Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park from South Africa
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park from South Africa: Mountain gorillas are endangered species of primates in the world seen in a few places. Mountain gorillas are found in the Virunga conservation area as well as Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Tourists who want to spend time with endangered mountain gorillas can only see them in 4 national parks and among these include Mgahinga national park
Tourists in South Africa that want to encounter mountain gorillas can visit Mgahinga national park because it’s one of the areas where these primates can be seen. Mgahinga national park is one of the 10 national parks in Uganda located in the southwestern part of the country. The national park is one of the two national parks Uganda is lucky to have host mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are said to be close relatives to human beings because they share 98% of their DNA. A lot of people in South Africa have always dreamt of meeting those primates to really see if they are like human beings. If you are a tourist out there in South Africa then it’s very easy to spend time with the mountain gorillas because they are just next to you in East Africa.
Tourists in South Africa that want to see mountain gorillas will need to organize a gorilla safari to Mgahinga national park where they can meet members of Nyakagezi gorilla family. To meet the mountain gorillas of any national park including Mgahinga national park you must have a gorilla trekking permit which is issued by from Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Uganda wildlife authority does control and manages activities of all national parks in the country therefore it is its role to issue gorilla permits. Travelers can book the gorilla permits directly from UWA or they can be helped by their local tour operators to purchase them.
There is only gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park and a single gorilla trekking permit does cost $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 citizens of East African member states. Whether you purchase the gorilla permit with UWA or with a local tour operator the prices remain the same.
Only 8 gorilla permits are available in Mgahinga national park and this means that the first 8 people to book are the luckiest. UWA sells gorilla permits on a first come first basis therefore tourists in South Africa are advised to book their gorilla permits 3 to 4 months or more in advance if they want to avoid last-minute gorilla permit booking disappointments.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park from South Africa
The day of gorilla trekking starts with tourists having early morning breakfast at their lodge. The tourists are driven to Ntebeko Visitors Centre where they meet other trekkers going for the activity that day. From South Africa, you should be ready to meet other trekkers in case your group doesn’t exceed 8 people.
A head guide does teach the trekkers about the rules and regulations of trekking so that trekkers know how to behave while in the jungle. Ranger guides with firearms take trekkers into the jungle and using different trails they start looking for where the mountain gorillas could be.
The search for mountain gorillas does take 2 to 6 hours and during the time of searching, trekkers are able to meet different animals, birds, and vegetation. When the mountain gorillas are spotted, trekkers do get 1 hour to be around the apes which enables them to know their habits, take photos and watch the members do daily activities among which include nesting, hunting, coupling, eating, and grooming among others.
After trekking, trekkers do get out of the jungle using the shortest routes with opportunities of seeing animals and birds they had seen while searching for mountain gorillas. Tourists drive back to Ntebeko Visitors Centre where they collect their gorilla trekking certificates from UWA.
Things to pack for gorilla trekking from South Africa
Tourists coming from South Africa must know that in order to have the best of gorilla trekking one must pack the right equipment. The gorilla tracking list must include waterproof hiking boots, long cotton stocks, a pair of gaiters, a hat, a rain jacket, a light backpack, long-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shorts, a camera, a pair of binoculars, insect repellents, drinking water bottle and energy giving snacks among others.
Where to stay on a gorilla trekking safari in Mgahinga from South Africa
From South Africa, you don’t have to worry about where you will stay because there are so many accommodation facilities around the park. The national park has accommodation facilities ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury options and they include Mgahinga Gorilla Triangle Lodge, Mountain Gahinga Rest Camp, Musasa Mountain Triangle Lodge, Mgahinga Safari Lodge, Mount Gahinga Lodge, Tiloreza Volcanoes Lodge, and Mutanda Safari Lodge among others.
The most appropriate time to visit Mgahinga from South Africa
Tourists from South Africa can visit Mgahinga national park at any time of the year however one season is better than the other. The dry season is the best to visit Nyakagezi gorilla family of Mgahinga national park because it’s when the park is receiving little or no rainfall. From June to September and December to February is when the trekking trails are dry and easier to navigate, vegetation is short and thin with good views of wildlife, and road accessing the park are in a good state.
For budget tourists to Mgahinga from South Africa can still visit Mgahinga national park during the rainy season which is from March to May and October to November. The rainy season ain’t the best for gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park because it has plenty of rainfall. Too much rainfall makes roads getting to Mgahinga very slippery, the vegetation is tall with unclear views of wildlife, and not forgetting the trekking trails which are muddy and slippery.
Getting to Mgahinga national park from South Africa
Tourists from South Africa looking for how to get o Mgahinga national park must know that one needs to fly first to either Kigali international airport or Entebbe international airport. From Entebbe, tourists from South Africa can get to Mgahinga national park using road transport or air transport. By road transport, it’s a 9 to 10 hours journey via Kampala, Masaka, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Ntungamo, Kabale, and Kisoro to the park.
By air transport, tourists from South Africa can get to Mgahinga national park using air transport. Bar Aviation Uganda and AeroLink Uganda are some of the airline companies having flights to different destinations across the country including Kisoro airstrip. There are daily morning flights from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Kisoro airstrip which is a few kilometers from Mgahinga national park.