Activities in Mgahinga National Park
Activities in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are the different ventures that travelers can engage in when they visit the park to experience the wild. Mgahinga gorilla national park is home for mountain gorillas and is one of the few places in the world where the great apes i.e. mountain gorillas live which attract a number of people from worldwide to come on Uganda gorilla safaris. The park is located in the south-western region of Uganda on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, covering an area of about 33.9 square kilometers of its low land. And with no doubt Mgahinga gorilla national park is one of the top leading destination in Uganda and in the entire world to harbour these rare primates.
Activities offered in the park
Volcano climbing in Mgahinga: The park boost with three volcanoes and they can be summited by taking a full day each and such volcanos include Mt.Sabinyo which measures 3,669meter and a traveler to climb it to reach the top, it takes about eight hours to cover the 14 kilometers round trip through following a steep ridge up to the peak. Then Mt.Gahinga raise 3,474meter up to its top and topped by swamp filled crater and giant lobelia. To the lucky climbers who always spot golden monkeys on their way through the bamboo forest. Mount Muhavura is the highest among the three volcanos which reward with sightseeing of other Virunga Mountains from its peak and it can be seen from long distances of Kisoro town that’s why it is called a guide is given to lead one to rest of the mountain in the ranges. To climb this mountain till the top it takes around eight hours to reach there and along here hikers are rewarded with clear viewing of Virunga volcanoes, Lake Edward, Bwindi impenetrable forest as well as the peaks of the Rwenzori. Above all, Mount Sabinyo is a gateway to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo while in Uganda. Geographically you can as well be standing in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic of Congo at the same time. These 3 mountains can be climbed in the day each up to their summits as long as your body is in good health.
Gorilla trekking: Mgahinga Gorilla National park harbors with the world’s endangered mountain gorillas making gorilla trekking a sounding activity while at the park. Gorilla trekking starts early in the morning at 8 am and last 2 to 8 hours depending on where they were left the previous night. You will be accompanied by the ranger who leads you to their forest trailheads, as your trekking them, you get an opportunity of seeing other forest varieties like trees, birds, monkeys and many more. Once you find them you will be given one hour to watch them as they play around, groom themselves, display their nests up high on a tree branch. Note that, there is a limited number of 8 people per trek per group are allowed. Children below the age of 15 years are not allowed. Gorilla trekking per now still costs USD600 but effectively 1st-July-2020 it will cost USD700 per person per group.
Golden Monkey trekking: This is an active and exciting experience one to engage in, golden monkeys are small in size and fast which makes it be an active adventure. This activity starts in the morning hours and can last about 4 hours per session depending on the time allowed to view these monkeys. And as your viewing them you can take photography as many as possible before heading back to your lodge. Golden monkey trekking can be conducted trekked in one of the 6 habituated monkey families. The forest trailhead you take you might find other species so you need to carry your camera to capture golden monkeys adventure memories, binoculars for spotting birds, gloves, a long sleeved shirt and much more.
Bird watching: Mgahinga national park boosts with variety of bird species both residential and Albertine rift endemics and such birds to be spotted include Kivu Ground Thrush, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, White starred Robin, Greater Double collard Sunbird, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Batis, Handsome Francolin, Bronze Sunbird, Cape Robin-chat, Dusky Turtle Dove, Brown crowned Tchagra, Brown Woodland Warbler, Striped breasted Tit, Malachite, Scarlet-tufted Sunbirds these are some of bird species to see in Mgahinga gorilla national park which hosts over 180 bird species. Birding in Mgahinga National Park is done all year round like other activities in Mgahinga National Park.
Visiting the Batwa trail heads: Before this area turning into a national park, it was first a living area for Batwa or African pygmies who used to survive in this forest together with mountain gorillas. Latterly on they were displaced though some of them still live around the national park to participate in the tourism site as porters and guides. Visiting the Batwa people, you will have an experience that will take you through their historical background on how they use to live with mountain gorillas in the forest.
Guided nature walks: The guided nature walk is best done in the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes that gives visitors an opportunity to spot a variety of bird space in the forest, view the rugezi swamp, wild vegetation, walk through bamboo forests while hiving great viewing of the surrounding lakes and agricultural villages are rewardable. You can continue to walk to the Congo border transcends through different vegetation zones, where you can sightsee the calderas on top of the amazing Gisozi hill, have spectacular viewing of Kisoro and Bunagana town as well lake Mutanda. Through hiking, you can come across buffalo and duiker, view the Virunga volcano range and many more.
This activity can be best done throughout the year but mostly during dry seasons when the park is out of the water source. Dry months start from June to September and December to February where the forest trails are not slippery and activities go on successfully.
Mgahinga gorilla national park can be reached either by air or by car, by car it can be accessed from the starting point Kampala passing via Queen Elizabeth national park which takes 8 to 9 hours to reach the main destination.
By Air; Traveller can board a charter flight from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro airstrip and take 1:20 hours.