Hiking Mount Gahinga : Mount Gahinga is one of an impressive hiking site among the eight volcanoes found within the Virunga ranges of mountain that spread to three countries; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mount Gahinga is an extinct volcano measuring 3,474 tall and sits within the borders of Uganda and Rwanda. In Uganda, this mountain sits in Mgahinga National Park in Kisoro district. Well, Mount Gahinga is positioned between Mount Muhabura and Mount Sabinyo. Although, Mount Gahinga is the smallest of the three Volcanoes found in Mgahinga National Park. The word ‘’Gahinga’’ means a small pile of stones in the local languages around the mountain. It’s caldera measures 180meter wide.

The mountain slopes contain mainly bamboo and sub-alpine kind of vegetation. The bamboo is a favorite food to primates like mountain gorillas, golden Monkeys, blue monkeys, Vervet monkeys, baboons, black and white monkeys among others.

Hiking Mount Gahinga

Mount Gahinga is easier to hike compared to climbing Mount Sabinyo or Muhabura. Although, one needs to be fit and mentally prepared to complete the hike. To hike till the summit takes about 6 hours but depending on the determination and fitness of the hiker. One to hike must have a hiking permit from the park offices.

Cost of Hiking Permit – Mgahinga National Park

The hiking permits in Mgahinga costs USD80 per person for foreign nonresident, USD70 for foreign resident and East African Citizen pay UGX50,000 per person.

Hiking adventure –Mount Gahinga starts at 7:00am with briefing at the park headquarters with one of the park rangers, who share information about the mountain including its history and position among the Virunga Volcanoes.

Note; Hiker will be informed about the nature of the hike and how to prepare in the best possible way.  There are stops at certain of the mountain to permit hikers rest, eat, take photos and enjoy the shunning scenery. After the briefing, everyone is given a free hiking stick and porters available to hire- if you wish to hire one to help you carry your heavy luggage.

The first part as you ascend involves going through thick bamboo forest at the foot of the mountain. This section is relatively easy as the ground is leveled and it’s the same area where you are likely to see the golden monkeys, gorillas and other primates –buffaloes can be seen roaming around the slopes of the mountains and can dangerous to hikers. After the bamboo forests, the mountain gets steeper until the summit. By the time one reaches at the top, they would have gone passed several bat-filled volcanic caves. Other volcanic features on the mountain slopes.

The summit of Mount Gahinga is totally different from those of Sabinyo and Muhabura because of its impressive summit. At the summit, there is a large shallow crater swamp with beautiful sub-alpine plants like Senecio, Lobelia thrive and Alchemillia. The summit offers perfect views of the other distant volcanoes in the Virunga ranges as well as the Rwenzori mountains. You can opt to adventure Mount Mahabura and Sabinyo very closely giving you the temptation to also access their summits in the next days. We advise to a clear and digitalized camera to take phots as many as possible with your groups and also the distance scenes. Descending down is much easier than climbing up but one needs to exercise caution when climbing down the ladders to avoid falling down.

How to get to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – Hiking Safaris

By road

From Kampala to Mgahinga National Park the distance is about 483 kilometers. It takes between 8 to 9hours driving via Mbarara town to Kisoro. But the shortest route to access the park by car is starting the journey from Kigali in Rwanda and cross over to Uganda it takes about 4hours drive.

By Air

To avoid the long road trips – you can choose to use a domestic chartered plane from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip all the way to Kisoro to fly you to Kisoro Airstrip. Upon arrival, you be transferred by a safari driver whom you meet at Airstrip.

For the great experience – hiking Mount Gahinga should be combined with gorilla trekking and a visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park make it a complete safari or combine hiking and gorilla trekking in same park ‘’Mgahinga National Park’’.

What to do after climbing Mount Gahinga

Beside hiking, you can do; Bird watching, Gorilla trekking, Golden monkey trekking, cultural experience, nature walk among others.

Accommodation to stay – while climbing Mount Gahinga;

There are several lodges in and outside the park that one can choose to stay for the night before and after activity. These hotels –lodges offer budget, Mid-range and Luxury. Some of the accommodation facilities includes; Ichumbi hotel, Travelers Rest Camp, Virunga Hotel, Kisoro Tourists Hotel, Mucha hotel and Amajambere Iwachu Community Camp among others.

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