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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Where Gold meets silver)

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is part of a larger ecosystem. The Virunga conservation area (434 sq. km) which includes two adjacent parks in Rwanda and Congo. Mgahinga sits high in the clouds, at an altitude 0f 2227m – 4127m.

Additionally, It was formed to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is endangered golden monkey. Its most striking features are its three conical, extinct volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga range that lies along  the border region of Uganda, congo and Rwanda.

Mgahinga forms part of the much larger Virunga Conservation Area which includes adjacent parks in these countries. The park offers a soothing aura of majesty with cool temperatures owing to the mountainous nature of the park.

It’s home to part of the 300 gorillas located in the Virunga massif. It is indeed where gold meets silver where gorillas are house with the same habitat of the golden monkeys.

Gorillla Tracking In Mgahinga
A male silverback gorilla in Mgahinga

Furthermore, the cultural heritage featuring folklore and traditional healing practices for local people covers the north slopes of the three northern Virunga volcanoes – Muhavura, Gahinga and Sabinyo. 

The park derives its name from “Gahinga” a kinyarwanda word for a pile of volcanic lava stone heaps around which cultivation is carried out. On the other hand, Muhavura means guide and sabinyo means the old man’s teeth. It is bordered to the south by Rwanda and to the west by DR Congo.

While sabinyo is deeply eroded with jagged crown and deep gorges and ravines, Gahinga has a swamp filled – crater about 180m wide and Muhavura has a small crater lake about 36m wide at its summit. 

While at the top of sabinyo, you get to set foot in all three countries of Uganda, DRC and Rwanda and at the same time. Its view of the volcanoes and gorges with the cool breeze of freshness is unrivaled. 

On some of the steep mountain slopes are caves formed by lava tubes, one of them being the famous Garama cave located near Ntobeko, the park headquarters.

Accessibility

Roads to Mgahinga

Mgahinga is 510km from Kampala; the most commonly used route passes through Kabale and Kisoro. The 434km journey from Kampala to Kabale can be completed in 8 hours on good tarmac. It is then a further 76km to kisoro town on a mountainous tarmac road with steep ascents and descents.

An attractive, alternative route leaves the main road at kabale and follows the shoreline of the superbly scenic lake Bunyonyi to rejoin the kabale- Kisoro main road at its halfway point at Muko.

Ntebeko, the main entrance to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is 14km from Kisoro at the end of  a dirt road with some steep and rocky sections.

Air travel

Mgahinga can also be reached by air using the daily flights from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro airfield. 

Our Popular safaris to this park include;

Activities in Mgahinga

Birding 

The best birding in Mgahinga also takes in some of its most beautiful scenery in the gorge between Mountains Gahinga and Sabinyo, through the bamboo forest, and in the montane forest, where the beautiful Rwenzori Turaco may be observed.

Cultural Encounter

For generations, Mgahinga’s dense forests were home to the indigenous Batwa – hunter – gatherers and fierce warriors who depended on the forest for shelter, food and medicine. Now they lead visitors through the forest and introduce them to their old home and the techniques they used to survive in it.

Gorilla Tracking

The guide leads you in the gorilla’s world, surrounded by wild forest and impressive birdlife, explaining the gorillas’s behavior along the way. Tracking excursions leave Ntebeko Entrance Gate at 8am daily and last between two and a half hours. 

Gorilla tracking and trekking iin Mgahinga National Park
Silver Back Gorilla in its Natural Habitat

Hikes & Nature walks

Hiking around the foothills of the virunga volcanoes gives visitors the chance to spot forest birds, the Rugezi swamp, wild vegetation, bamboo forests and glorious views of the surrounding lakes and agricultural villages.

Mountain / Volcano Climbing

All three volcanoes in this park can be submitted, taking a full day each. Views from the peaks are well worth the effort-taking in Rwanda, DR Congo,  the Virungas, the Rwenzoris, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Lake Edward.

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