MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is indeed ‘where Gold meets silver’ say, gorillas are house with the precious golden monkeys. Mgahinga is part of the larger ecosystem, the Virunga Conservation Area (434sq km) which includes two adjacent parks in Rwanda and Congo. The park is covered high in the clouds, at an altitude range of between 2,227m and 4,127m. It is an iconic stature of Uganda’s national parks formed to protect the so rare mountain gorillas which inhabit the dense forest and the endangered golden monkeys. Its most stunning features are the stunning Virunga ranges that lie along the border region of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. The cultural heritage featuring folklore and traditional healing practices for local people covers the north slopes of the three Northern Virunga volcanoes of Muhavura, Gahinga and Sabinyo.
Mgahinga gorilla national park derives its name from “Gahinga” a Kinyarwanda word for a pile of volcanic lava stone heaps around which cultivation is carried out. On the other hand, Muhavura means guide and Sabinyo means the old man’s teeth. It is bordered by Rwanda in the south and DR Congo in the west.
While Sabinyo is deeply eroded with jagged crown and deep gorges and ravines, Gahinga has a swamp filled-crater about 180m wide and Muhavura has a small crater lake about 36m wide at its summit. While at the top of Sabinyo, you get to be set a foot in all the three countries of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda at the same time.
How to get there
Mgahinga gorilla national park is 510km away from Kampala on the most commonly used route which passes through Kabale and Kisoro. The 434km journey from Kampala to Kabale can be completed in 8hrs on good tarmac. It is then a further 76km to Kisoro town on a mountainous tarmac road with steep ascents and descents.
An attractive and alternative route leaves the main road at Kabale and follows the shoreline of the superbly scenic Lake Bunyonyi to rejoin the Kabale-Kisoro main road halfway point at Muko.
Ntebeko, the main entrance to Mgahinga gorilla national park is 14km from Kisoro at the end of a dirt road with some steep and rocky sections.
Mgahinga can also be accessed through air from Entebbe international airport to Kisoro airfield.
The most attractive activity here is gorilla and golden monkey tracking, mountain climbing, cultural walks, birding, hiking and nature walks.
The area is also surrounded with a number of luxury, mid and low range accommodation facilities including, Hotel Muhabura, Mt. Gahinga lodge, Chameleon hill lodge (luxury), L. Mutanda resort, Wagtei Eco lodge and many others.