Planning A Mgahinga Gorilla Safari From Mbarara City
Planning a Mgahinga Gorilla Safari from Mbarara city. Mgahinga National Park is famous for being a gorilla trekking destination in Uganda, but despite its small size, this is one of the still virgin Ugandan destinations. Mgahinga National Park lies in the far southwestern sector of Uganda, sharing a border with Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Virunga National Park in D.R.Congo.
Most Popular Safaris
You must secure a gorilla permit for Mgahinga National Park, but consider that this park has so far one gorilla trekking family called Nyakagezi. For each gorilla trekking family, a maximum of 8 permits are allowed for public booking daily. If you want to travel to Mgahinga National Park with more than one person, consider this number.
From Mbarara city, Mgahinga National Park is about 289 kilometers away but you need a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle because of the nature of the terrain of this area.
Consider booking accommodation during your safari in Mgahinga National Park because there are limited choices. In case you have extra time, you can engage in other safari activities in Mgahinga National Park other than gorilla trekking.
How To Plan Mgahinga Gorilla Safari from Mbarara City
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we can assist you with planning your gorilla safari to Mgahinga National Park when you enquire from us. We have a professional safari team with experience in doing safaris no matter your point of commencement in Uganda. We offer the best advice on how to pick you and start the gorilla safari or wildlife safari.
Book Mgahinga Gorilla permit
Even though Mgahinga gorilla permits were initially not open to pre-booking due to the unreliable presence of mountain gorillas, currently, the mountain gorillas are steadily living in Uganda. In the past, the Nyakagezi gorilla family used to wander into Rwanda making pre-gorilla permit booking hard.
You must book the gorilla permits in advance of gorilla trekking because they sell out fast on a first-come, first served basis. Since they are limited to a maximum of 8 gorilla permits per day, book your gorilla permit at least 6 months to a year in advance to avoid last-minute panic, especially in the peak season.
To book gorilla permits for Mgahinga National Park, you must have a date and the number of people you travel with. When you enquire from us about your gorilla trekking safari in Mgahinga National Park, our safari consultant checks availability from the list of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Upon finding gorilla permit availability, we request you purchase your permit as soon as possible. This is to take advantage of this opportunity that changes anytime. Gorilla permit is preserved with payment.
How much is a gorilla permit for Mgahinga National Park
The current gorilla permit cost is $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and 250000shsh for East African residents.
The cost of Mgahinga gorilla permits includes:
- Mountain gorilla conservation.
- Local community support.
- Government tax.
- Park entrance fees.
- Ranger guide fees.
- Certificate after completing the gorilla trek.
- One hour with the mountain gorillas.
The gorilla permit cost excludes porter hire, accommodation, transport and any other items of personal interest. Doing gorilla trekking may be a dream come true experience, but it is worth every penny as conserving the mountain gorillas is a top priority.
Reserve Mgahinga National Park accommodation
Although Mgahinga National Park has limited accommodation options, you can choose from the limited choices available. You can also book accommodations in Kisoro town, about 1 hour and a half away.
Mgahinga accommodations: Gahinga Lodge, Traveller’s Inn, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Mgahinga gorilla Triangle, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp
Book transport to Mgahinga National Park from Mbarara city
Road transport is the major transport to Mgahinga National Park from Mbarara city. Securing a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle is the best way to maneuver to Mgahinga National Park, a mountainous area.
The terrain of this area is generally volcanic, with soft soils that may turn out to be messy, especially in the severe rain seasons. You need a driver with experience in this area, and at Encounter Africa Safaris, we have experienced and professional driver guides.
The roads leading to Mgahinga National Park are winding and bumpy during the dry season, so prepare to experience African massage.
Charter flight services are available, too, but you need a transfer vehicle from Kisoro Airstrip to your lodge or Ntebeko visitor center.
Reserve additional activities to combine with gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park.
Besides gorilla trekking, Mgahinga National Park has additional interesting activities you can participate in while in the park. It would be best if you had some extra days on safari in order to enjoy the beauties in this small but beautiful and still virgin vegetation.
Birding in Mgahinga National Park
According to ornithologists, Mgahinga National Park is one of the least visited major birding sites in Uganda, yet it has plenty to see. At the moment, about 115 bird species have been recorded as residents of Mgahinga National Park, but this is expected to expand with time.
While in Mgahinga National Park, you may spot some of these birds, including Albertine rift endemics. One of the excellent birding spots of Mgahinga National Park is the Gorge trail, which loops halfway up Mountain Sabyinyo. You may spot Rwenzori turaco, kivu Ground thrush, Malachite Sunbird, Alpine Chat and others.
Golden monkey safaris
Mgahinga National Park is the only home of golden monkeys in Uganda. This unique specie of monkeys are among the endangered primates in the world. At the moment the census indicates that about 2000 to 4000 golden monkeys are living in the world.
These monkeys have a body structure that is bigger than normal monkeys, they have golden brown hairs at the lower park, are very charming and have so many traits. Although they are habituated to human presence, they still possess their natural characteristics, so expect to stay on your toes when you find them.
You can do golden monkey trekking, where you have an hour with a fully habituated
golden monkey troop. Golden monkey habituation experience allows you four hours with a semi-habituated golden monkey community.
While you book gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park, you may also consider golden monkey safari to spice up your trip.
Visit the Batwa and Garama Cave
While in Mgahinga National Park, you may visit the Batwa pygmies who were evicted from their ancestral home, the forest, which was their sole provider in the past. This walk is guided by a Mutwa guide with experience of their past forest life.
You are taken through demonstrations of how the Batwa used to live and may engage you in some of there past life. The Garama cave was their council chamber and would act as a hiding spot for the Batwa after raiding Bafumbira farmlands. This cave lies 3 kilometers from Ntebeko covering about 342 meters beneath the s plateau on the northern edge of Mgahinga forest.
At the moment, visitors can be entertained from the Garama cave as folk songs may be performed here on arrangement.
Mountaineering in Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park comprises three volcanoes: Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura, and Mountain Sabyinyo. On an excursion 8 hour guided mountaineering expedition, you can get to the summit of any of these highlands.
While on the Sabyinyo mountain top, you get a clearer view of Uganda, Rwanda and D.R.Congo border. Enjoy the unique vegetation along the way and great views of surrounding evergreen environment.
Other Uganda safari activities
While on Uganda safari in Mgahinga National Park, you can also engage in chimpanzee safaris. Chimpanzee trekking is done from Kibale National Park, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Kaniyo Pabidi in Murchison Falls National Park. You need to secure chimpanzee trekking permits from Uganda Wildlife Authority. You can also visit chimpanzees in Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary where they are given a second home after being abandoned, rejected, orphaned, rescued from sneers and others.
Game Drives in Uganda
Uganda is endowed with several game parks with various wild animals living freely. Some of the Uganda game parks include Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and several others.
With the help of our tours consultant, you can include game drives on your itinerary depending on your safari holiday time.
While on the game drive, you may see some of these animals lions, herds of cape buffaloes, waterbucks, bushbucks, elands, zebras, impalas, cheetahs, herds of elephants and several others. Note that not all these animals are found in all Uganda game parks, but some are specific to particular parks.
Water activities in Uganda
Although Uganda is landlocked, the country has a number of water activities you may be part of, like white water rafting on the river Nile, no experience needed, launch trips, visiting the source of the River Nile, sports fishing, Kayaking, ad others. Along the shores of Lake Victoria are beaches you can relax at. If you want tranquility, Ssese Islands, Lake Bunyonyi, and Lake Mutanda make the perfect choice.
Uganda Cultural experiences
Uganda is a multicultural nation worth visiting in case you wish to learn more about African cultures. Most cultures have traditional leaders like kings and chiefs to which their people pay elegancy. While in central Uganda, you can visit the Buganda Kingdom, Tooro and Bunyoro Kingdoms in western Uganda, Busoga Kingdom in the East and others.
Birding in Uganda
Uganda is Africa’s birding haven, with over 1000 bird species recorded. No other area in Africa can match the amazing diversity of Uganda. With an experienced birding guide, you can explore several birding destinations in Uganda. While on Uganda safari, you can collect over 500 photos and films of different birds. Some of Uganda’s bird collection includes Shoebill, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, blue Turaco and several others.
Some Uganda birding destinations include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kibale National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mpanga Forest, Mabira forest, Mabamba Forest.
What are the rules of gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This is to prevent chances of passing an infection to these primates, as they are highly susceptible to communicable diseases like flu, cough, COVID-19 and others.
- In case you are sick with a communicable infection, volunteer to stay behind so as not to pass it to the endangered mountain gorillas.
- If you want to eat or drink while before the mountain gorillas, do it at least 200 meters away from them. They are wild animals that must search for their food.
- The age limit for gorilla safari is 15 years and beyond. This is because the way to locate the mountain gorillas has rugged topography, which requires you to hike sometimes in order to find the mountain gorillas.
- Only go into the forest with an escorting ranger guide. Although the mountain gorillas are fully habituated to human presence, some forest dwellers are not and may be dangerous to you alone.
- When defecating, ask the ranger guide to dig a hole at least 30 centimeters deep and cover well beyond recognition.
- Stay in a tight group with the mountain gorillas because surrounding them may cause them to feel ambushed.
- Please don’t attempt to provoke the mountain gorillas because they are wild animals that even though habituated to human presence. They still possess wild behaviors
- When taking photos, do it with a flash-less camera in order not to scare the mountain gorillas, they are often scared by unfamiliar occurrences in their presence.
- When tracking the mountain gorillas, keep your voice low so as not to scare the mountain gorillas and other forest dwellers that may be interesting to add to your wildlife photo collection.
- Never dump garbage in the wilderness, as this alters the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas live.
We are ready to plan your safari today. Contact us for more information.