Mgahinga national park

Wildlife Safaris in Mgahinga National Park

The other gorilla park in Uganda, home of one mountain gorilla family the Nyakagyezi group, Mgahinga gorilla national park is situated in Bufumbira County in kisoro district southwestern Uganda. The national park sits at an altitude of between 2227m and 4127m and was gazetted in 1991 from being a forest that was used for permanent settlement by the Batwa people in kisoro district. The park boarders Rwanda in the south and Democratic Republic of Congo in the west.

It is so interesting that the Nyakagezi gorilla family in Mgahinga gorilla national park which used to migrate to the Democratic Republic of Congo has now settled and is fully in Uganda available for gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park. The family consists of 9 members, 2 silverbacks, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants. Alongside the gorillas are other wild animals such as the rare golden monkeys, elephant and buffalo, blue monkey, the spotted hyena, the golden cat, Leopard, serval cat, side-striped jackal, giant forest hog, black-fronted duiker and bushbuck all interesting to the travelers.

Travelers to the national park are blessed with an opportunity to visit the neighboring local communities where they participate in different community activities and experience local life. These communities include Nyarusiza, Chahi and Muramba sub counties. The people there are Bafumbira and the few Batwa who were the forest dwellers, hunters and fruit gatherers before the forest was garzetted into a national park.

Still in Mgahinga national park are the three conical, extinct volcanoes, which are part of the spectacular virunga range that lies along the border of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. The volcano slopes contain various ecosystems that are diverse and provide gorgeous scenery for the tourists. These volcanoes are believed to have risen as a result of volcanic eruptions, and to have formed through a deposition of layers of ash and cinders from successive lava flows.

With Mount Sabyinyo being the oldest volcano with the swamp crater of a bout of about 180m diameter at the summit, it is followed by Mount Gahinga and then Mount Muhabura which is believed to be the youngest volcano. The volcano has a crater lake at the top that has presently turned into a swamp. There are caves on the slopes of the volcanoes which were used as sacred places for the Batwa, and during the Batwa Trail are used for shelter from battles and a place to store looted treasures.

The physically fit can hike the volcanoes and Mt muhavura acts as a guide. It is approximately 4127m high and on reaching the summit, tourists have an opportunity to view the rest of the virunga volcanoes, Lake Edward in Queen Elizabeth national park, Bwindi forests and the peaks of Rwenzori Mountain, it takes a round 8 hours to hike the mountain.

Mount Gahinga is 3474m and looks like a pile of stones, hiking here involves passing through a pure bamboo forest and takes about 6 hours to hike. Mt sabyinyo is 366m and is shaped like the old man’s teeth. Hiking here offers three challenging peaks to climb in that tourists may get dirty in the process of hiking but get the memorable experience never to forget.

Concerning the vegetation types, Mgahinga gorilla national park is afromontane consisting the woodlands, bamboo and part of the virgin forest which has never been cut.

There are numerous streams of water flowing northwards from the mountains and these keep the areas cool and also provide water for the local communities especially in dry seasons.

The park is also a home to more than 79 bird species which are different from each other in their making and behaviors. Birding can be done during the forest walks and is as interesting as the travelers listen to the sweet sounds of birds singing in the tree up. This is really memorable and every traveler to Mgahinga should not miss out.

The batwa cultural trail is yet another interesting tourism activity in Mgahinga national park. The Batwa here demonstrate their forest life and how they used to hunt and offer sacrifices to the gods in the caves. They demonstrate their traditional dances, tell stories and poems with different meanings related to their life history. Travelers can participate in these dances and activities which provide them with great and memorable experience ever to remember.

In conclusion therefore, Mgahinga gorilla national park is the best but not exploited tourism destination. Every traveler looking for the unique, great memorable experience should therefore visit the national park and he/she will never forget.