Mgahinga gorilla national park is a natural park that was gazette in 1991 which is part of the Virunga conservation area. The park is highly inhabited by gorillas hence its name ‘’Mgahinga gorilla national park’’ which is the smallest natural park in Uganda but it should be noted that it is among the only two parks in Uganda that in habitat the endangered mountain gorillas one of the top tourist attractions in Uganda. The park is made up of Virunga ranges which is a natural habitat for the mountain gorillas that inhabit the park. In fact, some of the gorillas migrated from Congo and Rwanda from the surrounding parks to Mgahinga national park.
The park can be accessed using air with the daily scheduled flights to Kisoro airfield. For tourists interested in visiting the park, you can either use scheduled or domestic flights from Entebbe international airport to Kisoro airstrip. While using domestic flights, the journey that would have been an 8-9 hours’ drive can be reduced to 45 minutes flight to Kisoro which makes the park very accessible. The flights can be luxury, midrange, or budget Flights to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and these can be easily booked by Pamoja Tours and Travel Company. Once you book your flight to Mgahinga, our professional drivers will drive you from the airport to your place of stay or to Mgahinga national park.
Daily scheduled flights
Aero link operates 1 scheduled flight from Entebbe to Kisoro airstrip because of the weather and this is organized only in the morning hours.
The first flight leaves at 7.00 AM from Entebbe to Kisoro where you will arrive at 8 AM and lands back in Entebbe at 11:00 AM leaving Kisoro at 8.00 AM.
Activities to do in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Gorilla trekking is one of the major activities that is carried out in Mgahinga Park with two habituated gorilla group which lives in this park. The fact that the park is small in size makes trekking easier since it’s very easy to spot the gorillas compared to other parks. The park has a very thick rain forest with a wide variety of tree species and thick vegetation cover which is food for the gorillas which are known to be vegetarians. This sometimes makes some of the gorillas migrate from Rwanda and DRC to Mgahinga though not in large numbers. for anyone to go trekking, there is a need for a gorilla permit which allows you to trek here which costs USD 700 for foreign nonresidents, USD 600 for foreign residents, and 250000UgShs for East African residents and this should be booked prior to your due date especially during the peak seasons. Upon seeing the gorillas, you are allowed an hour to observe the gorilla family see how they feed, interact, live and continue doing their day-to-day activities.
Golden monkey tracking and habituation experience
Tracking can be as fun as trekking, the golden monkeys are only found in Mgahinga national park which can be included on your safari trip as you trek in Mgahinga for gorillas. The activity requires you to book a golden trekking permit which is only US 50$ per international visitor, 20.000 UG shillings for East African residents, and US 40$ per foreign nonresident. This activity starts at 7.00 AM with a briefing in the park and sometimes in the afternoon. There are habituated golden monkeys in the park which allow you to have half a day with the monkeys as you watch them do their day-to-day activities.
Volcano climbing and platform viewing
Mgahinga national park is blessed by nature with 3 volcanic mountains available for climbing: Mt.Gahinga, Mt Sabinyo, and MT Muhavura which stands at 4127 meters and at a platform of about 800 meters from the national park headquarters. These volcanoes are closely adjoining Kisoro town which will give you magnificent scenery of the town, natural parks, and its surrounding as you continue hiking. You can choose a day to take the hike for all three volcanoes.
Crater lakes viewing and Cave exploration
Kisoro has a number of caves and crater lakes and the most outstanding one being the emerald-green lake Mutunda located 14 kilometers north of Kisoro town ideal for canoeing, fishing, and cruises with other recreational activities related. Garama cave is one of the caves where the once crafty warriors from the Batwa group of people lived. The cave is 342 meters in length and 14meters deep. In the cave, the guide will show you how the Batwa people lived and fought out of the cave which is now inhabited by bats. There are other caves that were inhabited by the Batwa like Ruhenju in Gigozi parish, Soko in Soko parish, Mwambike near Mutorere secondary school which was used for safety purposes during the wars. These can be seen and documented for those interested as you enjoy the local people once a lifetime story.
Wildlife viewing and natural walks
Mgahinga national park is inhabited by 76 mammal species like the bush big, golden cats, giant forest hogs, elephants, civets, and buffaloes however due to difficulty in the geographical relief of the area, these are rarely seen. Natural walks in Mgahinga are so interesting and educating where a tourist under a guide gets to move around trails in the forest. There, you get to learn a lot more about the forest flora and fauna species, including the ancient tree species that still exist in that forest.
Batwa cultural experience and community visits.
Batwa pygmies used to live in Bwindi impenetrable forest before it was reserved as a national park. You will get to tour around their village and hear stories of their survival in the forest, their life before and after they were sent out of the forest. Get to share and learn about their culture like the Stone Age era they still live; making fire using stones, etc. Visitors in this local village get a chance to learn more about the Bakiga, Bafumbira, and Batwa and in case you enjoy local dances, songs, and volunteering, you can take part in volunteering in the nearby schools and communities owned by the local people.
The park is endowed with 150 bird species with various Albertine endemic best for bird watching. All these are great adventures for bird lovers thee fore, you can carry your bird watching equipment to enjoy bird watching later and experience the wonders of Uganda.
When to visit the park?
The best time to go trekking is during the drier seasons of Uganda which is in the months of January, February, June, July, August, and September. The land is dry and the vegetation is green also giving you a clear view of the gorillas since the grass is not too high. A number of people prefer such seasons for different reasons, however, the low seasons when the park receives mid rainfall can also be good for visiting the park. You will get discounts on accommodation facilities that are in Mgahinga and also on some safari with flights to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park packages offered by Pamoja Tours and Travel Company. These months are however tricky and hard when it comes to gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking in the park since the grass is fully grown and the trails are slippery.
Accommodation facilities in Mgahinga?
Mgahinga gorilla national park has got a number of accommodation facilities that range from luxury, midrange to budget accommodation. Luxury facilities include Gahinga lodge, midrange facilities include lake chahafi resort, lake Mulehe safari lode, and budget facilities include; Kisoro travelers inn. The accommodation here is from 90-100USD per person for a night for budget options, 100-200USD per person for a night for those who wish to stay in mid-range lodges, and for luxury lodges, 200-400USD per person for a night.
Pamoja Tours and Travel company offers safaris in different parts of Uganda by experienced guides. These safaris go beyond Uganda but also Kenya, Rwanda, DRC, and Tanzania with the best and memorable experience. Contact us to help you plan, and tailor any safari of your own interest throughout east Africa.