla Trekking In Mgahinga National Park
Depending on the presence of the members of Nyakagezi family, gorilla trekking is open all year round. Although rains fall regularly without warning, the months of March to May and November to December receive severe rains creating a boggy ground.
Hiking the slopes to find gorillas gets quite challenging during this time because less sun rays penetrate the dense canopy to dry the ground.
June to September and January to February are drier with less undergrowth protruding to the trails. These are the peak seasons for gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda.
How To Get To Mgahinga National Park
By road Mgahinga National park is accessed via Kampala to Kabale to Kisoro. This drive lasts about 8 hours excluding enroute stops. The murram road winds around mountains taking about 2 hours to arrive Ntebeko gate.
From Rwanda Kigali airport then Cyanika border, Mgahinga National park can be accessed passing through Kisoro.
Charter and Daily scheduled flights can be booked at Kajjansi air strip or Entebbe Airport
What To Pack For Gorilla Trekking In Mgahinga National Park
Packing less and light with relevant gorilla trekking gears is the way to a wonderful gorilla trekking safari in Africa. You need to have a list of items and attire that will make your safari enjoyable.
Tracking boots that are comfortable to hike the slopes of Mgahinga mountains during gorilla trekking.
A pair of Binoculars to give a better view of the gorillas and other forest occupants like monkeys, birds, falls.
Long sleeved shirt and trousers in colors friendly to the jungle environment. Millitary camouflage is not allowed in Uganda for political reasons.
Insect repellants to protect your skin from stinging insects that may damage your skin.
Some treats to keep you moving in the jungle but ensure you dump no wraps in the forest.
A pair of garden gloves to provide a tighter grip on creepers when you slide while hiking.
A light brim hat to protect your head from dripping dew on the surfaces of the wide leaves.
Hard cash to change into Uganda shilling in order to make local transactions like hiring a porter, buying souvenirs
A sparefully charged battery for your camera to exchange with when one runs low.
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