5 Awesome Things to Do in Mgahinga
Do you want to climb some of the Virunga volcanoes, see gorillas and golden monkeys, tour caves? All that and more await you in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This park covers an area of 37 sq km located in the Virunga Section of southwestern, Uganda. Despite being the smallest park in Uganda, Mgahinga protects 3 spectacular Virunga Volcanoes which are home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.
Top adventure Activities to do in Mgahinga can be booked at the park’s visitor center Ntebeko. It can be reached by 15 minutes drive on road from Kisoro the nearest town and the best accommodations to stay can also be found in Kisoro.
Gorilla tracking can be done in Mgahinga. Although not popular as it is in Bwindi, there’s one gorilla family Nyakagezi of 9 individuals which is an advantage to see gorillas in a group of less than 8 people. Though being one gorilla family, it is not hard to track the gorillas because the rangers are monitoring them and will know where to find them. Though Mgahinga is not as popular as Bwindi when it comes to gorilla treks, the chances of meeting the endangered apes are almost the same and it will not disappoint you!
Golden monkey tracking
About 4000 to 5000 golden monkeys remain in Virunga conservation area. During a trip to Mgahinga you have the best chances to see golden monkeys, critically endangered species. You will be guaranteed to see golden monkeys as troops of about 60-80 individuals have been habituated for tourism purposes. They live in the steep upper bamboo forested slopes of Mgahinga volcanoes. Golden monkeys are not only beautiful but they do a lot of running and swinging in the bamboo trees as if they are cats playing. It is a fascinating experience. Visitors can book golden monkey tracking directly at Ntebeko the park offices.
The BaTwa are the shortest people on earth. As hunter gathers, they formally roamed the rain forests of Mgahinga and Bwindi before they were evicted for tourism and conservation of gorillas. For a taste of their unique culture and traditions, visitors in Mgahinga can do the BaTwa cultural trail. BaTwa men dress in bark cloth attire, proudly demonstrating their traditions such as fire making, hunting. And this what makes a trip to Mgahinga really authentic. Visitors can experience the BaTwa cultural experience and also learn about the different medicinal plants and birds.
Hiking and seeing the volcanoes
Mgahinga has three volcanoes; they include Mount Muhabura at 4127 meters, Mount Gahinga at 3474, and Mount Sabinyo at 3669 meters. Trails giving access up the summits of these volcanoes range from the short easy 4-6 hours hike to more strenuous hikes such as the trails to the top of Mount Muhabura which passes through steep ladders, rocks and takes full day. You should be fit and well equipped and the guides advice hiring a porter. On the higher slopes of Muhavura and Sabinyo, it is always cold, and windy. Be sure to wear hiking shoes, warn light clothing, rain jacket. There are campsites at Ntebeko the main visitor center for those who enjoy camping.
Mgahinga is home to more than 100 species of birds including those that are endemic to Virunga area. You can go birding in the park on a guided nature walk. Guided walks are provided in the park and outside in the communities.