Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla Park
Mgahinga Park Gorilla Tours in Uganda – Guaranteed Sightings and Relatively easy access to a friendly family of GorillasUganda is a spectacular country to spend time in and if gorilla are on your list, you are in luck.
Uganda has two forests with habituated gorilla families and while Bwindi oversees most of the gorilla activity Mgahinga Gorilla Park should not be written off.
Bwindi’s impressive number of over 21 habituated Gorilla Families is certainly tempting. However, both forests have different vegetation. Not much is often said about this though the hint is clear in Bwindi’s “Impenetrable Forest” tagine, which nearly mentions a difficult terrain through an impenetrable forest. Mgahinga on the other hand, is the smallest National Park in Uganda whose vegetation is more ‘controlled’ which allows for better photography.
Besides, with Bwindi the more popular gorilla trekking forest, Mgahinga only issues out eight permits a day for their only habituated gorilla family, – this means Mgahinga is less busy too.
Some Interesting Fact On The Nyakagezi gorilla family found here: There are a total of nine habituated gorillas in (July 2020) this family consisting of four silverbacks alone!
Bugingo the oldest silverback is believed to be past 54 years and impressive sight to behold. He is huge! And what’s interesting about the Nyakagezi’s is how Bugingo remains integrated with the family, while traditionally once the dormant silverback is overthrown, he is banished and left in isolation or forced to seek refuge in other gorilla groups.
Although the Nyakagezi’s used to traverse across to neighbouring Congo, that stopped. They returned to Mgahinga Gorilla Park in 2012 and this time they seem to have discovered home – the Mgahinga National Parks as their home once again. Of late rumors also had it that the Nyakagezi’s would often be found closer to the ranger station at Mgahinga Park.
Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla Park
Gorilla trekking starts with securing you gorilla permit early enough. Although it’s possible to book your gorilla permit independently it’s advisable you do this though an AUTO member Tour Operator such as. For details on to secure your Gorilla Permit, please check out our Permits advisory page by clicking here ».
If you booked permits independently, please note that currently the UWA doesn’t have a system in place to have them to the Park offices on ground. Plan to collect them from their Kampala office a day before you travel to the park otherwise it might cause you to start the 9hr-drive late and getting stuck behind Kampala traffic for hours. UWA is open every weekday, 9am – 1pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday public holidays.
Your Mgahinga Park Gorilla Trekking Gear
This is not different from the one Bwindi or Rwanda.In your backpack you are encouraged to bring a packed lunch and 1 litre of drinking water. Do bring water, some snacks and possibly some sweet lunch bars to help you keep your glucose level ;; remember this is not an easy walk through your local park in town…… you will get tired and exhausted so you need to replenish and keep energy level up to allow you finish the tracking.
If you are a keen hiker you might already have a water bladder. If you do have one handy, a water bladder will be useful as your ready water source and be a better weight distribution option as opposed to lugging a one litre bottle up. Keep a light rain jacket in your backpack. Those with weak knees should have on a pair of knee guards to provide your knees with the extra support needed. Please click here for Mountain Gorilla Tracking Guidelines, Advice and Tips for your Memorable 1-hour Encounter ».
What to Wear: Shorts are not a good idea. Quick dry trouser and top works best. Mgahinga is a canopied forest. A cap/hat and sunnies are useful to keep close or on you, and these are the only other things you need to bring along. On the subject of footwear, use any worn comfortable gore tex shoes or rain boots as you will be stepping through the mud. For Mgahinga you will not need high cut ankle support shoes. A natural trekking pole made of a tree branch will be provided for you so there is no need for you to bring a trekking pole.
As with all safari trips, you need to wake up very early in the morning, and arrive to the reception around 7:30am for document verification, and later tour briefing…tracking starts around 9am.
Because the parks are remote, you have to get your permits processed at the UWA office in Kisoro.
IMPORTANT: You CANNOT just go to the park with your permit card that UWA gives you; you have to go to the office.
Things To Note: From the base carpark to the Rangers Office for your briefing, is an uphill workout of steep steps which are a good benchmark for the terrain that follows. For some, it can be quite a walk up. If it becomes a bit of a struggle to make it to the Rangers Office for briefing, hire a porter now to assist and accompany you up. You will be thankful you did.
Every day trackers go to the forest early around 6am to track the gorillas or monkeys, so they are located well in advance before visitors start climbing up, therefore ensuring you will definitely see what you paid for to see. Visitors are accompanied by one armed guard (to scare shoot in a case you come across buffalos…) and guides that are very professional, polite, patient and client oriented.
Gorilla tracking. It takes about ½hr – 2 hours from the reception to gorillas, the trek is interesting, not too difficult, but you have to be in good shape. The guides are so friendly, knowledgeable and give you a lot of information about not just gorillas but everything here throughout the day. Seeing gorillas from so close is a life experience and you are given one hour to observe them, take photos,…and then headed back to the reception but you take a different route through the local community villages and gardens – another have experience appreciated by many. People in this area are so fortunate to have very fertile land so they can grow all sorts of vegetables.
The whole experience is much better and trouble-free without rain. There are porters available at the reception, and at a small charge will carry your bag so your hands are free as you will be given bamboo sticks to help you balance yourself during the hike.
Gratuities: Under no obligation it’s advisable that you arrange some tip the trekkers before proceeding going down and once back to the rangers office, you can tip the rangers, guides and our porter in appreciation of the job.