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- On December 13, 2017
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Walking or hiking through Mgahinga gorilla forest national park on foot is undeniably the best way to explore and enjoy the treasures that nature offers on your Uganda safari with no limitation. Forest walks also called nature walks or hiking trails entail travelers footing through the forest following different trails depending on the targeted end point. Each trail take you to a certain attraction such as waterfalls, swamps and caves among others just for you to see and enjoy. A forest walk is an opportunity for travelers to listen to the sweet sounds of birds singing up in the tress as well as enjoying the quite cool forest environment. Travelers are also assured of meeting and interacting with various wild animals such as the critically endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, duikers, baboons, elephants, giant forest hogs and bushbucks among others. The choice of which trail to follow therefore depends on the interest of the travelers and the physical fitness reminded that some trails are surely strenuous but the experience is memorable. Hiking trails in Mgahinga gorilla national park include among others:
Sabinyo gorge walk
This is a 5-6 hours walk meandering in the lower slopes of Mount Sabyinyo taking travelers through different vegetation zones all the way to the gorge. Sabyinyo gorge walk is a very strenuous yet enjoyable hike which reward travelers with spectacular views of the Virunga volcanoes, Bwindi forest, neighboring communities, Mgahinga national park and wildlife in the park. Additionally, the trail is a best birding spot and travelers spot different bird species which include Rwenzori Turaco, white necked raven, ibis, grey capped warbler, waxbills, pin –tailed whydah, paradise flycatcher, yellow vented bulbul, olive pigeon, Rwenzori nightjar, pin tailed whydah, black kite, speckled mouse birds and olive woodpecker among others. The trail starts in the bamboo forests proceeding to the deep forest a habitat for numerous birds and wild animals. Fortunately, ridges have been put to ease the hiking whereas bridges help in crossing over water streams making the experience more enjoyable. Travelers are reminded to carry enough drinking water, hiking boots and energy giving snacks to keep them strong in the tiresome long hike.
Batwa trail is the most interesting trail in Mgahinga national park where Batwa pygmies demonstrate their traditional forest life to the travelers. The trail entails Batwa, the formers dwellers of the forest lead travelers into the forest while singing their traditional dances and songs for entertainment. On reaching the forest, Batwa practice their former activities such as hunting, gathering fruits and collecting honey among others as travelers watch or take part. The Batwa also take travelers to their popular spots such as the Ngarama cave where they used to offer sacrifices to their gods and preforming other rituals. A batwa cultural trail is done at a cost of 80usd which money is used to support the Batwa who were evicted to the edge of the forest when gorilla tourism was introduced in the national park. It’s a half-day interaction with the indigenous forest dwellers, which provide travelers with in depth understanding of the Batwa, their histories and their former forest life.
This is a moderate walk to Uganda border with Democratic Republic of Congo done in the lower slopes of Mount Sabyinyo. The trail takes five hours through different vegetation types hence a chance for travelers to meet and interact with wild animals such as golden monkeys, duikers, mountain gorillas and many bird species. While in the trail, travelers can also hike up to the caldera at the top of Gisozi hill which reward you with spectacular views of the Mgahinga gorilla national park, the neighboring Bwindi, Virunga volcanoes and the adjacent communities.
Hiking to the visitors information center
This is the shortest trail just a few minutes from the national park entrance point. Here travelers are introduced to all facts about Mgahinga gorilla national park such as the vegetation zones, wildlife, Virunga volcanoes, batwa pygmies and birdlife in the national park. There are also different symbols at your display as well as various articrafts for sale. Some animals come at the center hence a chance for travelers to see these animals without strenuous hikes. You can also view the Virunga volcanoes mainly Sabyinyo, Bwindi impenetrable forest and the farmlands which all provide you with a memorable experiences.
Besides forest walks, Mgahinga gorilla national park offers much more which include among others:
Mountain gorilla trekking
The national park is a home to Nyakageyzi gorilla family, which is available for trekking. In the past, Nyakagyezi used to cross borders to Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo but has presently settled in Mgahinga for trekking. Just like in the neighboring Bwindi, Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga comes with a cost of 600usd for an interaction of an hour. The family is led by Mark as dominant silverback and comprise of 10 members which include Rukundo, Nshuti, Mutagamba, Bugingo, Nvuyekure, Mathew and mark among others. Fortunately, new babies are being born hence the family expanding day by day.
Golden monkey trekking
This is yet another interesting activity done in Mgahinga Gorilla national park. The park is one of the two parks sheltering these endangered species along side Volcanoes national park. Golden monkey trekking is a not miss activity done at relatively fair rate 100usd but the experience is memorable. Golden monkeys are lively and playful animals, which are distinguished from other monkey species by a golden fur on the back. Golden monkeys live in large groups of 60-80 members compared to mountain gorillas, which make an encounter with them more interesting and enjoyable.
Hiking the Virunga volcanoes
Mgahinga gorilla national park is a home to three extinct volcanoes, which are Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Gahinga and Mount Muhabura. A hike to the top of any volcano is a great experience, which reward travelers with great views of the neighboring communities, other Virungas in Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the rain forest of the national park.
Conclusively therefore, visit Mgahinga gorilla national, park, do nature walks, gorilla trekking, Golden monkey trekking and hike the Virunga volcanoes rewarding you with a memorable experience.