Top Things to Do and See in Mgahinga Gorilla Park

Posted by on July 7, 2018

Visit Mgahinga Gorilla Park –Small Park – many Things to Do and See

Experiential Gorilla Tracking, Golden Monkey Tracking, Volcano Climbing, Batwa Trail, Birding, Hiking, Caving

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, one of Uganda’s smallest parks, but one that comes with many  things to do and see for the experiential and adventurous Hikers and Climbers, those wanting a Gorilla Trek, off of the beaten Path, while others come to for Golden Monkey Trekking.

Mgahinga Gorilla Park is also home to 3 of the Virunga Volcanoes, known locally as the as the Mufumbiro Mountains, translated to “the Mountains that Cook.” 

Hiking trails including the famed Batwa Trail, that shows you how the Batwa Pygmies, the original people of the forest once lived here. 

The Sabinyo Gorge Trail and the Border Trail along the Congolese Border are two favorites with Visitors to the Park.  Add on top of that Cave Exploration such as in Garama Cave, that was a place of hiding for the Batwa People and their King during times of War.

Besides Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys Mgahinga Gorilla Park is home to 76 species of mammals, although they are hard to spot in the thick forest vegetation. They include giant forest  hogs, bush pigs, forest buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, golden cats, side striped jackals, black fronted duikers and African porcupines.

Mgahinga Gorilla Park can easily be accessed from Rwanda and is a short drive from the Kigali airport, a perfect park for a Fly into Rwanda and Trek Gorillas in Uganda Safari. 

The Park can also be combined with nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Lake Bunyonyi and or Lake Mutanda. 

Mgahinga Gorilla Park – many things to do and see, a must visit park for hikers, climbers, birders, primate lovers, and those that love to be in one of the off beaten track parks in Uganda, where you enjoy authentic Africa without the crowds and off the beaten Tourist Track.

Mgahinga Gorilla Park – Not to be Missed in Uganda and easily visited from Rwanda.

Top Things to Do and See in Mgahinga Gorilla Park – Uganda

 Getting to Mgahinga Gorilla Park:

Mgahinga Gorilla Park is in Uganda, yet it is best to fly in Rwanda and Trek Gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

The Kigali Airport is just 3-hours from Mgahinga Gorilla Park which is better than flying into Entebbe if Mgahinga Gorilla Park is your chosen destination.

You can also begin your Safari in Mgahinga Gorilla Park and at the end of it fly out of Entebbe. In between visit Queen Elizabeth Park and Kibale Forest where the best Chimpanzee Tracking in East Africa can be done.

Kigali – which has become the Gateway for Central and Southwest Uganda and is the easiest way to start your safari in Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

Keep in mind that there is a one-hour time difference between Uganda and Rwanda.  Coming to Uganda you lose one hour, returning to Rwanda you gain one hour’s time.

 Mgahinga Gorilla Park Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Uganda:

When it comes to Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Mgahinga Gorilla Park rarely comes up, it is rarely mentioned by most. In Uganda Gorilla Trekking is synonymous with Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Mgahinga Gorilla Park is not a primary Tourist Destination, it is off the map on most Safari itineraries making it an off-the-beaten track tourist destination.

There are 80 plus Gorillas in the Mgahinga Gorilla Park Volcanoes, one habituated Gorilla Group that can be tracked, the Nyakagezi Family of 9 members with Mark as the leading Silverback.

Permits are most often available since people and tour companies prefer to take clients to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, however, the park is the only place where you replicate Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda at a 900 USD savings on Gorilla permits alone.

 Golden Monkey Trekking: 

The rare and endangered golden monkeys can only be visited in Rwanda and Uganda are found in Mgahinga Gorilla Park.  You can combine gorilla tracking along with golden monkey tracking.

Like Chimpanzees and gorillas, the golden monkeys are habituated meaning that they will not shy away when humans approach – a process that can take up to two years. Golden Monkeys weigh 10 to 25 pounds, have a golden body, cheeks and tails with black limbs, crown on their heads and tail end.

They are a sub-species of the blue monkey and are found in the bamboo forests of the Virunga Volcanoes. Mgahinga Gorilla Park presents a golden opportunity to track the golden monkeys of Mgahinga Gorilla Park.  Next, to the tracking of the mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla Park there is also is tracking of the Golden Monkeys – to see these beautiful primates bantering about is a sight to see and most enjoyable for the visitors to the park.

Golden Monkey Habituation Experience:  More time with the Golden Monkeys

 Birding – Mgahinga Gorilla National Park:

The varied habitats of Uganda’s smallest park make it home to a variety of birds with 179-184 species recorded. The list includes the Ibis, Pin-tailed Whydah, Speckled Mousebird, Stone Chat, Grey-capped Warbler, Wax Bills, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Firefinch, White-naped Raven, Black Kite, Rwenzori Turaco, Blue-headed Coucal, Paradise Fly-catcher, Rwenzori Batis, Double-collared Sunbird, Rwenzori Nightjar.
The added bonus of birding in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is that always towering above you are the Virunga Volcanoes providing a most scenic backdrop to the activity in partaking in.
79 different species of birds have been recorded here, but most birding experts realize that not enough has been invested here in finding various species.  A guide can be arranged to help you in taking you to the best birding spots within the park and this park is not just volcanoes, but also wetland areas that are great for birders.

 Volcano Climbing:

The amazing thing about this park is that you can combine all kinds of activities here including the climbing of 3 majestic Virunga Volcanoes – and each of the  volcanoes can be climbed in one day – one does not have the added expenses such as hiring porters, tents, bringing along food for the climb (except bottled water and packed lunch).

You do get the most awesome views of and from the volcanoes – at times you can enter three countries on Mount Sabinyo – you do get the afro-montane vegetation with its Lobelia, giant heather and more. It would take you 3 days to take in all the volcanoes – but after that, you just might need a rest at Lake Bunyonyi or Lake Mutanda and recuperate a bit.

None of the climbs are technical in any way – but need some strength and stamina on your part.  Better fitness level required for the Volcano Hikes, a bit agility would also be helpful.

 Batwa Forest Trail:

See the ancient forest through the eyes of its first people – the Batwa Pygmies – evicted when the park was created – they have lived on the outside of the park only seeing tourists come into their ancient hunting and gathering territory.

This guided walk is both a nature walk but also a cultural walk since you learn the ways of the Batwa People.  Learn how they hunted, gathered honey, herbs for medicine, made clothing, ate berries from the forest and more.  This is certainly a must do at Mgahinga Gorilla Park – an activity not to be missed.

Besides meeting the Batwa people as your guide, visiting their sacred Garama cave watching the dance at the end of the walk by the women with a haunting son (the cave was a place where their king lived and where they hid in times of war – the cave is 342 meters in length – so quite a place – the Batwa people themselves directly benefit from this activity since a large part of the fee for the walk goes directly to them – a few tips in Uganda Shilling would not hurt either.  Kabiza Wilderness Safaris would also love to take you to an NGO that supports the Batwa who have lost their land, ways of income to a project that provides such things as housing, land that is legally owned, goats, chickens, bee-keeping projects and more.  The latter complementing the Batwa Forest Trail.

 Hitting the Trails in Mgahinga Gorilla Park:

You can spend several days here just hiking the trails that are here.  We suggest a moderate level of fitness for the foothill hike found here.

Most of the trails will not exceed 5 hours, most of them are half-day hikes that are just right and you have an afternoon of leisure for you.

The Park and the trails can be included in your safari with us but you have to let us know your wishes.

Mgahinga Gorilla Park is off the beaten tourist path for most and on many of the hike, it is just you and your guides, another reason for you to hit the trails in this park.  You will never know what you encounter around the next twist of the trail, but they are always good surprises.

 Gorilla Trekking Tips and Advice:

Most Safari Goers want to take in Gorilla Trekking in either Uganda or Rwanda.  Gorilla Trekking is different from a wildlife Safari in Uganda or other parts of Africa.

It takes some different preparations, things to know about and how to obtain permits for your Trek.

In Uganda, there is also exclusive, one of a kind all day Gorilla Habituation Experience where you spend 4 hours with a Gorilla Family.  We also have tips and advice for that activity.

Gorilla Trekking can be done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and in Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda.

Our Gorilla Trekking Tips and advice are a part of our Know before you go information efforts to help our clients and others to know Uganda, to know what awaits one visiting here.

Gorillas – Know Before you go…


Lodging comes in many stripes and colors near Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.  There are two luxury lodges – one outside of the park and one a bit of journey.

There is a moderate lodge along Lake Mutanda, budget options in Kisoro and just outside the entrance to the park.  There is a choice for almost every budget found in the area.

Great places to stay while visiting Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are those lodges that overlook scenic Lake Mutanda such as Chameleon Hill Lodge and Mutanda Lake Resort.

It is nice to have a relaxing evening after a full day of volcano hiking.

The Best Lodge is Mount Gahinga Lodge  for Mgahinga Gorilla Park

 Our Take:

We love Mgahinga Gorilla Park, our clients have enjoyed their time here, some spending two or 3 nights near the park, others including one activity in the park here during their Safari.

Off-the-beaten Path, close to Kigali, close to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a combination of Primates, Birds, Wildlife, Culture and Traditions, Hiking and Climbing. Yes, you can climb volcanoes in Rwanda, but you cannot replicate the off the beaten path feeling of Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

Be sure to let us know that you are interested in including the safari in your itinerary in Uganda or a combined Rwanda Uganda Safari.

Mgahinga Gorilla Park – in our opinion is not to be missed by Visitors to Uganda and Rwanda.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – a small park – but with as much or more to do and to see than larger ones – certainly not to be missed when visiting Uganda – the Pearl of Africa.

 If you are wanting to include any of the Top Things to Do and See in Mgahinga Gorilla Park in your safari let us know.