Mgahinga National Park (Gorillas,Golden Monkeys and Batwa trail)
Mgahinga National Park is Uganda’s smallest and probably most scenic national park situated in the extreme south –western corner of the country. The national park is most known for its endagered “golden monkeys” species, and it forms part of a large conversation area of about 33 sq km. This straddles political boundaries to include Parc de Virungas in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Parc de Volcanoes in Rwanda.
The park sits above in the clouds at an altitude of 2227m and 4127m above sea level.
Three extinct volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga range, lie within the boundaries of Uganda portion of this biologically rich area.
The park takes its name from ‘Gahinga’ the local word which means piles of volcano stones cleared from farmland at the foot of the volcano. This protects the Ugandan portion of the Virungas, an imposing string of nine freestanding extinct and active volcanoes that runs along the border with Rwanda and the Congo.
Its most striking features are its three conical extinct volcanos i.e Muhavura(4177m) which means guide and is the highest, Mount Gahinga(3474m) and Sabinya which means old man’s teeth.
It was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas in its dense forests, the endangered golden monkeys and has a huge cultural significance for the indigenous batwa people.
The park has one habituated trans-boundary gorilla group and was declared a game sanctuary by the British administration in 1930 and later gazzetted into a national park in 1991.
Mgahinga hosts wildlife species such as the bush pigs, giant forest hogs, forest buffaloes, and primate species including rare endangered golden monkey, blue monkey to mention but a few.
Mgahinga also houses 79 bird species and a total of 185 species have been recorded in the Virunga region hence most likely to occur in the park including several endemic to the east Congo montane region.The list includes bulbul, firefinch, black kite, Rwenzori turaco, wax bills, black kite, white naped raven etc
What Activities to do?
- Gorilla tracking since Mountain gorillas forms the main attraction at Mgahinga National park
- Golden monkey tracking.
- Nature walks through a variety of wildlife.
- Volcano climbing at Muhavura, Sabinyo and Gahinga.
- Bird watching.
- Cultural encouters with the Batwa people for storytelling and learning at their ways of life.
How to get there?
The park can be visited throughout the year though conditions may become difficult in the rainy season. It’s about 510km from Kampala via Kampala-Kabale-kisoro- road.
The park can also be accessed by air.