At the extreme end of South-western Uganda lies the remarkable Mgahinga National Park, one of the only four National parks in the whole world where tourists can visit for gorilla trekking. Mgahinga was established as a National Park in 1991 (the same year with Bwindi Impenetrable National Park also in South-western Uganda) and covers an area of 33.7 square kilometers making it the smallest Park in the country. Being small doesn’t mean that there are few tourist attractions or activities within this Park, but actually this Park is a paradise of nature. Mgahinga National Park never runs short of exciting things because when you visit it, you will not only participate in gorilla tracking but other activities like nature walks are possible.
If you are one of the few tourists that wish to visit the Park but cannot afford a gorilla trekking permit, then Mgahinga National Park is the right destination for you because the nature walks/hikes through this Park will lead you to interesting attractions like the Sabinyo gorge where you can enjoy different bird species, mammals like Elephants, buffaloes and primates like Golden monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Black and white colobus monkeys and L’Hoest’s monkeys among others. This Park is also ideal for butterfly lovers and tourists interested in studying about several tree species. You will be surprised to find that Mgahinga national Park offers one of the best hiking safaris.
Hiking through the jungles of Mgahinga National Park involve;
Hiking to the Peak of Mount Sabinyo
One of the best mountain hikes within Mgahinga National Park is that to the peaks of mount Sabinyo, with the most interesting hike being to the third peak shared by three countries (Uganda, Rwanda and DRC). The feeling of being within the borders of three countries is immensurable.
Hiking/climbing Mount Muhabura
Mount Muhabura stands at 4127 meters and provides the most outstanding views than any other mountain in Uganda. Hiking Muhabura takes 8-10 hours and some of the views you will be rewarded with when you climb to the Peak of this Mountain include the Virunga Massif, the magnificent Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Edward.
Hiking/climbing Mount Gahinga
Gahinga means “pile of stones” in the local dialect (Rukiga) and this Mountain stands at 3474 meters above sea level. Hiking this mountain takes 6-7 hours and highlights into the Peak of this Mountain covered by a swamp (was once an incredible Crater Lake).
Hiking through the sabinyo gorge trail
Hiking through the jungles of Mgahinga leads you through a 6-kilometers long hike to the deep Sabinyo gorge-an extensive abrasion in the edge of Mount Sabinyo and provides one of the best bird watching opportunities and a possibility of spotting the fascinating Rwenzori Turaco. This walk always lasts for 4 hours and crosses through the Rugezi Swamp which is outstanding for bird watchers. You can also be able to spot other mammal species such as Golden monkeys, Duikers and other mammal species. This walk costs $30 for foreign non-residents, $15 per person for foreign residents and Shs 15,000 for East African residents.
Hiking through the Congo-Border trail
Hiking or nature walks to the Congo border cuts across varying altitudes and different Vegetation areas/zones and hikers get the chance to see the Calderas on the peak of the Gisozi hill. While on this Hill, look out for the beautiful Kisoro and Bunagana towns and be enthralled by the breathtaking Lake Mutanda. This 4-hopur hiking trail also involves going through the Montane forest on Mount Sabinyo will lead you towards the border of DRC.
The riveting and popular Batwa trail
What trail can be as interesting as the magnificent Batwa trail?, that allows you to explore the ancient lifestyles of the Batwa pygmies-the people of the forest and be able to see the forest through their eyes. This hike rewards tourists with both culture and nature and you will experience their original hunting and gathering skills, experience how honey is harvested, visit the traditional herbalists and be captivated by how original plants and tree specie are used to treat common ailments. The climax of this Batwa trail is the visit to the Ngarama Cave where you will be entertained by the women in traditional dances and songs.
Hiking though the golden monkey track
Another spectacular trail is the golden monkey trail/track-a gentle perpendicular but fascinating 2 –hour trek through the one-time farmland to the Bamboo forest. If you are lucky that you track on a clear day, you are likely to view the spectacular Virunga Massif and encounter some Forest Buffaloes and bush duikers.
Therefore, hiking within Mgahinga National Park with several trails lead to the Peaks of Mount Gahinga, Muhabura, Sabinyo, hiking the Sabinyo gorge and the renowned Batwa trail that offers remarkable views, interesting mammal, bird and butterfly species within this National Park.