Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s smallest national park, but forms part of a larger cross-border system with national parks in neighbouring Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, linked by the Virunga Mountains. The park sits on the side of three extinct volcanoes – Gahinga, Mount Muhavura and Sabinyo – and as the name suggests is a stronghold for the critically endangered mountain gorilla.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the southernmost corner of Uganda protects the Ugandan part of the famous Virunga Mountains, at the border with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is the smallest national park in Uganda, but also arguably the most beautiful with impressive views of the extinct volcanoes which comprise the Virungas. Along with Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga is another of Uganda’s mountain gorilla trekking destinations. An important factor though to take into consideration is that there are no permanent gorilla groups resident in the park, rather they move freely between here and the neighbouring parks in Rwanda and the DRC, which means that sightings can’t be as guaranteed, so do make sure that you speak to one of our specialists for the latest gorilla news.
Despite its relatively small size, there is much more to Mgahinga besides gorillas. A total of 76 mammals have been recorded here and a highlight of a visit is the opportunity to track golden monkeys. A distinctive race of the more common blue monkey endemic to the Albertine Rift, the golden monkey’s bright orange body stands out against the forest surroundings, where it subsists on bamboo.
The beautiful scenery of the Virunga Mountains makes it prime hiking territory too, with varying levels of intensity. The summiting of Mount Gahinga is the least demanding, whilst Sabinyo and Muhavura in particular are much more suited to experienced hikers and climbers. Although the Virunga Mountains are known for their mist and haze, the incredible views of the area are well worth appreciating on a hike, which shows off the particularly impressive scenery of the region.
Finally, Mgahinga also offers a cultural aspect for visitors with the chance to visit and interact with indigenous Batwa (Pygmy) community. You will be given the opportunity to learn about their daily life with fire building and food gathering amongst the challenges. You can also expect to see first-hand the modern-day challenges between balancing wildlife conservation, particularly of the mountain gorillas with the traditions of the tribe.