Home to mountain gorillas, Mgahinga National Park is one of the best places to go gorilla tracking in Africa. Located in South western Uganda, the park has a diverse collection of tourism activities, though gorilla tracking stands out as the most popular adventure. The park also offers incredible opportunities for bird watching and golden monkey tracking yet the nearby 3 volcanoes offer great opportunities for hiking.
With Uganda hosting about 400 mountain gorillas, half the world’s total population, Mgahinga National park is one of the two places where a visitor is guaranteed to have a glance at the endangered species. Though the gorillas of Mgahinga were known to be good nomads, at times moving to the Rwanda side, today the Nyakagezi gorilla group offers opportunities to adventure seekers to visit and the watch the endangered giants in the wild. For those looking for unique experiences on a Uganda Safari, a visit to Mgahinga National Park is a rewarding adventure that you should not miss.
This park was created to protect the rare Mountain Gorillas that inhabit the forests. This park has a big cultural significance for the Batwa Pygmies. These people have a wealthy knowledge about the ancient Secrets of the forest.
Mgahinga claims part of the Virunga Ranges conservation area, which includes Park des Volcans in Congo and Virunga National Park in Rwanda (these parks are adjacent to one another) in form of the Conical, extinct Volcanoes.
Areas worth Visiting once in Mgahinga.
Muhavura in Kisoro is the highest peak in the national park.
Muhavura has a very elegant crater lake of about 36m in diameter at its pinnance. Once on the Summit, you are very sure to have clear and good views of Uganda and Rwanda.
This Cave is located near the park headquarters and it was home of the Batwa it was used for shelter and as a storage place for looted things from battles.
This lake in Kabale (after a diversion on your way to Mgahinga) is a lake in Kabale and it is littered with 20 individual islands. An unbelievable fact is that this is Africa’s second deepest lake.
Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Given that there is only one habituated gorilla group in Mgahinga National Park, gorilla trekking is conducted in the Nyakagezi Group. All gorilla treks start in the morning hours.
The Nyakagezi group size is composed of 12 individuals including 3 silverback gorillas.
Nyakagezi Gorilla Group is the only habituated gorilla group in Mgahinga forest. The group is led by Mark, the dominant Silverback, who likes travelling and keeps on crossing borders between Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – therefore, Nyakagezi group keeps on rotating from Mgahinga forest to Volcanoes bamboo forest and to Virunga National park.
Over the past few years however, the group has been stable and they are trying to settle on the Ugandan side since November 2012, and are likely to stay for a while. In May 2013 when a newborn baby gorilla arrived, increasing the group to 10 members- the number of gorillas goes on increasing as they go on multiplying. To that note therefore, Mgahinga forest National park is expected to get more Gorilla groups in near future- we expect splits from Nyakagezi group.
Due to quite unpredictable behavior and movements, permits for this group can only be booked at the ground at the ground – however, the Uganda Wildlife Authority through the Mgahinga ranger guide, gives updated information about the availability or absence of Nyakagezi gorilla group in Uganda.
To read more about Mgahinga National park, visit www.mgahinganationalpark.com, one of the best places in Africa to see the mountain gorillas.