MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK UGANDA
About the park.
Mgahinga national park is a smallest park located in southwestern region of uganda in Kisoro District bordering Rwanda and democratic republic of congo, It was created in 1991 and covers an area of 33.7-sq.km which lies between 2,227m and 4127m,the park takes its name from “gahinga” a local word for piles of volcanic stones cleared from a farmland at the foot steps of the volcanoes. As its name suggests , it was created to protect the rare mountain Gorillas that inhabit its dense forests as well as a habitat for golden monkeys.
The park has a huge cultural significance , in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies’. This tribe of hunter gatherers was the forests first people and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivaled Mgahinga’s most striking features are its three conical, extinct volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga Range that lies along the border regions of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda, Mgahinga forms part of the most large Virunga conservation area which includes adjacent parks in these countries. the volcanoes slopes contains various ecosystems and are biologically diverse, and their peaks provide a striking backdrop to this gorgeous scenery. the park boasts of over 76 mammals which include elephants, giants forests hog, bush pigs, bush back, buffalos, leopards, a bird checklist of over 180 specie including 14 endemic Albertine rift notably the kivu ground thrush and turaco.
Activities in the park.
Volcanic Hiking/mountain climbing, There is something in the landscapes of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park that your eyes will not miss; Volcanoes, a whole three volcanoes form a part of the Virunga ranges found in Congo Rwanda and Uganda as well for each name given is literally translation : Sabinyo to mean Old mans teeth, Muhavura meaning guides , mount Muhavura is the highest of them all with the advantage of seeing the other Virunga mountains from its peak, it can be seen far from Kisoro town. Mount Sabinyo is a gate way to Rwanda and DRC at the same time the way to the summit of Sabinyo is filled with mushy vegetations whose uncomfortable impact can be reduced by dressing appropriate in waterproof hiking boots. Climbing up the mountain Gahinga on the other hand requires a hike through a bamboo forests, all these mounts can be hiked in a day up to there summits as ling as you are energetic and able to.
Gorilla trekking, the park is endangered with mountain gorillas and its a must do at the park. The trek commences at about 8am and lasts from 2 to 4hours , there are few guidelines need when going for a gorilla trekking which will be given to you at the orientation and here are some, Gorillas can catch human diseases so if you have a called or some infectious diseases its better you save the adventure after your recovery, if you want to ease its better you bury the wastes 30cm deep , flash photography should not be used and trekkers must be at least 15 years and above, only 8 members per trekking group are allowed.
Golden Monkey trekking, you can shoot two birds with one stone by using your gorilla trekking experience to trek golden monkeys .these primates are small and fast. The activity takes a bout 4 hours per session during which your allowed the opportunity to view, the habituated family of these primates are 6 in number and they have due to habituation process grown fond and less evasive of human presence in their sanctuary. the route you take to find the monkeys may be akin to that which they tread looking for young bamboo branches: a hike through the bamboo forest. remember to move with your cameras and binoculars for spontaneous birding.
Birding for Albertine Rift Endemics, Mgahinga national park is said to have 180 bird species, You will enjoy a good list of Albertine endemics in this area especially on the gorge trail. Be ready to bird the whole day nd therefore you should carry packed lunch and get to see some of the species like kivu ground thrush, cape robin chat, the dusky turtle dove, black headed waxbill and streaky seedeater, handsome francolin, cinnamon and many more.
Batwa trail Experience, before the area on which Mgahinga Gorilla national park was set aside for the purpose of being a gorilla national park, The Batwa people or the African pygmies live and thrived in these forests and mountains as hunter gatherers. They were later displaced but some of them still live around the park to participate in the tourism industry as potters and guides, the Batwa trail experience is an activity that takes you through their history, the “GARAMA” cave is a sacred Batwa history to start from where they hid from the Bantu invasion many years back.