Mgahinga National Park straddles and protects the Ugandan part of the Virunga Mountains while the remaining part of the Virunga mountain range lies in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The smallest of the Ugandan National Parks, less than 35 square kilometres, it is home to the remaining gorillas not in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The gorillas in this park constantly traverse the three countries which share the Virunga Mountain range, though they do tend to stay more on the Rwandan and Ugandan side and seldom go into the Congolese sector maybe partly because of their past experience where they were often poached and hunted to near extinction.
Although small, this park is probably the most scenic in Uganda and offers sweeping panoramas to Bwindi in the north and the volcanoes of the Virungas to the south. Here the vegetation is somewhat similar to the one in Bwindi though definitely not as dense thus providing good feeding grounds for the gorillas.
Having faced near extinction and the subsequent conservation effort the populations of mountain gorillas have steadied and even show some positive signs of recovery. Both in Mgahinga and Bwindi these gentle giants are actively being protected so as to preserve them for posterity.
Apart from gorillas Mgahinga also boasts some 76 mammal species including golden monkey, Colobus monkey, leopard, buffalo, bush pig, elephants and various antelope to name but a few. In addition, it has a large variety of birds and some specific ones only seen in this part of the Rift Valley.
The park also offers some interesting nature walks. Apart from gorilla tracking one can also undertake volcano trekking.
Gorilla tracking visits are limited to small groups and a permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority is required.
The park can be reached by road through Kabale and Kisoro and is approximately 510 km from Kampala.
What to do:
- Gorilla tracking
- Mountain hikes
- Golden Monkey visits
- Nature walks
Best time to go:
All year round