Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

25km to the South of Bwindi, the Virunga Volcanoes form a roller-coaster horizon along Uganda – Rwanda – Congo border. On the Ugandan slopes of Mountains Muhavura, Gahinga, and Sabinyo, the tiny Mgahinga National Park protects rare fauna and flora, including mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.

  • Track mountain gorillas on Mgahinga,s three volcanic cones
  • Look for the rare golden monkey in the bamboo forests of Mt. Muhavura
  • Go underground to learn the legends and lore of the Batwa (pygmies) in Garama Cave

Activities in Mgahinga National Park

Ntebeko visitor’s center

The visitor center at Ntebeko is the trailhead for nature walks, volcano climbs, and golden monkey and gorilla trekking. Exhibits inside the building explore things relating to the Virunga environment. A trail along the adjacent dry stone buffalo wall(built to keep animals outside the neighbouring farmland) provides good birding and views of the dramatic backdrop.

Gorilla Tracking

Following a trail of trampled and snapped vegetation across the slopes of the Virungas to spend an hour in the company of a family of mountain Gorillas ranks among the world’s most sought after wildlife encounters. Contact time with Mgahinga habituated group is restricted tone hour and participants must be aged 15 and over.

Golden Monkey Trekking

Mountain gorillas are  not the only endangered primates on the virungas.The volcanoes are the last stronghold of the golden monkey which can be tracked through its bamboo habitat on the slopes of Mt Mgahinga. As with gorillas, contact time with this rare primate is limited to an hour.Visitors who sign up for the habituation experience, however, can spend all day following this striking orange-coated monkey in the company of researchers.

Volcano Climbing

Mgahinga Gorilla NP rises upwards to 3 of the Virunga’s 6 volcanic summits, all of which can be climbed in a day.Views from the peaks into Rwanda and Congo and towards the rift valley and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest-more than justify the effort.

The Park’s highest peak is Muhavura.The ascent passes through montane forest,bamboo stands and heather groves, before encountering bizarre forms of giant lobelias and groundsels at the summit. The 4127m summit which is adorned by a crystal clear crater lake,40m in diameter, commands panoramic views along the length of the Virunga chain. Mount Gahinga(3474m) is the smallest of Virunga volcanoes and its bamboo-covered slopes rises to a lust, swamp-filled crater, about 180m wide. The jagged crown of Sambinyo bears several summits, the highest which provides the rare privilege of standing 3669m high whilst in three counties-Uganda, Rwanda, and DRC-at once.


Keen birders can seek rare Albertine Rift endemics and other forest birds in a range of scenic locations that include th Sabinyo Gorge (prime habitat for the beautiful Rwenzori Turaco); the saddle between Mounts Gahinga and Sabinyo and the Boundary Trail at Ntebeko with its incomparable volcanic backdrop.

The batwa trail 

For generation, Mgahinga’s dense forest were home to the indigenous Batwa Pygmies, hunter-gatherers and warriors, who depend on the forest for shelter, food and medicine. Today,Batwa guides lead  visitors through the lower slopes of the forests, introducing them to their old home and demonstrating the skills they used to survive in it. The highlight of the Batwa Trail is the descent into the Garama Cave for a subterranean performance of music and dance.     

Where To Stay?

Mgahinga gorilla national park sits perfectly at the base of Mount Gahinga and there is only one option of luxury here which is MT Gahinga lodge which is just a few minutes from the starting point and Amajembere Iwacu small budge community camp can also be used however, most clients would prefer staying at lake Mutanda and take the 1-hour drive to the park for activities or in Kisoro town.

Best Time to Visit

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is open for gorilla trekking the whole year, but the best time is during the drier seasons from June to August and December to January. At this time the trails tend to be easier to navigate and spending a precious hour with the gorillas might be more pleasant when it isn’t raining.