6 Things to see in Mgahinga national park
6 Things to see in Mgahinga national park : Mgahinga national park is one the smallest national parks in Uganda found in the south western region of the country, mgahinga national park is nested in the high altitudes of 2,227 to 4,127 meters. Mgahinga national park is among the four protected areas in the world hosting the critically endangered mountain gorillas and one of the only two in Uganda, the park lies in the great Virunga conservation area covering an area of 33.7 square kilometers.
Mgahinga national park is gifted with attractions which are encountered when you visit the park, these include
Mgahinga national park is the second protected area in Uganda harboring endangered mountain gorillas together with Bwindi impenetrable national park, mountain gorillas are the main highlight in mgahinga national park. The park hosts only one habituated gorilla family that is Nyakagezi gorilla family which is trekked, Nyakagezi gorilla family is a family of 9 members under the leadership of dominant silver back mark. Nyakagezi gorilla family consists of 4 silverbacks, 2 infants, 2 adult females and 1 juvenile. This family is easy trekked as its members are easily found around Nyakagezi area and they are seen gathering and eating fruits.\
Mgahinga national park is a habitant for golden monkeys living in the forests of the park, these monkeys are red mark on the list of seriously endangered species. Golden monkeys in the park live in the bamboo and forest zones, these animals stay in groups of 60 – 80 members and they are easily encountered in the park. Golden monkey tracking in mgahinga national park is usually better in the morning hours giving you a chance to see many of them in the forests, to engage in this activity you need a golden monkey permit.
Mgahinga national park encompasses around three in-active volcanic Virunga Mountains that is mountain gahinga, mountain sabyinyo and mountain muhavura.
Mountain gahinga is a magnificent feature from which the park derives its name, the mountain’s name comes from a local Rufumbira slag gahinga meaning a small pile of stones. Mountain mgahinga stands at the altitude of 3,474 meters above the sea level, this mountain lies between mountain sabyinyo and mountain muhavura. Mountain gahinga is dominated by bamboo forests and on top of it there is a swamp caldera believed to be with a width of 180 meters. From Ntebeko main gate of the park it takes about 6 hours to get to the top of the mountain.
Mountain sabyinyo is an extinct volcano deriving its name from a local Kinyarwanda slag Iryinyo meaning tooth, this mountain is nickname “Old man’s teeth” as its conical summits resemble a worn teeth in a gum line. Sabyinyo Mountain lies at the altitude of 3,645 meters and stretches around the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and democratic republic of Congo. Mountain sabyinyo consists of 3 peaks and hiking on them takes approximately 8 hours.
Mountain muhavura is an extinct volcano lieing on the border of Rwanda and Uganda, the mountain stands at the altitude of 4,127 meters which makes it the third highest volcano among the eight Virunga volcanoes. Mountain muhavura is also known as muhabura and its name is a local Kinyarwanda slag, the mountain has a small lake on its top and its slopes are covered by marvelous alpine vegetation. Hiking mountain muhavura is a trip of 12 kilometers taking 8 hours.
Mgahinga national park is a home too many species of wildlife that is animals and birds.
Apart from primates that is mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, the park is a habitant for over 39 species of mammals which reside in the forests of the park. These animals include elephants, leopards, buffaloes, bush pigs, antelopes and many more. Because of the thick forests these animals are rarely seen in the forests.
Mgahinga national park is a residence for over 39 bird species which thrive in the forests of the park, notable bird species in the forests include Rwenzori turaco, crowned hornbill, black kite, crowned crane, White-necked raven, Pin-tailed whydah, Double-collared sunbird, Speckled mouse bird, Paradise flycatcher, Ibis, Whydah, Speckled Mouse birds, Fire Finch Stonechat, Grey Capped Warbler, Waxbills, Yellow-Vented Bulbul, Alpine chat, Archer’s robin-chat, Blue-headed coucal, Dusky crimson wing, Kivu ground-thrush, Olive pigeon, Olive woodpecker, Ruwenzori batis, Ruwenzori nightjar and many more
Garama cave is a beautiful attraction in mgahinga national park lieing beneath a plateau on the northern edge of the park, the cave is situated in the forest 3 kilometers from Ntebeko main entrance gate of mgahinga national park. Garama cave is a 342 meters long feature with a depth of 14 meters, the cave harbors historical and cultural significance to the batwa pygmy people. The batwa mostly referred to as the people of the forest were the early inhabitants of the forest of mgahinga before being force-fully evicted form the forests during the gazetting of the park, these people are hunter-gatherers and they used the cave a council chamber and retreat spot after raiding their neighbor.
Garama cave in mgahinga national park is visited while on a guided nature walk on the batwa trail, from the park’s headquarters it takes about 4 hours to get to get to the cave, this walk gives you a splendid insight about the life lived by the batwa while still in the forests of mgahinga. There is performance of batwa music at the cave and the cave has a viewing point from which you get to view to spectacular nature of the park, the inside of Garama cave is crowded with many bats are seen upon your visit in the cave.
Mountain gahinga national park is an ecologically great area, the park’s volcanic slopes are covered with a series of distinct bands of vegetation depending on the altitude zone. The lower zone of the park is dominated by grass and bush, the nush and grass are followed by montane woodland, followed by bamboo zone, montane forest, Ericaceous zone with giant tree heathers and alpine zone dominated by bizarre giant forms of lobelia and groundsel.
Where to stay in mgahinga national park
As a tourist in mgahinga national park accommodation is got from various lodges and hotels situated in different locations around the park. These include Gahinga lodge, mutanda lake resort, Amajambere Iwacu camp, bird nest at bunyonyi resort, Bunyonyi overland resort in Bunyonyi, mountain gorilla safari hotel, countryside guesthouse Kisoro, Kisoro travelers’ rest hotel, and Kisoro tourist hotel