Even though Mgahinga's National Park is the smallest in Uganda, that doesn't imply there aren't any tourist attractions to enjoy there. Three volcanoes—Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura, and Mountain Sabyinyo—are visible in the park's 33 sq km of surrounding area. One of the only remaining mountain gorillas in the world call this place home. The Nyakagezi gorilla trekking family is the only habituated family in the park, though it occasionally enters Rwanda. Golden monkeys, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus, and many other primates all find solace in the park. The view of the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the lush greenery of Rwanda, may be seen while ascending Sabyinyo Mountain in Mgahinga National Park. You may view the surrounding vegetation and rare species along the slopes of other mountains in the park by hiking them. The fact that over 79 different bird species may successfully nest in the pristine woodland of Mgahinga National Park explains the abundance of wildlife there. Even endemic species to Albertine find refuge in Mgahinga National Park. For birders, the park is a fun location because you can identify at least one new species of bird every second there.
Things to Do In Mgahinga National Park
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National park
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park is at the top of the list. At the ranger station at the Ntebeko Visitor Center, trekkers are awakened every morning for a briefing. Each individual must have a reserved gorilla trekking permit, even though permits for this park are only provided when mountain gorillas are present. The only gorilla family accessible to tourists, the Nyakagezi gorilla family, occasionally travels to Rwanda or the D.R. Congo. A document stating that you have received the Covid-19 vaccination is required, or you must have negative Corona Virus test results obtained at least 72 hours prior to your gorilla trip. You set out in a small party in search of the enormous jungle with your hiking gear. Carry gorilla trekking equipment that will support you in this journey since Mgahinga paths have thicker flora close to the routes because it is less disturbed. A pair of tracking boots that can handle rocky terrain, long, soiled-resistant pants and a shirt, a flash-free camera, a pair of binoculars, and so much more can all be packed. A ranger guide takes you into the forest to start your gorilla trekking after a briefing in Mgahinga that lasts from 07:45 to 08:30 in the morning. Watch out for other primates as well, including blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and black-and-white colobus.
Golden Monkey & Primate Walk In Mgahinga National Park
One of the places where golden monkeys can be seen is Mgahinga National Park. These monkeys are among the rarest kind there are. In the entire world, they are restricted to the Virunga region. Their body structure is greater than that of any other species of monkey and is coated in golden brown hairs in the back. The comical nature of the golden monkeys makes them entertaining to follow. They keep the forest active all day, and despite their habit, nature always makes an appearance. Because they are forest ninjas, you should be prepared to stay on your toes when pursuing them. The Uganda Wildlife Authority charges $100 for each golden monkey ticket, however even when trekking the golden monkeys, never enter the jungle without a ranger guide. The park-like black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys, L'Hoest's, and many other primates also call this area home.
Bird watching in Mgahinga National Park
The Mgahinga National Park is home to around 79 different bird species that nest there. It is one of the unique birding locations in Uganda where you may see a variety of birds, including endangered Albertine endemics. There are other additional birds that you might see, such as the Kivu Ground Thrush, Malachite Sunbird, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Rwenzori Turaco, and Montane Double-collared Sunbird. On the magnificent Gorge tail, which circles halfway up mountain Sabyinyo, you may find the most of the avian attractions. This tail travels over several different highland environments.
Hiking Mgahinga National Park Mountains
Three different volcanoes, Mountain Muhavura, Mountain Sabyinyo, and Mountain Gahinga, protect Mgahinga National Park. These mountains can all be ascended in a single day without the need for specialized equipment.
Sabyinyo Mountain Hiking
Mountain Sabyinyo's ascent and descent may take up to 8 hours and a total of 14 kilometres of walking. You climb up a steep, muddy crumble and through a narrow crest that looks out into deep canyons. From the top, you can simultaneously see Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Gahinga Mountain Hiking
While hiking the Gahinga Mountains, you pass through bamboo groves on your way to the crater's lash flora. A beautiful vista and the canopy of the Virunga forest are yours to enjoy. There is a 6-hour trek here.
Muhavura Mountain Hiking
Muhavura Mountain's Crater Lake serves as its summit cap. You enjoy breathtaking panoramas and views of the beautiful alpine greenery as you climb this mountain. The Muhavura trail offers the quickest and shortest ascent route, as well as spectacular dramatic vegetation and views of five other Virunga volcanoes. It takes roughly 8 hours to travel roundtrip.
Garama Cave Walk & Batwa Trail
From Muhavura Base to Garama Cave, one can take a stroll into the past lives of the Batwa Pygmies. A Mutwa Guide who has specialized understanding of historical forest behavior and culture is leading this tour. After assaulting the Bafumbira farmlands, the Batwa used the 342 meter-long Garama cave as their council room and escape route. Near the northern edge of Mgahinga National Park, this cave is located beneath a plateau. The Batwa aim to show visitors how they lived in the past by doing tasks like cooking, caring for the sick, and hunting. Upon request, a dance troupe can provide plays, music, and drama that simulate previous lives and beliefs to amuse you.
What to bring on your gorilla trekking safari In Mgahinga National Park
· Wear rainproof clothing because it can rain at any time.
· Wear warm clothing, such as long sleeves and pants, to protect yourself from forest stingers such biting nettles.
· Mgahinga National Park has volcanic and softer soils. You need to use trekking boots that can handle the wet, muddy conditions that they frequently include.
· Bring drinking water with you on the climb to look for the gorillas and birds so you can replenish your fluids.
· Before engaging in any outdoor activity in the forest, spray your body with insect repellant.
· A camera to capture the breathtaking views and sensations you have in the Mgahinga forest.
· To recharge during the journey and forest walks, bring energy snacks.
· If you need to make a transaction, have some hard cash on hand to exchange into the local currency.
· Masks to put on before mountain gorilla climbing and change into once you find the gorillas.
· A cape or bonnet with a wide brim to shield your hair from leaves that are dripping water.
· A small, water-resistant bag to carry your valuables in the wild.
· A set of binoculars to get a clear view of far-reaching sights like birds, mountain peaks, monkeys, gorillas, and much more.
How to reserve a Gorilla Permit for Mgahinga National Park
All gorilla parks must sell and issue gorilla trekking permit cards, and this is the responsibility of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Due to the intense demand for the permits, it can be difficult to go in and obtain one. Check the availability because some tourists reserve their gorilla permits up to a year in advance. In Mgahinga National Park, gorilla permits are obtained based on the presence of the traveling Nyakagezi gorilla family. This family occasionally travels to Rwanda or the D.R. Congo. A gorilla trekking permit for Mgahinga National Park costs $700 per person per day.
Accommodation Options in Mgahinga National Park
Accommodations for Mgahinga National Park can be found nearby or in Kisoro town. They span the price spectrum, from luxury hotels to moderately priced ones. Camping, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Volcanoes Camp, Traveler’s Inn.
What Is the Best Time To Reserve a Mgahinga National Park Gorilla Trekking Safari?
Since the Nyakagezi gorilla family has been residing in Uganda for the past few years, Mgahinga National Park is open for reservations from tourists all year round. Because of the volcanic activity and the possibility of gorillas feeding there, trekking in Mgahinga National Park is more difficult. The difficult rainy seasons drive the gorillas to the volcanic mountain slopes, making the hunt harder as well.
How to reach Mgahinga National Park
Kampala to Kabale - Kisoro
Mgahinga National Park is around 540 kilometres from Kampala City; traveling time, without including pauses, is 8 to 9 hours. The Ntebeko Visitor Center, the park's administrative hub, is reached after driving along approximately 80 km twisting road from Kabale. The journey takes roughly two hours on a rough road.
Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport are the departure points for daily domestic flights to Kisoro Airstrip. For transportation to Mgahinga National Park, you require a transfer vehicle. Either Kajjansi Airport or Entebbe Airport can arrange charter flights upon request.
What Is The Duration Of A Gorilla Trek In Mgahinga National Park?
Depending on how mobile the gorillas are, gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park might last anywhere from two hours to nearly a full day. The gorillas occasionally look for new eating areas and other times engage in combat with wild families, which forces them into hiding in case they lose.
Because of this, it is very unpredictable to find the mountain gorillas. Before visitors may begin their gorilla trekking experience, a group of ranger guides watches the gorillas every day. The group of travelers follows the road that goes to where they were found once they find them.
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