Is It Possible To Do Multiple Gorilla Treks In Mgahinga National Park
It is possible to do multiple gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park, but note that this park has only one gorilla family open for tourism, the Nyakagezi gorilla family. Although this gorilla family was known for wandering into Rwanda currently, it is fully settled in Uganda.
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It would be best if you secured a gorilla permit for each time you hope to do gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park. Currently, 8 gorilla permits are open to public booking each day from Mgahinga National Park. No matter your reasons for choosing to do gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park multiple times, expect to see only one gorilla family.
Mgahinga National Park is the smallest Uganda National Park covering an area of about 33.7 square kilometers. This park is one of the still virgin natural forests because it is not often visited. Expect the gorilla trek in Mgahinga National Park to be more strenuous because the topography of this park is steeper. Its backdrop comprises three distinctive volcanoes of the six known Virunga volcanoes: Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Sabyinyo and Mountain Muhavura.
Besides gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park, you may engage in golden monkey trekking, birding, scenic viewing, and mountaineering excursions.
How To Book Gorilla Permits For Mgahinga National Park
Identify a date and number of gorilla permits at most 8 you wish to book a gorilla trekking safari in Mgahinga National Park. Mgahinga National Park permits are scarce, so booking is essential.
When you enquire from us at Encounter Africa Safaris wishing to attend gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park, our safari consultant checks gorilla permit availability. The Uganda Wildlife Authority is the selling and governing body for all Uganda gorilla permits, so our consultant checks from their gorilla permit list.
Our consultant will get back to you as soon as possible upon finding availability. We advise clients to purchase their gorilla permits as soon as possible because they are fast selling. A first come, first served policy is used to reserve these permits. None of the gorilla permits is secured without payment.
Forward some personal details to be added to your gorilla permit for identification and record purposes. Your full name as indicated on the passport, National Park, date of birth, and passport expiry date. These details are retrieved for identification upon presenting your gorilla permit card on the trek day.
What Is The Price Of Gorilla Permits For Mgahinga National Park?
The current cost of a gorilla trekking permit for Mgahinga National Park is $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and 250000shs for East African residents.
This gorilla trekking permit card cost for Mgahinga National Park covers one hour with the mountain gorillas, ranger guide fee, park entrance fees, security, local community support, mountain gorilla conservation, government tax, and a certificate after gorilla trekking.
Exclusions in the gorilla trekking permit price for Mgahinga National Park are transport, accommodation, porter hire and personal expenditures.
How To Get To Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park lies in the deep southwestern corner of Uganda. You can get there by road or by air.
From Entebbe or Kampala, you drive to Kabale, then Kisoro, the Ntebeko, the headquarters of Mgahinga National Park. This voyage is about 540 kilometers in about 8 to 9 hours excluding stopovers. The roads are winding, and hiring a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle is the best decision because the roads are sometimes bumpy, dusty, and muddy.
Daily domestic flights from Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport to Kisoro Airstrip are available. You need to hire a transfer vehicle to your lodge as Kisoro airstrip is about 14 kilometers from Mgahinga National Park.
What accommodation to Book for the Gorilla trek in Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park is limited with options of accommodations to book because its rarely visited and one of the few still virgin wildlife destinations in Uganda.
Mgahinga accommodation: Gahinga Lodge/ Volcanoes Camp, Traveller’s Inn, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Mgahinga gorilla Triangle
How Long Is a Gorilla Trekking Safari In Mgahinga National Park
The time of finding the mountain gorillas in Mgahinga National Park depends on factors prevailing in the wilderness. When there is scarcity of food the mountain gorillas move, in case the mountain gorilla family loses a member, they go into mourning, on a severe wet day the gorilla trek is delayed, and the pace of the trekker.
It would be best if you had some patience because the time of finding the mountain gorillas is unknown. Keep your mind open to other interesting features in the wilderness so as not to get bored.
Having some fitness level enables you to move faster while searching for mountain gorillas. Upon locating the mountain gorillas, you have only one hour in their company. This is the standard time allowed with the mountain gorillas so that they can carry on with their day-to-day life.
What is the age Limit for gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park
15 years and beyond is the age limit for gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park. The nature of the terrain where mountain gorillas live is mountainous with rugged volcanic remnants composed of ridges and plateaus. Sometimes mountain gorillas spend part of their day at the slopes of these highlands, and you need to hike in order to find them.
The wilderness may have some harsh conditions that a child below this age may not be in position to withstand.
All the rules of gorilla trekking have to be religiously followed, which may be hard for a child below 15 years. When you violate gorilla trekking rules, you may agitate the mountain gorillas and cause them to run into hiding.
When Is The Best Time to Book a Gorilla Trekking Safari for Mgahinga National Park
Gorilla trekking safari in Mgahinga National Park is open all year but the dry season is most preferred. The humidity of the forest in this season is generally less, although rain in the Virunga area falls anytime without warning, no matter the season. The dry season of Mgahinga National Park is normally June, July, August, September, December and January. This is normally the peak Uganda tourism season too.
If you choose to do a gorilla trekking safari in the dry season, you need to secure your gorilla permit upfront. It is safer to book your gorilla trekking permit for Mgahinga National Park, especially if you wish to trek more than once at least 6 months to a year in advance. Last-minute gorilla permit booking brings tension as you are still looking for gorilla permit availability per your dates of preference.
If you have a limited gorilla trekking safari plan, the low season may be more suitable as the chances of getting discounts on amenities that support safaris are high. Sometimes the lodges, car hire, driver guides may discount their prices in the low season to break even. You may use this opportunity to get lower costs or an upgrade on safari services. Gorilla trekking solo during the low season is also possible in the low season.
Is Gorilla Trekking In Mgahinga National Park Strenuous?
Having some fitness level before the gorilla trekking adventure in Mgahinga National Park would be best because the way is tedious. Being a volcanic area, there are a number of highlands where mountain gorillas may spend their day or nap. Mgahinga National Park is backed by three of the six Virunga volcanoes: Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Sabyinyo and Mountain Muhavura. These highlands have a lot of influence on the land formations in Mgahinga National Park.
The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekker but takes the rest. Cary some energy bites and order a packed lunch before heading to the briefing point because you need to know the duration of the gorilla trek.
You may request a support stick to give you extra support while on a the gorilla trekking day.
What is the relevance of hiring a porter during a gorilla trekking safari in Mgahinga National Park?
The porter assists you in carrying your gorilla trekking gears while you trek to find the mountain gorillas. Porters are locals who earn a living by helping tourists with their bags during gorilla trekking. The porters are from the local community and during the gorilla trekking adventure, they also learn more about the mountain gorillas.
A porter gives you a push when you need during the gorilla trekking safari.
When you hire a porter, it is one of the direct ways to give back to the local community as they use funds collected to support their day-to-day life, help children with school dues and so much more.
Are Mountain Gorillas In Mgahinga National Park Aggressive?
In nature, mountain gorillas are serene even though they are mistaken to be aggressive in films and animations. Physically, mountains are scary because of their huge, dark-furred bodies. Their locomotion knuckle style may make the hairs on your body stand at a glance.
During gorilla trekking, one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas, but you get to witness the actual traits of these primates. No tourists has ever been reported as a victim of angry mountain gorillas in the history of gorilla trekking.
When angry, the mountain gorillas thump their chests hard, walk on one foot, hoot, pull grass around them and so much more. This, however doesn’t mean that whenever this happens you have offended the mountain gorillas.
Before causing a stampede in the forest, wait for the ranger guide to establish the cause of the matter. Sometimes it’s struggle for family dominancy, attack from another gorilla family and much more. Wait for the ranger guide to find out the origin of the matter and provide advice on the way forward.
Stay calm to avoid looking suspicious before the already angry mountain gorilla family.
What else can I see in Mgahinga National Park?
Golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga National Park
Golden monkeys are some of the entertaining primates in Mgahinga National Park. Their body structure is slightly bigger than that of other monkey species. They have golden brown hairs at the lower part of their bodies. This monkey species is also endangered, with currently about 2000 to 4000 living in the entire world. They are charming primates that deserve human protection. It would be best to have a golden monkey trekking or habituation permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority to enjoy these primates.
Birding in Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park is one of the hot spots for birding in Uganda. Although birders have not been regular visitors to Mgahinga forest, about 115 bird species have so far been recorded as residents of Mgahinga forest but the list is expected to expand. There are high chances to spot Albertine rift endemics too.
Mountaineering in Mgahinga National Park
You can do mountaineering excursion on the three distinctive volcanoes: Mountain Sabyinyo, Mountain Muhavura and Mountain Gahinga. At the summit of Sabyinyo mountain, you may enjoy the border of Uganda, Rwanda and D.R.Congo.
Batwa community visit
The Batwa are some of the victims of the eviction for mountain gorilla conservation in the Virunga area. The Batwa Pygmies had their ancestors living in the Virunga area forests and know all the secrets of this vast forest. During a visit to the Batwa community, you learn about their past life. You get an opportunity to visit the Garama cave where they used to hide after raiding the Bafumbira farmlands.
You may attend a folk performance from them, but it requires booking.