Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park is a lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with the massive silverback gorilla and its members while in their natural habitat. This is a dream come true wildlife adventure and in Africa, you can meet mountain gorillas in only 4 parks. Other than Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the other 3 parks to visit for mountain gorilla trekking include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Virunga National Park in DRC and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Mgahinga National Park is the smallest of the ten National Park that make Uganda a complete travel destination. The Park occupies a compact land area measuring up to only 33sq.kms and lying at elevation of 4127m.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park lies at the extreme border with Congo & Rwanda, Kisoro district, Southwestern Uganda. Accessing the park is possible using two options; the road and air. The road travel includes setting from Kampala to Kisoro side, about 9-10 hours’ drive; if planning to travel from Rwanda to Mgahinga, then a drive from Kigali through Chanika takes between 4-5 hours. By air from Uganda, it takes only 2 hours from Entebbe Airport and you will land at Kisoro airstrip, located near Mgahinga National Park where your actual gorilla trek adventure will be enjoyed.
Unlike Bwindi National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga National Park is a habitat to only 1 habituated family “Nyakagezi.” Over 80 of the world’s 1063 endangered mountain gorillas are hosted within the tropical forest of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Kisoro district.
Trekking Mgahinga gorillas usually begins at Ntebeko reception center where visitors meet the officials from Uganda Wildlife Authority for briefing. Actual visit to explore Nyakagezi family begins at 8:00am with an experienced park guide leading you throughout the gorilla trekking journey that usually takes 2-6 hours. The 2-6 hours that you spend trekking also include one hour of magical encounter with silverback gorilla and its members, full time photography and so much more.
Mgahinga Gorilla Trekking permits.
Strictly 8 people are allowed to visit Nyakagezi family in Mgahinga N/Park. These represent 8 valid gorilla permits and each is obtainable at USD700 if you are a foreign non-resident, USD600 when you visit as foreign resident and East African citizens pay Shs. 250,000.
How to book Mgahinga gorilla permits in Uganda?
This is easier when you deal with Uganda’s reputable tour operator. The tour operators in Uganda have access to gorilla permits, about 80% of the permits are issued to them by Uganda Wildlife Authority. Besides, they plan the entire gorilla tour not just securing a permit alone.
A fully planned gorilla tour to Mgahinga national park includes a number of things, ranging from booking quality accommodation of your preference, securing the car for your travel, and many others. It is however, advisable to have your permits booked early considering the high demand and take note, only 8 permits are available for booking unlike over 160 permits if you are visiting Bwindi national park. Visiting Mgahinga to see mountain gorillas is amazing, first, it is opportunity to enjoy a gorilla trek free of crowds.
When to go for Mgahinga national park gorilla safari?
The dry season is the best time that guarantees a perfect and memorable gorilla trekking tour in Mgahinga National Park. When planning a gorilla tour, there are two phases of dry season to mark on your travel calenda; the long and short. The long dry season often falls within the months of June, July, August, September, then short dry spell runs for 3 months; December, January to February.
Gorilla safari pack listing.
- Waterproof daypack
- Rain jacket or poncho
- Camera – free of flashlight
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Gardening gloves
- Insect repellents
- Energy giving snacks
- Bottled water
Other tourist activities to do in Mgahinga National Park
- Golden monkey trekking tour
- Birding / bird watching tours
- Golden monkey habituation experience
- Cave exploration
- Hiking / volcano climbing
- Nature walks
- Batwa trail experience
Where to stay on a gorilla trekking tour in Mgahinga national park?
There are many fine places to consider for night stays in Mgahinga National Park, and they range from budget, midrange and luxury. The luxury accommodation to book includes Mount. Gahinga Lodge and Mutanda Lake Resort or the nearby lodges in Nkuringo sector like Chameleon Hill Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge. Mucha river lodge (Budget), Lake Mulehe safari Lodge, Travelers Rest Hotel and Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge for midrange options.