WILDLIFE SAFARIS IN MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK

21, April 2017

Sharing Uganda’s portion of the virunga conservation area, Mgahinga gorilla national park is Uganda’s smallest national park (33.7 square kilometers) situated in southwestern Uganda. The park is one of the famous tourism sites in Uganda sheltering the world’s endangered mountain gorillas together with Bwindi impenetrable forest national park (Uganda), volcanoes national park (Rwanda and virunga’s national park (Democratic Republic of Congo). Just as its name, Mgahinga gorilla national park was acknowledged a national park in 1991 purposely to protect the endangered gorillas.

 

 Beside gorillas, the national park is a home to approximately l, 739 mammals and over 79 bird species some of which are endemic to the area.  Vegetation in the park is comprised of afromontane forest together with woodlands at the base of Muhabura volcano, bamboo zone in the western boundary on the Mt sabyinyo, swamps, marshes and the former farmlands. Within the forest are numerous streams, which provide drinking water for wild animals well as domestic, and irrigation waters for local people adjacent to the national park.

Mountain gorilla trekking is a focus for most travelers to Mgahinga gorilla national park. The park is a home to one habituated gorilla family named Nyakagyezi family which has a total of 10 members led by Mark as a dominant silver back. The family used to cross to Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, which hindered trekking but has presently settled in Mgahinga available for trekking. Just like in other gorilla trekking destinations, a group of 8 people maximum is allowed to interact with the gorillas for an hour, which provide them with a remarkable experience.

Mountain gorilla permits can be accessed from Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) or at the park headquarters on the trekking day. Advance booking and payment for the deposit is highly encouraged.

Golden monkey trekking is a must do in Mgahinga gorilla national park. The park is a home to the rare golden monkeys alongside Rwanda’s volcanoes national park in the whole world. Various golden monkey communities have been habituated for trekking in the park at a cost of 100usd for a permit, which is cheaper compared, to the mountain gorillas. Also, golden monkeys are very active animals ever jumping over and playing which make it so wonderful spending time with them.

Volcano hiking is another interesting activity done in the national park. Mgahinga gorilla national park hosts three of the eight volcanoes in the virunga conservation area national park are a home to three of the eight volcanoes in the virunga conservation area. These volcanoes are Mt Muhabura the highest standing at an elevation of 4,127m, Mt sabinyo at 3,669m and Mt Gahinga at 3,474m. Each of these volcanoes can be hiked to the summit on a single day and each summit provides hikers with a clear view of the immediate communities and wildlife in the national park.  Physical fitness is extremely encouraged for easy ascending and descending. Also, travelers are reminded to carry enough drinking water and energy supplements since hiking entails the use of energy.

Besides trekking and hiking, Batwa cultural trail is a must do for every traveler to Mgahinga gorilla national park. Mgahinga. The forest was formerly   a permanent homeland for Batwa pygmies who were evicted in 1991 after the garzettion of the forest into a national park for tourism and conservation purposes. In order to involve the Batwa in tourism and improve their standards of living, Batwa cultural trail was introduced in 1993 In which the Batwa are the main participants and beneficiaries. While in the trail, the Batwa demonstrate their traditional forest life, which provide travelers with intensive knowledge about the Batwa.  The demonstration is done in form of hunting, traditional dances, songs, gathering fruits, and making fire all that make an encounter so interesting.

More still, travelers are allowed to take part in any of these activities, which take them feel as part of the Batwa community. All the money earned from the cultural trail fully goes back to the Batwa communities hence improving the living standards of the Batwa livelihoods.

Birding is also done in Mgahinga gorilla national park.
 The park is a home to roughly 180 bird species some of which are endemic to the area. Among the spotted birds include the Rwenzori nightjar, Rwenzori Turaco, Blue headed Coucal, wax bills, Yellow vented bulbul, Fire finch, Ibises and white Napped raven. These birds are seen and heard singing melodiously up in the trees. These tunes keep refreshing in the minds of travelers even after the trip.  

Nature walks are also part of a full travel package to Mgahinga. These are done in the forests and travelers are greatly assured of meeting different animals such as elephants, bush pigs, side striped jackals, giant forest hogs, bushbucks, golden cats, forest buffalos and black fronted duikers among others. Nature walks require travelers to follow trails with the lead of an armed guide who helps to explain in details every spotted wild animal and bird.
Conclusively therefore, Mgahinga is a must visit destination in Uganda. The experience is incomparable ranging from natural, cultural, historical and manmade features a combination of which make up  a full travel package to Mgahinga gorilla national park.

 

 

 

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