Top tourism activities to do in Mgahinga national park
Are you looking for top tourism activities to do in Mgahinga national park? Mgahinga national park is the smallest national park in the country but it attracts thousands of tourists in the country who come to spend 1 hour with the mountain gorilla that have found their home in the park. Mgahinga national park has over 80 mountain gorillas but with only 1 fully habituated mountain gorilla family called Nyakagezi that is open for trekking every day of the year.
Mgahinga national park has so many activities that tourists on a safari to this park can engage in and these include birding, hiking, Batwa cultural walk but in this article, we are going to look at the most done activities. Accessing Mgahinga national park takes only one day and tourists need to know that the park is open all throughout the year for tourism activities. Those that want to do mountain gorilla habituation on their safari in Mgahinga national park are advised to book their gorilla trekking permit in advance of 3-4 months most especially in the dry season because the few 8 permits tend to sell out quickly since travelers who want to come in are many.
Top tourism activities in Mgahinga national park
Spend 1 hour with Nyakagezi mountain gorilla family in Mgahinga national park
Trekking of Nyakagezi mountain gorilla family is the most done activity in Mgahinga national park. To trek this mountain gorilla family you need to have secured a gorilla permit first. The mountain gorilla trekking permit for the Nyakagezi mountain gorilla family can be booked in advance from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or a trusted tour operator and this is at a fee of $700 foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents, and shs250,000 East African citizens.
Trekking Nyakagezi mountain gorilla family in Mgahinga national park starts with a briefing at the park headquarters where the trekkers are taught about the dos and don’ts of the mountain gorilla trekking activity in the park. The trekking is only done by 8 people in Mgahinga national park and these are led by well-trained ranger guides who take the trekkers around different trails of the park looking for this mountain gorilla family. During the search, the trekkers are likely to see some of the park wildlife and vegetation types but on meeting this family, they are given 1 hour to be around it and in this period they are able to learn more about their habits, watch the animals do daily activities and take photos.
Encounter birds in Mgahinga national park
Move with your birding book and a pair of binoculars to Mgahinga national park and encounter over 205 bird species that have been so far recorded in the park. There are different birding spots in Mgahinga national park where well-trained bird guides lead you to spot birds such as Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Kivu ground thrush, dusky Crimsonwing, pin-tailed whydah, archer’s robin-chat, olive pigeon, fire finch stonechat, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, and Rwenzori batis among others.
Other notable bird species in Mgahinga national park include Rwenzori turaco, Collared Apalis, Montane Masked Apalis, grey capped warbler, moorland chat, African olive pigeon, blue headed coucal, crowned hornbill, olive woodpecker, red-faced woodland warbler, blue-headed coucal, Rwenzori nightjar, moorland chat, Yellow-crested Helmet Shrike, scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird, alpine swift, Kivu Ground Thrush, Stripe-breasted Tit, black kite, Red-throated Alethe, and white-necked raven among others.
Batwa cultural experience
One of the things you shouldn’t miss out on when you visit Mgahinga national park is the Batwa cultural experience. The Batwa cultural experience in Mgahinga national park is led by anybody from the Batwa people and these take you around the forest showing you how they used to live in the jungle before the government evicted them to protect the mountain gorillas. they will show you how they used bows and arrows to kill animals, sticks to make fire, gather fruits, collect honey and use plants as local medicine.
The Batwa cultural tour will enable you to know about the way of living of these people, you will get entertained by the women through cultural dances and drama, you can support their local shops and buying some of the crafts and at the end of the day you will have supported them and this will help them to improve their way of living. The Batwa cultural experience in Mgahinga national park is done at a fee and this money goes directly to the Batwa people themselves which has shown them that the park is also of importance to them but not only to the government.
Accommodation in Mgahinga national park
Several accommodation facilities are constructed in and around Mgahinga national park so travelers across the world don’t have to worry about where they will stay. The accommodation facilities are classified into the budget, mid-range, and luxury options and these include Mount Gahinga Safari Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Mountain Gahinga Rest Camp, Amajambere I’wacu Camp, Nkuringo Safari Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Lake Chahafi Resort, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Traveler’s Nest Hotel, Ikoro Hotel, and Mountain Gahinga Lodge among others.
What is the Best time to visit Mgahinga national park?
Travelers from across the world can visit Mgahinga national park at any time of the year since its open for tourism every day. However, there are some months that are better than the rest and these are the dry months of June to September and December to February. The dry months are characterized by little or no rainfall which means that the roads leading to the park are dry, the trekking trails in the park are less muddy and not slippery, the vegetation in the park is thin which gives clear views of the park animals and photography.
Visiting Mgahinga national park can also be done in the rainy season of October to November and March to May. During the rainy season, there are huge discounts on accommodation facilities in and around the park but tourists need to know that there is too much rainfall, the trekking trails in the park are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is thick giving unclear views of the park animals and photography and lastly, the roads leading to the park are passable.
Can I get to Mgahinga national park in 1 day?
Yes, travelers can get top Mgahinga national park in a single day by using road transport or air transport. To use air transport to Mgahinga national park, you will have to inform your local tour operator in advance so that they book you a flight to the park. Flights to Mgahinga national park are conducted by AeroLink Uganda and Fly Uganda and they do start from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe international airport and end at Kisoro international airport.
Travelers can also get to Mgahinga national park using road transport with the shortest being from Kigali and entering Kabale using Katuna border and Kisoro using Cyanika border. This journey from Kigali takes 4-5 hours only. Travelers can also get p Mgahinga national park from Kampala/Entebbe via Masaka – Mbarara – Kabale or Kisoro and this takes 8-9 hours. The journey looks long but the tourists get a stopover at the equator, they have a distant view of some of the physical features in the country like mountains and hills, rivers and lakes and you get to see smiling people by the roadsides.
What to do with Africa Adventure Vacations?
Africa adventure vacations is a tour company based in Uganda licensed by the Uganda Tourism Board and a member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators. Booking with Africa adventure vacations provides you safety and confidence during your safari courtesy of well-trained safari driver guides who are well conversant with all routes and tourism destinations in Africa. You can book with us any of the activities you want to do in Africa such as mountain gorilla trekking, mountain gorilla habituation, Chimpanzee trekking and habituation, birding, golden monkey trekking, game drives, hiking, nature walks, and community tours among others. Booking top tourism activities to do in Mgahinga national park can be done at any time of the year.