Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
At just 33.7km2, Mgahinga National Park is Uganda’s smallest national park. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the southwestern corner of Uganda. The Park covers the northern slopes of the three northernmost Virunga Volcanoes: Mt. Muhavura (4,127 m), Mt. Gahinga (3,474 m), and Mt. Sabinyo (3,645 m). The Park is about 10 km south of Kisoro and is bordered to the south by the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and to the west by the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The park is part of the larger Virunga Conservation area that spreads over the three countries. Each of these countries protects its own portion of the Virungas, in the Parc National des Volcans and Parc National des Virunga respectively. The three parks together form the 434-sq. km. ‘Virunga Conservation Area’ or VCA. Mgahinga is 33.7 sq. km, just 8% of the VCA. The entire Park is in Bufumbira County of Kisoro District.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is 33.7 sq. km and consists of the partly forested slopes of three extinct volcanoes. From far away, the huge cones of the Virunga volcanoes dominate the landscape and beckon you as you approach. When you reach the park you can get a great overview of the area by walking up the viewpoint, just 15 minutes from Ntebeko Gate.
Mgahinga Park has great biological importance because throughout the climatic changes of the Pleistocene ice ages, mountains such as these provided a refuge for mountain plants and animals, which moved up or down the slopes as climate became warmer or cooler. The Virungas are home to a large variety of wildlife, including about half the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas.
How to reach Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga gorilla lies in southwestern Uganda. It is found in kisoro district which is about 540km from Uganda’s capital Kampala. The route to this small park is a well travelled one due to the high demand of gorilla trekking and viewing among tourists that visit the country.
The most frequently used and main entry point into the country is Entebbe international airport which is quite close to Kampala. It is about an 8 hr drive from Kampala to kisoro. From kisoro you can hire a car to the park, which will take you about 2hrs and 30 minutes. It is also possible to charter a flight from Entebbe to Kisoro Airstrip.