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MGAHINGA SAFARI & TOUR

Want An Adventurous Safari In Mgahinga? Scroll Down For Activity Details..

MGAHINGA GORILLA SAFARIS & TREKKING TOURS

What Gorilla Safari Attractions & Tour Activities To Experience During Your Mgahinga Visit?

When planning your safari holiday itinerary in the famous Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that, despite its small size, the reserve offers an interesting range of potential activities. Typically, guests plan their Mgahinga trip around two main attractions: tracking down the rare and magnificent mountain gorillas, and taking a trek to spot the unique golden monkeys that thrive in the bamboo forests. The park has just one habituated gorilla group, the Nyakagezi family, which is known to wander around the Virunga Conservation Area, which spans three countries: Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. Uganda has been their primary residences for many years now.

Key Takeaways

  • Excursions to track the Nyakagezi family of mountain gorillas
  • Spotting the unique golden monkeys that live in the bamboo forests
  • Spotting some of the 115 species of birdlife that thrives in the park
  • Opportunity to interact with the Batwa Pygmy people known to live here for centuries
  • Nature hiking treks to Sabinyo Gorge and Mgahinga swampy caldera
Tracking down the golden monkeys of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is comparatively easier, since there are 40 to 60 individuals in the park that are habituated to human presence. As you follow the bamboo forest trails on your way to locating the primates, you will have the opportunity to view some of the incredible 115 species of avian life that live in the region. The expert guides accompanying you will help identify some of the species you see. And, should you have a chance to vacation tour in the park during the months between November and April, you should be able to spot some of the migratory birds that visit Mgahinga seasonally.

You can also sign up for dedicated birdwatching excursions, where an experienced Ugandan naturalist will direct you to the prime locations for finding the birds you are looking to view. While the wildlife of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is truly fascinating, its human inhabitants are a vital part of the ecosystem, too. They can share in-depth knowledge of the reserve garnered through centuries of living in harmony with this place. The Batwa Pygmies, known as one of the shortest tribal communities on Earth, have long led a hunter-gatherer lifestyle that is deeply intertwined with nature and her bounty. You will have the opportunity to visit them in their village, and also travel to the locations that have special cultural significance for them, such as the Garama Caves. This location was used as a tribal warrior hideout in ancient times.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has a stunningly beautiful landscape dominated by three extinct volcanoes in each neighbouring country: Mount Gahinga (Uganda), Mount Sabinyo (Rwanda), and Mount Muhavura (Congo). The slopes of these cones host a thriving biome containing an incredible variety of flora. You can choose to go on hiking tours on the slopes to revel in their natural beauty and, perhaps, enjoy a breathtaking vista from the peak. Each of these cones has something unique to offer.

For instance, Muhavura has a gorgeous crater lake at the top, while the marshlands on the crest of Mgahinga enthrall you with their scenic beauty. Scale Sabinyo and you’ll be treated to fabulous panoramas that make the effort totally worthwhile. However, this mountain has more to offer. If you are on a birdwatching safari vacation, you can’t miss exploring Sabinyo Gorge, a depression on the side of the mountain that is home to a stunning array of avian life. Also, plan an expedition to the Kisozi Caldera and Uganda-Congo Border Trail, which offers the possibility of scaling the Gisozi hill for superb 360-degree panoramas that extend all the way into the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Watch Video On Mgahinga Cultural Safari Experiences

Our Top 6 Safari Activities In Mgahinga - Things You Can Do & See

Page Content - Start Here

1. Gorilla Trekking Safari - The Highlight Of Your Mgahinga Tour In Uganda
2. Birdwatching Tours In Mgahinga
3. The Unique Hiking Trails Of Mgahinga Park
4. Batwa Cultural Trails & Tour Visits To Tribal Communities In Mgahinga
5. Climb The Extinct Virunga Volcanoes Of Mgahinga Park
6. Trekking to See The Endangered Golden Monkeys Of Mgahinga
Our Top 6 Safari Activities In Mgahinga & Things You Can Do & See In Mgahinga

1. Gorilla Trekking Safari – The Highlight Of Your Mgahinga Tour In Uganda

Key Takeaways

  • Virunga Conservation Area spanning three countries and the last habitat for the rare mountain gorillas
  • Reserve home to the Nyakagezi gorilla family that prefers the lush rainforest
  • Wide range of tree and plant species that provide ample nutritional nourishment to the primates
The Virunga Conservation Area spans three countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This preservation region also hosts the last of the world’s wild mountain gorillas. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to one of the families, the Nyakagezi group, which has been known to travel to various parts of the Virungas looking for food. Mgahinga Park is a favored location for them because of the reserve’s lush rainforest vegetation. The wide variety of tree and plant species here provide ample nourishment for the primates, which is why they have made it their preferred habitat.

How Does The Trek Progress At Mgahinga?

Key Takeaways

  • Each gorilla-tracking expedition may last for 6 to 8 hours depending on their location
  • Following trails abounding with small mammals and gorgeous birds
  • Opportunity to spot indigenous insects, amphibians, reptiles, and other creatures
If you sign up for a tour of the park, expect to spend 6 to 8 hours trekking, depending on where the primate group is hanging out on that particular day. You will be following trails through forests that offer tantalizing glimpses of the bird species that abound in the park, along with smaller mammals. Your guide is well-versed in the secrets of the forest and may offer you little tidbits of information on the properties of the plant species you see. Every step you take is like a new adventure, and the bush of Mgahinga Gorilla Park (best time to go) teems with tiny insects, amphibians, reptiles, and other creatures that will enthrall you.

Spending Time With The Gorilla Family In Mgahinga

Key Takeaways

  • Each excursion begins at 7 a.m. at the Ntebeko Gate of the park
  • Opportunity to spend 60 minutes in the company of the primates observing their activities
  • Visitors required to remain at a distance of 7 meters or 22 feet from the primates to protect them from human diseases
Each gorilla tracking excursion begins at 7 a.m. at the Ntebeko Gate of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Once you locate the gorilla family with the expert help of your guide and rangers, you will be allowed to spend exactly 60 minutes watching them as they feed, groom their young, climb trees looking for their favorite fruit, or napping on the ground. Camera in hand, you will be able to capture many enchanting safari vacation memories of these gentle giants of Uganda. Your guide will ask you to stay at a minimum distance of 7 meters, or 22 feet, from the gorillas. The reason for this is to ensure their safety: the distance is meant to protect them from the possibility of contracting human illnesses and otherwise being disturbed. Keep in mind that, while these creatures are habituated to the presence of humans, it is important to carefully follow regulations and gorilla etiquette, as outlined by your guide.

Some Information About The Nyakagezi Family

Key Takeaways

  • Dominant silverback, Mark who is supported by Ndugutse in caring for the family - total 8 members
  • Habituation process starting in 1991
  • The family officially opened to visitors in the year 1994 after the completion of the habituation
One distinguishing feature of the Nyakagezi family in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is that, in contrast to most gorilla families, it is tolerant of multiple alpha males. For this reason, the group comprises 3 silverbacks, 2 adult females, 1 juvenile male, and 2 infants. The dominant silverback is known as Mark with his supporter Ndugutse. The process of gently habituating this group began in 1991, and authorities started issuing permits for public visits in 1994.
Gorilla Trekking Safari – The Highlight Of Your Mgahinga Tour In Uganda

2. Birdwatching Tours In Mgahinga Forest

Key Takeaways

  • Reserve home to a stunning 115 species of birdlife of which 14 are native to the Albertine Rift Valley, and 39 are indigenous Afrotropical mountain varieties
  • Best season to spot migratory birds is in the months from November to April when many species arrive from the northern hemisphere to spend the winters
  • Indigenous species may nest during the months from March to mid-May during the short wet season when food is plentiful
Although Mgahinga Gorilla National Park occupies only a small section of the greater Virunga Conservation Area, it holds its own with the incredible avian life it hosts. Birders touring the park are delighted to see that it is home to close to 115 species of birds. Of these, 14 are native to the Albertine Rift Valley, while 39 are primarily found in the Afrotropical mountainous regions. If you intend to visit Uganda primarily for birdwatching, you may want to time your safari holiday for the long wet season that begins in March and extends up to the middle of May.

The long and short wet rainy seasons of April to early May and October to early November respectively is also a very good time to visit Mgahinga Park for your birding safari in Uganda. Although you may find that the rains make navigating the roads and forest pathways more time-consuming, bird watching is at its finest. Most species nest during the months of May and June, since food is most plentiful from May through September i.e. after the rains. But if you hope to spot migratory birds, you may want to take your trip between November and April, when northern species spend time in these warmer climes.

The bird species present in Mgahinga include the white-necked raven, Pin-tailed whydah, speckled mousebird, firefinch stonechat, waxbills, archer’s robin-chat, dusky crimson wing, olive pigeon, Ruwenzori nightjar, and black kite. Also, look for the double-collared sunbird, paradise flycatcher, yellow-vented bulbul, Rwenzori batis, grey capped warbler, Alpine chat, ibis, blue-headed coucal, olive woodpecker, Kivu ground-thrush, and Ruwenzori turaco.
Birdwatching Tours In Mgahinga

3. The Unique Hiking Trails Of Mgahinga Park

Key Takeaways

  • Hiking to the Garama Caves for an understanding of the ancient military strategies used by the Batwa people
  • Traveling to the valleys that abound with an amazing diversity of flora, trees, and plants
  • Scaling Mount Gahinga for fabulous views of the surrounding landscape with the Democratic of Congo in the distance
As part of your holiday itinerary, the tour consultant at AfricanMecca Safaris will plan hiking excursions in Uganda depending on the kind of landscapes and trekking attractions you would like to see. You could go exploring the Garama Caves, for an understanding of the tribal defence strategies used by the Batwa people in ancient times. Mgahinga also has valleys that you could trek to, where you can view the exquisite plant life that thrives here, along with fascinating wildlife. Given that the park stands on Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, you could take a lesson from the gorilla groups and travel to the highland boundary between the three countries for a rooftop view of their incredible beauty.

Sabinyo Gorge Hike

Key Takeaways

  • Hiking to Sabinyo Gorge which is a deep vale carved into the side of Mount Gahinga
  • Trek taking five to six hours through bamboo forests over clear pathways and bridges
  • Rugezi Swamp well-known for a stunning variety of avian life
  • Reveling in the vistas of the Virunga Volcanoes, and other sights
  • Visitors requested to come prepared with proper hiking supplies, food, and beverages
The Sabinyo Gorge is a deep vale that nature has carved into the side of Mount Gahinga. Book a hike to this gorge from the base of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and you will trek along a fascinating trail that treats you to views of some enchanting vegetation. A hike of five to six hours in the bamboo forests, home to various species of avian and terrestrial wildlife, is easy and pleasurable thanks to well-trodden pathways and bridges along the trail. Given that the Rugezi Swamp is a well-known birding destination, this is the place to look out for specimens like the grey capped warbler, Rwenzori turaco, Pin-tailed whydah, Rwenzori nightjar, speckled mousebirds, white-necked raven, paradise flycatcher, and various others native to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

The Sabinyo Gorge trail is somewhat taxing but rewards your efforts with breathtaking views of the Bwindi Forest, Virunga volcanoes, and other forest panoramas. As the expert safari consultant at AfricanMecca will advise, you will want to wear proper hiking clothing and footwear, and bring along plenty of drinking water and fortifying snacks to keep up your energy levels.

Hike To The Kisozi Caldera

Key Takeaways

  • A short, moderately strenuous hike to Kisozi Caldera
  • Reveling in the fabulous views from the top of the small elevation
  • Accessible with a hike over just one kilometer
A short, moderately strenuous hike of just over a kilometer from Mount Gahinga will take you to the scenic Kisozi Caldera, which is atop a small elevation. The crater has a volcanic history, like most of the landscape of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and is a stunningly beautiful sight.

Trek To The Uganda-Congo Border

Key Takeaways

  • Trekking to the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • A moderately taxing hike that takes about 5 hours to complete
  • Traveling through various vegetation zones and sighting small animals and perhaps, a forest elephant
To travel to the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, you must hike up the lower slopes of Mount Sabyinyo. This trek takes about 5 hours to complete, and you can expect it to be moderately strenuous. You will pass through a variety of vegetation zones and potentially spot small animals like the duiker as well as golden monkeys, forest elephants, and several bird species. The trail will also take you to the caldera on the crest of Gisozi Hill. Stand atop this hill and revel in superb views of Mgahinga, the Bwindi Forests, the Virunga cones, and the panoramic Lake Mutanda, along with the Bunagana and Kisoro settlements. Do make sure to bring a packed lunch so you can enjoy a lovely scenic holiday picnic at your end point.

Walk Inside The Legendary Garama Cave

Key Takeaways

  • Trekking to the Garama Caves which are located at a distance of 3 kilometers from the park headquarters at Ntebeko
  • Caves extending to 342 meters and running 14 meters below a plateau that was once covered with lush forests
  • Considered sacred by the Batwa people and used for holding war councils by the tribe’s elders
  • Opportunity to learn about the cultural history of the Batwa and their traditional arts and crafts
  • Sighting the current inhabitants of the caves, a colony of bats
From the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park headquarters at Ntebeko, it’s a distance of about 3 kilometers to reach the legendary Garama Cave. This cave extends for 342 meters and is located 14 meters below a plateau that was a dense forest in ancient times. Exploring the secrets of the Garama Cave will take you around 4 hours. You will travel back in time, learning the historical significance of this dimly lit ancient wonderland, as explained by your tour guide. This cave was considered sacred by the Batwa people, who often used it for holding conflict councils while defending their lands against the Bantu tribes. You will come across a shrine to their god, who is seen as the epitome of perfection, and also view sculpted chairs, pottery along with other remnants of their olden culture.

The Garama Cave walk is an immersive and experiential experience where you will learn about the historic culture of the Mgahinga region and how the Batwa lived before being evicted from the park. Learn some of their secrets for making medicines from herbs, making fire, collecting water using bamboo pipes, smoking pipes, and conflict strategies. You may also get the opportunity to meet the current inhabitants of the cave—a colony of bats—before emerging again into the sunlight. End your safari vacation excursion by participating in a cultural dance performance performed by some of the local artists.
The Unique Hiking Trails Of Mgahinga Park

4. Batwa Cultural Trails & Tour Visits To Tribal Communities In Mgahinga

Key Takeaways

  • Opportunity to meet the Batwa Pygmy people who have lived in the mountains since before written history
  • Traditionally have a deep respect for the forest and have lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle for centuries
  • Known to be a hardy warrior clan having earned the title, “keepers of the forest”
Just as mesmerizing as the wildlife of Mgahinga is its centuries-old human culture. The Batwa people are the original, indigenous inhabitants of the reserve. Since before the time of written history, they have lived in the Virunga mountains, leading a hunter-gatherer way of life while traveling along its forest trails. The Batwa eked out a living in this region for centuries, developing shelter, food, and medicines from its wide varieties of plants and trees. Known as a hardy warrior clan, who defended their lands from outsiders and protected its natural resources, they have earned the title of “keepers of the forests” of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Keepers Of The Forest - The Batwa

Key Takeaways

  • Followed eco-friendly principles since centuries with a lifestyle having a minimum impact on the forest
  • Collected fruit, hunted small animals, and lived in temporary shelters made with branches and leaves
  • Forced to move out of the forest after the reserve was given the gazetted status
Traditionally, the Batwa lifestyle followed the principle of minimizing their impact on the environment. They collected fruit and hunted small animals for food, and lived in caves or makeshift huts made of branches and leaves until it was time to move to a new location. After the inception of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park as a gazetted reserve, the Batwa people were forced to leave their ancestral lands and nomadic way of life and settle on farms just outside the park. Their transition into the modern way of life has not been an easy one, and for a time, they often survived by begging or doing occasional manual labor.

The Batwa Today

Key Takeaways

  • Setbacks faced by the community because of the loss of access to traditional sources of livelihood
  • Efforts in progress to rehabilitate them by offering alternate means of securing a living
  • 10 acres of land allocated for their homes and farming
  • Around 18 Batwa families comprising about 100 individuals displaced
  • Opportunity to visit their villages and learn about sustainable methods of living using the forest resources
As you will learn on your cultural safari vacation here, malnutrition, poverty, and illness have been common problems. However, things are changing for these proud people. Efforts are being made to integrate them into the new world. Being familiar with the trails and knowledgeable about forest lore, members of the Batwa community are now taking up jobs as guides and trackers in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to assist tourists on their gorilla-tracking and Batwa Cultural Trail tour.

Mount Gahinga Lodge via Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT) is also helping to uplift the community by building homes on 10 acres of land just outside the reserve. Some of this land will be allocated for farming purposes also. Once the permanent structures in this village are ready, 18 Batwa families comprising about 100 individuals will be able to move out of the tiny rocky area at Musasa that they had occupied since their eviction from the park.

The Batwa people have retained their culture and knowledge of the natural environment and its wildlife, despite their departure from ancestral lands in the park. On your visit to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, you can take a side trip to their village to better understand how they have long lived off natural resources without leaving an impact. You can learn how to harvest natural honey, make medicines from plants, collect edible berries, roots, fruits, and leaves, make utensils from bamboo, and much more.

Exploring The Batwa Way Of Living

Key Takeaways

  • Taking village walks to participate in their music and dance performances
  • All proceeds from purchases of handicrafts or hiring guides for gorilla-tracking used for community upliftment
  • Batwa Vocational School established to train tribals in the skills that can help them earn a livelihood
The Batwa people will welcome the group taking part in your village walk and may also perform dance and music displays for you. Do keep in mind that any fee you pay for hiring their services for your cultural holiday excursions or buying their handmade goods is diverted towards paying for school books and other essentials for the whole community. The Batwa Vocational School was set up recently to teach crafts and other skills to the people to help them earn a livelihood. Some of these skills include knitting, weaving, and sewing.
Batwa Cultural Trails & Tour Visits To Tribal Communities In Mgahinga

5. Climb The Extinct Virunga Volcanoes Of Mgahinga Park

Key Takeaways

  • Region famous for the incredible beauty of the extinct volcanoes, Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhavura, and Mount Sabinyo
  • Full-day hikes starting at 7 a.m. with a drive to the foot of the mountain
  • Choice of hiking trails according to individual fitness levels
Since Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits in the Albertine Rift Valley, it carries many visible signs of the region’s volcanic past. Nature has adorned the extinct craters with a delightful cover of vegetation and immense beauty that you must explore when on holiday in the park. It’s possible to hike up any or all of the three main volcanic cones: Mount Sabinyo, Mount Muhavura, and Mount Gahinga. Each of these mountains has something unique and exciting to offer. You can take a full day to explore, starting at 7 a.m. with a drive to the base of the mountain, and then continuing on foot. At the time of signing up for such a trip, your guide will give you an overview of the difficulty level you can expect.

Mount Sabyinyo - 3669 Meters

Key Takeaways

  • Called “Old Man’s Teeth” by the locals because of the serrated tips eroded over time
  • Opportunity to scale any of the three peaks of the cone
  • Treks can take around eight hours to complete over a distance of 14 kilometers
  • Porters available to help climbers carry gear and other supplies
  • Climb rewarded by 360-degree panoramic views of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo
Of the three volcanoes of Virunga Mountains, Mount Sabinyo is possibly the most challenging. The local people also call it “Old Man’s Teeth,” a reflection of how time has chipped away at the top of the volcano, producing a serrated top in contrast to the perfect cones of the other volcanoes. Your tour guide on the hike will offer you the opportunity to attempt three peaks of the cone. You can begin your trek on the eastern slope and follow the ridge that takes you to Peak 3. At the top, you will be rewarded with superb views of the vales of Uganda and Rwanda. The hike up peak 3 is the most strenuous, and also involves climbing ladders to reach the top.

Once you arrive at the apex, the breathtaking 360-degree panoramas reaching into three nations—Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—make the effort every bit worth it. You can expect the trip to take eight hours or more, and to cover a distance of 14 kilometers. Make sure to bring at least two to three liters of water to keep your body hydrated, and wear altitude clothing that covers you completely for protection from the cool and damp environs of the mountain. Porters are also available to assist you by carrying your equipment for this vacation excursion.

Mount Gahinga - 3474 Meters

Key Takeaways

  • Takes its name from the term for “piles of volcanic stones”
  • Trek up the inclines of the mountain takes around 6 to 7 hours and takes you to a marshland that was once a beautiful lake
  • An 8-kilometer hike that meanders through farmlands, bamboo and montane forests, and other vegetation
Mount Gahinga takes its name from the local term for “piles of volcanic stones,” which you will note are strewn about the little houses, gardens, and farmlands at the base of the volcano. The trip up the mountain will take you about 6 to 7 hours, passing through enchanting bamboo forests and other vegetation before reaching the top. The peak once had a scenic crater lake, but over time, it has been transformed into an equally beautiful marsh. To reach this swamp, you will traverse a distance of about 8 kilometers from the trailhead at the main Ntebeko gate of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Mount Muhavura - 4127 Meters

Key Takeaways

  • Overnight excursion requiring hikers to arrive at the base in the evening and start the ascent in the early morning
  • The complete trek may take 8 to 10 hours covering a distance of 12 kilometers
  • Porters available to carry camping equipment, food, beverages, and other supplies
  • The tallest peak in the reserve having a conical shape and visible from a distance
  • Scenic vistas of Queen Elizabeth Park, Lake Edward, and Virunga Volcanic Massif
Should you opt to scale Mount Muhavura, you might want to undertake this excursion as part of an overnight trip. Camp out at the base of the volcano and start your ascent early in the morning. The complete round trek covers a distance of 12 kilometers and is likely to take you 8 to 10 hours. You can hire the services of a porter to help you carry essential camping gear, including water, food, tents, and sleeping bags. You will need these supplies, since there are no accommodations at the base.

Being the tallest mountain of Virungas, Muhavura is also called “the Guide” because its conical shape is clearly visible from a distance. Most of the trail takes you through rocky expanses, with most of the vegetation comprising small bushes and grasses. At the top, you will be enthralled by magnificent views of Queen Elizabeth Park, Lake Edward, and other parts of the Virunga Volcanic Massif. On a clear day, you might even see the Rwenzori Mountains towering in the distance.
Climb The Extinct Virunga Volcanoes Of Mgahinga Park

6. Trekking to See The Endangered Golden Monkeys Of Mgahinga

Key Takeaways

  • Hiking to see the golden monkeys declared as endangered by the World Conservation Union
  • Species featuring brilliant colors of black, orange, and gold
  • Last surviving numbers thriving in the bamboo forests of the Virunga Volcanoes
Aside from tracking the elusive mountain gorillas, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has one more wildlife tracking option to enjoy on your primate safari holiday in Africa: a trek to see the pretty golden monkeys. These small primates are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley, and the last of their numbers live in the bamboo forests of the Virunga Volcanoes. These monkeys, classed as endangered by the World Conservation Union, feature vibrant colors of black, gold, and orange, with golden hair dominating their faces, tails, and flanks. These creatures are known to face the same survival challenges as the mountain gorillas with whom they share the forests of Mgahinga.

Where To Locate The Golden Monkeys Of Mgahinga?

Key Takeaways

  • Most commonly found in the higher reaches of the forest canopy where they are safe from eagles
  • Not common to be found on the forest floors and prefer to remain in specific areas of the bamboo forests
  • Non-nomadic in behavior and do not build nests
The golden monkeys prefer to stay in the higher reaches of the forest canopy, where they can hide from their prime predator, the eagle. They are seldom found on the forest floor and unlikely to leave any visible traces of their presence there. Unlike the mountain gorillas, the golden monkeys are not nomads or nest builders, and remain in a specific section of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This factor makes traveling to see them a lot easier, since their location is more or less fixed amidst the bamboo forests found on the lower slopes of Mount Gahinga.

The Diminishing Habitats Of Mgahinga’s Golden Primates

Key Takeaways

  • Only 4,000 to 5,000 individuals left in the world, mainly found only in Mount Gahinga reserve
  • Group of 40 to 60 members habituated to the presence of humans
  • Opportunities to see spoor and droppings of other wildlife
Experts estimate there are about 4,000 to 5,000 of these monkeys left in the world, and they’re now found in the wild mainly in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Of these, 40 to 60 individuals have become accustomed to the presence of humans. Formerly, they could also be seen in the Gishwati Forest Reserve in Rwanda. However, the cutting of forests during the refugee crisis, their prime habitat, has resulted in significant concentrations primarily existing in the Volcanoes Mountains in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo.

There have been reports of possible sightings of the golden monkeys in the Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda. When hiking along trails hoping to sight primates, and if lucky, you will also have the opportunity to spot some of the other mammals that call Mgahinga home, or at least their spoor and droppings. Look out for forest elephants, Cape buffalos, duikers, giant forest hogs, porcupines and various others, along with an array of amphibians, reptiles, and birds.

Tracking Down The Mgahinga Golden Monkeys

Key Takeaways

  • Request tour consultants at AfricanMecca to procure the mandatory permit ahead of arrival at the reserve
  • Each permit costing US $60 and allowing a single visitor aged 12 years and above
  • Hikers required to arrive at the base camp at 7:30 a.m. after which a half-hour orientation session is held
  • Hikes undertaken twice a day, in the morning or evening with each trip taking around 4 hours
  • Opportunity to spend 60 minutes observing the primates and their activities
Should you choose to go on a hike to track down the golden monkeys in Mgahinga, you must let the expert tour consultant at AfricanMecca Safaris know in advance so he can procure the mandatory permit for you. Expect to pay US $60 per person, a fee that includes the permit fee for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Just as required when tracking the mountain gorillas, you will need to arrive for your morning hike at 7:30 a.m., and after a short orientation session, you can begin the trek in the reserve at 8 a.m., under the supervision of an experienced guide. Typically, hikes are undertaken twice a day, in the morning and afternoon. Each trip can take around 4 hours, and your group will comprise up to 6 members. (This is unlike gorilla trekking trips, where the maximum number of guests is 8)

Tracking the golden monkeys in the Mgahinga is not a particularly taxing experience since the primates live on the lower inclines of the mountain - around 3-4 km hike. Once you locate the habituated family, you can spend 60 minutes in their presence, observing their activities and taking pictures. Unlike gorilla tracking excursions, children as young as 12 years are allowed to visit the golden monkeys. You will also enjoy the natural beauty of the park, with its lush gorges, moors and heaths covered with low bushes, shrubs, and bracken.

Spending Time With The Golden Monkeys Of Mgahinga

Key Takeaways

  • Choice of signing up for the tracking activity or habituation experience, each of which is a unique excursion
  • Weather conditions and locations of the primates can make the expeditions unpredictable
  • Preferred habitat is 2500 meters above sea level and shrouded in mist making sightings challenging
In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, you can choose to book a tracking expedition or the rare habituation experience, where you will have the opportunity to understand how researchers study the primates, an incredibly adventurous holiday activity. Do keep in mind that every trek is unique and how it goes wholly depends on the location of the primates on that specific day. Further, weather conditions can make the trip all the more challenging.

The preferred habitat of the golden monkeys is at 2500 meters above sea level, which means you may encounter strong winds and cold, damp weather. Although the moisture appears mainly as mist—which adds to the stunning beauty of Mgahinga—it hampers primate sightings. The monkeys take shelter from the rain and cold in the forest canopy and stay still and quiet in the cover, making it challenging to spot them.

The Golden Monkey Habituation Experience In Mgahinga

Key Takeaways

  • Participation in the Golden Monkey Habituation Experience where a research guide spend time studying the primates
  • Each excursion lasting for 4 hours with the permit costing US$ 100
  • Opportunity to watch diverse behaviors of golden monkeys
Guests safari vacationing in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can now opt for the Golden Monkey Habituation Experience, which allows you to spend up to 4 hours with dedicated rangers and research guides studying the primates. Each permit for this excursion will cost you US $100, and you will have the rare opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of the monkeys’ behavior and other habits. Put away a lifetime of memories as you watch the primates feeding, leaping from tree to tree, or caring for their young.
Trekking to See The Endangered Golden Monkeys Of Mgahinga

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GUIDE ON MGAHINGA PARK

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is part of the greater Virunga Conservation Area, a 434-square-kilometer (167 square miles) swath of protected land that encompasses parts of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo.

WHERE & BEST PLACES TO STAY IN MGAHINGA
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WHERE & BEST PLACES TO STAY IN MGAHINGA

Mgahinga only has one proper tourist accommodation that AfricanMecca Safaris can recommend i.e. Mount Gahinga Lodge which offers a deluxe, rustic ambiance with just 8 rondavel-style banda rooms.

BEST TIME TO VISIT MGAHINGA
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BEST TIME TO VISIT MGAHINGA

The long dry season in Mgahinga is the best time to visit and starts in June to August. The short dry season occurs in the months of January and February, and is again a very good time for gorilla safaris.

GORILLA FAMILY GROUPS IN MGAHINGA
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GORILLA FAMILY GROUPS IN MGAHINGA

Should you plan a gorilla viewing safari to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, you will learn that the park has only one resident gorilla family that is habituated to the presence of humans.

AFRICANMECCA REVIEWS

What are our Customers saying about us? READ MORE REVIEWSfive star africanmecca safaris reviews

  • AfricanMecca Safaris offers incredibly knowledgeable and skilled services! Our travel arrangements for 2 months of volunteering with TEACH Rwanda in country were made quickly and economically. Honored to work with Raza!
    Janet Brown - TEACH Rwanda Founder - United States
  • I just returned from a month in Africa, specifically Rwanda & Kenya. I am left breathless with my experience. AfricanMecca Safaris coordinated the entire trip for me and left no detail, nothing for me to do.
    Carol Bobb - Pennsylvania, United States
  • AfricanMecca Safaris created a remarkable honeymoon tailored to our interests and desires. The quality of service and delivery of experience was unsurpassed. I highly recommend AfricanMecca Safaris to honeymooners, families, or any traveler.
    Noorin & Jason Nelson - Maryland, United States
  • I booked my safari holiday through AfricanMecca. They were the most helpful company I have ever dealt with and I work within the travel industry. I had the most amazing time. The holiday went as clockwork with no hitches anywhere.
    Shelley Roberts - Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
  • This is to let you know my guests, The Bryant's, had a wonderful time on the trip Samburu, Masai Mara/Kenya, Chobe/Botswana & Victoria Falls/Zambia. Everything was perfect! Thank you.
    Christine Milan - MT Carmel Travel - Connecticut, United States
  • We have returned from our African adventure and would like to thank you very much for your part in making this such a wonderful experience. We were lucky enough to time the Great Migration from the Serengeti, which was amazing.
    Denise Paterson - Belmont, Australia
  • Rwanda was amazing. The accommodations, food, and guides AfricanMecca arranged were great. Raza also helped us through the complicated process of getting permits for gorilla trekking. AfricanMecca is a fantastic company to work with.
    Stephanie Weir - United States

EAST AFRICA SAFARI BOOKING TRIP IDEA FOR MGAHINGA IN UGANDA

When visiting Mgahinga Park for your gorilla safari trek, we recommend combining it with Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, and Kibale (chimpanzee safari) alongside your city tour visits of Kampala and Entebbe.

You may optionally extend out to other wilderness areas such as Bwindi to track down gorillas in a different park, Jinja for whitewater rafting on the Nile River, and Semliki, Lake Mburo or Kidepo for an offbeat wildlife tour.

You can end your vacation on the beach at Lake Victoria or even extending out to the exotic spice island of Zanzibar or Lamu, or even Mombasa.

Best Safari Planning Ideas & Trip Experiences For Uganda

Below are guide references on how to plan each of the below safari experience in Uganda. Alternatively, go to the summary section for a quick overview of each trip planning experience.

1. How To Plan Uganda Safari Trips? (Summary)

2. Wildlife Safari Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

3. Private & Tailor-Made Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

4. Honeymoon Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

5. Family Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

6. Luxury Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

7. Photo Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

8. Cultural Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

9. Gorilla, Chimpanzee & Primate Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

10. Hike, Trek & Bush Walk Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

11. Birding Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

12. Wedding Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

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ARE YOU PLANNING TO BOOK AN AFRICAN SAFARI TO MGAHINGA IN UGANDA?

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CONTACT AN AFRICA TRAVEL EXPERT ON MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK

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