Activities/things to do in Mgahinga national park
Activities/things to do in Mgahinga national park: Activities are those things that tourists can do while they are in the park. Mgahinga national park is a small national park with a number of activities that tourists can do when they take visit to the park. Mgahinga national park was gazetted in 1991 to protect several wildlife species, especially the mountain gorillas.
Mgahinga national park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda and is a mountain gorilla destination that offers a variety of tourism activities during the safari in the park. Mgahinga national park is home to 76 mammals, 180 bird species, and a number of primates with the most loved ones being mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.
Activities/things to do in Mgahinga national park
Mountain Gorilla trekking Mgahinga
Mountain Gorilla trekking Mgahinga is one of the activities/things to do in Mgahinga national park allowing tourists to spend time with endangered primates in their natural habitats. The activity is done on Nyakagezi mountain gorilla family that is habituated in the park. Trekking starts early in the morning with a briefing and trekkers head into the jungle where they search until they find the mountain gorilla family. They are allowed to be with the mountain gorillas for 1 hour which enables them to learn about their habits, watch them do daily activities, and take photos.
Golden monkey trekking
Golden monkey trekking is the most done activity in Mgahinga national park after Mountain Gorilla trekking Mgahinga. Mgahinga is the only place to find golden monkeys in Uganda and the activity starts early in the morning with a briefing about rules and regulations at Ntebeko headquarters. A ranger guide with a firearm leads the trekking activity in Mgahinga national park where he takes you through different trails looking for where these apes.
Golden monkeys do live in the bamboo trees so during the search, rangers keep visiting such areas to see if they are available. The search for these beautiful takes 2 to 4 hours and when trekkers find them, they are able to watch them do daily activities, see their behaviors, and take photos for 1 hour.
Bird watching is another activity that can be done in Mgahinga national park by bird lovers. The national park protects over 180 bird species of which 14 are endemic to the Albertine rift region. Bird watching in Mgahinga national park is done using different trails which take you to different areas of the park where birds normally hang.
The bird watching activity is very affordable and to be part of it you must have a birding permit which can be from the park offices or UWA. Bird watching can be carried out in the morning or afternoon and both sessions do start with a briefing and are led by armed ranger guides.
Bird watching exercise in Mgahinga national park gives bird lovers an opportunity to see bird species such as the western tinker bird, black-headed waxbill, bronze sunbird, regal sunbird, black kite, African olive pigeon, olive woodpecker, Rwenzori turaco, dusky crimsonwing, blue-headed coucal, scarlet tufted malachite sunbird, moorland chat, alpine swift, and archer’s robin chat among others.
Batwa cultural experience
Batwa cultural experience is an activity put in place for travelers who would want to explore the African culture. Batwa cultural experience is carried out in the homes of Batwa people which are next to the park boundaries. The Batwa used to live within Mgahinga but were evicted during the time of gazetting the areas so they decided to stay so close to the park.
A visit to Batwa community is led by a local guide who first takes you through a briefing and tells you which places you will visit. The Batwa community visit gives tourists an opportunity to visit different homesteads where they do learn winemaking, coffee production and by visiting traditional men they learn different uses of plants and bones of dead animals. The Batwa are good entertainers who dance to traditional songs and even teach visitors how to use local instruments.
Best time to visit Mgahinga Gorilla park
Tourists can visit Mgahinga at any time of the year however certain months are far better than others. The dry months happening from June to September and December to February are the best to visit Mgahinga national park. These months are good because they are characterized by little or no rainfall which lives trekking trails and roads leading to the park dry and passable. During the dry season, the vegetation is short and thin with clear views of the wildlife.
Budget travelers and those that find time in the rainy season can visit Mgahinga because it’s always open. The rainy season happens from March to May and October to November and tourists that visit the park do get discounted accommodation and tour packages. What makes the rainy season not the best to visit Mgahinga national park is the too much rainfall that makes trekking trails muddy and slippery, vegetation is always tall with unclear views of wildlife, and roads leading to the park are in very poor condition.
Accommodation in Mgahinga Gorilla park
Mgahinga national park has several accommodation facilities where travelers can stay during their visit to the park. The accommodation facilities are not so many in Mgahinga national park but they are enough for travelers. The accommodation facilities range from budget to mid-range to luxury options and they do include Mgahinga Gorilla Triangle Lodge, Tiloreza Volcanoes Lodge, Mgahinga Safari Lodge, Mountain Gahinga Rest Camp, Mount Gahinga Lodge, Mutanda Safari Lodge, and others can be found in Kisoro town.
Accessing Mgahinga Gorilla park
Tourists can get to Mgahinga national park within a single day by using either road transport or air transport.
Accessing Mgahinga Gorilla park by air transport: travelers can always book with airline companies like Bar Aviation Uganda and Aerolink Uganda to fly to the park. The flights take an hour and a few minutes to get to Kisoro airstrip from Entebbe international airport and Kajjansi airstrip where you get a safari vehicle and connect to the park.
Accessing Mgahinga Gorilla park by road transport: tourists can get to Mgahinga national park in 9 to 10 hours depending on the nature of the roads and the number of stopovers. The road transport journey to Mgahinga starts from Kampala/Entebbe and goes through Masaka, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Ntungamo, Kabale, and Kisoro to the park.