Mgahinga Gorilla National Game Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Game Park is located in south western Uganda bordering Rwanda to the south and Congo to the west and only 14 kilometres from Kisoro town. It is 33square kilometres and its altitude ranges between 2227 – 4127 meters. Mgahinga national park was declared a game sanctuary by the British administration in 1930 and thereafter gazetted in 1991. This park was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests. The Virungas dominate the landscape and are a home to large variety of wildlife including the endangered mountain gorillas. The park is of a great biological importance because in bad climatic conditions it acts as a refugee to plants and animals due to its protective vegetation cover. It has numerous streams flowing northwards from mountains. Its plains are characterized by deep volcanic ash running from the mountains and rapidly disappear underground. It has a crater lake on mountain Muhabura and a swampy crater on mountain Mgahinga summit. Its Vegetation consists of wood land and only a small area of pure montane forest still remains at the base of mountain Muhabura.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest of all national parks in Uganda. The park was created to protect the mountain gorillas that roam freely within the Virunga region. The park is bordered by the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda. It was declared a game sanctuary by the British administration in 1930 and was gazetted as a national park in 1991. The park has only got one habituated trans- boundary gorilla group. The visitors can also enjoy the Batwa visit which is a much far fascinating tour with the Batwa guide to learn the secrets of the forest.

Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga.

Many tourists visit the Mgahinga National Park for gorilla trekking. Currently there is only one habituated gorilla group that can be visited by the tourists and that’s Nyakagezi Gorilla Group.

The mountain gorillas in Mgahinga National Park live in families that comprise of several individuals. Each family is led by the strongest male mountain gorillas called a silverback.  This silverback is always in charge of protecting its family against any intrusion and usually determines the daily routine. The silverback usually leads its subordinates to different parts of the jungle searching for fresh plant leaves and new places for building new nests for the night.

Mountain gorillas’ being mobile animals makes tracking them a little prolonged to take about 1 to 8 hours of hiking the forest depending on their movement and following their trails as directed by the rangers. Some mountain gorillas can be got after short hours of hiking while others are stubborn and tend to go far away to the higher slopes of the mountains and these are the ones that can be got after longer hours of hike.



The park habits about 76 bird species including several endemics to the east Congo montane region. A total of 185 7bird species have been recorded in volcanoes national park in Rwanda and most likely occur in Mgahinga gorilla national park. Best birding takes place in some of its beautiful scenery in the gorge between mountain Mgahinga and Sabinyo through the bamboo forest and the montane forest where the beautiful Rwenzori turaco may be seen.

Cultural encounter

The park’s dense forests where home to the Batwa who were hunters, gatherers, and fierce warriors who depended on the forest for shelter, food and medicine. Today, they lead visitors to their old home and techniques on how they used to survive in it.

Hiking and nature walks

This takes place on the foothills of the Virunga volcanoes and gives visitors chance to spot forest birds, wild vegetation, bamboo forests, lakes and agricultural villages.

Mountain/ volcano climbing

There are 3 challenging peaks to climb. These include mountain Sabyinyo (366 meters), mountain Mgahinga which goes through a good example of pure bamboo forest. Mountain Muhavura which provides best views of the country. Once on the top, hikers are rewarded with the views of the Virunga volcanoes, Lake Edward in Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi Impenetrable national park and the peaks of Rwenzori Mountains.



By road, Mgahinga gorilla national park is 510 kilometers from Kampala. The Commonly used route passes through Kabale and Kisoro. The 434 km journey from Kampala to Kabale can be completed in 8 hrs. It is 76 km to Kisoro town on a mountainous tarmac road. The main entrance to Mgahinga national park is 14km at the end of a dirt road with some steep and rocky sections.

By air, the park can also be accessed using the daily flights from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can be also accessed through Kigali Rwanda with a four-hour driving instead of 10 hours from Kampala, some visitors fly to Kigali International Airport and cross to Mgahinga National Park through Cyanika boarder and this is approximately 4 hour drive. This route has become very popular since the price of Rwanda Gorilla Permits doubled to USD1500 per person per trek. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park now receives many guests especially for short trips like 2 Days Gorilla Safari through Rwanda-Kigali.


Gorilla trekking

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park rewards visitors with lifetime travel experiences with its Mountain Gorilla Tracking adventures. Mountain Gorilla adventures in this natural forest attract about 75% of the travellers from across the World mainly to track these rare apes while in their natural habitat. In Uganda, Mgahinga National Park is the second Gorilla destination after Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park that you can pay a visit to track the endangered Mountain. For those interested in visiting this National Park for Gorilla tracking, you will track the Nyakagezi Habituated Gorilla family the only one ready for visitors in this Park.

Guided Nature Walks and Volcano climbing

Hiking adventures and guided nature walks at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers you a chance to hike through the thick forest to the Sabyinyo gorge that also features as the best site for birding safaris and interestingly, visitors can catch a glimpse at the Rwenzori Turaco. The hikes through this National Park take about 4 hours through the Rugezi the popular spot for birding. The hikes also allow you to explore the transcending vegetation zones along the Congo borders where you will glace several calderas. Other incredible wildlife species for you to spot out include the rare Golden monkeys at the Bamboo jungle.

Cultural encounter

After your Mountain Gorilla experience, never miss out to pay a visit to one of the cultural communities adjacent at the National Park and interact with the Batwa people (pygmies). This Batwa trail that takes you through cultural exploration with the Batwa people the famous forest dwellers, hunters and gatherers to explore more about their ancient lifestyle and your presence in the cave is such an incredible moment that you will never wish to leave but rather opt for yet another return to the destination.