Mgahinga Gorilla National Park protects Uganda’s portion of the Virunga Conservation Area. This volcanic region spreads through Uganda, Rwanda and the D.R.C. and is home to over 300 mountain gorillas.
With spectacular views, a wealth of primates and some serious hiking, Mgahinga is a great alternative to Bwindi if you are considering a gorilla safari tour.
Mgahinga is the smallest of Uganda’s national parks (just 34km2), but forms part of the 436km2 cross-border Virunga Volcano Conservation Area. Parc National des Volcans and Parc National des Virunga in Rwanda and D.R.C. complete the area.
Mountain gorillas roam between the six inactive volcanoes comprising the area, crossing over borders in the process. This means that there are no permanent groups in Mgahinga. However, approximately 45 individuals spend part of the year in Uganda’s Mgahinga and permits are available for trekking.
Mgahinga’s habituated gorilla group, the Nyakagezi, made a welcome return after they were forced to move in late 2004, following attacks by a lone silverback male.
In addition to gorilla trekking, Mgahinga offers the chance to track endangered golden monkeys, endemic to the Albertine Rift. Nature walks and challenging hiking keep the active entertained and offer spectacular views.
Visiting Mgahinga is possible year round. However, the park experiences high rainfall and many visitors prefer to avoid the wettest months (March - May and September - November).