Mountain gorilla haven in Mgahinga’s volcanoes

The verdant and tropical slopes and inclines of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park do not only hide gorillas as its name suggests. The local word, ‘gahinga’, refers to the array of volcanic rock found dotted around the various bases of the park’s three extinct volcanoes. Forming part of the Virunga Conservation Area that straddles Rwanda and the DRC, Mgahinga is one of only two places in Uganda that is a habitat for the critically endangered mountain gorilla.

It may be Uganda’s smallest park, but every ranger will be sure to tell visitors that dynamite comes in small packages. The park’s three volcanoes and surrounding landscapes are home to an impressive amount of birdlife and other wildlife including the endangered golden monkey, the blue monkey, golden cat, leopard, bushbuck, and duiker. The first people of the forest, the Batwa pygmies, still live in the area to this day.

Mghaginga’s volcanoes serve as a scenic backdrop to the quaint market town of Kisoro, only 15km from the park, which offers accommodation options ranging from hotels and lodges to B&Bs. Visitors to the park can enjoy gorilla tracking, nature trails, mountain climbing, birding, and cultural encounters with the local Batwa.

Highlights

  • Uganda’s smallest park forms part of the Virunga Conservation Area alongside Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and the DRC’s Virunga National Park
  • Any of the volcanoes can be climbed in a day
  • One of only two places in the country that is home to the critically-endangered mountain gorilla
  • Scenically astounding landscape from volcanoes and forests to crater lakes and swamps 
  • Quaint market town of Kisoro is only 15km from the park and offers a range of accommodation options 
  • Best time to go:
  • Best
  • Mixed

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