Best things to do in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, located in Kisoro district, is Uganda’s smallest national park with a land area of just 33 square km. The park was launched in 1991 to mainly protect the mountain gorillas and other species of animals in the park, such as buffaloes, antelopes, and birds. The park is nestled in the Virunga mountains of central Africa and shares the land border with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The location of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park makes the park a perfect spot for visitors interested in gorilla trekking. Other top things and best activities to do in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park include volcano hiking, the Batwa Trail, birding, golden monkey trekking, and nature walks.
The top tours and attractions to do while visiting Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
- Gorilla Trekking
Did you know trekking the mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is possible? Mgahinga is indeed home to one group of habituated mountain gorillas called the “Nyakagezi” group. The gorilla family is open for tracking year-round. You can purchase trekking permits through Bamboo Ecotours. One permit to see the gorillas is USD 600. From July 2020, the permit price is USD 700. The permit is inclusive of park entrance fees and the national park ranger fees. You can check more gorilla trekking tours here.
- Volcano Hiking
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has three giant volcanoes, all of which are open for climbing. These volcanoes are Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Sabyinyo. Mt. Muhabura, standing at 4,127 meters asl, is the tallest volcano south of the Rwenzori mountains. Mt. Sabyinyo stands at 3649 meters asl, whereas Mt. Gahinga is the shortest among the three at 3,474 meters asl. The volcanoes are relatively easy to hike during a single day. It takes anywhere between 6 and 10 hrs to summit the volcanoes. Most hikers revere Mt. Sabyinyo because of its rugged nature. The hikers are also able to step into three countries of Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda upon reaching the summit. You can purchase hiking permits through Bamboo Ecotours or directly from the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
- Golden monkey trekking
The golden monkey is one of the flagship activities done at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Golden monkeys are endangered primates only found in the Virunga mountains of east and central Africa. Other national parks with golden monkeys are Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga and Kahuzi-Biega in the DRC. Golden monkey trekking is a days activity in Mgahinga. Trekking starts at Ntebeko park headquarters and takes about 5 hours. You can purchase Golden monkey trekking permits through Bamboo Ecotours or directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority.
- The Batwa Trail or Batwa Culture Tour
The Batwa Trail is a cultural tour that demonstrates the traditional life of the Batwa people, who are the traditional inhabitants of the Mgahinga area. The proceeds from the tour go directly to the Batwa families who lost their economic activities. The Batwa got removed from the forests at the creation of the Mgahinga gorilla national park.
- Sabyinyo Gorge Walk
The Sabyinyo gorge walk takes you through the muddy trails of Mgahinga Gorilla National via Ntebeko park headquarters. The nature walk is for nature lovers who want to experience the freshness of flora and fauna. You will learn about park history and encounter different species of birds such as the endemic Rwenzori turaco. The nature walk takes anywhere between 5 and 6 hours.