tourist activities mgahinga gorilla national park

Mgahinga National Park is known for its mountain gorillas. You must be excited to be visiting the Park. It is located far in the southwest of Uganda. At about 510 kilometres from Kampala, the most popular route goes through Kabale and Kisoro districts.

On decent tarmac, it takes 8 hours to go to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. On a rugged tarmac road with sharp ascents and descents, it is then another 76km to Kisoro town. 

The major entrance to the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Ntebeko, is located 14 kilometres from Kisoro at the end of a dirt road with some rocky and hilly areas.

To make the most of your safari trip to Mgahinga National Park, you must check out the tourist activities within the area. Mgahinga is a location where you may participate in many adventure sports, such as gorilla trekking and volcano hiking. 

Here is a list of some of the most popular tourist activities in Mgahinga National Park.

Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga National Park

Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga National Park

The intriguing and unique experience of tracking gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is well worth the effort it takes to get there. It is one of the most preferred tourist activities in Uganda.

On your gorilla safari into the Virunga Region, you will have the unforgettable sensation of sitting among the hairy gorillas, who may be up to three times as large as the ordinary man. Gorilla trekking is extremely safe, despite the gentle giants’ intimidating and violent look.

An entire day can be spent tracking gorillas, which is a demanding activity. Along the walk, the ranger explains many elements of the gorilla environment and behaviour as they take you around their habitat. 

We must emphasize that while there is a very good chance you will see gorillas, it is NOT guaranteed. The likelihood of encountering a mountain gorilla is high, based on previous sightings. 

Travellers should be aware that following mountain gorillas involves chance as well as ability and expertise on the part of your trackers and guides because these apes are wild and have no set pattern. 

What we can guarantee, however, is that gorilla trekking is the most thrilling tourist activity in Mgahinga National Park.

Golden Monkey Tracking

Golden Monkey Tracking mgahinga

The golden monkey is a native of the Albertine Rift. It is distinguished by its bright orange-gold torso, cheeks, and tail, which contrasts with its black limbs, crown, and tail end.

These golden monkeys (Cercopithecus Kandti), sometimes considered a separate race from the more common blue monkey, can be tracked in Mgahinga National Park. 

They are a rare and threatened primate group that lives in this area among other mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, the world-famous mountain gorilla, buffalo, forest elephants, and others. 

For these tourist activities in Uganda such as these, you’ll need a golden monkey permit. When obtained in Uganda, it costs $50 per person for foreign non-residents. For foreign residents, it is $40 per person. And, UGX 20,000 is charged for East African Residents. 

The fee covers the park entry fee, the guide fee, and the one hour you spend with the beautiful monkeys.

From the Park’s main office in the Ntebeko Visitor Center, these permits can be bought or obtained.

Batwa Trail

Batwa Trail

Among the things to do in Mgahinga National Park is to go on the Batwa trail. It costs just $80 for a visit. They call them “people of the forest.” 

You must visit this tribe on your trip to Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You can explore the Batwa people’s ancient cultures and learn about their ancient ways. 

All by simply taking the cultural trail in Mgahinga National Park. The Batwa people once lived in the forest and some still do to date.

Here’s a little history about the Batwa people. Long before Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park were fenced out into National Parks, the Batwa were already living in the forests. That was around the year 1991. They lived as hunter-gatherers who fed on the forest for food, and herbal medicine, and used trees for shelter. 

However, these Batwa people weren’t relocated when the park got fenced. Rather, they were compelled to abandon their nomadic and bushman way of life. Today the eviction has left them poor with nothing decent for them to do. 

Most of them do everyday petty jobs like labouring on local farms of other people. Something that has now earned them the title of “poorest Ugandans.” With the help of a guide, visitors can learn about these people’s way of life on the Batwa Trail.  

Nature Walks

Nature Walks mgahinga

Mgahinga National Park’s virgin forests, lakes, rivers, wetlands, and mountain slopes make for ideal locations for nature walks. 

It’s also an opportunity for a close experience with some of the locals, like the Batwa. You might even see the elusive elephants and antelopes. One of the walking trails ascends to the lovely village plantations. 

Bird Watching

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a paradise for birders. It’s the ideal place to observe some of Uganda’s rarest and most beautiful birds. Some of the birds in Mgahinga National Park that you can see include ibis, speckled mous, and the fire finch.

Hiking the Gahinga Volcano

Hiking the Gahinga Volcano mgahinga

Mgahinga is a location you should not miss if you’re planning a hiking safari in Uganda. You can access three of Mgahinga’s volcanoes from this park. 

So, you may decide which one to visit based on your level of fitness and available time. Because there are so many sights you will encounter on your journey, hiking the Virunga Volcanoes in Mgahinga can be enjoyable and quite rewarding. 

Both the ascent and descent of this trek take around six hours, and at the summit, you’ll find a crater filled with a water body. On a lucky day, you’ll be able to glimpse the golden monkeys as they pass through that dense bamboo forest.

Conclusion

You now know what to expect from a trip to Mgahinga National Park. Part of the most exhilarating moments of your visit may just be your contemplation about where and when you will find the Giant Apes. Or maybe wondering if you’ll catch a glimpse of the golden monkeys. 

All the tourist activities we’ve mentioned will make your day memorable. For all your questions, there are tour guides to provide answers. 

They will also ensure that you’re kept safe throughout the entire experience. We hope you have a swell moment when you visit Mgahinga National Park.