Nestled in the Kisoro district of southwestern Uganda lies the magnificent Mgahinga National Park, a gem of East Africa. This park is part of the Virunga volcanic mountain chain, which spans across Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda, and is famous for its breathtaking mountain gorilla safaris. Despite being Uganda’s smallest national park, Mgahinga is a haven for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Bordered by Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bwindi Forest National Park in Uganda, Mgahinga is home to three volcanoes – Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Sabyinyo, and Mountain Muhabura – all part of the six Virunga Mountains. The park’s tropical rainforest is a unique blend of lowland equatorial evergreen forest, tropical seasonal forest, montane rainforests, and mountain bamboo, providing a rich and diverse ecosystem.
Mgahinga National Park is the second most popular national park in Uganda for gorilla tourism, with the endangered mountain gorilla and Golden Monkeys as the park’s most prominent inhabitants. Uganda Wildlife Authority, a government body in charge of all the conservation areas in Uganda, manages this national park as one of its top ten tourist destinations.
Come and experience the beauty of Mgahinga National Park for yourself and create memories that will last a lifetime.
If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, gorilla trekking should definitely be on your bucket list. This activity entails visiting the gorillas in their natural habitat in Mgahinga National Park, which is nestled in Kisoro district in southwestern Uganda. The park, which is part of the Virunga volcanic mountain chain shared by Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is home to three majestic volcanoes – Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Sabyinyo, and Mountain Muhabura. These towering peaks serve as a stunning backdrop to the lush tropical rainforest that is home to the park’s most famous residents – the endangered mountain gorillas and the Golden Monkeys.
To ensure the safety of both the gorillas and the trekkers, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which manages the park, allows only eight visitors per habituated gorilla family per day. Visitors must be aged 15 years and above to participate in the trekking, and minors are not allowed to trek to avoid transmitting diseases to the gorillas. Trekking commences at 7:00am from the park headquarters after a briefing on the dos and don’ts of forest and gorilla interactions. Experienced park guides, rangers, and trackers lead visitors through the forest in search of the gorillas. When found, trekkers get to spend a magical hour watching these gentle giants as they go about their daily routines.
After the trek, visitors receive a certificate to commemorate their successful gorilla trekking experience in Uganda. Safety is highly prioritized during the trekking process, and the forest is protected by both the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the UPDF. Gorilla trekking is a breathtaking and memorable experience that everyone should try at least once in their lifetime, and Mgahinga National Park provides a safe and incredible environment to do so.
If you are planning to go gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park, you will have the chance to explore the only habituated gorilla family, Nyakagezi. This family is made up of 9 members, including 4 silverbacks, 2 adult females, 1 juvenile, and 2 infants. The dominant silverback is Mark, who took over leadership from his father Bugingo. Nyakagezi gorilla family is one of the most fascinating creatures in the world, and seeing them in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Bugingo, the oldest silverback, is believed to be over 54 years old. The family is well-protected, and you will be guided by experienced park rangers and trackers. The gorilla trekking adventure starts at the park headquarters with a briefing on the rules and regulations to observe while on the trek. You will then be led to the forest by the park guides and trackers to search for the gorillas.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park is highly regulated, with only eight visitors allowed to see the habituated gorilla family per day. This policy is in place to ensure the conservation and protection of the endangered mountain gorillas. As a visitor, you will be allowed only one hour of viewing the gorillas, and minors below 15 years are not allowed to trek due to the risk of transmitting diseases to the gorillas.
In conclusion, Mgahinga National Park offers a unique opportunity to explore the only habituated gorilla family, Nyakagezi, and get up-close with these magnificent creatures. Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park is safe, and the park management has put in place policies and guidelines for trekking and conservation. Book your trip today and experience the magic of gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park.
If you’re planning a gorilla trekking adventure in Mgahinga National Park, you might be wondering about the cost of a permit. Luckily, the price of gorilla trekking permits in Mgahinga is much cheaper compared to Rwanda, making Uganda a more affordable destination for gorilla trekking.
Currently, there are eight gorilla trekking permits available per day in Mgahinga National Park. The cost of a gorilla trekking permit is USD700 for Non-Foreign Residents, USD600 for Foreign Residents, and Shs.250,000 for East African Citizens. With the permit, visitors are allowed only one hour to view the gorillas.
It’s important to note that during the high season (January, February, July, August, September, and December), gorilla trekking permits sell out very quickly. To ensure that you secure a permit for your desired date, it’s best to contact a reputable safari operator like Trek Africa Tours, who can check the availability of permits through the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s online system.
If permits are available, you’ll receive an invoice to make payment for the permits. Once payment is received, your permits will be booked and secured, and you’ll receive a receipt with a booking ID to confirm your trek. The process of acquiring gorilla trekking permits in Mgahinga National Park is easy and straightforward with the help of a safari operator.
The answer is all year round! However, the best time for gorilla trekking is during the drier months of January, February, June, July, August, and early September. These months experience less rainfall, making trekking easier and more enjoyable. That being said, the weather can be unpredictable, so it’s always best to come prepared for rain. In fact, some argue that the rainy season is a better time to see the gorillas as there is more food available for them. Whenever you decide to go, it’s important to book your gorilla permits in advance as they tend to sell out quickly, especially during the high season. Contact Trek Africa Tours to secure your permits and plan your unforgettable gorilla trekking experience.
Accessing Mgahinga National Park for gorilla trekking is convenient and easy. One can easily get to the park from Kigali in Rwanda, which is only a four-hour drive away through the Chanika border between Uganda and Rwanda. The journey can start from the airport or hotel with a city tour of Kigali before crossing into Kisoro district in Uganda for lunch and overnight stay.
Alternatively, one can access the park from Entebbe/Kampala, which involves driving approximately 9-10 hours on the Kampala-Mbarara-Kisoro highway. Another option is to take a flight from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip, which takes about two hours to Kisoro Airstrip. There are scheduled flights departing daily with Aerolink Uganda and other flight companies, and charter flights are also available.
For an unforgettable experience, we can customize your trip to include visits to other parks before a visit to Mgahinga National Park for gorilla trekking. Contact us for more information and to book your gorilla trekking adventure.
If you’re planning to visit Mgahinga National Park for Gorilla trekking, there are several accommodation options available to suit your budget and preferences. From luxury hotels like Gahinga Lodge to mid-range and budget lodges such as Lake Chahafi Lodge and Lake Muhele Lodge, you can choose from a variety of options. Alternatively, you could also stay in hotels in Kisoro town, which is just a 30-minute drive to the park headquarters. Some travelers even choose to stay in lodges and camps in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is only an hour’s drive away from Mgahinga. Whatever your accommodation needs are, Mgahinga National Park has got you covered.
Trek Africa Tours provides unparalleled experiences in Mgahinga National Park and the entire East African region. Book with us through our website, to take advantage of our discounted packages and customizable tours. Our team is made up of passionate and knowledgeable Ugandan staff who are guided by experienced managers and directors. We prioritize creating authentic experiences for our clients, which is reflected in our high ratings on platforms like TripAdvisor and Safari Bookings. Join us for an unforgettable adventure in Mgahinga National Park.