Mgahinga National Park is the Uganda part of the Virunga Region. The park is located on the extreme corner of South Western Uganda. Gazetted as a national park by the Uganda government, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a part of the Virunga Conservation Area, shared within three countries; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC). The park shares its borders with two other national parks; the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the Virunga National Park of Congo. This makes the gorillas to often cross borders and sometimes not be accessible to visitors in Uganda.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in far southwestern Uganda, bordering Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, just 14km from Kisoro town. It covers a size of 38.6 sq kms. This small National park protects the Ugandan portion of the Virungas, a chain of six extinct and three sporadically active volcanoes which follows the borders with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mgahinga National Park was gazetted with the primary aim of providing sanctuary to the rare mountain gorillas, over 400 of which live and roam freely in the virungas and gorilla tracking tour remains the most popular activity here though its dependent on the seasonal movements of the habituated groups. This park has only 1 habituated mountain gorilla group – called the Nyakagezi Gorilla Group. For the past 3 years, the group has been settled in the park and gorilla permits can be booked at the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala or at the park headquarters in Kisoro.
Mgahinga supports a diverse forest and moorland fauna, notably the localized golden monkey and at least 12 bird species endemic to the Albertine Rift, but also small populations of elephant, leopard, buffaloes and black and white colobus monkey. The spectacular setting at the base of the volcanoes, the tallest of which reaches an elevation of 4,507m, is among the most stirring in East Africa .
Tourist Activities in Mgahinga National Park
Gorilla tracking tour is ideal but it only depends on whether the gorillas are around. At times they do not move across the borders. Gorilla permits must be booked at the UWA office in Kampala or Kisoro.
Guided walks to the volcanic peaks require an early start. En route to Kisoro lies lovely Lake Bunyonyi which facilitates launch cruise along, hemmed in by steep mountains and studded with small islands.
There is an up-market lodge, community-run bandas and camping are available at the entrance gate. There is also plenty of accommodation in Kisoro