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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

WHY VISIT MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK IN UGANDA?

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park stands at high elevation amidst fog, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. As its name suggests, it was created to protect and conserve the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkeys as well as being important for cultural tours in Uganda, due to a huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivalled.

Mgahinga Gorilla national park is mainly a wonderful tourist destination to explore the three historical extinct volcanoes which form part of the spectacular Virunga ranges that lie along the border line of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. Mgahinga Gorilla national park forms part of the bigger Virunga Conservation Area that incorporates adjacent parks in these countries, like Volcanoes national park, and Virunga national park in Rwanda and Congo respectively. The volcanoes’ slopes are surrounded by various ecosystems which are geographically diverse, and their peaks provide a striking backdrop to this beautiful scenery. 

Trekking mountain Gorillas in Mgahinga national park

Mgahinga national park is located in southwestern Uganda on the edge with Congo and Rwanda. Covering an area of about 33.7 sq. kilometers, the park is a home to man's closest primates, the mountain gorillas which roam about the whole forest in search of food. This park is one of the few places in the world where the rare mountain gorillas live and it attracts people from different continents for Uganda Gorilla tours
One may wonder why Gorilla safaris must be done in Mgahinga and not other places but the secret behind it is that this park has a thick rain forest with a wide diversity of tree types, bird species, and a variety of wildlife, hence rendering a gorilla tracking encounter in Uganda an unforgettable adventure.

Mgahinga gorilla national park currently has only one habituated gorilla group / family, known as Nyakagezi family that comprises of up to nine members – i.e. 2 silverbacks, three  females, two juveniles and two infants. The group is living under the leadership of silverback Bugingo who is over 50 years of age and father to most of the members in the group; Bugingo takes care of the young ones and their mothers, especially in providing security against external threats. However, this gorilla group is mobile and sometimes crosses into Rwanda and DRC (though it stabilized recently), so trekkers undertaking Uganda gorilla safaris are advised to always check for updates from Uganda Wildlife Authority or a tour operator about the location of the group before booking their gorilla permits.

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