Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is situated on the slopes of Mt. Muhabura and Mt. Gahinga in the southwestern corner of Uganda, bordering Rwanda and the D.R. Congo. A joint commission under the Virunga Conservation Area was set up by Uganda, Rwanda, and the Congo to protect the mountain gorilla in the Virunga Mountains where the borders of the three countries meet. This joint area is home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas shared between the three countries. One gorilla group has been habituated for tourism, however, as its natural range lies across political borders.
Uganda gorilla trekking to Mgahinga National Park is not guaranteed up to 2 weeks to your planned trekking date which is because of the tendency of the gorilla family here to take trips to neighboring Congo or Rwanda. However, permits are available for treks within 2 weeks or less. While gorilla trekking is the main activity in this 12-square-mile (34-km2) reserve, other mammals such as the rare golden monkey (a sub-species of the blue monkey), buffalo, black-fronted duiker, leopard, golden cat, and serval may be encountered. Birdlife is not prolific, however, gems such as the red-tufted malachite sunbird, white-starred robin, and Ruwenzori turaco may be observed in this highland region.
Mgahinga Gorilla Park offers eight gorilla permits per day available for booking at a cost of USD 700 per person. This fee covers for just the guided trek to see the gorilla family and the park entrance fee. Trips commence that the park headquarters in Kisoro at 8:30 am after the briefing. Unlike gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, booking gorilla permits to Mgahinga isn’t done at the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala. Your reservation should be made by contacting the park headquarters in Kisoro not more than 2 weeks from your planned trekking dates.
Not so many people prioritize gorilla trekking to Mgahinga which makes it a good place to get permits on short notice. However, all the available 8 spots are likely to be booked up in the peak season months of July to September. Gorilla treks to Mgahinga National Park offer some of the most challenging but rewarding treks and an interesting cave, plus it is the only place in Uganda to track golden monkeys.
Golden Monkey Tracking
While gorillas are the major attraction to Mgahinga National Park, the park is also blessed with Golden monkeys, a rare subspecies of the rare blue monkeys that have become a lure to Mgahinga. A permit is also required to visit these beautiful creatures which goes for USD 60 per person for a 1-hour experience whereas the longer habituation experience costs USD 100 per person. The golden monkey trekking permit does not necessarily need to be booked in advance as it can be acquired at the park headquarters. A Trip to see golden monkeys starts at 8:30 am at the park headquarters and there is an 85% chance that you will see the habituated family on your trek.
Mgahinga National Park offers one of the most stunning mountain treks. Of the 3 volcanoes, all of them are possible to trek depending on your preference. The hikes do not require any mountaineering experience. Climbing can be done on Mount Muhavura, Sibyinyo, and Mt Gahinga and all offer stunning aerial views of both Uganda, Rwanda, and The Democratic Republic of Congo upon reaching the summit.