Mirama Hills, nestled in Ntungamo District within the Ankole sub-region, serves as a gateway to exceptional gorilla tracking tours. Situated at the border of Uganda and Rwanda, Mirama Hills boasts proximity to the intersection of three East African nations: Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Just a 350-kilometer (220-mile) drive southwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital, and a mere 30 kilometers (19 miles) southeast of Ntungamo, the district’s administrative center, Mirama Hills provides an excellent starting point for unforgettable gorilla encounters. Trek Africa Tours extends a warm welcome to visitors, especially those journeying from Akagera National Park in Rwanda who seek to seamlessly access Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park without the need to backtrack to Kigali before reaching the Katuna and Cyanika border points.
Established in 1991, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park stands as one of Uganda’s most exceptional national parks. This captivating destination beckons travelers from around the globe to experience its rich biodiversity and remarkable mountain gorilla tracking adventures. Covering an area of approximately 33.7 square kilometers, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park may be Uganda’s smallest protected area, but it abounds with natural wonders.
The crown jewel of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is undoubtedly its mountain gorilla population. This natural forest sanctuary entices adventurers with the promise of once-in-a-lifetime encounters with these gentle giants in their pristine habitat. Mountain gorilla tracking has captured the hearts of travelers worldwide, drawing approximately 75% of visitors to the park. These intrepid explorers come from all corners of the globe to witness the remarkable mountain gorillas in their natural element.
For those eager to embark on this unforgettable journey, Mgahinga National Park stands as the second gorilla trekking destination in Uganda, following Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The Nyakagezi Habituated Gorilla family, the park’s sole gorilla group open to visitors, awaits your discovery in this remarkable corner of Uganda.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers more than just gorilla tracking. Hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers will delight in guided nature walks that meander through the park’s lush forests. The Sabyinyo gorge, renowned for its birding safaris, offers a captivating backdrop for your trekking adventures. You’ll have the opportunity to spot the Rwenzori Turaco and traverse various vegetation zones along the Congo borders, catching glimpses of several calderas and rare Golden monkeys in the Bamboo jungle.
Beyond the awe-inspiring natural wonders, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park invites you to immerse yourself in the local culture. After your mountain gorilla encounter, take the time to visit the nearby cultural communities and interact with the Batwa people, also known as pygmies. This immersive Batwa trail offers a glimpse into the ancient lifestyle of these forest dwellers, hunters, and gatherers. From exploring medicinal herbs and caves to witnessing traditional fire-making techniques, this cultural encounter is a profound and unforgettable experience that may leave you yearning for a return visit.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, located in southwestern Uganda along the Rift Valley’s edge, offers a mystical journey through mist-covered hillsides cloaked in ancient rainforests. This primeval forest, over 25,000 years old, hosts an astonishing array of biodiversity, including nearly 400 plant species. Yet, Bwindi’s claim to fame lies in its role as the guardian of approximately 400 mountain gorillas – nearly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups available for tracking.
Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is divided into four locations: Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo, boasting a total of around 18 gorilla families. As of December 2018, travelers are required to secure tracking permits in advance, either by booking directly with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Headquarters’ reservations office or through reputable tour agents. Permits can be purchased up to two years ahead of your intended tracking date. Each day, only eight visitors are allowed to observe the gorillas for one hour, and participants must be aged 15 or older. UWA guides accompany visitors throughout their gorilla tracking experience, which can vary in duration from a few hours to a full day, depending on the gorilla group’s location and movements.
Bwindi’s diverse habitat, characterized by Uganda’s oldest forest, provides an ideal haven for bird enthusiasts. With 350 species recorded, including 23 endemics (representing 90% of all Albertine Rift endemics), Bwindi beckons birders with its rich avian treasures. Look out for the African Emerald Cuckoo, Common Bulbul, African Blue and White-tailed Blue Flycatchers, and Red-headed Bluebill, which are easily spotted. Moreover, the forest is home to seven IUCN red data-listed species.
Embark on a transformative cultural experience with the Batwa Cultural Walk, where you’ll delve into the heart of Nyamugali Pocket Forest, a unique enclave inhabited by this ancient tribe. Led by a Mutwa (pygmy) guide, accompanied by an English translator, this adventure takes you on a journey through the Batwa’s cultural heritage. Learn about medicinal herbs, explore caves, experience traditional fire-making, and marvel at stunning forest vistas. Discover local flora, witness beekeeping, and appreciate Batwa art, crafts, and utensils. Nature walks through the pristine, impenetrable forest round out this exceptional experience.
For the avid hiker, Munyaga Waterfalls beckon in Buhoma sector, the northern gorilla trekking region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This enchanting hike through lush rainforests and partially bush tracks, adorned with log bridges at river crossings, spans approximately 9 kilometers. Professional park ranger guides lead the way, with hikes commencing from the Buhoma area through the River Ivi Nkuringo trail. Munyaga Waterfalls cascade in three levels, plummeting a majestic 33 meters. As you traverse this captivating terrain, be prepared to encounter various primates, an array of birds, and unique flora, making this hike a rewarding addition to your Uganda safari.
The best months for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are January, February, June, July, August, September, and December. These months typically experience lower rainfall, and some months may even remain dry. While these periods are in high demand for gorilla permits, they offer favorable conditions for an extraordinary gorilla tracking experience.
Allow Trek Africa Tours to be your guide as you embark on thrilling gorilla tracking tours from the border town of Mirama Hills, situated at the crossroads of Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Uncover the magic of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, home to these magnificent creatures, and embark on a journey that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul. Contact us today and let your adventure begin!