The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda.
Hidden down in the south western part of Uganda, the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; one of Uganda’s famous National Parks elegantly sits elevated above in the clouds with an altitude of about 2,227 to 4,127 meters. It is bordered by the Rwandan Republic in the south and the Congo Democratic Republic in the west with similar but adjacent; Volcanoes National Park and the Virunga National Park respectively. One can just by the look and mention of the name, tell that the park has everything to do with gorillas. It was formed as a way of sheltering and shielding the endangered and rare gentle giants; the Mountain Gorillas. However other species of primates that face the danger of extinction are the Golden Monkeys which can as well be found in this park.
The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is dense and with remarkable features the most common being its 3 pointed but extinct volcanoes; the Mount Muhavura which is 4,127 meters high, Mount Gahinga standing at 3,474 meters and the Mount Sabinyo that is as high as 3,645 meters. These are part of the magnificent ranges of the Virunga which are next to the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. The park makes up for the bigger part of the conservation area of Virunga which comprises of the other neighboring parks in the other countries. The inclines of its volcanoes have a number of flora and fauna that are biologically different with their peaks giving an outstanding backdrop to this beauty of a landscape.
On reaching the park, be sure to have great impression of the surroundings where you can even walk all the way to the viewing point which is only 15 minutes away from the Ntebeko Gate. Aside from being famously known for its amazing wildlife, the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park carries a whole lot of cultural and traditional importance especially when it comes to the Batwa natives; a community of pygmies whose major activity is gathering and hunting in the forest. These were the first inhabitants of the park’s forest thus they carry a great deal of very old information containing the undisclosed secrets about the park.
There are quite a number of activities that can be done here in the park that will give you a thrilling and exciting experience like you have never had before. Here is a look at the most common activity available;
- The Gorilla Tracking Safari.
Of all exhilarating things you can do in the park, this takes first place in the hearts of many who wish to and or have visited the park. There is only one already habituated group of gorillas; the Nyakagezi that is up for tracking by visitors. It comprises of only 9 members where 3 of them are female adults, 2 are the Silverbacks, 2 infants and the other 2 are the juveniles. Tracking is at times tiresome sometimes lasting the whole day however with experienced rangers, you will figure out the current location of these mountain gorillas before you can make your way into the thick forest.
- Climbing the Volcanoes.
There are 3 main volcanoes that one can take a pick from if they happen to go on a volcano climb. The Mountain Sabinyo which is also known as the “Old man’s teeth” presents climbers with 3 peaks that are quite difficult to climb. While at the top, you will have the opportunity to be standing in 3 countries; Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda all at the same time. Mount Gahinga on the hand gets its name from a pile of small stones that can be seen in the garden fields while heading to the park. The hike lasts about 6 hours taking you through a chaste Bamboo forest and a lush swamp that had at one time been a crater lake. Lastly, the Mount Muhavura whose meaning is “the Guide” gives you the stunning views of the volcanoes of the Virunga, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Lake Edward in the Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Rwenzori Mountain peaks.
With over 79 recorded species of birds in the park, you can have yourself the perfect birding quest. In the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, there are also bird species that are endemics to the Montane Region of Eastern Congo and 295 species which are in the whole part of the Virunga Conservation area.