Mgahinga National Park


Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park is the small­est Park in Ugan­da. It is the only nation­al park in Ugan­da with Virunga’s three vol­ca­noes all assem­bled on a bor­der cre­at­ing an inter­sec­tion of Rwan­da, D.R Con­go and Ugan­da. Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park cov­ers 33.7 square kilo­me­ters and is sit­u­at­ed in the very south west­ern tip of Uganda.

The clos­est town is Kisoro and from here one trav­els to Nte­beko where the main entrance of Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park is found. Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park is a beau­ti­ful con­ver­sa­tion area and it’s major­ly known for its pres­ence of moun­tain goril­las. There’s equal­ly a bio­di­ver­si­ty of flo­ra species esti­mat­ed at about 1,000 of such species mixed of both high grow­ing plants and low ground ferns. The Nation­al Park isn’t short of fau­na such as moun­tain goril­las, gold­en mon­keys, buf­fa­los, and many oth­er small­er crea­tures. Birds have a pres­ence of over 200 bird species with some endem­ic to the Alber­tine region.


It was for­mal­ly declared as a Nation­al Park in 1991. Before the dec­la­ra­tion, the area had ini­tial­ly been a game reserve with a lot of human activ­i­ty from the indige­nous Bat­wa peo­ple in the area. In 1989, rangers were trained and hired and the author­i­ties at the time embarked in large-scale tree plant­i­ng to have a con­sid­er­able exten­sion of the area’s for­est lands. A year before dec­la­ra­tion, the Bat­wa set­tlers with­in the game reserve were relo­cat­ed to the Park’s neigh­bor­hood and have since estab­lished liveli­hoods there.


Ø  Moun­tain Gorillas.

This is the main fas­ci­nat­ing attrac­tion in Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park. The moun­tain goril­las in Ugan­da as sit­u­at­ed in only two des­ti­na­tions to which Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park fol­lows after Bwin­di. Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park has a mea­sur­able num­ber of the moun­tain goril­las and tourists are wel­come to tour these primates.

Moun­tain goril­las live in fam­i­lies and have an awe­some unit of lead­er­ship. Each fam­i­ly has a sil­ver­back which assumes the respon­si­bil­i­ty of lead­er­ship. The moun­tain goril­las with­in Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park can there­fore be trekked which can take about 2 to 5 hours of trekking, and moun­tain goril­la habituation.

Ø  Gold­en monkeys.

These are also in hun­dreds and not so com­mon species to find. They can only be trekked in Cen­tral Africa. Mgahin­ga has many of these and their strik­ing phys­i­cal appear­ance is the most attrac­tive fea­ture of their existence.

Oth­er attrac­tions with­in Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park are the hun­dreds of bird species with­in, buf­fa­los, Gara­ma Cave, Bat­wa peo­ple and their cul­ture, and the three vol­ca­noes of Virun­ga i.e. moun­tains Sabinyo, Gahin­ga, and Muhabura.

Ø  Moun­tain Goril­la trekking.

This is the most typ­i­cal activ­i­ty car­ried out with­in the moun­tain goril­la areas. The trekking goes on for hours and it includes track­ing the moun­tain goril­las to where they are con­verged. The moun­tain goril­la trekking is a life­long expe­ri­ence which includes find­ing one’s way into the Mgahin­ga jungles.

Most times, the jun­gles are thick and thus cre­ate com­pli­ca­tions in pen­e­tra­tion but with the help of rangers and guides, eas­i­er routes are found to enable the tourists nav­i­gate the Park. The moun­tain goril­las keep shift­ing from late night nests to new areas and because of this, there’s no spe­cif­ic loca­tion of the moun­tain goril­las. That’s anoth­er rea­son for the need of the guides besides pro­vi­sion of secu­ri­ty for the safe­ty of the tourists.

Ø  Hik­ing.

Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park attained its name from one of its giant vol­ca­noes Gahin­ga Moun­tain. The Park is com­prised of 3 of the lone stand­ing vol­ca­noes of the Virun­ga i.e. Moun­tain Gahin­ga, Moun­tain Sabinyo, and Moun­tain Muhabu­ra. They are all sit­u­at­ed at the bor­der points of Ugan­da, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of the Con­go, and Rwan­da. They are gen­er­al­ly giant land­forms that have dis­tinct flo­ra and fau­na on their slopes.

These vol­ca­noes are also avail­able for hik­ing. The hik­ing how­ev­er is usu­al­ly com­bined by tourists engaged in the moun­tain goril­la trekking. How­ev­er, tourists can opt for mere­ly hik­ing any of these vol­ca­noes with hopes of view­ing addi­tion­al ecosys­tems while ascend­ing to their summits.

Ø  Cul­tur­al expe­di­tion of the Bat­wa people.

This is main­ly car­ried out along the Bat­wa trail. The Bat­wa peo­ple are reg­is­tered as orig­i­nal inhab­i­tants of the area. How­ev­er, their liveli­hoods have had sig­nif­i­cant inter­rup­tions since Mgahin­ga was gazetted as a Nation­al Park in 1991. The Bat­wa trail was offi­cial­ly let to tourists in June, 2011 and since then, it has reg­is­tered hun­dreds of tourists explor­ing the Bat­wa cul­ture. The Bat­wa are gen­er­al­ly nomadic peo­ple with an addi­tion of food gath­er­ing and mild hunt­ing that they’ve car­ried out in the nation­al park for decades. Tourists get an oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore the Bat­wa rare cul­ture, music and dance, folk­lore, herbs, and oth­er relat­ed traditions.

Ø  Gold­en Mon­key trekking.

This is car­ried out along one of the most beau­ti­ful mon­key species in the world. The gold­en mon­keys are known for their rar­i­ty and can only be trekked in the Cen­tral region of Africa. Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park has a con­sid­er­able pop­u­la­tion of these which are also avail­able for the trekking.

Ø  Bird­ing.

Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park being a moun­tain­ous region with chunks of land cov­ered with trop­i­cal rain­forests attracts hun­dred of bird species. Major­i­ty of the bird species with­in how­ev­er, are Alber­tine Graben birds. Some of these birds are endem­ic to Mgahin­ga and oth­er migra­to­ry. Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park is a great spot for bird­ers due to the large con­cen­tra­tion of over 100 bird species. Some of these include the blue tura­cos, kites, eagles, Rwen­zori batis, trop­i­cal boubou, and many others.

Ø  Gara­ma Cave exploration.

This cave is sit­u­at­ed about 3 kilo­me­ters from Nte­beko. It’s 342 meters long that lies under the plateau North­ern edge of Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park. It’s his­tor­i­cal­ly known to have belonged to the Bat­wa peo­ple that used it for cham­ber coun­cil con­gre­ga­tion. Its out­lay is beau­ti­ful and the tourist shouldn’t miss the oppor­tu­ni­ty of explor­ing this cave while in Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park.

How to get there?

From Kam­pala, it’s approx­i­mate­ly 8 hours on road to Kisoro town. It’d take the tourist anoth­er 2 hours to trav­el to Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park from Kisoro town. Alter­na­tive­ly, the tourists in need of flight ser­vices can get that arranged at Kaj­jan­si Airstrip or Entebbe Inter­na­tion­al Air­port. On land­ing ay Kisoro Airstrip, car trans­porta­tion can then be booked to Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park or one’s accom­mo­da­tion of choice. The main entrance into Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park is at Nte­beko and it’s about 14 kilo­me­ters to get there while trav­el­ling on road from Kisoro town.

When to visit?

Beat peri­od to vis­it Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park are from late June to Sep­tem­ber, and lat­er in Decem­ber to Feb­ru­ary. While Mgahin­ga Nation­al Park is sit­u­at­ed in the trop­ics, these peri­ods are the dry sea­sons of the area.







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