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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.

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 to 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.

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 a 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.

Mount Muhabura

At 4,127 meters, Mt. Muhabura is the highest volcano in the park. Seen from far beyond kisoro town, it’s referred to as a guide mountain by the local BaTwa people. Read More

Mount Sabinyo

Mt. Sabinyo is the oldest volcano of all Virunga massifs and its peaks can tell the time of erosion weathered its peaks resembling an old man’s teeth. Read More

Things to Do

There are several exciting adventure activities that can be done in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. From the popular gorilla treks in Mgahinga to authentic cultural experiences, there are lots of things to do in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Gorilla Tracking

Mountain Gorilla Tracking is the main popular adventure in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This activity is done daily in the morning hours. Read More

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 to 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 are 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 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 trek 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 trust worthy.

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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