Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda -Mgahinga Park Guide
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda is a National Park located in the southwestern Uganda, in Kisoro District. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was established in 1991 stretching on a total land area of about 33.9 square kilometer making it one of the smallest National Parks in the country.
Mgahinga 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 National Park is part of the large Virunga ecosystem that extent in three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo where it encompasses the Virunga National Park, Volcanoes National Park and the Mgahinga National Park. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m.
The verdant and tropical slopes, the inclines of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park do not only hide gorillas as its name suggests. The local word, ‘Gahinga’, refers to the array of volcanic rock found dotted around the various bases of the park’s three extinct volcanoes namely Muhabura, Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabyinyo.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is part of the Nile River water shade area; it is also contiguous with the Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and the southern sector of the Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo.
What is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park famous for?
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the most endangered species of gorillas, the mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.
Despite Mgahinga Gorilla National Park being of significant important for wildlife conservation, the park also has a huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies in the region. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets has however remains unrivalled till date.
Things to do in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Gorilla Trekking – Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to some of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas making gorilla trekking a must do activity while at the park. Gorilla trekking offers the real African wilderness where you will see the large primates in their habitats, with their young ones. A trek in Mgahinga may last for 2 to 4 hours depending on the side the gorillas may have moved.
Are mountain Gorillas dangerous?
Despite Mountain gorillas being large, they are generally shy, gentle and peaceful in nature. Mountain gorillas are vegetarian in nature a main reason as to why they live in densely forested areas and spend most of their time in the jungle eating. However mountain gorillas are muscular, intelligent and strong and can be trained and they can get very close to humans.
On rare occasions however mountain gorillas can become of great threat most especially when one disturb say their territories and when they charge, the react in an aggressive way with vigorous bites, thumping, breaking ribs, dragging and if the person is not rescued in time it may lead to loss of life. Tourists are however always required to keep a seven meter distance while with the gorillas and should not touch the gorilla.
Mountain climbing or volcano hiking
– on your safari to Mgahinga, there is less probability for your eyes to miss the volcanoes in the area. The three volcanoes in the area that form the large part of the Virunga Ranges at Mgahinga are within your reach. The mountains have literal meanings such as Sabinyo meaning Old man’s teeth, Gahinga meaning pile of stones and Muhavura meaning guide.
Birding at the Albertine Rift Endemics
– The park is said to be a home to about 180 bird species with the most commonly spotted birds include; The Dusky Turtle Dove, Cape Robin-chat, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bronze Sunbird, Black-headed Waxbill and Streaky Seedeater, Handsome Francolin, Kivu Ground Thrush and Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, White Starred Robin, Greater Double collard Sunbird, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Batis, Shelly’s Dusky Crimsonwing, Archer’s Robin Chat, Olive Pigeon, and Black headed waxbill, Western Green Tinker bird, Malachite Sunbird, Cape Robin, White-starred Robin, Brown Woodland Warbler, Striped breasted Tit, Malachite and Scarlet-tufted Sunbirds.
Batwa Trail Experience
– The Batwa were the first people in the forest, the Batwa or African pygmies lived and thrived in these forests and mountains as hunter gatherers. They were later displaced but some of them still live around the park to participate in the tourism industry as porters and guides. Their culture is a thrilling experience to ever participate in while at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.