Mgahinga National Park

This is the smallest Uganda’s National Park, covering an area of about 36sq. km and located in the far south west of Uganda, Kisoro District. Mgahinga National Park protects part of Ugandan Virunga Mountains and its three main peaks. The Virungas are home to more than half of the world’s populace of the rare mountain gorillas; one notable gorilla group in the Park is the Nyakagezi group consisting of 9 members with 2 silverbacks, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infant Uganda Gorillas. The park protects 76 mammal species, including the mountain gorillas, golden monkey, black and white colobus, leopard, giant forest hog, elephant, bush pig, bushbuck, buffalo, black-fronted duiker and several varieties of rodents, bats and small predators. Mgahinga also offers climbing activities along the slopes of Mgahinga, Muhabura and Sabinyo. The park has two wet rainy seasons; February-May and September – December of each year. The maximum amount of rainfall in a year is 250mm (October) and minimum is 10mm (July).

The Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla brengei) 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. Mgahinga protects around 76 mammals’ species, including the golden monkeys (a localized and distinctive race of blue monkeys), Black and white colobus monkeys, mountain gorillas, leopards, elephants, giant forests hog, bush pigs, buffalo, bush bucks, black-fronted duiker and several varieties of rodents, bats, and small predators. Bafflingly, only 115 bird species have been recorded probably a reflection of the park’s small size. Ecosystem and wild life; being a mountainous area, the park vegetation is afro montane with in a cool climate. The abundant type of vegetation is the bamboo (60%), which is a delicacy to the mountain gorilla. Other types of flora include the lobelia, Haegenia etc.

 

To get to Mgahinga from the national park’s office in Kisoro, follow the main road towards the DRC for about 100m, turn left at the first main junction, immediately before the Travellers Rest Inn, then turn right about 100m further. Ntebeko Entrance Gate lies roughly 14km from Kisoro along a dirt road. The other option is to walk because it should not take you much longer than 3 hours to get there..