Mgahinga Gorilla Trekking, Uganda
Mgahinga gorilla national park is located in the south western part of Uganda in Kisoro district and it is the smallest National park of the 3 national parks in the Virunga conservation area the other two parks are Virunga National park in DRC and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and all form 434-sq.km of this conservation area. The park was established in 1991 and it is governed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority with a size of 33.7-sq. km and it lies between altitudes 2,227m and 4,127m. It covers 3 of the Virunga volcanoes which are Mt. Muhavura (4,127), Mt. Gahinga (3,474), and Mt. Sabinyo (3,645).
The name Mgahinga was derived from the Kinyarwanda word “Gahinga” that means “Pile of volcanic lava stone heaps where cultivation is carried out”. To add on “Sabinyo” means “the old man’s teeth” and “Muhavura” means “Guide”. Mgahinga National park was established majorly to protect the mountain gorillas and in this same park also endangered Golden monkeys have made it their habitat.
It is really a stunning place with the three volcanoes as earlier mentioned where by hiking to the top of them gives an unforgettable experience. The Gahinga has a beautiful swamp at the top, Muhavura has a crater lake and the Sabinyo gives you the best and amazing experience ever whereby climbing to its summit you set a foot in 3 countries; Uganda DRC and Rwanda. Also along the slopes there are great scenic views of vegetation.
Mgahinga National Park is has about 39 mammals of these including the Mountain gorillas, buffaloes and elephants, also endangered golden monkeys. Others include; giant forest hogs, bushbucks, leopards, spotted hyenas, black fronted duikers among others. It also has around 79 bird species.
While in the park there is only one group that is tracked which is the Nyakagezi gorilla group, years before this group of Gorillas could move from country to country until it has to make Mgahinga its home, now also permits for tracking gorillas in this park are now available in Uganda and you are advised to book in advance.