Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

The park spanning 34 square kilometers, stands as Uganda’s most compact park, yet rich in natural wonders. Serving as a captivating alternative to the renowned Bwindi for mountain gorilla tracking.

It offers a unique tapestry of volcanic landscapes and diverse wildlife.

The park, named after the Kinyarwanda term ‘Gahinga,’ is a sanctuary for around 300 gorillas in the Virunga Mountains of Uganda. It is a vital conservation area that protects these endangered species.

The Volcanic Peaks

Its trio of prominent peaks — Mount Muhavura, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Sabinyo — each holds its distinct allure. Mount Muhavura, translating to ‘guide,’ boasts a summit adorned with a petite crater, while Mount Gahinga, epitomizing a mound of volcanic lava stone, features a sprawling swamp-filled crater.

Mount Sabinyo, reminiscent of an old man’s teeth with its weathered contours and deep gorges, adds to the park’s rugged charm.

Elevating the experience, the park affords unparalleled panoramic vistas, spanning three countries: Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda.

Nestled at altitudes ranging from 2227 meters to 4127 meters, Mgahinga is not just a haven for mountain gorillas but also a sanctuary for the Golden Monkey. Its biodiversity extends to encompass 76 mammal species, including the elusive Golden Monkey, the charismatic black and white colobus, and the iconic mountain gorillas.

Bird enthusiasts are treated to a spectacle of 115 avian species, with 12 endemics to the Albert Rift Region, such as the illustrious Kivu ground thrush.

Renowned as a hub for gorilla trekking, the park is home to the Nyakagezi family, offering intimate encounters with these majestic creatures.

Earning global recognition, Mgahinga National Park secured the third spot as the most photographed travel destination worldwide in 2019, as per a survey conducted by Huawei through Facebook.

Top things to do in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park 

Gorilla Tracking

The Nyakagezi Gorilla Family consists of around 10 members, including three impressive silverbacks, among a total population of approximately 100 gorillas in the park.

The duration of gorilla treks can vary from 1 to 8 hours, depending on your fitness level and the distance the gorillas traveled the previous day.

All treks start at 8:00 AM, with a comprehensive briefing provided beforehand. You’ll be accompanied by a knowledgeable UWA ranger, who will guide you on an immersive experience.

To ensure a close and impactful encounter with these magnificent creatures, only a maximum of 8 visitors can join a mountain gorilla group each day. During the trek, you’ll have a full hour to observe and appreciate the gorillas.

Golden Monkey Tracking and Habituation Experience

Nestled in the heart of the Albertine Rift, Mgahinga is an awe-inspiring destination that simply cannot be missed. Home to dominant primate species, including silverbacks and golden monkeys, this unique place symbolizes the convergence of gold and silver.

When you visit Mgahinga, you will have the opportunity to witness the enchanting golden monkey community in action. These remarkable primates engage in daily activities such as feeding, playing, and caring for their young, all of which you can observe during four-hour sessions.

Don’t miss out on the chance to capture stunning photographs of these agile primates in their natural habitat. With ample time to witness their remarkable behavior, you’ll leave Mgahinga with unforgettable memories.

 Batwa Cultural Forest Trail

Are you ready for an adventure into the depths of the Batwa Forest Culture? Get ready to explore their traditional way of life and immerse yourself in their rich heritage!

From hunting and gathering honey to crafting garments from bark cloth and using medicinal herbs, this cultural journey promises to be an unforgettable experience.

But that’s not all! You’ll also get to discover the Garama Cave, a mysterious and enchanting place that stretches 342 meters. Here, you’ll be treated to the echoing sounds of Batwa Songs and Music.

And the best part? You’ll be making a difference! The Batwa Development Program (BDP) empowers the Batwa community to uplift themselves and achieve sustainable progress, transcending poverty and attaining an enhanced quality of life. So join us on this exciting journey and be a part of this amazing initiative!

Forest Exploration with Expert Guides

Embark on an enriching journey through the lush forests of Mgahinga Park with expert ranger guides. Guided walks reveal nature’s treasures, leading to Rugezi Swamp, where majestic giant forest hogs await.

Keep watch for diverse bird species like the Rwenzori Turaco and the elusive Rwenzori Batis. Enjoy panoramic views of the Virunga ranges along the way.

Sabyinyo Gorge Adventure

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery of Mgahinga Park with a captivating nature walk through the enchanting Sabyinyo Gorge. Traverse through the park’s diverse vegetation and landscapes, culminating in a mesmerizing spectacle of cascading waterfalls that are sure to leave you spellbound.


Nestled between Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabinyo are picturesque gorges teeming with a remarkable array of avian wonders.

Mgahinga Park, serving as a haven for birding enthusiasts, boasts a rich tapestry of birdlife, including 12 Albertine endemics. Keep your binoculars handy to catch sight of the resplendent Blue-headed Sunbird, the majestic Rwenzori Turaco, and other captivating species.

With birding opportunities available year-round, plan your visit between April to mid-May or October to November for the best sightings.

Venture into the Volcanic Realm

Embark on an exhilarating adventure to conquer the three prominent volcanic peaks of Mgahinga Park, each offering a unique perspective of the surrounding landscape. These are Mt. Muhavura or Muhabura (4,127 m), Mt. Gahinga (3,474 m), and Mt. Sabyinyo (3,645 m).

Stand in awe as you gaze upon the dramatic vistas of DR Congo, the Virunga Mountains, the Rwenzoris, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and Lake Edward.

Whether you choose the relatively gentle slopes of Mount Gahinga or the challenging ascent of Mount Muhavura, each hike promises unforgettable encounters with nature.

Traverse through five distinct vegetation zones, accompanied by experienced ranger guides who ensure both safety and insight throughout your journey.

Where to stay in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mount Gahinga Lodge

Nestled amidst the verdant embrace of meticulously landscaped gardens, Mount Gahinga Lodge stands as a testament to natural beauty.

Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, the lodge boasts rock detailing that harmonizes with its surroundings. Eight charming chalets, each adorned with a conical papyrus roof and a deep-covered porch, offer guests an intimate retreat. Inside, hardwood floors lead to cozy indoor and outdoor seating areas, complemented by a rustic wooden chest at the foot of each bed.

Guests can unwind in the inviting lounge, where a crackling fireplace and panoramic windows create a warm ambiance. Outside, an open verandah provides captivating views of the volcanic cones dotting Mgahinga Park’s horizon.

The lodge offers a spa with massage facilities for indulgent relaxation, ensuring a truly rejuvenating experience.

Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge:

In the untouched wilderness, Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge boasts twelve spacious en-suite cottages, each a sanctuary of comfort and serenity. From private balconies, guests can savor sweeping vistas of Lake Mulehe and the majestic Virunga Ranges, where the spectacle of sunrise and sunset unfolds in all its splendor.

The lodge’s amenities cater to every need, including a welcoming main lounge, a gourmet restaurant and bar, a tranquil spa, a well-equipped gym, and a soothing sauna.

As evening falls, guests can gather around the campfire, sharing stories beneath the starlit sky, or explore the treasures of the gift shop, a treasure trove of souvenirs and local crafts.

Travelers Rest Hotel:

Steeped in history, Travelers Rest Hotel has been a haven for explorers since the 1960s, hosting luminaries such as Dian Fossey and George Schaller.

Nestled amidst twelve tastefully appointed en-suite rooms, adorned with a curated selection of Congo art, the hotel exudes timeless elegance. Each room overlooks a manicured courtyard, with the ethereal silhouette of the Virunga volcanoes providing a captivating backdrop.

Guests can unwind in the inviting restaurant and bar area, savoring delectable cuisine and fine wines, or retreat to the terrace to soak in the tranquility of the surroundings. In the lounge, a roaring fireplace invites guests to linger, sharing tales of adventure and discovery.

The Best time to visit  Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park experiences two distinct seasons: the dry season, from December to March and June to August, and the wet/green season, from April to May and September to November.

During the dry season, nature trails remain firm, facilitating activities such as hiking and gorilla trekking.

However, the wet season, while challenging for navigation, offers unparalleled opportunities for birdwatching amidst lush, green landscapes. Photographers will find inspiration in the verdant scenery, capturing the park’s beauty in all its splendor.

How to get to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

By Road

The journey from Kampala to Kisoro, the gateway to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, spans approximately nine hours via Kabale. Given the terrain, a sturdy 4WD vehicle is recommended for the journey, ensuring both comfort and safety.

By Air

For those seeking a quicker alternative, flights from Entebbe International Airport and Kisoro Airstrip provide convenient access to the park.

Operated by reputable carriers such as Aerolink and Fly Uganda, these flights offer a scenic journey lasting approximately 45 minutes to one hour.

Upon arrival, guests can transfer by road to reach the park, embarking on a seamless journey of discovery amidst Uganda’s breathtaking landscapes.

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