The less known Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is found in far south western Uganda, bordering Rwanda in the south and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the west, with a geographical coverage of 33 square kilometres. Located 14 kms from Kisoro town, the park covers the northern slopes of the three northernmost Virunga Volcanoes, that is Mountain Muhavura (4,127 m), Mountain Gahinga (3,474 m) and Mountain Sabyinyo (3,645 m).
The three countries, Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo, each protect its own portion of the Virunga, in the Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and Parc National des Virunga respectively. The three parks together form the 434-sq km. ‘Virunga Conservation Area’ or VCA. Mgahinga is 33.7 sq. km, just 8% of the VCA. The entire Park is in Bufumbira County of Kisoro District. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has about 39 mammal and 79 bird species. Animals like elephants, leopards, buffaloes and warthogs/bush pig are rarely seen at the park. But the most famous and common inhabitants of the park are the mountain gorillas.
The gorilla trek is the most thrilling tourist activity in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The habituated gorilla in this park is called the Nyakagezi, which consists of 9 members, 2 silver-backs, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants. It is an intensive experience that can last a day long. The tour guide leads you through the gorilla’s world, explaining comprehensively ecological and behavioral aspects of the gorillas. Whereas chances are high that you will the gorillas, this is not guaranteed.
Gorillas by nature wild creatures with no fixed routine and finding them requires the skill and experience of your trackers and guides as well as luck by your side on that day.
You can combine a gorilla trek with other interesting adventures in the Virunga Region. Here are some of the things that you can include in your itinerary;
Nyiragongo Volcano Hike
Transfer to Congo for a real adventure where you spend a day hiking the live volcano Nyiragongo. The trek includes a walk through lush forest and lava fields with a steep incline near the top, and includes an overnight stay in the Nyiragongo Crater Cabanas on the volcano rim. The stunning views both day and night make this an unforgettable experience. Later stay for overnight in tents at the rim of the giant crater high above the active lava lake. Things to bring for Nyiragongo Hiking – Sleeping Bag, Change of dry clothes, Rain gear, Good walking shoes, Warm Clothes (sweater, jacket) it is cold up the rim. Sun cream, warm Hat, Torch, Camera and any other personal toiletries.