Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga is one of the tropical forests in the south western Uganda Sized: 33.7km2, making it Uganda’s smallest National Park.
The park takes its name from “Gahinga” – the local word for the piles of volcanic stones cleared from farmland at the foot of the volcanoes.
The British administration declared the area a game sanctuary in 1930; it was gazetted as a National Park in 1991.
Mgahinga has one habituated trans-boundary gorilla group.
The Batwa were self-sufficient – and visitors can see how during a fascinating tour with a Batwa guide to learn the secrets of the forest.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.
As well as being important for wildlife, the park also has a huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivalled.
Mgahinga’s most striking features are its three conical, extinct volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga Range that lies along the border region of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. Mgahinga forms part of the much larger Virunga Conservation Area which includes adjacent parks in these countries. The volcanoes’ slopes contain various ecosystems and are biologically diverse, and their peaks provide a striking backdrop to this gorgeous scenery.
The park is in the Virunga Mountains and in the Albertine Rift montane forests ecoregion. Totaling about 33.7 square kilometres (13.0 sq mi), it is the smallest of Uganda’s national parks.
The park is about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi), by road, south of the town of Kisoro and approximately 55 kilometres (34 mi), by road, west of Kabale, the largest city in the sub-region. The park is located within Bufumbira county of the Kisoro District.
MGNP includes three of the eight Virunga Mountains volcanoes: Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Sabyinyo. These dormant volcanoes are international mountains, with Muhabura and Gahinga on the Uganda/Rwanda border, and Sabyinyo a tripoint on the Uganda/Rwanda/Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) borders.
get more info
A Mountain gorilla in the park.
MGNP and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are the only parks within Uganda that protect habitat for the mountain gorilla, an IUCN Red List endangered species. MGNP’s protected area is contiguous with the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the DRC. These parks form the 434 square kilometres (168 sq mi) Virunga Conservation Area (VCA) for mountain gorilla habitat. MGNP protects about 8 percent of the total VCA.
MGNP also protects tropical moist broadleaf forests of the Afromontane Albertine Rift montane forests ecoregion.
The park experiences two wet rainy seasons: February to May; and September to December. The average amount of monthly rainfall varies from 250 millimetres (9.8 in) in October to 10 millimetres (0.39 in) in July