Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, located in the extreme southwestern region of Uganda, boasts a climate that can be described as mild to cold and often wet. The park’s high altitude, ranging from 2,227 to 4,127 meters above sea level, contributes to its reputation as one of the coldest destinations in the country. During the day, the temperatures average around 20°C (68°F) but can drop significantly in the evening, reaching as low as 9°C (48°F). It’s worth noting that the climate varies throughout the park due to its wide range of altitudes, with the lower-altitude areas being more popular among tourists.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park experiences predominantly cold climatic and weather conditions, a result of its geographical location and elevation. Nestled at the extreme southwestern tip of Uganda, the park’s altitude ranges from 2,227 to 4,127 meters, making it one of the coldest safari destinations in the region. Daytime temperatures in Mgahinga National Park generally hover around 20 degrees Celsius, while nighttime temperatures can plummet to approximately 9 degrees Celsius.
The climate in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is subject to fluctuations, primarily due to the variation in altitude within the park. For every 1,000 meters ascended, the temperatures tend to drop by about 6.5°C (or 3.5°F per 1,000 feet). As mentioned earlier, the lower elevations are the most frequented areas by visitors on a Ugandan safari.
In terms of rainfall, Mgahinga experiences no significant dry season, which means that rain is always a possibility. However, there are periods with reduced rainfall. For instance, December to January and June to July tend to receive less rain. Two distinct wet seasons occur from February to May and from September to November. It is advisable to pack suitable hiking gear, including waterproof clothing and hiking shoes, to prepare for potential rain.
The higher altitudes within the park host the remarkable giant senecio and lobelia. These areas, situated at elevations of over 3,000 meters (9,800 feet), experience less rainfall due to their position above the regular cloud level. It is believed that this unique environment contributes to the gigantism observed in the plant species here, enabling them to store more water and manage their temperature effectively.
As for the best time to explore Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the park is open for visitor exploration year-round. However, the dry season, which occurs from June to early September and from December to February, is often recommended for those seeking an ideal time to visit. During the dry season, hiking trails are less slippery and muddy, making them more suitable for travelers navigating the dense vegetation and steep slopes.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, located in Kisoro district, approximately 510 kilometers or an 8-10 hours’ drive from Kampala, is the smallest national park in Uganda, covering an area of 33.7 square kilometers. It is home to a portion of the world’s mountain gorillas, with only 1 habituated gorilla group, the ‘Nyakagezi Gorilla family,’ available for trekking by visitors. The park is part of the broader Virunga Conservation Area, which includes Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda and Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Trek Africa Expeditions provides you with essential insights into the Mgahinga gorilla weather and climate, helping you make informed decisions when planning your gorilla tracking safari.