gorilla trekking

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; Trek Uganda’s Volcanic kingdom

by | Jul 18, 2023 | 0 comments

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; Trek Uganda’s Volcanic kingdom.

Within the captivating natural wonderland of East Africa, deep in Uganda the Pearl of Africa, lies a sanctuary of extraordinary natural beauty and untamed awe-inspiring wilderness known as Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, a majestic natural home for the critically endangered mountain gorillas.

The Park spans over an area of 33 square kilometers and is located in the southern region of Uganda in the Kisoro District. The park stands as a testament to the remarkable diversity of the Ugandan landscape.

The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is bordered by the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda in the south and bordered by the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west.

Mgahinga National Park is smallest national park in Uganda, and it is part of the larger Virunga Conservation area that spans over the three countries (Rwanda, Congo and Uganda).

Wildlife in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Flora and fauna

The slopes of Mgahinga gorilla National Park are covered with a series of distinct of vegetation such as grass and bush and the untamed vegetation includes the montane woodland, the bamboo zone, montane forest, Rwenzori-Virunga montane moorlands, Albertine rift montane forest, alpine and tree heath and the Ericaceous zone which contains giant trees.


The park is also a home to 39 species of mammals in that include elephants, leopards, buffaloes, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, black fronted duikers, rodents, bushbucks among others.


Mgahinga gorilla national park’s famous residents are the mountain gorillas that live within the forest. Other primate species in the park include the golden monkey, black and white colobus monkeys and chimpanzees inclusive.

Black and white colobus monkey

Black and white colobus monkey


The Park is home to over 79 bird species including the Rwenzori turaco, crowned hornbill, black kite crowned crane, blue headed coucal, speckled mouse bird, pin-tailed whydahs, double-collared sunbird, waxbills, grey-capped warblers, Rwenzori turacos, dusky crimson wings, archer’s ground robin, montane nightjars, mountain masked apalis, grauer’s swamp warblers, Kivu ground thrush, Rwenzori Batis, handsome spur fowl, red-faced woodland warblers, paradise flycatchers, fire finch and others

Activities in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Golden monkey tracking.

Golden Monkeys are rare primates in the world and in East Africa, the golden monkeys are only found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and in Uganda’s Mgahinga national park where you get to witness the behaviours of these endangered primate species.

Golden monkey tracking is among the primary activities in the park that make Mgahinga gorilla national park a unique safari destination.

There are two communities of golden monkeys habituated for trekking and a permit costs USD100 as per the Uganda wildlife Authority.

The trek starts early morning, with briefing at the park headquarters. After you start following trekking trails into the forest with guides and Rangers in search for the golden Monkeys. On an encounter up-close with these primates, you are allowed to spend for 1 hour with them.

Mountain gorilla trekking.

Mgahinga National Park is an awe-inspiring destination in Uganda for trekking mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking is the one of the top activities to do which involves hiking trails in search of these endangered primates in their natural environment.

Witnessing these magnificent gorillas as they move, feed, and live is thrilling encounter that forever holds memories in the heart and mind.

The Park has one habituation gorilla family called the Nyakagezi gorilla family and for a successful gorilla trek in Mgahinga national park, you are required to have a valid gorilla permit secured from Uganda wildlife Authority on your desired date of trek.

Volcano hiking.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a popular destination for Volcano climbing and hiking activities. The national park has 3 of the 6 Virunga Mountain chain namely, Mountain Sabyinyo, Mountain Gahinga and Mountain Muhabura and you get to choose climbing one of these mountains depending on your fitness.

Mountain Sabinyo is at 3,669m where you take about 8 hours to cover the round trip, following a steep ridge up to the peak, Mountain Gahinga is the smallest with 3,474m and takes around 6 hours, topped by a swamp-filled crater and finally Mountain Muhavura with the highest peak at 4,127m is a 12km round trip around 8-9 hours.

Hikers are offered a lifetime opportunity of stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes, Lake Edward, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the peaks of the Rwenzori Mountain.

Volcano Hiking experience also gives you an opportunity to see different tree species, spot birds, Forest Elephants, Primates and also Gorillas in Mgahinga National Park.

Hiking trails in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Hiking trails in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Nature walks.

The guided nature walks in Mgahinga gorilla national park can start at any time of the day depending on the time you desire, during the walks, you are able to witness different tree species, Forest birds, swamps, Lakes like Lake Mutanda, Lake Chahafi and among others, each offering a thrilling lifetime experience.

Birding in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a home to over 79 bird species which include the white napped raven, yellow – vented bulbul, stone chat, pin-tailed whydahs, paradise flycatchers, fire-finch, black kite, Rwenzori turacos, double collared sunbird, blue headed coucal, grey capped warblers, Rwenzori nightjars, paradise flycatchers.

Other bird species include the alpine chat, waxbill, Carlet-tufted malachite sunbird, dusky crimson wing, archer’s robin chat, African olive pigeon, olive woodpeckers, moorland chat, alpine swift, red faced woodland warblers, black capped apalis, common bulbul, bronze sunbird, regal sunbird.

And also, the Doherty’s bush shrike, white necked raven, cape robin chat, Buff spotted fluff tail, African hill babblers, malachite sunbirds, yellow-billed kite, hadada ibis, Chubb’s cisticolas, streaky seedeaters

Batwa cultural experience.

Cultural experience is one of the highlight activities in Uganda’s Mgahinga gorilla National Park, where you encounter the Batwa Pygmies in the forest who were evacuated as a conservation measure of the endangered primates.

The Batwa cultural encounter exposes you to their unique dance, culture, and their traditional forest way of life.
Following the trail, the Batwa get to lead towards the forest in which they demonstrate their traditional forest life such as hunting, fruit gathering, collecting honey and performing rituals among others.

The Batwa People

The Batwa People

Best time to visit.

It’s crucial to note that Mgahinga Gorilla national park is open for visiting all year long, however there are peak seasons which are so favourable such as during the dry season in the months of June and September and December to February when the trekking and hiking trails are less slippery.

How to get there

Mgahinga gorilla National Park can be accessed by road from Kigali in Rwanda within a 4-hour drive from to the park, via the Chanika boarder.

You can also reach Mgahinga National Park by road from Entebbe or Kampala, with in a 9-10 hours’ drive on the Kampala-Mbarara- Kisoro highway to the park.

You can also by air transport means where you fly from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip in about 2 hours to Kisoro Airstrip.

Safari Accommodations

Mgahinga National Park has a variety of safari Lodges ranging from Budget to Luxury and these include Gahinga Lodge, Lake Chahafi Lodge, Lake Muhele Lodge

Other Lodge options are found in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is about a 1-hour drive to Mgahinga National Park.

Mount Gahinga Hotel

Mount Gahinga Hotel


There you have it, Mgahinga gorilla National Park is a natural enchantment Sancturary teeming with abundant wildlife and also a home for the endangered primates such as the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and a number of different bird species.

Book your safari to Uganda’s Mgahinga gorilla National Park with Friendly Gorillas Safaris today.


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