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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

At just 33.7km2, Mgahinga National Park is Uganda’s smallest national park. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the southwestern corner of Uganda. 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   Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and to the west by the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is part of the larger Virunga Conservation area that spreads over the three countries. 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. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is 33.7 sq. km and consists of the partly forested slopes of three extinct volcanoes. From far away, the huge cones of the Virunga volcanoes dominate the landscape and beckon you as you approach. When you reach the park you can get a great overview of the area by walking up the viewpoint, just 15 minutes from Ntebeko Gate. Mgahinga Park has great biological importance because throughout the climatic changes of the Pleistocene ice ages, mountains such as these provided a refuge for mountain plants and animals, which moved up or down the slopes as climate became warmer or cooler. The Virungas are home to a large variety of wildlife, including about half the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. Read more.

Start here for basic information about the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Learn where Mgahinga National Park is in Kisoro District of Western Uganda. Find answers to the most frequently asked questions  such as what to pack and how close you should get to wild animals.  Are you planning a trip far in advance? Check our  weather articles to learn what to expect in different seasons. And, don’t forget to check our park map.

Size:

Mgahinga National Park is 33.7km in size and this makes it the smallest national Park in Uganda.

Why Mgahinga Name?

This park takes its name from Gahinga which is a local word for the piles of volcanic stones cleared from farmland at the foot of the volcanoes.

History

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest of all Uganda’s national parks. The park was created to protect the mountain gorillas that roam freely within the Virunga region. The park is bordered by the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda. It was declared a game sanctuary by the British administration in 1930 and was gazetted as a national park in 1991. The park has only got one habituated trans- boundary gorilla group. The visitors can also enjoy the Batwa visit which is a much far fascinating tour with the Batwa guide to learn the secrets of the forest.

The park’s star attraction is the  mountain gorillas.

About the Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the luckiest and smallest parks in Uganda where the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas are found and it happens to be part of the Virunga massif where more than 480 mountain gorillas park known to be living.

The park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. As its name says, it was created to give protection to the mountain gorillas that live in its dense forests, and it’s also an important habitant for the endangered golden Monkey. The national park has cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. The tribe of hunter gatherers was the forest’s first people. Mgahinga has got the most striking features and its conical, extinct volcanoes that are part of the spectacular Virunga Range which lies along the border region of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda.

The national park also forms part of the much larger Virunga Conservation Area that includes adjacent parks in these countries. The volcanoes slopes have got many ecosystems and are biologically diverse and their peaks give a striking back drop to this gorgeous scenery.

Out of the mountain gorilla population that are found in the Virunga Massif, there are about 3 gorilla families that are known to be living in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Location:

The park is located about 519 kilometers from Kampala and it is a 9-10 hours’ drive.

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Mgahinga National Park

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