Mgahinga National Park is the smallest, but one of the most beautiful of Uganda’s parks. Set in the clouds amid the magnificent Virunga volcanoes at the confluence of the Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo borders, it is part of the larger Virunga Conservation Area that includes the Rwandan Parc National des Volcans and the Congolese Parc National des Virunga. Mgahinga National Park takes its name from Gahinga, the local word for piles of volcanic stones was first declared a game sanctuary in 1930 before being gazetted as a national park in 1991 to protect the endangered mountain gorillas that inhabit its afro-montane forests.
The world’s only golden monkeys can be found in the bamboo forests of the Virunga Mountains and visitors can now track and take part in habituating them. Although Mgahinga National Park is home to 76 species of mammals including giant forest hogs, bush pigs, forest buffaloes and elephants, they are hard to spot in the dense forest.
Mgahinga National Park’s most striking feature is the three extinct conical volcanoes; Mt. Sabinyo at 3,645m, Mt Gahinga at 3,474m and Mt. Muhavura at 4,127m above sea level. Hikers will enjoy the long treks to all three peaks that offer panoramic views of Margherita in the Ruwenzori’s, Lake Edward in Queen Elizabeth National Park and the neighbouring Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. At Mt. Sabinyo’s summit, visitors can curiously stand in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC at the same time!
Mgahinga National Park Location
Did You Know?
Mgahinga is the only place in Uganda where golden monkeys can be found, in the bamboo forests of the Virunga Mountains.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is 2,227m – 4,127m above sea level and occupies an area of 33.7sq. kms in the Southwestern district of Kisoro on the Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border. It is 510kms by road from Kampala. A 6 hours drive via Mbarara and Kabale from Kampala, and a 1hr drive to Kabale which is 55kms away by road. Alternatively, you can get there in 2hrs via a chartered flight from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip in Kampala. Close to Semuliki National Park is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Climate And When To Visit
During the dry season in December-February and June-July, the park experiences a little less rain, making it the best time for chimpanzee trekking and birding.
The Batwa of Gahinga
A group of around 18 Batwa families became homeless when the Mgahinga National Park was formed. There have been many efforts to try and give the Batwa back the dignity and sense of pride that their rich culture and history warrants, there are well known for being the oldest surviving indigenous peoples in the Central African region. In 2018 we are pleased to say that those efforts have been rewarded and the Batwa now have a permanent place they can call home.