Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda

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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda2018-12-04T13:42:38+00:00

MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK UGANDA

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the Smallest National park in Uganda, covering a total area of about 33.7Km² and lies on an elevation ranging from about 2,227 to 4,127m altitude. However much it is the smallest national park in Uganda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the two exceptional National parks in the country that are a home to the famous endangered primate species, the famous Mountain Gorillas. . Mgahinga is part of the Virunga Conservation range that is home to a minimum of 480 Mountain Gorilla’s. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park derives its name from a Bafumbira word ‘Gahinga’, which literally means a pile of Volcanic Stones cleared from farmland at the foot of volcanoes. Bafumbira are of a Bantu ethnic group origin living in Kisoro district, the same district where the National park is situated. The ‘gahinga’ stones are as a result of volcanic activity that occurred on the Virunga Mountains located in the neighbouring areas, spanning from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park lies wholly in Uganda along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Existance of the Park is traced back as early as 1925 when it was part of the Albert National Park, a national park that was formed by King Albert I of Belgium. The Albert National Park was the first National park on the continent of Africa and was created primarily to protect the endangered Mountain Gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The park, under the management of the Belgian colonialists in the DRC, expanded into Uganda and covered the areas of Bwindi plains, Lake Edward and the Rwenzori range; and the now volcanoes National park in Rwanda. However, the Belgian Colonialists who were apparently in the territories of DRC and Rwanda thought it wise to manage only the portion that was fully in possession of the two countries that they governed, DRC and Rwanda. Uganda was under the British administration. A final decree was made by the Belgian colonialists, clearly stating the boundaries of the Albert National Park in 1930. The area of Uganda was cut out of the boundary, but however remained in the Virunga Conservation Area (VCA). The British administration then became the new management of the area; declaring it a game Sanctuary in the same year. 29 years down the road after Uganda had gained its Independence in 1962, the sanctuary was declared a National park later in 1991 under the government of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who had just became president in 1986.

The Virunga Conservation Area (VCA) is made up of three national Parks; Virunga National Park in DRC, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Mgahinga National park makes about 8% of the Virunga Conservation Area. All the three national parks in the conservation area are characterized by habituation of the Mountain Gorillas. The three national parks spanning in three different countries are made up of a series of 8 mountains. Mgahinga National Park comprises of 3 mountains which include:
Mt.Muhabura, shared by Uganda and Rwanda, in Volcanoes national Park; Mt. Sabinyo, shared by DRC in Virunga national park, Rwanda in Volcanoes national park and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda; Mt, Gahinga wholly in Uganda, in Mgahinga National Park.

MOUNTAIN SHARED BY: COUNTRY

Mt.Muhabura

 

Volcanoes national Park

 

Rwanda

 

Mgahinga National Park Uganda

 

 

Mt. Sabinyo

Volcanoes national Park

 

Rwanda

Mgahinga National Park

 

Uganda
Virunga National Park DRC
Mt. Gahinga Mgahinga National Park

Uganda

 

The area where the park is situated has one of the most suitable climates since it is a few degrees south of the Equator; lying on the western arm of the Albertine Rift Valley; as well as being bordered by the Rwenzori Mountain range in the north, Virunga Mountain Range in the East and Volcanoes mountain range in the South. It has a rainy season that runs from March to April and from September to November. The month of October has the highest rainfall of about 260mm; and July with the least amount of rainfall totaling to about 10mm annually. During the rainy season, the entire park is covered in mist and temperatures are determined by altitude. The temperatures are cold and wet, with the high altitude from 2,227 to 4,127m having low temperatures of about 9°C during day and 20°C during day. Temperatures drop by about 6.5°C for every 1000m you climb. However, the rest of the year is the dry season with temperatures ranging from 15 to 28°C.

ATTRACTIONS IN MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK

Vegetation in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park


When you think about nature, Mgahinga National Park is a destination you should consider visiting. Considering its geographical location of being close to the Equator by a few degrees south, lying within Albertine Rift Valley, Rwenzori range in the north, Volcanoes mountains in the south and Virunga Mountains in the West; Mgahinga is a Nationl park with one of the richest eco systems in Uganda and Africa at large. It is characterized by a montanetype of vegetation, with about 60% of its land at high altitudes, covered with a bamboo forest. Bamboo forest is literally the delicacy home to the endangered mountain Gorillas species. Apart from the bamboo forest, Mgahinga has a wide variety of vegetation that includes giant tree heathers which are found in the ericaceous zone; alpine zone which only naturally grows only in areas above 3,000ft altitude in East Africa and many other plant species. The alpine zone includes species such as the Lobelia, Haegenia and other tree species that give the park a stunning and breath-taking view. When it rains, the forest becomes covered in mist and the vegetation certainly becomes the most beautiful place in the park.

Mountains in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

the-virunga-massif
A volcanic mountain or volcanoe is a rupture in the crust that allows hot lava, volcanic ash and gasses to escape from the Magma chamber. However, all mountains in Mgahinga national park are extinct volcanoes or domant volcanoes. There are no signs of the mountains to erupt in the naear future, making it safe for one to visit the park without worrying about volcanic activity occurring.
Mt. Gahinga: The mountain has an altitude of about 11,398ft and is a dormant volcano. It is characterized by afro montane vegetation mainly composed of the bamboo forest; which is home to the mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and other species. Once, the mountain had a crater lake on top but as time went on, it became a swamp
Mt.Sabinyo: It derives its name from a Kinyarwanda word ‘Irinyo’ which literally means ‘tooth’. The mountain is an extinct volcanoe, west of lakeBunyonyi and has an elevation of about 3,645m altitude. It marks the intersection of the boarders of Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The mountain is home to the endangered mountain Gorillas. It is also known as ‘old man’s teeth’, because when you view it from a distance, you are able to witness the summit that has a structure like that of worn out teeth in a gum line.
Mt.Muhabura: Also known as Muhavura, it is an extinct Mountain with a height of about 4,127m altitude. The name ‘muhabura’ is a Kinyarwanda word that means ‘the guide’. It is the highest Volcanic Mountain in Uganda.
GaramaCave :Along the steep slopes of the mountain, exists the Garama cave. The cave is beneath a plateau, northern edge of the park. It is an ideal underground caving in the Park and in Uganda. It occupies an area of about 342 meters long and is as deep as 14m. The Batwa was used as a refugee ground by the batwa people, A Bantu Ethnic group that is well known to live only in forests.

Mountain Gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Historically, mountain Gorillas are said to be descendants of the monkey about 34million years ago. About 9million years ago, primates that were to evolve into gorillas split from the ancestors of the human and chimps. You might be having a Gorilla relative because, the share 95% DNA with humans. However, there was a debate on the classification of the mountain gorillas. The species was first named as Troglodytes in 1847, but renamed to Gorilla in 1852. In 1967, Colin Groves, a biological anthropologist at the Australian University in Canberra proposed that all Gorillas should be regarded as one species Gorilla and three sub species which include Gorilla gorillagraueri (low land gorillas in the west of Virunga), Gorilla gorillagorilla(western lowland gorilla) and Gorilla gorillaberingei (mountain gorillas) After reviewing the species, in 2003, the World Conservation Union divided the species into two; Gorilla gorilla and Gorilla beringei.
Mountain gorillas are primarily terrestrial species. They entirely live on land and move in a quadruped format, using all four limbs to help in movement. During this kind of movement, it uses its Knuckles to support its weight with curved fingers. However, they are also able to move in a bipedally format of using only legs to move, reaching a height of up to 6m. Like all great apes, its arms are longer than the legs. Mountain Gorillas are diurnal, meaning they are only active during day time. As early as 6am, just like the way a human would wake up to go to work, Gorillas are already on the move in the forest looking for what to feed on. At midday, the species rest by taking cover under trees and canopy like plant species to protect it from sunshine. Later in the evening at around 6pm, the species resumes its activity of looking for food before nightfall comes.

Generally, Gorillas are heavy eaters, meaning if they were to be humans and you happened to invite them to a party, you would have to cook a lot of food. Gorillas eat according to gender. Males eat up to 34Kg and females 18kg of vegetation per day. The Presence of gorillas in a particular area is determined by the availability of food, if there is abundant food, they will remain in the area and if there is less food, they will move to other areas. Primarily, Mountain Gorillas are herbivores, feeding on leaves, shoot and stems of about 142 plant Species. Majorly, 85% of its feeds are Stems. However, it also feeds on bark (7%), roots (3%), flowers (2%) and fruit (1.7%). When fresh shoot is available, they move to the area with bamboo forest; and when the shoot is finished, they move to sub alpine regions and feed on soft spots of the giant senecio trees.

Gorillas live in social groups that are composed of females, infants and one lead silverback. The lead silverback is usually more than 12 years old and has a role of protecting the group from enemies, and also leading it to areas of feeding. It makes decisions, mediates conflicts and determines movement of the group. The lead silverback is the only one that has the right to make the females conceive. Male infants that grow into adults can either live the group and start up their own or remain in the group and be subordinates of the lead silverback. However, females remain friendly towards each other and associate closely. They are able to conceive from the age of 11yrs, however, their first ovary cycle begins at the age of 6 years of age. The female will seduce the male by making eye contact, a move made to urge the male to mount her. If the male doesn’t respond, she will further reach towards him and slap the ground to get his attention. They have a gestation period of 8 and a half months. The infants breastfeed atleast once every hour and by 5 months, they begin to have less contact with their mothers. By around 12 months, they move about 5m away from their mothers. By 6 years, there is no or there is less contact of the infants with their mothers. At this time, the mothers soon begin to ovulate and become pregnant again.
According to scientists and researchers, Gorillas are a highly intelligent species. They can laugh, develop strong family bonds; think about the past and future; and are believed to have spiritual feelings.

Golden Monkey in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

golden-monkey-trekking

It’s believed to be a species of Old World monkey and subspecies of the blue monkey. It has a golden-orange patch on its upper flanks and back. The specie is endemic to areas with abundant fruit and bamboo. Gold monkeys are opportunists in a way that they take advantage of climate change. Climate change basically determines the presence of the specie in a particular area. During the rainy season, there is growth of abundant bamboo shoot; therefore, the specie will remain in areas with the shoot. By the time the shoot gets finished, ripe fruit in the forest is available. The specie will then migrate to those areas with ripe fruits. However, Golden Monkeys will remain in areas which have both bamboo shoot and fruit at the same time.
They move in groups of up to 62 individuals, at higher elevations, often feeding and playing in the bamboo forest. Golden Monkeys primarily feed on young bamboo leaves and branches, fruits, flowers and shrubs. They often use a combination of bamboo plants that they weave together to make sleeping beds. They sleep s in groups of four at the top of bamboo plants.

Birds in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

A collective judgment of scientists has it that birds are of dinosaurs’ origin. They share features such as hollow pneumatizes bones, nest building and incubation behaviors. Bird species are the reason as to why Airplanes exist. If they were made by human beings, birds would be referred to as something manufactured out of extreme engineering, due to its capability to fly using a system of feathers. For years, humans admired how birds flew in the air, being able to view the world below them up in the sky. This forced humans to put their brains at work and start thinking of how to get themselves up in the clouds just like the birds. Men and women did their best to try navigating air by imitating the birds. However, in the 19thcentuary, 1799, an English baronet; George Cayley made a flying machine with fixed wings. This marked the begging of airplane evolution.
The park is home to about 79 bird species which include Cape Robin-chat, Black-headed Waxbill, Bush-shrike, Brown Crowned Tchagra, Kivu-ground Thrush, Dusky turtle Dove, Chubb’s Cisticola, Banded Prinia and many others.

Wildlife in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park


Mgahinga has about 39 mammal species which include forest buffaloes, Loxondata Africana elephants, bush pigs, side striped jackals, giant hogs, black fronted duiker, bush buck

TOURIST ACTIVITIES AT MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK

Gorilla Tracking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Gorillas are generally shy, but when two groups meet, the two heads of both groups (silverbacks) could get into a deadly fight using their canines to injure one another. They will hoot, rise on their legs, throw- slap –tear vegetation, beat their chest with cupped hands, kick with one leg and thump the ground with their palms

Golden Monkey Tacking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga habituates about 4,000 Golden monkeys, living together in the bamboo forest areas and those with ripe fruit. Golden Monkeys are swift climbers and great acrobatics; swinging from branch to branch and jumping from tree to tree. When the forest has a lot of wind, it becomes conducive and easy to track the primate species because then, they will be unable to hear movements of predators that intrude in their territories. Therefore, they climb high up in the canopies as a security measure. This makes viewing of the species easy, because they will not move more often, they will stick up in the trees. Golden monkeys make each day of their lives in the forest different, making it hard to easily predict their next moves, hence making the whole tracking experience interesting at an elevation of about 2,500m altitude.

Nature Walks in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Having a variety of wildlife, physical features and vegetation; Mgahinga National park is a prime Nature walk destination. Nature walks are rewarding in way that you get to encounter a number of mammal species such as elephants, buffaloes and many other mammals; primate species such as mangabey monkeys, golden monkeys and other species. Nature walks are done on the following trails:

Rugezi Swamp Trail:


On this trail, you stand a chance to view elephants, giant forest hogs and other mmals. The trail leads to Rugezi swamp, a prime bird watching spot lying towards Rwanda. Birds such as the RwenzoriTuraco, Western Green Tinkerbird, Olive Woodpecker, African Hill babbler, Archer’s Ground Robin, RwenzoriBatis, Montane Sooty Boubou, Lagden’s Bush-shrike and many others can be seen.

Sabinyo gorge Trail:


The trail starts at the Parks headquarters at Ntebeko, going through heath up into the bamboo forest and ends at a lushy forested gorge. You will be able to see the entire park on while on this trail at higher elevations

Hiking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park


There are 3 extinct volcanoes where you can choose to hike. They include Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhavura. The experience might be tiresome, but it’s worth trial because it will forever live in you memories.

Gahinga trail:


If you don’t want to strain too much and want to take spend less hours hiking, this is the most suitable trail of all the three hiking trails. It lasts for a about 6hrs round trip and requires less hiking experience or skills. It begins at a flat in farmland where you might be able to view elephants, and begins to become steep as you go at higher altitude. The scenery at higher altitude is breath taking, cutting through a bamboo forest where you might encounter primate species such as golden monkeys and other species. You will also be able to view the swamp at the summit which was once a crater lake.

Sabinyo Trail:


The 14Km trail is the most amazing of all trails. The mountain is shared by Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. Therefore, while at the summit, you can have one foot in Uganda, the other in Randa and your hands in DRC. The trail could last for the whole day round trip.

Muhavura Trail:

The mountain oriole bird in Bwindi Impenetrable
It stretches up to 12Km and requires a lot of hiking effort. While at the mountain, you can just swim to Rwanda in few minutes on Lake Kivu and back to Uganda. The trail is could last up to 8Hrs round trip. As you approach the summit, you will get astonished by the way the sky opens up. There is a crater lake at the summit which is about 39m in diameter. It takes about 2 minutes to walk from one end of the lake to the other. By walking from one end of the lake, you are simbply walking from Uganda to Rwanda, and back from Rwanda to Uganda. How exciting is that?

Hiking Requirements

  • A rain jacket and trousers to shield you in case it rains.
  • Hiking boots that can be firm on the ground even when it is muddy.
  • About 2ltrs of drinking water
  • Prepared food or Snacks to eat while taking breaks during the hike.
  • First aid kit

Community Encounter in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Batwa Trail Experience

batwa-making-fire-mgahinga
The Batwa people belong to the Bantu ethnic group and are also known as ‘Keepers of the Forest’. This is because throughout their life time, they have lived in forests and have highly depended on hunting bush meat with the help of bow and arrows alongside nets. They also gather fruits in the forest to supplement their meals, use leaves and roots as medicine to treat diseases; use papyrus and thatch to build their shelter. They are believed to have migrated from Ituri forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo in search of bush meat.

  • Demonstration of how to make Bambo cups
  • Show casing all the Batwa hunting styles
  • Collecting honey from bee hives
  • Entertainment of the Batwa traditional dancing and Singing by the Ntandi dance group.
  • You will also visit the Batwa Vocational center where you will be taught how to make craft items like traditional mats, baskets and others.

UGANDA GORILLA TREKKING SAFARIS TO MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK

3 Days Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safari Tours


The 3 Days Uganda Gorilla Safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has gorilla trekking as the prime activity and relaxation on Lake Bunyonyi dubbed the lake of a thousand Islands thereafter. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has 400 out of the 880 mountain gorilla numbers that currently live in the world.

5 Days Uganda Gorilla and Chimpanzee Safari


The 5 Days Uganda Gorilla and Chimpanzee Safari takes you to Kibale National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The prime safari activities include the gorilla tracking and chimpanzee trekking. Encountering the critically endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitats and the chimpanzees

6 Days Uganda Chimpanzee, Gorilla & Wildlife Safari


The 6 Days Uganda Chimpanzee, Gorilla & Wildlife Safari is one of the interesting safari tours that one can have in Uganda. Customized to the travelers’ interests, the encounter takes you through the memorable chimpanzee trekking in the primate capital of the world, cultural encounters at Rwenzori Art foundation and Ruboni Craft Center

8 Days Uganda Gorilla & Wildlife Safari


The 8 Days Uganda Safari features Uganda’s prime safari destinations of Murchison, Kibale, Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The prime activities include wild game viewing where you explore the Big five including Rhinos on Ziwa Sanctuary, elephants, leopards, lions and Buffaloes in Murchison Falls.

10 Days Uganda Gorilla, Wildlife and Adventure Safari


The 10 Days Uganda Gorilla, Wildlife and Adventure Safari is among our newly introduced packages that feature novelty products on the market. The Safari commences and ends in Kampala featuring cycling in the tea estates of Mpanga, the heritage tours in Amabere caves, adventure hike to the Fort Portal crater lake field and the Rwenzori

12 Days Upper Nile Adventure-Uganda Safari Tours


The 12 Days Upper Nile Adventure is an impressive safari package that features the northern section of Uganda and do not involve gorilla trekking and the entire south west destinations. The safari involves white water rafting in Jinja, the Mount Elgon hiking, Sipi falls tour, the remarkable wild game viewing in Kidepo Valley National Park

13 Days Thrilling Adventure-Uganda Safaris Tours


The 13 Days Thrilling Adventure across the Albertine rift features a range of beautiful destination that fall within in the famous Albertine rift valley. The safari involves wild game viewing in Murchison Falls National Park where the Big five of land animals can be encounteeed including elephant, lions, Buffalos, leopards and Rhinos in the neighboring Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

14 Days Pearls of Western Uganda


The 14 Days Pearls of Western Uganda in a Fort Night is an impressive medium safari package that is suitable for a fortnight holiday. The Safari features a perfect blend of culture, adventure, wildlife viewing, primate tracking and recreation. The Safari takes you to Lake Mburo National Park where counts of Rothschild giraffes, Impala, Burchell’s Zebra, Topis

15 Days Nile Basin Adventure-Uganda Safari Tours


The 15 Days Nile Basin Adventure allows you to explore the wonders of the River Nile Basin. Starting from and ending in Entebbe, the 15 Days Nile Basin Adventure takes you to Jinja the source of the world’s longest Nile River for a memorable white water rafting, wild game viewing in Kidepo Valley, Murchison Falls.

16 Days in the Equator Snow-Uganda Safari Tours


The 16 Days in the Equator Snow is long Uganda safari package that features the areas along the Equator in detail. The safari starts and ends in Entebbe and takes you to Jinja for white water rafting and the source of River Nile tour, Fort Portal Area with its impressive crater field and the Amabere caves

18 Days Uganda Comprehensive Safarii


The 18 Days Uganda Comprehensive Safari features a range of destinations covering ¾ of Uganda. The safari starts and end in Entebbe and it has a blend of culture, wildlife viewing, primate tracking including gorillas and chimpanzees, adventure and recreation.

20 Days Uganda Grand Safari Tour


The 20 Days Uganda Grand Safari Tour is a complete Uganda safari package that allows you to explore Uganda from East to west bringing out all the unique features in detail. The safari features Kidepo Valley National Park including the hike to indigenous Karimojong on the Morungole Mountains

Accommodation in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Upscale/ Luxury Hotels in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Safari lodge

mount-gahinga-lodge
Situated at the foot of the park between the volcanoes Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhavura; the lodge has a luxury touch with 9 en-suite banda huts (4 doubles and 5 twins). It has a massage room, restaurant and fully stocked bar.

ROOM

Rate US$

High season

Rate US$

Low season

Double 180 160
Single 214 194

NB: All Rates are on a Full Board plan.

Midrange/Standard Hotels in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Kisoro Travelers Rest Hotel

Located 14km from the park, outside kisoro town, the hotel has 12 en suited rooms.It has a restaurant, stocked bar, bikes for rent and lounge.

ROOM US$ US$ Half Board US$ Full Board
Single 70 85 95
Double 80 110 130
Extra bed 25 40 50

Kisoro Tourist Hotel

The hotel is located 500m away from the town of Kisoro. It offers a conference room, restaurant, gym, and laundry services. The rooms are en-suite

ROOM US$ Bed&Breakfast US$ Half board US$ Full board
Single 60 70 80
Double 75 95 115
Triple 135 165 1195

Budget lodges/Hotels for accommodation in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mutanda Eco Community Center

Located 6Km out of kisoro town, Mutanda is an eco-lodge owned by the community.

ROOM US$ US$ Full board
Dormitory 10 30
Single 40 55
Double 50 80
Camping 6

how to Get to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

By road

  • Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara – Bushenyi – Kisoro 468Km8Hrs

The distance from Kampala to Masaka is 131Km and lasts for approximately 2Hrs

Masaka to Mbarara (also known as the land of Milk because of high number of cattle in the area); the distance is approximately 138Km and lasts for about 1Hr 50min.

Mbarara to Bushenyi: Drive distance is about 54Km and lasts for about 45Min.

Bushenyi to Kisoro: Drive distance is about 191Km and lasts for about 3Hrs.

Kisoro town to the Ntebekogate drive distance is about 15Km and lasts for about 30min

Total time and Km: 473km 8Hr 30min

 

Kampala – Mubende – Fort Portal – Kasese – Bushenyi – Kisoro 649km 9Hrs

Kampala to Mubende: Drive distance is about 150 Km and last for about 2Hrs.

Mubende to Fortportal: Drive distance is about 146Km and lasts for about 1Hr 52min. The route takes you through the magnificent, breath taking Matiri Central Forest Reserve in kabarole district.

Fort Portal to Kasese: drive time is about 1hr, covering a distance of about 77Km. You will drive around hills and valleys and will be able to view Mt.Rwenzori National Park all the way from

Fort Portal to Kaseses: You will bypass one of Uganda’s Cement manufactures, Hima cement, as you approach Kasese Town. You will also cross rivers of Mobuku and Nyamwamba before you are finally in Kasese town.

Kasese to Bushenyi: Drive distance is about 102Km and lasts for about 1Hr 30 min. You cross the Kazinga Channel that connects Lakes Albert and George and cut through Queen Elizabeth National Park

Bushenyi to kisoro: Drive distance is about 191Km and lasts for about 3Hrs.

From Kisoro town to the Ntebekogate 15Km30min

Total time and Km: 664Km 9Hr 30min

By air

A chattered flight from Entebbe to Kisoro airstrip near the park.1Hr

Mgahinga National Park Gorilla facts

  • The mountain gorilla’s fur is thicker and longer than other gorilla species which enables them to live in cold environments.
  • They are having a huge mass with thick broad chest and shoulders
  • Older males have a crown muscle and hair that makes the head look longer
  • The arms are longer than the legs
  • Adult males have a gray or silver coloured hair on their backs hence named Silverbacks
  • Males reach about 6ft 3inches height and weight of around 220kg
  • They feed on bark, roots, flowers, fruit; and mainly leaves, shoots and stems (85%).
  • Males eat up to 34Kg and females 18Kg of vegetation per day.
  • A male begins mating between the age of 12 and 15yrs when he is in charge of a group. Females will give birth from the age of around 10yrs and will have off springs every 3 to 4yrs.
  • Gorillas are generally shy, but when two groups meet, the two heads of both groups (silverbacks) could get into a deadly fight using their canines to injure one another. They will hoot, rise on their legs, throw- slap –tear vegetation, beat their chest with cupped hands, kick with one leg and thump the ground with their palms.

Mgahinga has a habituated gorilla group in Nyakagezi, 10km from the town of Kisoro. The group consists of a family of 9 gorillas. The family includes; A 50yr old leader and father to most of the gorillas, a silverback.

  • He has 4 sons, Mark and Marfia (silverbacks); Rukundo and Ndungutse (blackbacks). These love to play in the trees.
  • He has two females, Nshuti and Nyiramwiza; with daughters Furraha and Nkanda respectively.

TRACKING REQUIREMENTS

  • A gorilla tracking permit is required in order to track the endangered species.
  • Anyone over 15 years of age can apply for a Gorilla permit
  • A pair of gloves, head gear, long stockings to protect from insect bites.
  • A pair of long sleeved shirt or t-shirt, trouser and hiking shoes to protect from thorns and nettles.
  • A water proof rain jacket, which shields you in case it rains while you are tracking.
  • Drinking water of a minimum of a liter and a snack for refreshment

PRO’s and CON’s

  • A tracker is required to keep a distance of about 27ft from the Gorillas. This is to ensure human safety and also minimize the possibility of transmission of human disease to the Gorillas.
  • Drinking and smoking near the gorillas is forbidden.
  • You can take photographs but without using the flash light.
  • Rapid movements are not allowed as they may frighten the gorillas.

Gorilla Permits:

Permit Rate US$600 (include park entrance, guide fee and community development)
Permit Rate US$450 (discounted for the low season_April, May and November)

UGANDA NATIONAL PARKS AND OTHER AREAS YOU CAN VISIT

Kidepo Valley National Park


Located in the far northeast of Uganda, Kidepo valley National park is one of the hardest parks to visit, but one of the most spectacular prime game viewing destination in Uganda where one gets a real feeling of the wilderness

Lake Mburo National Park


Lake Mburo National park is situated in the Ankole Sub-region in Mbarara district. The park lies about 238km Southwest of Kampala capital and covers a total area of about 370Km.It derives its name from the most distinct feature

Mt. Elgon National Park


About 228Km (3Hrs 30min), North east of Kampala capital, lies Mt.Elgon National park. The park is situated in the Eastern region of Uganda and spreads along the border with Kenya. It covers a total area of about 1,279Km, stretching from Uganda to Kenya.

Mt.Rwenzori National Park


At an elevation of 5,109m above sea level, stands out Mt.Rwenzori National Park. The Park is located in Western Uganda along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Kasese district. The park lies on the east side of the Western Albertine rift valley

Queen Elizabeth National Park


Named after the Queen of England, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the National park is found southwest of Uganda. It covers a total area of about 1,978Km²; stretching in districts of Kasese (17%), Bushenyi (50%), Rukungiri and Kamwenge (33%).

Kampala City


Kampala is the capital city and largest urban center of Uganda. The city is the administrative center of the central region and is wholly en-circled by Wakiso district. It lies on a total area of about 200Km²

Semuliki National Park

18 Days Uganda Comprehensive Safari
Situated in the western region of Uganda, along the border with Democratic Republic of Congo, in Bundibugyo district, Bwamba County; Semuliki National Park is one of the newest and smallest park in Uganda.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary


Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is located in Nakasongola District, about 115Km² north of Kampala capital in Nakitoma Village. It lies near the River Kafu basin and it is strictly a Rhino conservation area. The sanctuary is managed

Bwindi Impenetrable Park

8 Days Uganda Wildlife Safari
The name Bwindi is a Runyakitara word meaning Impenetrable. It’s called Bwindi because of the massive stand of bamboo scattered amongst the hardwood forest alongside vines and other plant growth.