Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda (Kisoro) – Made up of three enormous mountains that lie at Uganda’s border with Congo and Rwanda, Mgahinga is an enchanting destination for outdoor adventure. It is naturally gifted with four montane vegetation zones, endemic bird species, stunning crater lakes, and two critically endangered primates, golden monkeys, and mountain gorillas.
How it was formed and mountain climbing
The park is made up of four vegetation zones that are immensely endowed with unique flora and fauna; forest zone, a bamboo zone, moorland zone, and heather zone. All of these lie upon a lava rock that was formed over 1,000 years back as a result of a massive volcanic eruption.
On the part of mountaineering, each of Mgahinga’s three mountains offers a distinctive experience to remember. They all lie in the rift valley and soar at an altitude between 3,474, 3,645, and 4,127 meters above sea level. They are, Mgahinga, Sabinyo, and Muhavura all of which were formed as a result of volcanic eruptions.
Your hike to the summit of Mountain Sabinyo will reward you with a lifetime opportunity of being in Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda at the same time. See, the borders of these three tropical countries intersect here. You can have your feet in one, your left arm in the other, and your right arm in the last.
If you are passionate about conquering hiking challenges that seem impossible to overcome, Mountain Mgahinga will rock your world. It has a perfect mix of gently sloping ranges and steep gradients. In an effort to make your hike less frustrating, their wooden ladders laid down to assist with the ascent over steep stretches.
Upon the summit of Mountain Muhavura, you will find a scenic crater lake that is partly in Rwanda and partly in Uganda.
The guides have an exceptionally comprehensive knowledge of the three mountains and the countless varied trails through which you can submit them. To this effect, he will help you chose one in matches your level of physical fitness. Having trekked for close to 20 years, they possess the skills you need in overcoming any obstacle in your way.
In an effort to reduce your chances of getting knocked out by altitude sickness, you will walk at a gentle pace, allowing your body to acclimatize to the four climatic zones of the mountain. If you need help with carrying your luggage, we are happy to hire for you a porter.
Mgahinga is home to Nyakagezi, a habituated gorilla family comprising of 11 members ranging from infants to aging silverbacks that are over 30 years. Encountering them is an absolutely fascinating experience, u won’t bother to visit a zoo to see primates after the one hour you will spend with them as you take photos and observe their human-like behavior. Although they are 100% wild, they are quite used to human presence and couldn’t care less about you being a few meters away from them. They will go about their own business of eating, grooming one another, mating and napping.
Their stomachs are split into chambers that can digest plant species that are known to be poisonous to other primates. They are very accommodative, a reason as to why they spend the better part of their day eating. During your gorilla excursion here, you will pass by stretches of scenic tropical woodland, rocky hills, and dribbling rivers.
The trails are a good place to treat yourself to as you meditate and reflect back on how far you have come. If you wish to have a less exhausting adventure, the guides will choose mainly descending trails, thus limiting the intensity of the hike. If you prefer something more challenging, they will provide you with ones that boost moderate intensity.
As lava poured over Mgahinga during its formation over 1,000 years back, it created a spacious underground cave, Ngarama caves. Over the years, it was enveloped by the vegetation of the forest zone. As the forest continued to thrive thanks to good weather and fertile soils, it attracted the full-time occupation of lots of edible wildlife, like duikers and buffaloes. This prompted the Batwa, a tribe of hunters and fruit gatherers to migrate into Mgahinga.
The only problem here was the abundance of forest elephants which often raided their huts, as-built out of reeds and bamboo zones. As a solution, they turned to live in treehouses, but it wasn’t safe enough. Many a time, the branches supporting the houses broke off upon being weighed down by more weight than it could carry.
This left them with fatal injuries. In an effort to save their King from falling victim, they took advantage of the cave’s strategic location, turning it into a palace for their royal family. Here, they lived happily ever after, until their eviction from the park in 1994. This followed the gazetting of the park.
Despite having moved out of the park, they still have a deep love for the environment and this is demonstrated in the way they look after it. They are charming and packed with entertaining stories related to their past, the cradle of their mankind, and the spiritual powers of their worshipping sites in the park.
During this guided tour, they will show you how they used to harmoniously co-exist with gorillas. How used to hunt aggressive wild animals using simple tools like spears. How they used to make bark clothes from the bark of fig trees.
The tour is crowned with their energetic dances. The entire performance is well choreographed to give you an idea of their historical day-to-day life. Best of all, everything they do has an educational character for you to take home.