Top Things to Do and See in Mgahinga Gorilla Park

Posted by on August 11, 2019

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

Your Guide Gorilla Tracking, Golden Monkey Tracking, Volcano Climbing, Batwa Trail, Birding, Hiking, Caving in Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda


 Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, one of Uganda’s smallest parks is a must-visit park for the outdoor adventurist that loves to hit the trails and climb the peaks found here in the park that is in the Clouds with an altitude of between 2,227 and 4,127 above sea level. It is Park where the Gold meets the Silver. A reference to the Silverback Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys that can be encountered on a trek in the park.

Mgahinga Gorilla Park in 2019 became the “3rd Must Photograph Location in the World” after a survey of picture postings on Facebook. The small 3.7km2 in the Clouds park is the home of three of Virunga Volcanoes, the Mufumbiro Mountains that Cook. The name Mgahinga Gorilla Park comes from Mount Gahinga. Gahinga was meaning the place of little stones in the local language. Stones that were a result of the Volcanic eruptions in the distant past.

Mgahinga Gorilla Park is located in scenic Southwest Uganda on the border with Rwanda and DR Congo. The Park is part of what is called the Virunga Massif and home of the Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhavura and Mount Sabinyo which are part of the Virunga Volcano Chain.

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 the giant Forest Hogs, Bushpigs, Forest Buffaloes, Forest Elephants, Bushbucks, Golden Cats, side-striped Jackals, black-fronted Duikers, and African porcupines.

Mgahinga Gorilla Park, there are many things to do and see, a must-visit park for gorilla and golden monkey trekkers, hikers, climbers, birders, primate lovers, and those that love to be of the off the beaten track and away from the crowds. 

Mgahinga Gorilla Park – Not to be Missed in Uganda and quickly 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 International 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 end it flying out of Entebbe in Uganda. 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 and Southwest Uganda.

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.


 Mgahinga Gorilla Park Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Uganda:

When it comes to Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Mgahinga Gorilla Park rarely comes up. It is seldom 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 100 plus Gorillas in the Mgahinga Gorilla Park Volcanoes. Only one, the Nyakagezi Gorilla Family can be visited. Habituated Gorilla Group that can be tracked, the Nyakagezi Family. The Gorilla Group is made up of 10-members with Mark as the leading Silverback. What makes the Nyakagezi Family unique is that Five Silverbacks are living together in relative harmony.

Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla Means Trekking in the Virunga Volcanoes replicating what your trekking would be like in Rwanda at a savings of a minimum of $900. You can Trek Gorillas in both Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Forest on a four or five day Safari.


 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 – seeing 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 Flycatcher, Rwenzori Batis, Double-collared Sunbird, Rwenzori Nightjar.
Of the Albertine Rift’s endemic birds, the following were recorded in the Park The handsome francolin, dusky crimson-wing, red-throated Alethe, Kivu Ground Thrush, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, collared Apalis, mountain masked Apalis, Archer’s ground Robin, stripe-breasted tit, blue-headed Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Montane Nightjar, red-faced woodland Warbler, and Grauer’s swamp Warbler.

 Volcano Climbing- The Mountain that cook-Virunga Volcanoes:

The fantastic thing about this park is that you can combine all kinds of activities here including the climbing of 3 majestic Virunga Volcanoes, called locally the Mufumbiro Mountains, which means the mountains that cook.

Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhavura, Mount Sabinyo are all one-day climbs.

Uganda Wildlife Authority Ranger guide you up to the summit and back down again. You pass through five vegetation zones. You might see Gorillas and Golden Monkeys along the Way.

The views along the are breathtaking. Southwest Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo will be below sd you are in the Clouds.

A better level is required for you to complete the climb to the top of Mount Gahinga, Mount Muvavura, and Mount Sabinyo.


 Batwa Cultural Forest Trail:

See the ancient forest through the eyes of its first people,  the Batwa. They were evicted when the park was created. They became conservation refugees, away from their forest. 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 undoubtedly a must-do at Mgahinga Gorilla Park – a Cultural 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. It contained the King’s quarter, a kitchen, drinking water, gathering and meeting area. It was lit with burning grass to illuminate the cave and provide warmth.

The Batwa people themselves directly benefit from this activity since a large part of the fee for the walk goes directly to them. A tip, use Ugandan Shillings would be most appreciated.


 Hitting the Hiking 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 (up to 5hours long)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.


Is Mgahinga Gorilla Park Safe to Visit?

Mgahinga Gorilla Park is safe and secure for visitors who want trek Gorillas or Golden Monkeys, Climb a Volcano, hit one of the Trails in the park.  No activity in Mgahinga Gorilla Park without the escort of armed Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers. Behind the scenes, the park is patrolled by the Ugandan Army.  Add to that equation, local Police, and Uganda Tourism Police force, and you have a park that protects you.

The UWA Rangers are highly trained professionals that are security-minded, yet friendly, most informative, and fluent in English.  Uganda is the Best English Speaking Country in Africa.

There has been no security issue for any tourists visiting the Park. 


 Best Time of the Year to Visit Mgahinga Gorilla Park:

You can visit the park on safari with us at any time. Though you are in tropical Africa, the weather is ideal for Gorilla or Golden Monkey Trekking, Volcano Climbs, Hikes, the Batwa Trail.  The average is around 25 degrees Celsius.  Nighttime temperatures get down to 10 degrees Celsius if you are staying at the Mount Gahinga Lodge.

The months of January through March, late June through early October, and mid-December to the end of the month are ideal for Gorilla Trekking, Climbing, and Hiking in Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

April, October through early December is ideal for those that want a lower price at luxury Lodges such as Mount Gahinga Lodge.

Current Weather for Mgahinga Gorilla Park- Kisoro Area

KISORO WEATHER


Lodging-Mount Gahinga Lodge:

Mount Gahinga Lodge is our recommended choice for Lodging while at Mgahinga Lodge. The lodge, tough a luxury one, wins hands down. You pay more, but you also get a lot more.

Luxurious cottage with fireplaces. A complimentary massage during your stay. Complimentary Drinks including Beer, House-Wine, Sodas, non-premium liquor such as Uganda Waragi.

Activities such as Caldera Walk, a Batwa Heritage Walk, a Visit to the Gahinga Batwa Village are included in the price and are guided by Lodge Staff.

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- try the Ugandan Drink of choice – Uganda Waragi with a Krest Bitter Lemon.


Add a Day to Relax and Chill Out on Scenic Lake Mutanda

In 2019 the scenery of Mgahinga Gorilla Park’s Volcanoes as seen from Lake Mutanda became the “Third in the World Must Photograph Locations.”  Many of our Clients spend a day or two at the Chameleon Hill Lodge.  This is Africa’s funkiest Lodge with its bright colors and Fairy Tale Castle Theme.

Chameleon Hill Lodge is an upmarket Lodge with one of the best views anywhere. It is the perfect way to end your Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda. The lodge is close to the border and just 2 1/2 hours from Kigali, Rwanda.

Lake Mutanda is a pristine Lake with emerald Isles framed by the brooding Volcanoes. One of our clients exclaimed that it was the most beautiful lake he had ever seen.

You can enjoy a Sundowner Boat ride here having Uganda’s drink of Choice, Uganda Waragi with a Krest Bitter Lemon Soda. You can try your hand paddling a dugout canoe.  Birding Walk, island discovery boat rides can be done here among other things such as village walk and nature trails along Lake Mutanda.


 Our Take on Mgahinga Gorilla Park:

Mgahinga Gorilla Park, we know it well. We have hit the peaks and Trails, trekked the Nyakagezi Gorilla Family and visited the Golden Monkeys found here.

We like that it is Off-the-beaten Path, close to Kigali, close to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a combination of Primates, Birds, Wildlife, Culture and Traditions, Hiking and Climbing.

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. It is another reason that Uganda is the Pearl of Africa.


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