Mgahinga gorilla national park is Uganda’s smallest national park covering an area of only 34 square km. It was declared a game sanctuary in 1930 and upgraded to a national park status in 1991. It covers the Ugandan slopes of the three dormant virunga volcanoes; Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabinyo. It adjoins Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Congo DRC. Collectively these three parks form the trans boundary virunga conservation area (VCA) that protects half of the world’s 1000 mountain gorillas (the rest live in nearby bwindi impenetrable national park)
Gorilla conservation in the virunga dates back to 1925 when the Belgians gazetted the portion of the present day Congo and Rwanda as a national park, consequently the British declared the Ugandan section a game sanctuary in 1930
Mgahinga gorilla national park is home to 76 mammal species, including the endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Other large mammals include elephants, buffalo, leopard and giant forest hog. The park also has a bird checklist of 115 species that include many local forest birds and Albertine endemics like the striking rwenzori turaco.
Activities in the park
Mgahinga has only one family of habituated gorillas that in the past used to crisscross borders into Congo or Rwanda but has now permanently settled in Uganda (Mgahinga gorilla NP). In the past it was booked ahead of time because of its unreliability but now it okey for one a gorilla permit in mgahinga gorilla national park because the family is Permanently their
Golden monkey tracking
Golden monkeys are also an endangered species of monkeys in the virunga massif. The volcanoes are the the last stronghold of the golden monkeys which can be tracked through its bamboo habitat on the slopes of mount Gahinga.
Mgahinga gorilla national park rises upwards to three of the virunga’s six volcanic summits, all of which can be climbed in a day. The summits provide views into Rwanda and Congo, and towards the rift valley and Bwindi impenetrable national park forest. The peaks include
Home to Albertine endemics and other forest birds like the rwenzori turaco
For generations mgahinga dense forest were home to the indigenous batwa (pygmy) hunter gatherers and woriors who depended on the forest for shelter, food and medicine. When the forest was gazetted into a national park in 1991, the batwa were moved out and allocated land outside the forest. Today the batwa guides lead visitors through the lower slopes of the forest introducing them to their old home and demonstrating the skills they used to survive in the forest