Reasons why you should visit Mgahinga National Park in Uganda
Mgahinga national park is among the 10 Uganda National Parks and the smallest. The park covers an area of about 33.7 square kilometers of land. This national park is one of the homes of the mountain gorillas in the world at the moment only one gorilla family called Nyakagezi is open for tourism.
The backdrop of Mgahinga National park is covered with three distinctive mountains like mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura and Mountain Sabyinyo. The park lies on the Northern slopes of these mountains.
Most Popular Safaris
Although this is a small park, it’s a biosphere reserve with great sceneries which you can enjoy with a day’s return trip to the summit of about 8 hours.
The park has two weather seasons that is to say, March to May and November is known for being wet. The dry season is normally June to September and December to January and so much more.
What To Do In Mgahinga National Park?
Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park is home to one gorilla family called Nyakagezi, which was known for always meandering into Rwanda but is currently steadily living in Uganda.
Only maximum of 8 people are allowed to do the gorilla trekking adventure per gorilla family per day.
Ensure you prepare your gorilla trekking gears well so that you are comfortable while searching to locate the mountain gorillas in the wilderness.
Mgahinga National park has a number of other optional activities.
How To Book Gorilla Permits for Mgahinga national Park
This park is limited with gorilla permits to book because it has only one gorilla family open for tourism called Nyakagezi. Only maximum 8 tourists are allowed to do gorilla trekking per family as a conservation rule.
You must know when you wish to do gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National park and the number of permits you are ready to purchase.
When you send us an enquiry, our safari consultant check availability from the Uganda Wildlife Authority gorilla permit listing
In case it is positive, we advise our clients to purchase their permits in time. This is because of the limited supply yet demand especially in the high season is very high. The gorilla permits get sold out first yet first come first served basis is used.
We require you to avail some personal details to add to your gorilla permit details like the full names as indicated on the passport, nationality, date of birth, passport expiry date and others.
How Much is Gorilla Trekking Permit For Mgahinga National Park?
The cost of Mgahinga Gorilla trekking permit is $700 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and 250000shs for East African citizens.
The cost of gorilla permit includes park fees, one of viewing the mountain gorillas, ranger guide fees, gorilla conservation fund, local community support and security.
The Gorilla permit cost excludes transport, tipping, drinks, porter or any others it items of personal nature.
Golden Monkey Trekking in Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park is a safe haven for golden monkeys. This is a unique monkeys specie with golden brown hairs. In the world, there are few golden monkeys left, so they are some of the most endangered primates in the world.
When you do golden monkeys trekking, it is a charming adventure in Mgahinga National Park. Golden monkeys are exciting and very active primates. They live in troops of about 100 members under the leadership of an alpha male.
Every trekker requires to purchase a golden monkey’s permit in order to be allowed to participate in this incredible adventure.
Birding in Mgahinga National Park
Although Mgahinga national park is one of Uganda’s less visited birding destinations, it has over 115 bird species including Albertine rift endemics.
Ornithologists predict that the list of birds living in Mgahinga National Park will expand with times as more discoveries are being done.
When you take the Gorge trail, you may get to sport birds like Malachite Sunbird, Alpine Chat, Dusky Tutle, Rwenzori Turaco, White-tailed Blue flycatcher, Malachite Sunbird, handsome Francolin and others. This is because of the montane habitats that traverses half way up Mountain Sabyinyo
Mountaineering in Mgahinga National Park
You can do mountain climbing for a return journey of 8 hours on any of the three mountains in Mgahinga national park for the day. While at Mountain Sabyinyo, and you climb to the summit, you get a clearer 360 view of Uganda, Rwand and D.R.Congo border.
Hiking Mountain Gahinga takes you through bamboo forest to the rich swamp in the crater at the summit. Climbing Mountain Muhavura is exciting as it brings into view dramatic plants, the five Virunga Volcanoes, the rift valley, lake Edward, Rwenzori Mountains and others.
Nature walks in Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park is also a special habitat to other monkeys like black and white colobus, grey cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons and others.
You must hire a ranger guide because the forest has unhabituated dwellers that may cause harm. Look out for butterflies, birds, huge natural trees and so much more.
Batwa Trail and Garama Cave Walk
The Batwa pygmies who were evicted from the forest for conservation reasons locally manage this. This cultural experience takes you through the past life of the Batwa who depended on the forest form survival.
You walk to the Garama cave below the plateau close to the Northern edge of the park. this cave is about 3 kilometers from Ntebeko the park headquarters.
The Garama cave was situated in the forest but because of human encroachment on the forest, it is currently exposed. This was a retreat point for the Batwa raiders after attacking the Bafumbira farmlands. It was used for council chamber meetings too.
At the moment, this cave provides an atmospheric point for Batwa performances at the end of this unique cultural walk.
How Is The Vegetation Of Mgahinga National Park
Since Mgahinga National Park is mountainous, its flora is composed of unique vegetation. The lower zone is made up of grass and bush as its rejuvenating from encroachers. Its virgin vegetation starts from montane woodland, then bamboo zone, montane forest and finally Ericaceous zone with giant tree heathers.
How To get To Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park lies in the southwestern part of Uganda and you can get there by road or air.
The drive from Kampala to Mgahinga National Park takes about 540 kilometers. You take the route from Kampala or Entebbe to Kabale, which is about 414 kilometers then connect with a winding roads of about 80 kilometers to Kisoro.
You can carry on for 14 kilometers from Kisoro town to Ntebeko the main headquarter of Mgahinga National Park.
Mgahinga National Park can be accessed with daily domestic air transport from Kajjansi or Entebbe Airport. To Kisoro Airstrip. This flight schedule is conducted depending on available demand.
You can also charter from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airstrip Kisoro airstrip.
Ensure you hire a transfer vehicle to connect from the airstrip to Ntebeko or where your accommodation is located.
Which accommodation to Book For Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park has limited accommodation facilities to book with in and on the outskirts of the park however, Kisoro town has a wider choice of facilities you can choose from.
Gahinga Lodge, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Mgahinga gorilla Triangle, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp to mention but a few.
How Much Is A Uganda Safari For Mgahinga National Park?
The cost of Uganda safari to Mgahinga National Park varies with the package you select but in case you need to book a gorilla permit or golden monkey permit, this is a must cost for all packages.
Some of the factors used to calculate the Uganda Safari to Mgahinga National Park include:
The number of people joining the gorilla trek
The more people joining the gorilla trekking the less per person cost. As a solo tourists, you have to incur all the costs included in this safari.
Number of activities combined with gorilla trekking where by the more activities included in the safari to Mgahinga National park, the higher the safari cost.
Timing for booking the Uganda Safari to Mgahinga national Park as peak season the service prices are high while low season sometimes discounted prices may be given.
The more days you hope to be on safari in Mgahinga National park, the higher the safari cost. Most of the services charged are per day costs.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking or Golden monkeys trekking in Mgahinga National Park
The time you take to locate the mountain gorillas or golden monkeys in Mgahinga national park is unknown. You may take about 2 hour to more depending on factors prevailing.
The proximity of the mountain gorilla food determine a lot where to find them as a family feed from a particular location for a certain period and relocated to a new feeding ground when food is exhausted.
In case of a fight with in the gorilla family or with another family, the losers may be forced to seek a new area. This may delay the time of finding the mountain gorillas.
The prevailing weather conditions of the days where by the severe wet seasons may cause a very slippery ground and boggy trails. This may delay the gorilla or golden monkeys trekking experience.
When you are allocated gorilla trekking with very slow trekkers, the time of locating the mountain gorillas or golden monkeys may delay.
How Safe Is Mgahinga National Park For Uganda Safari?
Mgahinga National Park is safe for any activity you participate in be it gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking, birding and so much more.
The ranger guide and wardens of Mgahinga National park are very keen with security of this forest and its dwellers.
They work with other security agencies of Uganda and Rwanda to maintain law and order in this Virunga area.
You must also pay keen attention to personal security by not going into Mgahinga forest without an escorting ranger guide.
Stay close to your trekking group so that you are not lost in the wilderness during any activity in Mgahinga forest.
Carry your trekking gears when visiting Mgahinga forest so that you are not disturbed in case you have to walk in the forest. Remember to hire a porter to carry some of your gears and give you a push as you carry on. This is one of the direct forms of giving back to the community.
What Are The Dos And Don’ts Of Visiting Mgahinga National Park
- No spitting on the ground or vegetation during a walk in Mgahinga National Park. Some of the forest dwellers like monkeys, mountain gorillas feed on it.
- Keep your voice low while walking in Mgahinga National Park. This is to avoid disrupting the forest dwellers you would meet.
- No feeding the wild animals because they depend on the forest to survive. They should not rely on human provision.
- Wear a clean mask during the walk in Mgahinga forest. This is to prevent spreading any communicable infection to the susceptible primates like mountain gorillas.
- Dumping garbage in the forest because this alters the nature of the forest where mountain gorilla and others forest dweller’s food thrives.
- Only one hours is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them because they are habituated to be infront of humans for just that hour.
- Only children 15 years above trekkers are allowed to do gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park because of the time you take searching to locate the mountain gorillas. The nature of the forest topography too is steep and getting there may be challenging especially if you are not physically fit.
- Provoking the mountain gorillas and other forest dwellers is forbidden because they may get agitated and cause a stampede in the forest.
- Wearing a clean mask when before the mountain gorillas is a mast to reduce on chances of passing an infection to the mountain gorillas od Mgahinga National Park.
Contact us for more information.