Tourism Activities in Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the southwestern Uganda is under Virunga Conservation Area (VCA) which consist of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda’s northwestern part, Virunga National Park in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mgahinga its self. The most fascinating about this region is that they are home to the rare and endangered mountain gorillas and many other natural wonders which can make your safari to these areas amazing and memorable.
A visit to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers you an opportunity to explore a number of wildlife and attractions.
Mountain gorilla Trekking
With around 1000 mountain gorillas still surviving in the world, most of them are found in the Virunga Conservation Area and the rest are found the wildernesses of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in the southwestern Uganda. This makes the Virunga Conservation Area more especially Mgahinga Gorilla National Park a perfect destination for gorilla trekking. Any tourists planning to do gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park or in any of the gorilla park in Africa, he/ she will need to buy a gorilla trekking permit which currently sold at $600 per gorilla permit in Uganda, in the DR Congo gorilla permits goes at $400 per guest and in Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park gorilla permit is sold $1500 per permit. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park currently has only one habituated gorilla group ready to be visited by tourists and that is Nyakagezi. The trek starts at around 8am and can take to around 2 to 5 hours depending on where these animals spent there last night and a group of only 8 people is allow to visit a gorilla group every day.
Mgahinga National Park is home to a variety of primates and among which we have these rare species of primates the golden monkeys which are always characterized as a bright orange-gold body. Getting a chance to visit these primates in their natural habitat is such an interesting and memorable experience.
Hiking / Climbing Volcanoes
Apart from wildlife, the park is a perfect destination to mountain climbers and also landscape of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is amazing to watch on top; Volcanoes. The three volcanoes in the park are part of the Virunga Ranges found in Rwanda, DR Congo and also Uganda. All the names of these mountains are has their local meaning for example Gahinga which mean Pile of stones, Sabinyo to mean Old man’s teeth and Muhavura which means a guide.
Muhavura was named so because it’s the highest of all with the advantage of seeing the other the peaks of other volcanoes on its top. It can be seen from as far as Kisoro town the main reason why it called the guide given how it drives one to the rest of the mountains in the ranges.
Mount Sabinyo is a passage to Rwanda and the DRC while in Uganda; at its peak you are geographically standing in three countries simultaneously! The route to the summit of Sabinyo is full of mushy vegetation whose awkward effect can be reduced by dressing fittingly in waterproof climbing boots.
Hiking Mount Gahinga then again requires a climb through a bamboo forest. All of these three of mountains can be hiked in a day each up to their summits as long as you are a bit physically fit.
Mgahinga National Park is home to over 180 species of birds making it a perfect destination for bird lovers. Bird watching this park can be done all year round and on this trip a tourist can enjoy watching the Albertine rift endemic birds more especially on the gorge trail. Among the birds you will watch on the birding trip on Mgahinga Gorilla National Park include; handsome dusky crimson-wing, Rwenzori turaco, francolin, Kivu ground thrush, red-throated alethe, collared apalis, Rwenzori double-collared sunbird, Archer’s ground robin,mountain masked apalis, blue-headed sunbird, stripe-breasted tit, regal sunbird among others.