Mgahinga National Park
At just 33.7km2, Mgahinga gorilla is Uganda’s smallest national park. However, it is also one of the most dramatic for the park lies on the northern slopes of Mts. Muhabura, Mgahinga and Sabyinyo, three volcanoes that create an unforgettable regoinal backdrop. these peaks are three of the six Virunga volcanoes that mark the southern limit of the Albertine rift valley and are divided between Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. The Virungas ar home to more than a half of the world,s population of the endangered mountain gorilla. 380 individuals roam the slopes of the Volcanoes while the remaining 340 lives nearby in Uganda’s Bwindi lmpenetrable National park. Fortunately for the gorillas, Mgahinga’s small area is supplemented by those of the two larger, adjoining parks in Rwanda (Volcanoes NP) and DR Congo (Virunga NP).
Though gorilla tracking is the park’s most popular activity, Mgahinga merits a visit simply to appreciate the scenery. Achoice of hikes allows for all abilities, ranging fro the 8 hour return trip to the summit of Mt.Muhabura, to genle strolls across the lower slopes beneath the magnificent three peak backdrop.
The park experience two rainy seasons; March-May and September-november. October is the wettest month, with 250mm of rain and July the driest with just 10mm.
Flora and Fauna
Mgahinga’s slopes are covered with a series of distinct altitudinal bands of vegetation. The lowest zoneis an area of grass and bush which was formerly encroached and cleared by farmers and is now regenanting. Undisturbed vegetation starts with montane woodland, followed by the bamboo zone, montane forest and the Ericaceous zone which contains giant tree heathers.The sequence culminates with the spectacular alpine zone which occurs only on East African mountains above 3000 and includes bizarre giant forms of lobelia and groundsel.
The park contains at least 39 species of mammals and 79 birds. Larger mammals include elephants, leopards, buffalo and bush pig but these are rarely seen. Mgahinga’s most fomous resident is the mountain gorilla. Less fomous but equally rare and deserving of protection is the golden monkey which found only in the Virungas and in one of other forest in Rwanda. Notable bird species include the Rwenzori turaco, crowned hornbill, black kite and crowned crane.
Activities around Mgahinga National Park