Mgahinga gorilla national park the smallest national park covering an area of 33.7 km2 sitting at an altitude of 2,227m to 4,127m above sea level high in the clouds. The three conical extinct volcanoes including; Mount Muhavura (4,127), Mount Gahinga (3,474) and Mount Sabinyo (3,645) are Mgahinga’s most striking parts of the spectacular Virunga ranges that lie along the border region of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. Mgahinga gorilla national park forms part of the much larger Virunga conservation area which includes adjacent parks in these countries.
Mgahinga gorilla national park takes on its name from a Kinyarwanda word ‘Ghinga’, which is a local word for the piles of volcanic stones cleared from farmlands at the foot of the volcanoes. In 1930, the British government declared the area a game sanctuary to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests. Later in 1991, it was gazeted as a national park under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Mgahinga gorilla national park is a habitant of one trans-boundary mountain gorilla group called Nyakagezi which today fully settled in Mgahinga and they can also be trekked. It’s the only park are in Uganda where one can visit the Golden Monkeys hence referred to “where Golden meets Silver”. The park is most stunning for Volcano hiking, climbing comes with amazing and an unforgettable experience, rewarding of different primates species, birds and mammals. On reaching at the top, there are great scenic vegetation views, Mount Ghinga has a beautiful swamp, Mount Muhavura has a crater lake and Mount Sabinyo gives the best and an amazing view experience of the at the summit where one sets foot in all the 3 gorilla countries; Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Besides the endangered mountain gorillas and Golden monkeys, Mgahinga gorilla national park also has about 38 mammals including the forest elephants, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, bushbucks, leopards, black fronted duikers and hyenas though rarely spotted. It also has about 79 different bird species.
Location and accessibility
Mgahinga gorilla national park is located in the South western part of Uganda in Kisoro district, approximately 15 km from kisoro town in Bufumbira County. The park can be accessed both by road and domestic flights. By road from Entebbe or Kampala via Masaka-Mbarara highway taking about 8-9 hours drive. By air, flights are arranged from either Entebbe airport by Aerolink Company or at Kajjansi airstrip to kisoro airport which is a one and half hour’s flight.