This small national park protects the Ugandan portion of the Virungas, chain of six extinct and three sporadically active volcanoes which follows the borders with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mgahinga was proclaimed with the primary aim of providing sanctuary to the rare mountain gorilla, some 300 of which live in the Virungas, and gorilla tracking remains the most popular activity. Here, though it is dependent on the seasonal movements of the habituated groups. Mgahinga supports a diverse forest and moorland fauna, notably the localized Golden monkey and at least 12 bird species endemic to the Albertine Rift but also small populations of elephant, leopard, buffalo and black and white colobus monkey. The spectacular setting at the base of the volcanoes, the tallest of which reaches an elevation of 4, 507 m, is among the most stirring in East Africa.
Size: 38.6 sq Km
Location: Far south west, bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 14km from Kisoro town.
Getting there and away
One day drive from Kampala via Kabale. Public transport runs as far as Kisoro, where taxis are available to the park gate. Kisoro is about 540 kms from Kampala and it takes about 8 hours via Kabale. For those without private transport, there are daily transport services, which set off at 7:00am at the Kampala bus terminal. Once in Kisoro town, you can hike or take a special hire vehicle to the park gate, which is 13 ½ kms from Kisoro Town.
Gorilla tracking depends on whether the gorillas are around (they some times-not often-move across the boarder). Permits must be booked at the UWA office in Kisoro or Kampala. Guided walks to the volcanic peaks require an early start. Enroute to Kisoro lies lovely Lake Bunyonyi, hemmed in by steep mountains and studded with small islands.
Visiting Time: Any time but check that the gorillas are around.
An up market lodge, community-run bandas and camping are available at the entrance gate. There is plenty of accommodation in Kisoro town