Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s smallest park covering 33 square kilometers and it is situated in the distant southwestern side of Uganda neighboring Rwanda plus the Democratic Republic of Congo. nonetheless this park is among the most spectacular parks, it extends over the northern slopes of 3 of the 6 Virunga Volcanoes which are Mt. Gahinga (at 3,474 meters), Mt. Muhavura (at 4,127 meters), as well as Mt. Sabiny (at 3,645 meters). In spite of its small size, Mgahinga national park is of significance since it is a habitat to the decreasing in numbers mountain Gorillas. The park in addition to two parks one in Rwanda (Parc National des Volcanos) and the other in Democratic Republic of Congo (Parc National des Virunga) form the 434 square kilometers Virunga Conservation Area. Because Mgahinga is 33.7 square kilometers, it is only 8 Percent of the Virunga Conservation Area and the entire park is situated in Bufumbira County within Kisoro District. The vegetation of the park is partially forested and the large cones of Virunga volcanoes which dominate the terrain contribute to the truly amazing spectacular view of this region.
Although mountain gorillas are the major attraction in the park, Mgahinga is also home to various wild animals including 76 species of mammals including golden monkeys which are a localized distinctive species of Blue Monkeys, Black & White colobus monkey, leopard, forest elephant, and huge forest hogs plus a profusion of bird species. This park is as well the most spectacular park in the whole of Uganda; it provides breathtaking views that extend northwards towards Bwindi and the southern skyline dominated by steep Virunga volcanic cones, certainly among the unforgettable and breathtaking sights in the whole of East Africa.
The park is flanked by various local communities including the Pygmy Batwa tribe who previously survived by hunting as well as gathering fruits in Bwindi Impenetrable forest. This tribe was relocated following the establishment of the park to protect Mountain Gorillas. Today these Batwa people entertain visitors and even sell their hand-made crafts as mementos.
Safari activities within Mgahinga National Park
Mountain Gorilla Tracking
Gorilla tracking is the main tourist activity within Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. You will find one habituated family of gorillas living the park and it comprises of nine members, two silverbacks, three adult females, Two juveniles as well as 2 infants. Gorilla tracking in the park less challenging given that the habituated gorilla family is isn’t very mobile as it has set up its base in Nyakagezi.
Mount Sabiny Hiking
Hiking is an additional adventurous activity conducted in the park. Climbing the Volcano is a very fascinating yet challenging activity. In Mgahinga national park visitors have an opportunity to go beyond to Mt. Sabinyo (at 3645 meters above sea level), Mount Gahinga (at 3474 meters) as well as Mt. Muhavura (at 4127 meters). Viewing the ‘Old man’s teeth’ found at the top of Mount Sabinyo is yet another amazing adventure. Just as an old man, the crown of Mount Sabyinyo has been worn away.
Garama Cave Exploration
Another fascinating feature in the park is Garama cave. This is among the historical caves in which once the creative Batwa stayed and even battled their neighbors. These people (the pygmies) lived a warrior life-style and they would fight their nearby Bantu tribes. These Garama caves which cover 342 meters in length as well as 14 meters deep are currently inhabited by bats. In addition taking a trip to the Batwa local communities can be arranged for visitors enthusiastic about learning as well as experiencing the life-style, traditions plus norms of the pygmies.
Birding in Mgahinga National Park
The Park has several exceptional bird species with a total of 79 species of birds many of which are native to the Eastern Congo Montane area. Among the Common species within the park are the Ibis, Yellow-Vented Bulbul, Whydah, Waxbills, Speckled Mouse birds, Grey Capped Warbler as well as the Fire Finch Stonechat. The entire Virunga Conservation Area has more than 295 species within the Virungas that are endemic to the Albertine Rift Afromontane area representing 59 Percent of the overall identified endemic species. For enthuastastic bird watchers, local birding guides are around to guide you during the birding tour. You’re as well advised to travel with all of your equipments for birding
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