Mgahinga Gorilla National Park protects the Ugandan part of Virunga Mountain ant its three main parks: Muhavura, Sambinyo and Gahinga. Mgahinga national park was established in 1930 as the gorilla game sanctuary, the park was later gazetted leading in 1991 leading to displacement relocation of neighbouring communities. Mggahinga being the smallest national park in Uganda, it forms part of a cross-border system of contiguous reserves in Rwanda and the DRC extending over some 430sq km of the higher Virunga. It is the most scenic in Uganda providing panoramic views stretching northward to Bwindi, and a southern skyline dominated by the steep volcanic cones of Virungas, surely one of the most memorable and stirring sights in East Africa.
Mgahinga is best known to tourists for mountain gorillas tracking in the thick jungle. Oddly enough, no gorillas live permanently in the park but a fair number move freely between Uganda and the neighbouring Parc National des Volcanoes in Rwanda , and one habituated group ( Nyakagyezi) frequently spends months at a stretch within Mgahinga.
Gorilla trekking. This is the most exciting and unforgettable experience, which might take one trough a thick jungle. Roughly 45 gorillas spend part of the year in Mgahinga moving to and from the adjoining protected forest in Rwanda and DRC. Unfortunately, the park’s habituated gorillas migrated across the volcanic saddle between Muhavura and Mgahinga into Rwanda.
A reasonable level of fitness is required to for any of the three volcanic peaks (mountain hikes), and good boots, raingears and warm clothes are recommended. The least demanding mountain hikes, six to seven hour round trip from Ntebeko up mount Gahinga, offers a good chance to seeing various forest birds in the bamboo zone, while the duikers and bushbuck inhabit the marshy crater at the peak Muhavura trail provides the quickest and shortest ascent route to view the rift valley, Rwenzori Mountains, Lake Edward, other Virunga Volcanoes and diversity dramatic plant species.
There are also 3 peaks of Sabyinyo with an ascent leading to the first peak before getting to the second peak a cross a narrow ridge over looking the breathtaking droplets on each side of the deep gorges. The 3rd peak can be accessed with the help of a steep and muddy scramble.
Nature walks to Garama and Batwa Trails
The nature walks are conducted by Batwa guides following their trail from the base f Muhavura to Garama cave. It is from this walk that one gets to know the insights into the culture and traditional life of the Batwa people. For caving there is no need of experience all you have to have is a torch and spare batteries.
Another trail leads to the usual forest animals and birds a long Rugezi swamp, you therefore stand a chance of seeing giant hogs in the late after noon as well as elephants.
Golden monkey tracking.
Next to gorilla trekking is trekking the distinctive race of the widespread blue monkeys known as bamboo-associated texa primates listed as endangered by the wild conservation Union. Endemic to the Albertine Rift, the golden monkey is characterised by a bright Orange-golden body, cheeks and tail, contrasting with its black limbs crown and tail end.
Access to the park
The park is located south-western side of Uganda, 540 km from Kampala and 8 hours drive Kabale. Public means to Kisoro and hike up to the park headquarters. Flight arrangements can be made from EBB or Kajansi Air strip to Kisoro Air strip.
Up market and shoestring accommodation is available at the entrance of Ntebeko. For camping and basic cottages in the community camp ground as well as lodging facilities in Kisoro town.