Mount Gahinga is one of the eight Virunga massif volcanoes straddling across Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic republic of Congo. The mountains are found within three gorilla national parks that is Virunga national park, Volcanoes national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park.
Mount Gahinga is nestled in the south western part of Uganda bordering Rwanda, its one of the Virunga massif volcanoes in between Mount Sabinyo and Mount Muhavura rising at an elevation of 3474 meters above sea level. The top of the mountain has got a caldera as wide as 180 meters.
The mountain drives its name from a local word to mean “a small pile of stones”. The mountain slopes are home to the endangered mountain gorillas composed of bamboo and afro montane vegetation.
The mountains last eruption is unknown but it’s estimated to be the smallest of the eight Virunga volcanoes.
Mount Gahinga is situated in Mgahinga national park which is the smallest national park in Uganda established in 1991, the park is home to 79 species of birds, 39 mammalian species, endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, bush bucks, giant forest hogs, spotted hyenas, duikers and so much more.
Hiking mount Gahinga
The hike to mount Gahinga takes 6 hours and starts from Ntebeko all the way to the summit you will encounter different primate species, birds and other wildlife. There is a beautiful swamp on top of the mountain and gives you stunning views down the mountain you will also view other Virunga volcanoes.
Nature guided walks can be done around mount Gahinga; you can take a walks to Rugezi camp and have spectacular views of bamboo vegetation, farmlands and the country side. You will also spot various bird species and primates along the way.
Visiting mount Gahinga without trekking mountain gorillas would not make your safari as memorable as it should be. Mountain gorillas are human close relatives and having an encounter with them is super exciting! Mgahinga national park is home to Nyakagezi gorilla family and eight permits are available for trekking this family in a day. The cost of a gorilla permit is $700 per person per trekking.
How to get there
Mount Gahinga is located 510 kilometres away from Kampala the capital of Uganda meaning its about 9-10 hours by road but you can also use air transport to Kisoro airstrip from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield. Alternatively, you can fly in to Rwanda and drive to the park within 4-5 hours.
What to bring
For those interested in hiking mount Gahinga then you should come along with water proof hiking boots, garden gloves, plenty of drinking water, insect repellents, energy snacks, sun glasses, rain coats, warm clothes, sun screen and so much more. There are porters that can help you carry luggage at a low cost.
Best time to visit
Mount Gahinga can be visited any time of the year but the best time is from June to August and December to February when the hiking trails are not muddy and slippery.
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