Getting to Mgahinga National Park
Getting to Mgahinga National Park for gorilla trekking is not hectic though it might depend on the routes you are taking and the means of transport you decide to use on your safari. Mgahinga gorilla national park located in the southwest of Uganda in Kisoro district is 510 kilometers from Kampala the capital city of Uganda. Only Entebbe international airport is the main gateway which is 46km from Kampala. The park is famous for the critically endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys with only one habituated gorilla family of 9 members. Mgahinga gorilla national park is part of the great Virunga conservation area bordering Volcanoes national park of Rwanda and Virunga national park of the democratic republic of Congo.
Mgahinga gorilla national park is a major attraction in Uganda attracting a huge number of tourists and the considering the fact that it neighbors Bwindi impenetrable national park, it makes gorilla trekking safaris more interesting as tourists can trek for more habituated mountain gorilla groups while enjoying the scenic view of the three volcanoes that is mount Sabinyo, mount Muhavura, and mount Gahinga and the Batwa culture (pygmy people of the forest)
Getting to Mgahinga national park for trekking, you need to have heavy clothes like jackets, sweaters, and long sleeved shirts to keep yourself warm because Kabale is the coldest place in Uganda and also rainy proof clothes as it rains regularly, and also due to muddy and slippery routes in Kisoro you are advised to use a four-wheel car.
Mgahinga gorilla national park has its main gate Ntebeko at the base of Mount Muhavura which is 14 kilometers from Kisoro town, using road and air and is the only means of transport for getting Mgahinga national park. It is cheaper to do gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park than Rwanda as you save up to USD 900.
Getting to Mgahinga National Park by air, Entebbe international airport is the only gate away in Uganda and can be used by foreign tourists to enter Uganda by air. Many airlines conduct daily flights to Uganda, for example, Rwanda air, KLM, Ethiopian airline, Brussels airline and many more at a reasonable cost depending on where you are coming from. While in Uganda different companies, for example, MAF (mission aviation fellowship) fly Uganda and Aero link who operate domestic flights from the Kajjansi airfield to both Kihihi airstrip and Kisoro from where you can take when getting to Mgahinga national park by road. Kihihi airstrip is 11.6 km away from Kisoro town.
Getting to Mgahinga National Park by road one can access different route;
- from Kampala it is an 8 hour & 44 minutes’ drive covering 494.6 kilometers via Ntugamo- Katunguru road and approximately 11 hours 19 minutes covering 639 km via Kampala-Mbarara- Rushenyi -Kisoro road.
- From Bwindi impenetrable national park, it’s a 5 hour and 47 minutes’ drive covering 220 kilometers via Kibale- Kisoro road and a 4 hours 17 minutes’ drive covering 200.3 kilometers via Kisoro – Bunagana road.
Many companies operate buses and car hire which conduct daily trips to Kisoro town for example post bus Jaguar, Bismarkan, Horizon at accost between USD 10-20. When you reach Kisoro town there is no public transport which leads to the Ntebeko gate of the park, and therefore you can either walk to the gate for the strong ones or hire a car. Using the road for getting to the national park, is amazing and interesting as you get to see the shoreline off Lake Bunyonyi and the 3 volcanoes of Muhavura, Gahinga, and Sabinyo.
A tourist can also decide to fly into Rwanda using Kigali international airport and board a bus to the national park which is a shorter journey of 3-4 hours covering 142 km when compared to journeys from Kampala