Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Slender-billed Starling
  • Size: 33.7 sq km
  • District: Kisoro
  • Birds Recorded: 115 species
  • Altitude: 2,280–4,127 m
  • Geographical location: The park is found In the south – Western corner of Uganda bordering Rwanda and Zaire.It is situated in the extreme South-Western corner of the Country, forming part of a large conservation area that straddles political boundaries to include parcdes Volcano in Rwanda and Parc de Virungas in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The park has a checklist of over 115 species with 14 of the 24 species of the Albertine Rift mountains endemics and 39 of the 88 species of Afro-tropical highlands biome that occur in Uganda.

The park is also home to the world’s endangered mountain gorillas yet favours the gorilla tracking experience. Golden monkeys, Buffaloes, Elephants, Black-fronted duikers, Bushbucks, Giant forest hogs, Side striped Jackals, Egyptian mongoose, several cats, and spotted hyenas have been recorded here.

The park comprises of three parts of volcanic mountains, Mt. Muhavura (4127 m), Mt. Gahinga (3475 m) and Mt. Sabyinyo (3645 m). Gahinga is the lowest of these mountains and has given the park its name. This north-eastern part of the Virunga range seems to be extinct, but two western volcanoes on the Congo side are active and erupt every two year.

VOLCANO CLIMBING

Mt. Sabyinyo (366m)
Like an old man, time has eroded Mt. Sabyinyo's crow. This volcano offers 3 challenging peaks to climb. A climb up the mountain takes one up a ridge along the eastern side of the climb to peak. If you are to continue, the climb to the peak 11 involves walking a ridge with breath-taking drops into gorges of Rwanda and Uganda, a dual experience you will achieve here. Finally, the hike up to the peak 111 is steep with several ladders and mush scrambling. You are guaranteed to get your hands dirty en-route to peak111! Once on top, you will be in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, what a triple experience this is! The journey takes about eight hours round trip to cover the 14km stretch.

Mt. Gahinga (3474m)
On your way to the park, look out for small piles of stones in the garden fields. The local people call such a pile a 'Gahinga'. Mount Gahinga is quite bigger than the average 'gahinga' but sitting next to Mount Muhavura does make it look small. A hike, which takes you about, six hours round trip, goes through a good example of a pure Bamboo forest. Gahinga once had a Crater Lake on top but time has changed it into a Lush swamp. Distance to the swamp is 8km.

Mt. Muhavura (4127m)
Seen from all over Kisoro, this volcano acts as a guide. The typical cone-shaped Mountain provides some of the best views in the country. Much of the climb passes a rocky surface covered by grasses and small shrubs. Once at the top, hikers are rewarded with the view of the Virunga volcanoes, Lake Edward in queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi and the peaks of Rwenzori Mountain. The hike takes approximately 8 hours round trip covering 12km.You are advised to camp at the Muhavura base camp the night before. The site has no facilities therefore, you need a tent, water, food and sleeping gear.

Local People: The Batwa (Pygmies) who once lived in the caves and fed on wildlife have been allowed to settle in this area in accordance to the law of the Uganda Wild life Authority and they are entitled to 20% of the entrance fees.

The Batwa have a population of 331persons per sq km.

Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei)

Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and the world's most endangered apes with a population of less than 800 individuals world over- none in zoos. They are found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

They share 97% DNA with human beings! They are our closest living cousins after the Chimpanzee, They have up to 25 vocalization for communication

Mountain Gorillas are shy, social and very active during day. They live in families of 8-25 members with one leading male (The Silver Back).

Gorillas have a lifespan of 50 years in the wild. They reproduce at a very slow speed with a gestation period of approximately 8.5 months and an interval of four years to the next birth.

Diet: Mainly herbivores eating fruits, herbs, leaves, stems, roots and shoots. Sometimes ingest small insects like ants and termites.

Grauer's Broadbill (Pseudocalyptomena graueri)

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Aves, Family: Eurylaimidae, Genus: Pseudocalyptomena, Species: Pseudocalyptomena graueri

The Grauer's Broadbill or African Green Broadbill (Pseudocalyptomena graueri) is an actual broadbill, one of only a few African representatives of a primarily Asian family. It is bright green with a blue throat and vent and a small bill, quite unlike those of the other broadbills. It is endemic to the Albertine Rift Mountains of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests where it forages in canopies.

It is one of the African Big Five bird species, highly sought after by ornithologists but very elusive.

The species is both globally endangered and endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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