MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was gazetted in 1991 becoming part of the great Virunga Conservation area; it is the smallest park in Uganda covering an area of about 38 sq km. It is found in Kisoro District 540km from Kampala in the extreme Southwestern corner of Uganda adjoining the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park and Rwanda’s volcano. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park houses parts of Mt Muhavura, Mt Mgahinga and Mt Sabinyo. The Peak of Mt Muhavura forms the highest point in the Park at 4127m, Mt Sabinyo at 3669m and Mt Gahinga at 3474m.
The park has two rainy seasons; February-May and September-December. The maximum annual rainfall is 240mm (October) and minimum is 10mm (July)
The park has afromontane vegetation dominated by bamboo a delicacy to the mountain gorillas. Animals in the park include; the mountain gorilla, buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, Colobus Monkey, Jackal, Porcupine, Golden Cat, Duiker, Aardvark, Giant forest hog, Leopard, Honey Badger, the threatened golden monkeys and many others including a diversity of bird species for example the Rwenzori Turaco, crowned hornbill, black kite and crowned crane.
Activities in the park include: gorilla tracking, Mountaineering, volcano climbing to the three volcanoes Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhavura, birding, Nature walk to the Garama cave. For gorilla tracking, access to the families is strictly controlled; only small groups of visitors are allowed per tracking always accompanied by a trained ranger. One needs to book at least three months in advance to ensure that requested dates are available. Registration of trackers at the gate commences at 7.45am, but the tracking experience starts at 8.30am and can take three to eight hours; it generally requires physical fitness.
Accommodation is available at Travelers Rest Hotel, Volcanoes’ Mt Gahinga Rest Camp, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Virunga hotel and in nearby Motels in Kisoro. Mgahinga Safari Lodge, Rwagingana campsite, Mubano Hotel, Sky Blue Hotel, at the park gate there is community campgrounds with ample space for “do it your self camping”.