Safari activities to do in Mgahinga National Park Uganda
Safari activities to do in Mgahinga National Park. Mgahinga National Park is one of the few leftover virgin wildlife destinations in the world because it has been less visited. Mountain Gorillas are the top-selling activity of Mgahinga National Park, but the Park possesses plenty to do for nature lovers. If you are seeking tranquility amidst the amazing sights and sounds of the jungle, Mgahinga Forest is a super choice. The main headquarters of Mgahinga National Park are at the Ntebeko Visitor Center.
Most Popular Safaris
Although Mgahinga National Park is the smallest Uganda national Park, covering about 37.8 square kilometers of land in southwestern Uganda, it’s a primate’s haven. Gorilla trekking safaris are at the top of the list of what to do in Mgahinga National Park. You may also participate in birding in the Mgahinga forest, excursion mountaineering on the three volcanoes that form a backdrop of this Park, and others.
Taking the Batwa and Garama cave walk lets you learn about the local people and support the local community. They use the funds collected from the visitors to run community projects like well-making, road maintenance, health care support, etc.
Mgahinga National Park lies on the northern side of three Virunga Volcanoes: Mountain Muhavura, Mountain Gahinga, and Mountain Sabyinyo. These mark the southern limit of the Albertine Rift Valley.
What Can I Do In Mgahinga National Park?
Gorilla Trekking Safari
Gorilla trekking is the major activity in Mgahinga National Park, but only one gorilla family is currently open to public booking. This gorilla family is called Nyakagezi. This gorilla family has a history of wandering into Rwanda, making it hard for its gorilla to permit pre-booking. The gorilla permits for Mgahinga were sold upon the mountain gorilla family’s presence.
The Nyakagezi gorilla family is settled in Uganda, and its gorilla permits are open to the public daily. So far, only 8 gorilla permits are open to the public to book per day, but booking is required.
Where to book Mgahinga Gorilla Permits
The Uganda Wildlife Authority is the only Mgahinga gorilla permit-selling body, but you can secure the permit through an accredited tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris. We are one of the few companies with access to the gorilla permit status list.
To book the Mgahinga National Park gorilla permit, you follow the below procedure:
Select a date when you hope to do gorilla trekking and the people you wish to travel with.
Enquire about gorilla permit availability for your dates of preference from a tour operator or Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Our safari consultant will check the status of the gorilla permits for Mgahinga and respond as soon as possible.
If it’s a positive gorilla permit status, we advise clients to secure their permits as soon as possible because they are in high demand, especially in the high season. The high Uganda tourism season is June, July, August, September, December and January.
Gorilla permits are sold at first-come, first-served basis, and none can be reserved without payment.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority accepts installment purchases for those who cannot pay for the permits in full on condition that you purchase the gorilla permits 90 days before the trek. You must top up the gorilla permit before 90 days to the trekking date, or you will be penalized.
Booking a gorilla permit in full saves you from forgetting to top up the permit. The current cost of the gorilla permit for Mgahinga National Park is $800 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $700 for foreign residents, and 300000shs for East African residents.
Golden Monkey Trekking
Meeting the golden monkeys is an exciting experience because of its unique outlook and charming nature. Golden monkeys are a species with a larger body structure covered with golden brown hairs at the lower bottom. The golden monkeys are listed among the endangered primates of the world, with about 3000 to 4000 believed to be living in the world.
The golden monkeys are first habituated before being opened to the public, but their exciting nature is hard to hide even before their visitors. Mgahinga National Park is one of the hosts of these golden monkeys.
You must secure a golden monkey permit as an entry ticket to visit these lovely monkeys in their natural home.
The current cost of the Golden Monkey trekking permit is $60 for foreign nonresidents, $50 per person for foreign residents, and 40000shs for East African residents.
Golden monkey habituation experience
The golden monkey habituation experience is an adventure where tourists escort a team of researchers to follow a semi-habituated golden monkey community and stay with them for four hours. Only four tourists are allowed to follow these golden monkeys for conservation reasons.
The golden monkeys still bear their natural traits like hooting, going into hiding, and others, so you must have patience. By following the rules of the golden monkey habituation experience, you enjoy every moment of the golden monkey habituation experience.
Where to buy a golden monkey habituation permit?
The Uganda Wildlife Authority is the selling and regulating body for golden monkey habituation experience in Uganda. You may contact a tour operator or Uganda Wildlife Authority for these permits.
How much is the golden monkey habituation experience permit?
The current Golden Monkey habituation experience permit costs $100 for foreign nonresidents, $ 80 per person for foreign residents and 100000shsh for East African residents.
Birding in Mgahinga National Park
For one of the best birding experiences in an authentic area, Mgahinga National Park is a great choice. The Park hosts a plethora of birds, although it has yet to receive much attention from ornithologists. This Park is home to a number of rare birds like Lagden’s Bush-shrike, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, and Rwenzori Turaco.
The gorge trail, which loops halfway to Mountain Sabyinyo, has a number of habitats that favor the life of several birds in Mgahinga National Park. Keen birder may spot birds like Alpine Chat, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Handsome Francolin, and others.
By taking the trail along the northern edge of the Park, you can spot a wide range of birds. This highland is composed of drystone, which is also the one that keeps Buffalo in the Park away from .crops
Excursion Mountaineering in Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park is bordered by three volcanoes. Mountain Gahinga, locally, means a small pile of stones that used to scatter in the local peoples’ farmland. Mountain Sabyinyo locally means old man’s teeth resulting from a weathered ring of stubby peaks. Mountain Muhavura is the third peak and is locally called the guide from the outstanding cone, which makes it a landmark.
You can take an excursion guided hike to some of these highlands. When you climb to the summit of mountain Sabyinyo, you simultaneously stand in Rwanda, Uganda, and D.R.Congo. The hike takes about 8 hours to and from but is very scenic and rewarding as you spot various vegetation zones like bamboo forest, alpine vegetation, and others.
Batwa Garama Cave Visit
A Mutwa guide conducts this community walk as you walk through the experience of these displaced forest occupants whose lives depended on the provision of the forest. The Batwa cultural walk starts from the Muhavura foothills to the Garama cave.
The Gamarama cave is 322 meters long and lies beneath the plateau closer to the Northern edge of the Park. It is about 3 kilometers from Ntebeko, the park headquarters. In the past, the Garama cave was situated deep in the forest. It was a council chamber and a retreat point after raiding the Bafumbira farmland.
Currently, the cave is a show point for some Batwa traditions where you can enjoy performances like folk music.
Nature walks in Mgahinga National Park.
This forest is composed of a number of primates that you can spot on a nature walk in this forest. Enjoy the fresh look of the trees in this forest, beautiful butterflies, a dense network of rivers, and others. Within the Park are other primates like blue monkeys, black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, and red-tailed monkeys, to mention but a few.
Mgahinga National Park has unique vegetation zones that are challenging to see while close to the ground. These include Afromontane vegetation, Tree heather, Montane Forest, Bamboo, Montane woodland, and former farmland.
How to get to Mgahinga National Park
You can take the route from Kampala or Entebbe Airport to Kabale town, which is about 414 kilometers for about 5 to 6 hours. Carry on to Kisoro town for 80 kilometers, passing a winding road for about 2 hours. Connect with Ntebeko, the headquarters of Mgahinga National Park, for about 14 kilometers. The distance from Kampala or Entebbe to Mgahinga National Park is 540 kilometers.
Daily domestic flights depart Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Kisoro airstrip. The weather of the Kisoro area sometimes antagonizes the flights because of the misty conditions in this area, yet mountainous.
Charter flight services are available too for exclusive transport to Kisoro airstrip. You must secure a transfer vehicle to your lodge as the airstrip is about 1 hour and 15 minutes hours away.
Additional activities to combine with Safari activities in Mgahinga National Park
One can do chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park before or after activities in Mgahinga National Park. Uganda has a population of about 5,000 chimpanzees, but close to 1,500 are residents of Kibale National Park.
You must purchase a chimpanzee trekking permit in advance because they sell out fast, especially during the peak season.
Chimpanzee habituation experience is present, too, in Kibale National Park. The Chimpanzee habituation experience is an adventure where tourists are allowed to follow a semi-habituated chimpanzee community and stay with them for four hours. This helps the chimpanzees get used to human presence without altering their nature. Only a maximum of four tourists are allowed to accompany a team of researchers and habituators.
Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park
En route to or from Mgahinga National Park, you can stop for at least a day or two to enjoy the game drives in this vast and beautiful Queen Elizabeth National Park. This Park is a biosphere reserve with numerous fauna and flora. During a morning or afternoon game drive in this Park, you may spot animals like lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants, waterbucks, and bushbucks, to mention but a few.
The relaxing launch trip on the Kazinga channel gives you a chance to spot a wide range of animals that move down the banks of the Kazinga channel to quench thirst, like herds of buffaloes, waterbucks, lions, serried crocodiles, and hippos, to mention but a few. An array of birds often flock to the shoreline of the Kazinga Channel, including foreign migrants.
Visit the source of the River Nile.
Visiting the source of the River Nile is a great pre-tour excursion. The drama at the spot where the River Nile separates from Lake Victoria is unmatched. At this point, river Nile water emerges from the ground only to flow quickly, while Lake Victoria water calmly flows away. This mysterious separation is puzzling but amazing to watch.
Look over the banks for amazing water birds that love feeding from the marshy shoreline. The vegetation is pretty, too, as it is home to several forest birds and primates.
White water rafting on River Nile
The thrill of beating the River Nile tides is exciting. Itanda Falls on the River Nile is where white water rafting happens. It would be best if you peddled through the waves while safely sitting in a tube boat secured by beautiful safety gear.
You do not have to bear any experience in white water rafting adventures but have the zeal to learn and cooperate with other tourists on board. While water rafting is done from different tide levels, you can stop where you feel comfortable. Those who cannot do white water rafting can take Park in kayaking, tubing, and others.
To know more about different activities in Mgahinga, please contact us.