Mgahinga national park
Mgahinga national park is found in the southwest of uganda in the towns of Kisoro with a landcover of 33.7 square kilometers amidst the three volcanoes of Virunga of muhavura, gahinga and sabinyo. The national park is a mixture of a rain and bamboo forests, golden monkeys, silverbacks and this is why it’s called a place where gold meets silver.
ATTRACTIONS IN MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK
Mgahinga national park is known to be a habitant to a number of endangered mountain gorillas. This makes the park to visited by tourists because of the gorillas.
The national park is known to have three volcanoes that is muhabura, gahinga and sabinyo. These great ranges give tourists good scenery and amazing hiking experiences within the park.
Mount sabinyo; the mount offers three challenging peaks for climbing. The mountain has mush and several ladders that make it very challenging but once one is at the top you will be in almost three countries of rwanda, democratic republic of Congo and Uganda. The climbing takes eight hours to cover up the 14 kilometers stretch.
Mount muhavura; the volcano acts as a guide with a typical cone-shaped mountain and it provides amazing views of the country. The climb takes the tourists through the rocky surface covered by grass and small shrubs. When the tourists reach the top, they are able to view the Virunga volcanoes, lake Edward, Bwindi and the peaks of Rwenzori Mountain. The climbing or hike takes 8hours covering 12 kilometers.
Mount gahinga; while on the mountain tourists can look out for small piles of stones in the area and thus the name gahinga by the locals. Its quite bigger but sited next to muhavura and that’s why it looks small. A hike takes around six hours through the bamboo forest.
The national park is also known for having golden monkeys besides the gorillas and that’s why its called a place where silver meets golden. The golden monkeys are ancient group of monkeys that were only found n Virunga national park. These monkeys move on a daily basis, small in size and don’t construct nests thus leave little evidence of their presence. With this it makes tourists to come on a safari to the national park to enjoy the golden monkeys.
ACTIVITIES IN MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK
This is the most popular activity that is done in Mgahinga gorilla national park. The national park has one of the habituated gorilla family called nyakagezi which consists of 9 members that is to say 2 silverbacks, 3adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants. This group is always ready for tracking but its always on a move and it crosses to rwanda and democratic republic of Congo. Tracking of gorillas takes 3 to eight hours at starts from ntebeko. Gorilla tracking in Mgahinga is rewarding as tourists have to view the gorillas and also some other primates and bird species.
Mgahinga national park has the hiking activity which is done on the three volcanoes that form the Virunga ranges in rwanda and democratic republic of Congo and uganda as well. These include sabinyo, gahinga, and muhavura.
Mount muhavura is known to be the highest amongst them all and the tourists can view other mountains while at its peak. Whereas mount sabinyo is a gate way to rwanda and democratic republic of Congo. As one is hiking sabinyo mountain the way to the peak is having mushy vegetation that makes it hard for tourists but can be avoided by dressing in water proof hiking boots. So for mount gahinga the tourists will hike through the bamboo forest up to the peak.
Mgahinga national park is known to be small in size but has a wide number of bird species that can be spotted by tourists while on their safari. These include cape robin-chat, black-headed waxbill, dusky turtle dove, handsome francolin, white starred robin, kivu ground thrush, archers’ robins chat, malachite sunbird among others. The national park is known to have 180 bird species which can be sighted throughout the whole year. There are also Albertine rift endemics that are found on the gorge trail. This makes the birding safari amazing in the Mgahinga gorilla national park.
GOLDEN MONKEY TRACKING
Mgahinga national park offers tourists with the golden monkey tracking activity which is also among the top activities within the park. These primates are also taken to be endangered and endemic as they share a home with the mountain gorillas as well as buffaloes, elephants and other species.
The golden monkey tracking starts at the park headquarters by 7;30am for briefing as well as rules and regulations. Then the real trekking starts at 8am. Since the golden monkeys live in low areas its so easy for them to be tracked unlike gorillas.it only takes 3 hours to track the monkeys and spend with them one hour as they observe their character and also take pictures.
The Batwa are the original inhabitants of the forest before the national park was gazette in 1991. Within the forest on the foothills of Virunga volcanoes used to be their home as they were known for being hunter-gatherers as well as warriors who depended on the forest for food, medicine among others
This trail leads tourists from muhavura cave. The walking is amazing as one gets to learn more about the Batwa people. Since they used to depend on the forest, these ere forced out of the park and extended to the villages that surrounded the park.
EXPLORING GARAMA CAVE
This lies below a plateau north edge of the park and its 3kilometers from ntebeko. It’s set in the former farmland zone but in earlier times, the cave forest when it was occupied by the Batwa who used it as a council chamber and a retreat as well.