Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the southwestern Uganda on the border with Congo and Rwanda. Covering an area of about 33.7 sq. kilometers, the park is a habitat for man’s closest, the mountain gorillas which roam about the whole forest in search for food. This park is one of the few places in the world where the endangered mountain gorillas live.
The secret behind it is that this park has a thick rain forest with a wide variety of tree species and gorillas are known to be vegetarians. There is enough food for them in the park. Though not in large numbers, gorillas of Mgahinga are easily seen in their natural habitats and this makes tracking more easy compared to other parks.
The moment you visit the park, the welcoming atmosphere is an evidence of adventure filled of natural beauty. A day ‘trek through the forests of Mgahinga with a well-trained guide who explains the gorillas’ behavior along the way is a lifetime experience.
Normally, gorilla trekking safaris starts from Ntebeko Entrance gate at around 8:00amin the morning daily taking 2-4 hours depending on their movements. A visitor is expected to budget for his/her time well while with a gorilla family since the maximum time allowed to spend with them is one hour.
Don’t Miss the Batwa
The Batwa experience in Mgahinga national park
The revamped trail leading to the famed Garama cave an over 200 meter long lava tube which served as council chambers, residence, stores and armory for the last king of Batwa was made possible with the support given to train Batwa people to serve as guides and improve lighting, walkways an shelters along the trail.
Batwa demonstrates old methods of making fire by rubbing two dry sticks against each other, harvesting of honey using smoke, fetching water using bamboo tubes among others.
The Batwa were mostly forest hunter-gatherers, though some may also have lived in savannah forest or forest lake environments.
While thinking about what to Visit in Uganda, do not forget to include the Batwa experience, you will learn many things the Batwa used to do in the forest. On gorilla tracking and Batwa experience, you can add activities like Volcano climbing, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo, Golden monkey tracking and Village walk. All those activities can be done in Mgahinga National park.
When is the Best Time to Visit Gorillas
The best time to visit the place for tracking is during the two dry seasons when the park is easily accessed. It is during this time that the thick forests can be penetrated easily and when the paths are not as muddy as it is in the rainy season. However, gorilla tracking tourism is possible throughout the year.
By road, one can access the park by use of a car from Kampala via Kabale to Kisoro. This journey takes approx. 10hours
By air, one can board a plane from Entebbe to Kisoro Airstrip which is near the park. This is the quickest mode of access and it takes about 1 hour. There are daily scheduled flights which must be booked long in advance.
Where to Stay
While at Mgahinga Gorilla national park, one should not worry about accommodation because there are various lodges suitable for relaxation and overnight. These are found in Ntebeko, Kisoro and Lake Mutanda. In Ntebeko, the accommodations are; Volcanoes mount Gahinga Safari lodge and Amajambere Iwacu camp. The lodges in Mutanda include; Lake Mutanda Chameleon Hill Lodge. In Kisoro, the lodges where a visitor can stay are; Kisoro Traveler’s Rest Hotel and River Mucha Hotel.