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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda

Goegraphical Size: The smallest National Park in Uganda with 33.7 sq km.
Location: Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located far southwest, bordering Rwanda and Congo, 14km from Kisoro town. The Park covers the northern slopes of the three northernmost Virunga Volcanoes: Mt. Muhavura (4,127 m), Mt. Gahinga (3,474 m), and Mt. Sabinyo (3,645 m). The Park is about 10 km south of Kisoro and is bordered to the south by the Republic of Rwanda and to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each of these countries protects its own portion of the Virungas, in the Parc National des Volcans and Parc National des Virunga respectively. The three parks together form the 434-sq. km. 'Virunga Conservation Area' or VCA. Mgahinga is 33.7 sq. km, just 8% of the VCA. The entire Park is in Bufumbira County of Kisoro District.

Habitat: The Park, gazetted in 1991, covers an area of 33.7km2. It is found in the extreme Southwestern corner of Uganda that borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. It includes parts of Muhavura, Mgahinga and Sabinyo Volcanic Mountains.
Accessibility: Kisoro is about 540 km from Kampala (Uganda's capital city), it takes about 8 hours via Kabale by car. For public transport, there are daily buses/minibuses, which set off at 7.00pm from Kampala. Once in Kisoro Town, you can hike to the park if you are strong enough or hire a cab to the park gate. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was established to provide a secure habitat for the endangered Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Beringei).

Gorilla Tracking in Mgahinga National Park
This is the most thrilling tourist activity in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The habituated gorilla in this park is called the Nyakagezi, which consists of 9 members, 2 silverbacks, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants. Gorilla tracking is an intensive experience that can take the whole day. The guide leads you through the gorilla's world, explaining aspects of their Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda

ecology and behavior along the way. We must stress that, while you have a very good chance of seeing gorillas, success is NOT guaranteed. They are wild creatures with no fixed routine, and finding them requires the skill and experience of your trackers and guides, as well as luck. The trackers and guides have helped to habituate the gorilla groups and know them intimately. They will take you to the area where they left the gorillas the day before. Before leaving they may be able to suggest how long the hike might be. While walking, please feel free to ask guides to slow down if they are going too fast and if you need a rest. Feel free to stop and look at birds or flowers, the guide will ensure that you don't get left behind. Gorilla Tracking can be strenuous walk, so go prepared.

Vegetation and Birdlife in Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda
The summit of Muhavura has a small crater lake and forms the highest point (4127m) in the Park. The summit areas are dominated by wort and dwarf heath vegetation. This emerges into bamboo and broad leaved montane forest, down the mountains.The lower slopes have high altitude savannah woodland with lots of lichens and mosses. The Mountain
Gorillas are the most awe-inspiring animals to be found in Africa. Unfortunately, man has not been merciful to them. Poachers have decimated them, and man has destroyed their natural habitat. They have faced extinction, but today sound conservation policies have slowed down their decline, and in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park they are able to establish their family groups untroubled by predatory man. Here on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains, in south west Uganda, the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (33.7 sq.km) has been established to provide a secure habitat for these massive, but gentle creatures. Access to the families is strictly controlled (and not always permitted) and small groups of visitors are always accompanied by a trained ranger. To keep disturbance to the animals to a minimum there are limits to the number of tourists allowed in at any one time. Here we are in the home of the animals and we must act as the perfect guests.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is blessed with a unique bird fauna; 79 bird species have thus far been recorded within the park, including several species endemic to the East Congo Montane region. For the Virunga Conservation Area as a whole, over 295 species in the Virungas are endemic to the Albertine Rift Afromontane region representing 59% of the total of known endemic species. Remember to contact the Park Management for a guide who will take around for a good viewing of birds, do not forget your binoculars!!

Free birding along the edge of the park is now available on request. The guides are happy to take you out from 5-6 p.m. if you book by 10 a.m. that morning. You can choose where the walk will take you, or simply relax in the campground. A stroll a long the buffalo wall toward the Congo takes you through a wetland area where Ibis, Whydah, Speckled Mousebird, and Fire Finch are found. Stonechat, Grey Capped Warbler, Waxbills, and Yellow-Vented Bulbul are often seen around the campground. Ask your guide where the best spots are. Feel free to take your time and go at your own pace, there is no hurry when birding.
Guided Walks and Cultural Perfomances
Guided nature walks can take you up to the boarder trail. A visa is not required. The hike takes you through a trail that climbs up the base of Sabinyo through fine montane forest before turning towards the Congo. Upon reaching Congo, you cut along the international boarder. The return leg to the park headquarters is good for bird watchers and there are possibilities of seeing Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda

golden monkeys and elephants. The guided walks can also take to a viewing platform, 800 metres from the park gate and once on top, the visitor can have a good view of the park and the surrounding areas. Traditional dances such as the emuya of the Naporra and Nyangiya, ethnic groups. Lara karaka and Apiti dances can be organized for you by the local community which normally has cultural entertainers available on request. More >>>

Further Information and Travel Planning
A minimum of three days are required to visit and track the gorilla in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. At AfriChoice!, we have a wide range of carefully designed gorilla tours to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda that will give you a rewarding Uganda wildlife safari or Gorilla Tracking Adventure. Your safari consultant will always be at your assistance should you need a tailor-made holiday to any of these locations within Uganda. For more information regarding this topic, please DO NOT hesitate to contact us >>>.
 
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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda

 
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