Mgahinga Gorilla National Park


Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s smallest park, measuring only 33.7km2. It is situated in the Kisoro district of Uganda, on the country’s southwestern point. The park is part of the Virunga conservation region and borders Rwanda’s Volcano national park and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga national parks. The park gets its name from the local term for mounds of volcanic stones scraped from farmlands, “Gahinga.” It ranges in altitude from 2227m to 4127m above sea level. Afromontane, tree heathers, montane forest, bamboo, montane woodland, and old farmland are among the six vegetation types found in the park.

The Virunga mountains contain eight volcanoes, three of which are located in Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Muhabura is the tallest at 4,127m; the name means “guide” in the native tongue; they used it as a reference to offer direction because it towered over everything else. It provides panoramic views of Uganda and Rwanda, as well as a clean lake 36m wide at its peak. Gahinga, at 3,474m, is the smallest of the Virunga volcanoes; its name is derived from ‘piles of rock’ removed from farmlands. It features a swamp-filled crater on top that is approximately 180m wide.

Finally, Sabyinyo at 3,669m is known as “old man’s teeth” because to the steep canyons and ravines that cut across it. The junction of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is located atop Sabyinyo’s highest point. You may trek to all of these peaks in a single day and be rewarded with spectacular vistas and wonderful shooting opportunities.

Gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla national park

The major attraction of the park, as the name implies, is gorilla trekking. The park only contains one habituated gorilla family, the Nyakagezi gorilla troop, led by a Silverback Bugingo who is roughly 50 years old. The remaining gorillas have not been conditioned for tourists.

Wildlife in Mgahinga Gorilla national park


The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to 76 animal species, many of which are difficult to spot in the wild due to foliage. Keep an eye out for bush pigs, South African porcupines, forest buffaloes, bushbucks, forest elephants, golden cats, and other wildlife. The primary attractions in this park are the endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.


The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to over 180 bird species, including some stunning Albertine Rift endemics. The park contains a variety of highland habitats that are ideal for the various species. Kivu Ground Thrush, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, White Starred Robin, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Batis, Archer’s Robin Chat, Olive Pigeon, and Black headed waxbill, Western Green Tinker bird, Cape Robin are among the bird species found in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. White-starred Robin, Brown Woodland Warbler, Striped Breasted Tit, Malachite, Scarlet-tufted, and Greater Double-collared Sunbirds are among the other species.

Activities at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla national park

Because the area is mostly hilly, gorilla tracking, like all activities in Mgahinga gorilla national park, is done on foot. At 8 a.m., you will arrive at the beginning location – Ntebeko gate – for a briefing on what to anticipate when tracking gorillas in Uganda. Your ranger guide will proceed ahead of you, telling you stories about the Ugandan gorilla highlands. You will learn about the many Nyakagezi family members as well as basic gorilla behavior.

The ranger will contact the earlier trackers, who will offer information on where the gorillas nested the night before. Once discovered, you will have the opportunity to spend up to an hour in the presence of gorillas. Remember that if you have a communicable sickness, you will not be permitted to track gorillas in order to avoid spreading the disease to the gorillas. Carry long-sleeved shirts, pants, garden cloves, a sun hat, a rain poncho, bug repellant, and sturdy boots.

Golden Monkey tracking

Golden monkey trekking is another popular activity in Mgahinga gorilla national park. This is the only area in Uganda where you may track golden monkeys, which are likewise endangered and exclusively found in the Albertine Rift Valley. The Virunga region is thought to have 3000-4000 individuals, of whom 40-65 are habituated in Mgahinga gorilla national park. Following a briefing, you will go on your adventure to follow these magnificent primates with your ranger guide. You must be somewhat fit to traverse the mountainous terrain since, unlike gorillas, which may stay in the same place for extended periods of time, golden monkeys travel often.

Bird watching

Mgahinga provides good bird watching options via several paths. For birders, the gorge path between Gahinga and Sabinyo takes around 3 hours. Brown-crowned Tchagra, Rwenzori Batis, Black-headed Waxbill, Cape Robin-chat, and Bronze, Regal, and Blue-headed Sunbirds are among the species to watch out for on this walk.

You may also attempt the bamboo trek, which begins at 2500m above sea level. The Rwenzori turaco, Banded Prinia, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, Red-faced woodland warbler, and Chubb’s cisticola are more likely to be seen here.

Nature walks and Hiking

Hike up Gisozi hill for panoramic views of Kisoro and Bunagana, as well as Lake Mutanda. Atop this hill, you may also see the Calderas. Walk around the Congo border to experience diverse vegetation zones.

Mountain and Volcano climbing

The Virunga volcanoes are an eight-volcano series that straddles the borders of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda. Three of the conical peaks are located in Uganda’s Mgahinga gorilla park.

Mt Muhavura is the highest at 4127m and is a 12km round trip walk that takes around 8 hours. Hikers will be rewarded with views of the Virunga Volcanoes, Lake Edward, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and Mt Rwenzori peaks. On its peak, there is also a little crystal lake.

Mt Sabinyo is the second highest peak at 3669 meters; it is a 14-kilometer round-trip walk that takes around 8 hours. Hikers ascend a rugged slope to the summit. On the peak of Mt Sabinyo, the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo intersect.

Finally, at 3474m, Mt Gahinga is crowned with a swamp-filled crater and huge lobelia.


Caves may be located on some of the steep slopes of the mountains and can be visited while trekking. The most well-known is Garama Cave, which is located close the park headquarters. It served as a fortification in times of battle, defending the Batwa and their riches from their attackers.

Cultural experiences

For ages, the Batwa lived in the jungle. They relied on the forest for food, medicine, and shelter as hunter-gatherers. The Batwa route takes you back into the forest to witness life as it was lived by the Batwa – they will walk you through the forest and display hunting methods, honey gathering, medicinal plant picking, and bamboo used.

Access to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

The park is accessible by road from Kampala via Kabale to Kisoro. You may also fly from Entebbe to Kisoro on a scheduled or chartered flight.