Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
The Park, gazetted in 1991, covers an area of 33.7 km2. It is found in the extreme South Western corner of Uganda that borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. It includes parts of Muhavura, Mgahinga and Sabinyo Volcanic Mountains. The summit of Muhavura has a small crater lake and forms the highest point (4127m) in the park. The summit areas are dominated by wort and dwarf heath vegetation. This emerges into bamboo and broad leaved montane forest down the mountains. The lower slopes have high altitude Savannah woodland with lost of lichens and mosses.
The Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla brengei) are the most awe-inspiring animals to be found in Africa. Unfortunately regional human population growth and poaching activities within the park have destroyed much of their natural habitat and the population size. Having faced extinction, today sound Conservation policies have slowed down their decline. In the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park the authorities have been successful in establishing community tourism projects that have lead to a harmonious environment now existing between man and wildlife in the reserve.
Access to the resident family at Mgahinga is strictly controlled. Only small groups of visitors (6 persons) always accompanied by a ranger/guide are able to observe the habituated Gorilla family here for a period of up to 1 hour. The time restriction and visitor numbers is maintained to keep the disturbance to the animals to a minimum. Remember these animals are in their natural environment, they are wild and unpredictable in their movements.
Mgahinga forms a portion of the Virunga Volcano conservation area, gorilla movements are affected by the distribution of plant species on which they feed. The availability of bamboo shoots, the seasonally preferred gorilla food item, affects the movements of the gorilla group across and into the Uganda-Congo border area. This is a biological behaviour of a wild species, and cannot be controlled or predicted.
The park can be reached by road through Kabale and Kisoro 510 km from Kampala.
Visitors to this park can be accommodated in nearby motels in Kisoro or Kabale.
Colobus monkey, jackal, porcupine, Golden cat, Gorilla, Honey Badger, Duiker, Aadvark, elephant. This park is the second home of the rare mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei) in Uganda. Other animals in the area include golden monkey, leopard, giant forest hog, bushbuck and buffalo.