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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in southwestern Uganda in Kisoro District and is Uganda’s smallest national park. It’s well known for its mountain  gorillas which is its star attraction . The park is part of a larger ecosystem, the virunga conservation Area [434 sq km]which includes two adjacent parks in Rwanda and Congo . It happens to be one of the few  national parks in the world  that harbor mountain Gorillas.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Mgahinga National Park sits high in the clouds at an altitude of between of 2227m and 4127m and covers a total area of 33.7 square kilometers , popular tourist activities include mountain gorilla tracking, golden monkey tracking ,volcano hiking, nature walks including going to the gorge platform, bird watching and meeting the Batwa community and Lake Mutunda which gives a great cultural experience when travelers visit the park. The park is also blessed with unique features like Mount Sabinyo and Mount Muhavura which are seated in the Vitunga Ranges which cut into Uganda ,Rwanda and Congo. Mgahinga vegetation entails some of the most unique plant species on the planet that can only be sighted there, hence placing Mgahinga gorilla national park among the places to must visit in pursuit of vegetation potentials however the park is a home for over 39 mammals including the mountain gorilla, golden monkeys, buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, duikers, giant forest hogs, about 115 bird species and three virunga volcanoes that is mount Muhavura which is 4127 meters above the sea level, mount Gahinga which is 3474 meters above the sea level and mount Sabinyo which is 3645 meters above the sea level.

History of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

The national park was gazette in 1991 mainly to protect the rare mountain gorillas and the endangered golden monkey  that inhabit it dense forests .The park derives its name from “Gahinga” a kinyarwanda word  for a pile of volcanic lava stone heaps cleared from farmland at the foot of the volcanoes. The British administration declared the area a game sanctuary in 1930;it was gazette as a national park in 1991.The park is a habituated transboundary gorilla group.

Activities at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mountain climbing

The park has three whole volcanoes !They form part of the Virunga Ranges found in Rwanda, Democratic republic of Congo as well as Uganda. For each name given to these mountains is a literal translation: Sabinyo meaning Oldman’s teeth, Gahinga to mean pile of stones and Muhavura means a guide. It is bordered to the south by Rwanda and to the west by DRC. while sabinyo is deeply eroded with jagged crowns and deep gores and ravines, at the to of sabinyo, you get to set foot in all three counties of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo at  the same time Gahinga has swamp-filled -crater about 180 m wide and Muhavura has a small crater lake about 36m wide at its summit. All three volcanoes in this park can be submitted, taking a full day each. The views from the peak are well worth the effort-taking in Rwanda, DRC, the Virunga’s, the Rwanda, Bwindi impenetrable Forest and lake Edward.

Gorilla Trekking

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to some of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas,  making gorilla trekking a must-do activity while at the park. The guild leads you through the gorillas’s world, surrounded by wild forest and impressive birdlife, explaining the gorilla’s behavior along the way .Tracking excursions leave from Ntebeko Entrance Gate at 8am daily and last between 2 to 4 hours depending on how far the gorillas moved, This ought to remind you that by trekking you have a chance to see the gorillas.

Golden Monkey Trekking

Tourists can use the gorilla trekking experience to simultaneously trek golden monkeys. The primates are small and fast which makes golden monkey trekking a rather active adventure .The habituation family of these monkeys is about 6 in number and they have due to the habituation process grown fond and less evasive of human presence in their sanctuary.

Birding

The best birding in Mgahinga also takes in some of the its most beautiful scenery in the gorge between Mts Gahinga and Sabinyo , through the bamboo forest, and in the montane forest , where the beautiful Rwenzori Turaco may be observed. Birding in this park can be an all year round. You  can enjoy a good list of Albertine rift endemics in this area, especially on the gorge trail.

Batwa Trail Experience / Cultural Encounter

A Batwa trail experience is an activity that takes you through their history and transition over time. Before the area on which mgahinga gorilla national park was set for the purpose of being a gorilla national park, the Batwa also called the African Pygmies lived and thrived in these forests and mountains as hunter gatherers. For generations the mgahinga ‘s dense forests were home to indigenous Batwa hunter gatherers and fierce warriors who depended on the forest for shelter, food and medicine. Now they lead visitors through the forests and introduce them to their old home and techniques they used to survive in it.

Hiking and natural walks

Hiking around the footsteps of the volcanoes gives travelers the chance to see forest birds, the swamp, the vegetation, forests and

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