Planning a Mgahinga Gorilla safari from Kigali Rwanda
Planning a Mgahinga Gorilla safari from Kigali Rwanda. When planning to do a gorilla safari in Mgahinga National Park, you must secure a gorilla permit for this park first. At the moment, Mgahinga National Park has one gorilla family open to public booking. This is called the Nyakagezi family. These mountain gorillas were known for meandering into Rwanda, so gorilla permits were reserved upon the availability of the mountain gorillas. Currently, Nyakagezi gorillas family of Mgahinga is steadily living in Uganda.
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Purchase the East African visa in case you must possess one in order to enter Rwanda and Uganda. Both Uganda and Rwanda are in the East African community, and the East African visa allows you entry into two East African countries.
Note that to cross into Uganda from Rwanda, you can use the road via Cyanika or Gatuna borders. The drive from Kigali to Mgahinga National Park may take about 5 to 6 hours, passing Kabale top Kisoro to Ntebeko, the headquarters of this park. Flight from Kigali to Entebbe airport is available too, but you have to get onto the daily domestic flight or charter or drive until you arrive at Mgahinga National Park.
Accommodation to use during gorilla safari in Mgahinga National Park is very important. Mgahinga National Park is limited with choices of accommodations to use during gorilla safari and other activities in this park.
Knowing the number of people you are planning to do gorilla safari in Mgahinga National Park is very important as you refrain from going back and forth with checking availability.
How To Plan for Gorilla Safari in Mgahinga National Park From Kigali
Book Mgahinga National Park Gorilla permit
Currently, only 8 gorilla permits are open to public booking from Mgahinga National Park. You need to enquire from Uganda Wildlife Authority about gorilla permit availability. At Encounter Africa safaris, we can help you secure your gorilla permit and assist in booking additional amenities that support the gorilla safaris.
Upon finding gorilla permit availability by the dates of your choice, we advise clients to purchase their permit as soon as possible to avoid last-minute panic when availability is no more. During the high season, availability of gorilla permits becomes scarce because of the high demand from gorilla safaris.
The high Uganda tourism season is normally June, July, August, September, December, January. If you plan to do gorilla trekking in this period, you need to book your permit at least 6 months to a year in advance.
Forward some of your details for identification, like your full name as presented on your passport, nationality, date of birth, passport expiry date, and others.
Reserve Accommodation To Use During Gorilla Safari
Although Mgahinga National Park has limited accommodation choices, you need to secure your accommodation as soon as possible to avoid last-minute hassle when you need to catch up with a briefing.
Mgahinga accommodations: Gahinga Lodge, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp, Mutanda Lake Resort.
During the high season, availability of accommodations for Mgahinga National Park gets scarce too as visitors booked on other activities in the park other than gorilla safaris are present too. This is why you need to book where you hope to spend the nights on gorilla safari in Mgahinga National Park in advance.
Book Transport To Use During Gorilla Safari
To get to Mgahinga National Park from Kigali, Rwanda, you can use road or air transport.
The drive from Kigali to Mgahinga National Park via Kabale and Kisoro towns is about 5 to 6 hours. You need a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle because the terrain of the roads in this area is rough. You drive on bumpy, dusty, sometimes muddy and slippery roads.
You can fly from Kigali Airport to Entebbe Airport and catch up with daily domestic flights from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi to Kisoro Airstrip. You later need a transfer vehicle to your lodge.
If you choose the combo of air and road transport from Kigali to Mgahinga National Park, below is what to expect.
Fly from Kigali Airport to Entebbe Airport, then drive to the different destinations as stopovers before heading to Mgahinga National Park. This arrangement is based on the flow of your gorilla safari itinerary and the number of days on safari.
How difficult is gorilla safari in Mgahinga National Park
Gorilla safaris in Mgahinga National Park are strenuous because of the nature of the terrain of this area. The Mgahinga area comprises three volcanoes: Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura, and Mountain Sabyinyo.
During the trek to find the mountain gorillas, you may be required to hike in case these primates spend there day at the slopes. The way has challenges, too, like slippery and soggy surfaces of the trails, stinging nettles, biting insects, and so much more.
In order to stay energized after completing the gorilla safari in Mgahinga National Park, do prior exercises to keep your body fit. Wear the proper safari boots that you are very comfortable with and safari gears long enough to cover your ankles and can be tacked in.
Hire a porter to assist you carry your gorilla safari gear so that they do not bother you as you trek to find the mountain gorillas.
The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekker but take the rest.
When Is The Best Time To Book Gorilla Safari In Mgahinga National Park?
Mgahinga National Park gorilla safaris are open any time of the year, but the majority prefer the dry season. The dry tourism season is normally June, July, August, September, December and January. The precipitation in the wilderness is lesser and primates full of life. In this season, even the trails may be drier because there may be lesser rains received.
Chances of spotting a wide range of forest birds is best in the dry season for keen birders. You may spot several primates, too, like black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, grey-cheeked mangabey, and blue monkeys, to mention but a few. Charming butterflies and other fauna and flora is available too.
In case you wish to have company while you trek to find the mountain gorillas in Mgahinga National Park, the dry season is the most appropriate time. During the wet season, chances of going for the gorilla tour adventure in the wilderness alone are high.
The wet season is normally the low season, too, which is March, April, May, and November. There is less demand for gorilla safaris so chances of walking solo to find the mountain gorillas are high. Last-minute gorilla permits may be available too, but they are not a guarantee.
Can I Do Gorilla Trekking And Golden Monkey Trekking on the Same Day in Mgahinga National Park?
Gorilla trekking is taken as an entire day activity because you are still determining the time of returning from gorilla safari. It only starts early morning and no other sessions for the days. Golden monkey trekking, on the other hand, also starts only early morning, and the time of return is unpredictable. It is not possible to combine both adventures on the same day.
Both adventures are tiring, and combining them may cause you to get exhausted and end up missing or not completing one. You need at least a day for gorilla and golden monkey trekking the next day.
How Long Is Gorilla Safari In Mgahinga National Park?
The duration of gorilla safari in Mgahinga National Park varies depending on conditions prevailing in the wilderness. Some tourists have met the mountain gorillas within two hours, while others have spent over three-quarters of the day. The time of finding the mountain gorillas depends on factors like:
The proximity of their food, in case the gorilla family is adventurous, death of a gorilla family member, weather conditions of the day, pace of trekkers and so much more.
Finding the mountain gorillas requires patience and some level of fitness because the terrain of this area is rugged resulting from volcanic action.
Carry some energy bites to munch on when hungry and a foldable water bottle to quench thirst.
How Much Is A Gorilla Safari To Mgahinga National Park?
Our gorilla safaris to Mgahinga National Park are packaged according to luxury, mid-range and budget. The gorilla permit is the universal cost of all these packages. At the moment the gorilla permit cost Mgahinga National Park is $800 for foreign nonresidents, $700 for foreign residents and 300000shhs for East African residents.
Other gorilla safari costs vary according to the number of days on safari, the time of booking this primate adventure, number of people on gorilla safari, additional activities to combine with gorilla safari.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we aim to provide value for money and create everlasting memories for clients. We understand the hassle clients go through to save money to go for gorilla safaris.
Are Mountain Gorillas Of Mgahinga National Park Aggressive?
Mountain gorillas are naturally calm primates despite their intimidating outlook, that is to say, the dark hairy body, sunken brown eyes, and knuckle style of locomotion. Even some films and animations portray the mountain gorillas as aggressive.
You can only approve of their reality when standing a few meters away from these mountain gorillas.
Before opening the gorilla family to public viewing, it is first habituated for an unpredictable time until approved to withstand human presence for at least one hour. Rules and regulations are in place to help create a balance between humans and mountain gorillas.
Briefing is a must attend to all tourists on gorilla safari as you learn the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking. Although mountain gorillas are calm primates, they have mood swings, too, especially when you tickle their feelings. For this reason, rules like no provoking or imitating the mountain gorillas, not using flash photography during gorilla safari, and staying in a tight group in order not to make the gorillas feel ambushed.
You are required to religiously adhere to the rules and regulations of gorilla safaris in order not to anger the mountain gorillas. When agitated, the mountain gorillas thump hard their chests, pull grass around them, walk on one foot, and do any other drama. It is not all the time that you witness this is your cause. Wait for the ranger guide to establish the cause of the matter. Follow the advice given by the guide so that you can be on good terms with the mountain gorillas. The mountain gorillas are the masters of the jungle, so you must accept to be the underdog.
What Are The Rules Of Gorilla Trekking In Mgahinga National Park?
- Acquitting yourself with the rules of gorilla trekking in advance saves you the burden of becoming victims of violating any of them.
- Some of the rules of Gorilla trekking include
- Provoking or mimicking the mountain gorillas is unacceptable because you may not know what you are communicating.
- No feeding the gorillas because they are wild animals that must look for their food.
- Never litter the forest because this alters the nature of the forest, which feeds the mountain gorillas.
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters away from the mountain gorillas. In case they approach you retreat slowly.
- Avoid spitting on the vegetation, as this is food for the mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are naturally vegetarian, with bamboo as their delicacy.
- Try to keep your voice low with the mountain gorillas or sudden movements.
- Anyone with a communicable infection like flu, covid-19, diarrhea must not visit the mountain gorillas. These can easily be transmitted to the gorillas.
- Only one hour is permitted with the gorillas when you locate them.
- Burry all human faeces in a hole about 30 centimeters deep and fill up beyond recognition.
- The age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years and above because of the nature of the terrain of Mgahinga National Park. A child below 15 years may not withstand hiking the highlands or moving on soggy ground.
Contact us for more information to plan your safari to Mgahinga National Park.