Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park : A huge population of the only golden monkeys found in the world may be found in the park, which is covered with montane-woodland, bamboo, and montane-forest.

 Additionally, the Hirwa family from Rwanda occasionally joins the Nyakagezi gorilla family in Mgahinga, which is home to both gorilla families.

Because the Virunga mountains served as a refuge for mountain plants and wildlife species that migrate upward or downward as the earth warms during the Pleistocene ice ages, it is thought that Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has significant biological significance.

The only golden monkeys found in Uganda live in great numbers in the park’s montane-forest, bamboo, and montane-woodland habitats. Additionally, the Hirwa family from Rwanda occasionally joins the Nyakagezi gorilla family in Mgahinga, which is home to both gorilla families. Because the Virunga mountains served as a refuge for mountain plants and wildlife species that move up or even down the slopes as the planet warms during the Pleistocene ice ages, it is thought that Mgahinga National Park has significant biological value.

The national park is home to mountains, woods, and wetlands that serve as significant water catchment sites for a number of small rivers and streams. Native Bafumbira, Batwa, and Bakiga people in the area depend on rivers like Ntebeko, Kabaranyuma, and Nyabirerema for the region’s scarce and essential water supply.

The beauty and diversity of the park—which includes semi-Alpine vegetation, woods, tropical forests, wetlands, and bamboo—is what makes Mgahinga so important to us. Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhavura, and Mount Sabyinyo, which are a part of the larger Virunga Ranges, are just a few of the cool features in the park. On the Rwandan side, add Mount Bisoke and Karisimbi, and on the Congo side, add the always active Nyiragongo Volcano.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Activities

We adore Mgahinga Gorilla National Park because it receives so few visitors; whether you come for gorilla trekking, nature walks, mountain climbing, golden monkey trekking, bird viewing, Batwa adventures, etc., you will have the park to yourself. Apart from gorilla trekking in Mgahinga, you most likely won’t need to make reservations for the majority of the activities.

Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National park

One activity that draws people to Mgahinga is mountain gorilla trekking. Every morning at 8:00 am, it begins. Depending on the gorillas’ activity, the trip can last anywhere from an hour to seven hours. You can spend at least an hour watching the gorillas once you first meet them and take pictures of them. Gorilla trekking is a genuinely memorable experience that you won’t soon forget.

There is just one habituated gorilla family in this area, called Nyakagezi, and it includes eight members: a newborn baby named Rukundo, Nvuyekure, Nshuti, Mutagamba, Bugingo, Mark, and Mathew. Bugingo, a dominant male silverback, is in charge of the family. There have been reports of gorillas crossing into Rwanda from Uganda and vice versa in Mgahinga.

In 2019, the male silverback Munyinya led the gorilla family Hirwa from Rwanda into Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The Hirwa Gorilla Family was searching the Ugandan border for an abundance of fruit and new leaves. Mgahinga has more fruits, but there aren’t as many gorillas living there. The Hirwa gorilla family crossed into Uganda in search of greater opportunities, just as people go for greener pastures.

When you reserve the gorilla permits, assume that the mountain gorillas have relocated from Uganda to Rwanda. The Uganda Wildlife Authority will then either reimburse guests for their money or offer them the chance to go gorilla trekking in the neighboring Bwindi Forest National Park.

The months of June through August and December through January are the optimal times to go mountain gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park.The trails are not muddy during this time, making hiking simple, and gorillas are typically around during the dry season. In general, the dry season will be less difficult to travel through the mountains than the wet season.

Golden Monkey trekking

The only place in Uganda where one can go golden monkey trekking is Mgahinga National place. In the bamboo zones of the Virunga Volcanoes, golden monkeys can be spotted. They have vibrant orange-golden hair and are curious, entertaining monkeys. Due to the golden monkeys’ propensity for being active in the bamboo forests in quest of food bamboo shoots, golden monkey treks typically begin about 6:30 am.

Trekking with golden monkeys can be difficult as well, but it won’t be as difficult because you’ll be traveling at least 2,500 meters. While golden monkey habituation costs $100 per person, golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga National Park costs $60 per person. In order to acclimate these monkeys to human presence for tourist and conservation objectives, researchers and veterinarians must be accompanied.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Golden Monkey Trekking

Mountain Climbing

Without trekking, a trip to Mgahinga isn’t complete! In actuality, here is where folks who are interested in mountaineering in Uganda frequently wind up. Mount Gahinga (3,474 meters), Mount Muhavura (4,127 meters), and Mount Sabyinyo (3,669 meters) are a few of the cold mountains in the park. All of these mountains are a part of the larger Virunga Ranges, together with the continuously active Nyiragongo Volcano in the Congo and Rwanda’s Mount Bisoke and Karisimbi.

Most visitors opt to walk Mount Sabyinyo since it is simpler and provides a chance to stand between Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo while also being 3669 meters above sea level. The most difficult journey here is up Mount Muhavura, which begins at 7:30 am and lasts for approximately 9 hours, depending on your pace. After climbing 1,793 meters, those who are interested in taking on these hikes are strongly advised to avoid high altitude sickness.

However, experienced hikers might find these hikes tolerable and simple, but inexperienced hikers need to be mentally and physically prepared. These mountains can be hiked for as little as $80 per person per day. Some guests may find it challenging to return the following day and wind up spending the night on the top, which could increase the costs.

Bird Watching in Mgahinga National Park

Some of the birds to watch here includes Stone Chat, Ibis, Pin-tailed Whydah, Regal Sunbird, Grey-capped Warbler, Firefinch, Rwenzori Turaco, Blue-headed Coucal, Black Kite, Kivu-ground Thrush, Yellowvented Bulbul, Wax Bills, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, White-naped Raven, Dusky Turtle Dove, White-naped Raven, Malachite Sunbird, Mountain masked apalis, Handsome Francolin, and many more some of which are rift valley endemics. Perhaps you’d like to go bird watching in Rwanda.

November is recommended for those planning to visit Mgahinga for birdwatching.

Nature Walks and Cultural Encounters

Around the edges of the volcanic mountains, people go on nature and village walks. The Rugezi wetland, bamboo forests, and untamed vegetation are all in the hikers’ path. They get the chance to visit the nearby lakes, including Lake Mutanda, the terraced lands, and the woodland birds that live there thanks to this opportunity.

The indigenous Batwa tribe previously resided in Mgahinga National Park, where they conducted all of their activities such as hunting, grazing, and other activities in the forests. Visitors can therefore visit the Batwa communities outside the park while they are in Mgahinga. Here, kids can observe, among other things, how they live, dress, eat, and dance. It has a culture that is unique.

When is the best time to visit Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

The long dry season, which begins in June and lasts until August, is the ideal time to visit Mgahinga. Between January and February, Mgahinga Park experiences a brief dry season, which is once again a fantastic time of year to visit the park. North American and European visitors to the park favor the dry season. Children over 15 years old would benefit greatly from learning about the wonders of nature during those seasons. This time of year has lower rates of malaria because you are more likely to come into contact with fewer bugs. Because of the scant vegetation, it may be simpler to follow forest trails during gorilla tracking. Uganda experiences an upsurge in visitor arrivals during the dry season.

The long dry season, which begins in June and lasts through July and August, is the ideal time to visit Mgahinga. There are fewer tourists, more lush vegetation, good bird watching, and lower hotel rates during the wet season. Although it is possible to see mountain gorillas year-round, they tend to stay on the lower slopes during the wet season.

Since the dry season falls during the northern hemisphere’s summer months, when schools are out for the year, there is an increase in visitor arrivals during this time. The lowest temperatures at night are between 10 C (50 F) and 12 C (54 F), while daytime temperatures range from 22 C (72 F) to 24 C (75 F).

How to get to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

There are two routes to get to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: by plane or by car, from Kigali, Rwanda, or Entebbe Airport in Uganda.

Accessing Mgahinga National Park from Entebbe or Kampala Via Road

Traveling 509 kilometers (approximately 9 hours) southwest from Kampala, the capital of Uganda, to Kisoro and then by compact car to the park gate. The journey from Kisoro town to the park gate is difficult. For this difficult section, you will need to rent a powerful 4×4. The road is paved and rather scenic, traveling through rural and lively markets, farms, and the Equator.

Getting to Mgahinga National Park from Kigali By Road.

For individuals with little time and who are traveling on a tight budget, this is a quick choice. From Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, you may take a bus to the Cyanika border crossing with Uganda. The travel takes roughly 4 hours, and what’s remarkable is that gorilla permits here cost 700 dollars, compared to 1500 dollars on Rwanda’s side of the border. Is Rwanda or Uganda the better place to go gorilla trekking?

By Air

Local scheduled flights with a one-hour flight time from Entebbe can take you to the park every day.

Accommodation in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Visitors to Mgahinga National Park have a wide choice of hotel alternatives to choose from, including inexpensive, midrange, and luxury lodges. The town of Kisoro, which is close to the park, offers a variety of affordable lodging alternatives, but there is just one Gahinga lodge available for those seeking to stay in luxury close to the park. We suggest you to reserve cabins and campsites nearby the park because the majority of events held there begin in the morning at around 8:00 am.The hotels, lodges, and campgrounds available to visitors of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are listed here.

Mount Gahinga Lodge

A luxurious lodging choice with stunning views of the Virunga hills, Mount Gahinga Lodge is close to the park’s entrance.

Praveen Moman constructed the resort, which debuted in 2002.

For mountain climbing and gorilla trekking, our resort makes the ideal starting point.

The traditional Bakiga tribe are the design inspiration for Eii Mount Gahinga Lodge. Two new deluxe bandas have been introduced, and the lounge, dining area, and gardens have all undergone renovations. The stunning hand-built bandas showcase the Bufimbira people’s magical aesthetic traditions. Each banda has a separate patio, fireplace, and a luxurious shower area.

Chameleon Hill Lodge

The rooms at Chameleon Hill, which are located on the shores of Lake Mutanda, each have their own special charm, personality, color scheme, and private garden. Each of them has a breathtaking view of the lake. The best showers in Uganda can be found in the en-suite bathroom, which also has a panoramic window from which you can see the lake and volcanoes.

The inn offers early-morning tea or coffee delivery to your room so you can enjoy the scenery while seated on your room’s roomy balcony. Prior to leaving for breakfast, gorilla tracking, or any other of our activities, we will do this.

Lake Mutanda Resort

situated beneath the Virunga Mountains on the peninsula of Lake Mutanda.

The infinite Virunga mountains provide the resort with the most stunning vistas on earth together with luxurious lodging. The lodge is an excellent starting point for people who want to do gorilla trekking, relax on the lake, or come for birdwatching.

Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp

Ammajambere Iwacu Community Camp (AICC) was founded in 1994 by households who had been uprooted as a result of the demarcation of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP). The AICC was established to give local communities who lost agriculture as a result of the development of MGNP access to tourism as a substitute source of income.

At first, the camp had few operations, but with the help of Swedish friends and a grant from the USAID Peace Corps, the locals built bandas to house visitors. The park administration would improve its relationship with the local people as a result of investing in a community tourist campsite, thereby helping mountain gorilla conservation.

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