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Guide to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Welcome to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, an icon of Uganda’s national parks. Seated high in the clouds, Mgahinga National Park commands majestic natural beauty and welcomes visitors each year — interested in gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking, mountain hiking, sightseeing, bird watching, and more. The park is home to three Virunga volcanoes, abundant wildlife, and awe-inspiring caves. Whether you’re looking for mountain gorilla trekking, a lifetime wildlife adventure, or want to immerse yourself in the stillness of nature—go hiking, backpack or take a nature walk in one of the most beautiful places, you’ll find your place in Mgahinga National Park.

Mgahinga National Park is one of the four gorilla parks in the world that protect the endangered mountain gorillas. The park has one habituated gorilla group that lives in the park. Tracking these great apes is only sporadically possible since the park’s only habituated gorilla group wanders through the volcanic watershed into neighboring Rwanda for weeks at a time and even can spend a year! For the past three years, the group has been in Uganda and gorilla trekking is possible. The slopes of Mgahinga harbours a rich faunal diversity and it is possible to organise guided forest walks.

Experience Mgahinga National Park

Plan your trip to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Please find below a selection of discounted tours with approximate costs for gorillas and nature tours in Mgahinga. Some of these itineraries may also be combined with wildlife safaris in Uganda and/or Rwanda.

About Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s smallest but most scenic national park. Located in South Western Uganda, Mgahinga sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. It is an important habitat for the remaining mountain gorillas in the world. At 33.7 square kilometers, Mgahinga National Park is the smallest National Park in Uganda. It is located in the remote South-western district of Kisoro. It lies close to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, another home to the endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda. Mgahinga National Park forms part of the much larger Virunga Conservation Area which includes adjacent parks in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. It is bordered by is bordered to the south by the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and to the west by the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The volcanoes’ slopes contain various ecosystems and are biologically diverse, and their peaks provide a striking backdrop to this gorgeous scenery.

Things to See in Mgahinga

There are lots of things to do in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. From the endangered mountain gorillas to scenic volcanoes, there is a lot to see in this amazing national park, a place where gold meets silver! Here are the top attractions;

Mountain Gorillas

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to critically endangered mountain gorillas, the major reason as to why the park was created. The park protects these endangered apes that roam through the Virunga ranges that are spread through Uganda, Rwanda & DR Congo.

Wild Animals

Mgahinga National park is home to over 39 mammal species including more than 10 primate species and the stars of the show are the endangered mountain gorillas and the rare golden monkeys that are easily seen on guided wildlife tours within the park.

Virunga Volcanoes

Mgahinga is also known to shelter 3 of the 8 Volcanoes in the Virunga Massif that include Mount Gahinga (3474 meters/11,400 feet above sea level), Mount Sabinyo (3674 meters/12,180 feet above sea level), and Mount Muhabura (4127 meters/13,540 feet above sea level).

Garama Caves

There are numerous caves but the most significant of all is the Garama cave located 4 km from Ntebeko visitor center. The 200 meter long caves are sacred places for the Batwa who were evicted from their ancestral forest in 1991. Read More

Golden Monkeys

There are numerous caves but the most significant of all is the Garama cave located 4 km from Ntebeko visitor center. The 200 meter long caves are sacred places for the Batwa who were evicted from their ancestral forest in 1991. Read More

Local Culture

Visit the Batwa People of Bwindi. Originally, these minority people were inhabitants of the rainy forests on which they heavily relied as their source of food & medicine for years. They’re also excellent hunters & fruit gatherers. Read More

Virunga Volcanoes

The Virunga Volcanoes are a chain of East African Mountains along the Southern Border of Uganda, Northern Rwanda, and Eastern Congo. Mgahinga National Park proudly hosts three of these eight volcanoes found in the Virunga Region.

Mount Gahinga

Mt. Gahinga (3,473) meters above sea level is the lowest and easy to hike about 6-8 hour loop trail leads to a 180 meters wide swamp that covered up the Crater Lake on top.

Bird Watching

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has an alluring list of over 180 species of birds including some Albertine endemics. Read More

Golden Monkey Tracking

Golden Monkey Tracking is a must-do for travelers visiting Mgahinga. This amazing adventure is done in the morning hours and can be done all year round. Read More

Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the three Virunga Parks where you can go gorilla trekking in Africa.

What are the Best Months to Go Gorilla Trekking

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can be visited all year round. The best time to go gorilla trekking in Mgahinga is the warmest and driest months – December to March and June to October. Though these months make hiking easier, during the dry months, gorillas move further in search of food. Therefore hikes may involve longer treks. Please note that the temperatures and weather are unpredictable. It can rain at any time of the year.
Gorilla Trekking is also possible during the wet season. The wet season offers abundant food and hikers during the wet months of April, May and November may experience shorter hikes.

How Much Do Gorilla Tours Cost

Gorilla Tours do not come cheap! Do not select a company strictly basing on price! Gorilla Permits cost USD600 per person. A Fully Inclusive Tour must include a gorilla permit, transportation in a comfortable 4×4 safari vehicle, accommodation, and activity fees.

Please note that prices may differ significantly between operators due to the different safari lodges included in the package. We have listed some tour operators from where you can get an excellent quality gorilla trekking tour at a reasonable rate.

How Many Days are Needed?

In the past, getting acclimatized to the montane environment was a must. Today there is a growing number of tourists interested in day tours to Mgahinga. If you have less time, the most recommended tour is a 2 Day Mgahinga Gorilla Trek from Kigali. The shortest tour from Kampala or Entebbe is a 3 Day Mgahinga Gorilla Trek. Having more days on the tour will offer you better chances for an adventurous holiday within the Virunga Mountains.

Packing List for a Gorilla Trek

The packing list for a gorilla trek includes a good number of critical items. You will need to come with most of these items from your home country given that you may have little time to buy some of the items from Uganda or Rwanda. The detailed Gorilla Trek Packing List provides a clear picture of what you need to pack as well as the recommended gear.

Clothing: Here are the must-carry clothes that you will need for your gorilla safari in Uganda. This includes headgear, footwear, gloves, etc
Bags and Day Packs: Get to understand which bags are ideal for a gorilla safari.

Travel Planner

Tour Operators

This the most this a list of credible gorilla trekking tour operators that we have reviewed here in Uganda and we are certain that they have registered companies, offices, skills to make your gorilla safari a success!!! The list is not biased and we have ensured they are trustworthy.

How to Choose a Tour Operator

There are several tour operators offering guided Uganda safaris to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. However, selecting an operator can be daunting. We list experienced, competent, and professional tour operators who practice high safety standards.

Accommodation

This is a list of all the accommodation in Mgahinga National Park. The accommodation options range from budget to luxury accommodation.

Guidebooks

Here are the Most Popular Reads on This Guide; that will help you plan a perfect safari in the Virunga Mountains.

  • Tipping on a Gorilla Safari: How Much to Tip Porters and Guides
  • Safety: First Aid Kit, Emergency Medication Needed for Hikers
  • Responsible Gorilla Trekking: How to Plan an Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tour
  • Visa and Passports

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