Group Safaris in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga national park is one of the two parks where the rare mountain gorillas can be found in Uganda. Visitors to this park purposely come for gorilla tracking. This adventurous activity normally starts at 8:00am after being briefed about the dos and don’ts while trekking at Ntebeko gate. Tourists are then led by the park guides and the trackers through the forest to find the gentle giants after which they are allowed to spend up to an hour with them seeing their way of life and taking pictures to capture memories of this mind blowing wildlife experience. With over 80 mountain gorillas, the park has only one habituated gorilla family, known as Nyakagezi group with 9 members and this means that there are only 8 permits available for trekkers on any given day.
The rare golden monkeys
Another unique experience is golden monkey tracking which is always combined with gorilla trekking to make a trip to Mgahinga more fun. Uganda and Rwanda are the only places where you can track these golden bodied, black limbed-crowned primates. What makes the experience more phenomenal is that these golden monkeys are also habituated meaning they won’t shy away from people while tracking them. You can also spend more time with them during the golden monkey habituation experience and more to that this activity is not as hectic as gorilla trekking as they are found in the lowland bamboo sector.
Birding in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga gorilla national park also offers to her guests another tourism experience of bird watching. This is due to the existence of about 180 different bird species that normally line up along the Gorge trail between Gahinga and Sabinyo volcanoes. Some of the bird species that can be watched here include; regal sunbird, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Batis, chubb’s cisticola, grey capped warbler, wax bills, Blue-headed sunbird, among others. A birding expedition in Mgahinga will also take you to the most spectacular spots in this park and encounter the most scenic views you can ever imagine.
The Batwa Cultural Trail and Garama Cave
Feel the forest through the eyes of the first inhabitants while doing the Batwa forest trail. This is a must do activity in the park because it combines both the nature and cultural experiences to see how this indigenous tribe moved about with their life in the forest including how they hunted, gathered food, herbs, honey, medicine, made clothing and many others. The Batwa people will be the guides themselves. The sacred Garama cave is also attached to this group of people because it’s where their king lived and where they would hide in times of war.
The sacred Garama cave is one of the prime sites that ought not be missed during a tour to Mgahinga National park. The Garama caves were the ancient home of indigenous Batwa people who lived there for several years until they were resettled a decade ago. These are 342m in length, lying beneath a plateau in the north of the park, 3km from Ntebeko gate. The caves are located in a former farmland zone though previously, it lied within a forest which was used by the Batwa periodically as council chambers and a retreat point and hideout during conflicts with their neighbors.
Volcano climbing is yet another typical adventure for those intending to visit Mgahinga gorilla national park. The climbing can make you even access all the three countries on top of mount Sabinyo, as well as the other two volcanoes, Gahinga and Muhabura which are shared between Rwanda and Uganda. Climbing any of these mountains requires minimum level of fitness, strength and stamina plus agility to make it a complete success in this wonder land. Being small as it is, does not necessarily mean that it is limited with activities and experiences offered, because there are very many things you can do while in this gorilla land of Mgahinga.
When to visit Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
There is no completely dry season in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and two distinct rainy seasons happen in Mgahinga National Park every year; the first season starting from mid - February to May which marks Mgahinga’s longest rainy season while late September to November is the park’s shortest rainy season. Mgahinga National Park is open for visitation all year round. However, dependent on one’s travel needs and preferences, Mgahinga National Park is best explored during a dry season which occurs from June to early September and December to February.
During this period, most hiking trails in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park tend to be drier, less slippery and mud-free thus making it ideal for visitors to trek mountain gorillas and golden monkeys through dense, steep vegetation. The dry season is also perfect for hiking to top of any of the three volcanoes – Gahinga, Sabinyo and Muhabura. Due to this variation in weather conditions, one is advised to pack appropriately depending on their travel interest and if planning to undertake mountain gorilla trekking; waterproof hiking boots are required, as well as garden gloves, waterproof daypack, rain jacket/poncho, long sleeved shirts and so much more. During dry season, the average temperatures experienced here range from 20 degrees’ Celsius during day and 8 degrees’ Celsius night time.
Where to Stay in Mgahinga Gorilla N.P
Looking for exceptional accommodation options in Mgahinga National Park? There are quite excellent properties within and outside of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park ranging from budget, midrange / standard to upmarket (luxurious) safari lodges and hotels offering well-appointed guestrooms and suites for comfortable stay at reasonable prices. All budget, Mid-Range and luxury lodges boast a wide array of customer-oriented services and amenities aimed entirely at delivering nothing but total satisfaction.
Accommodation in Kisoro Town
A wide choice of lodging is also available in Kisoro, a home town of Mgahinga national park. This is located 14 km from the Ntebeko gate – main entrance to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. For those looking for quite affordable but standard lodges, Kisoro offers a wide array of accommodation facilities ranging from basic self-catering camp sites to ultra-modern luxurious hotels all at pocket friendly prices.
Joining a group tour to Mgahinga NP
Group tours are excellent options for anyone travelling to Mgahinga national park due to a profusion of adventure experiences present in this park, such as Volcano climbing, mountain gorilla trekking, Golden monkey trekking, cultural and nature walks and more activities. Trekking to the top of rugged Sabyinyo mountain is made even more easy when you are in a group.