Hiking volcanoes at Mgahinga national park
Hiking volcanoes at Mgahinga national park, Mountain gorilla national park is one of the national parks in Africa located on high altitudes “coldest national park in Uganda” lieing at the altitude range of 2227 meters and 4127 meters, the park located in southern western region of Uganda in Kisoro district. Mgahinga gorilla national park stretching through the area of 33.7 sq. kilometres is one of the blessed national parks in the Africa sheltering the critically endangered mountain gorillas, the park follows in the great Virunga conservation area which consists of Virunga national park of democratic republic of Congo, volcanoes national park of Rwanda and mgahinga gorilla national park itself.
Mgahinga gorilla national park derives its name from a local native slag “gahinga” meaning a pile of volcanic stones which are encountered all over the park, mgahinga as a park stretches through three volcanoes that is mountain sabyinyo, mount muhabura and mount gahinga. These three volcanoes are covered by thick vegetation cover which provides a home to the endangered mountain gorillas, other than mountain gorillas the park is also a home to buffaloes, forest elephants and many bird species such as Olive Thrush, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bronze Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Black-headed Waxbill and many more.
Mgahinga gorilla national park is more than primates, it also offers the fascinating volcanic hiking. Volcanic hiking in this park takes places on the three volcanoes situated in the park that mount sabinyo, mount muhabura, mount gahinga.
Hiking on mount sabyinyo
Mount sabyinyo is the oldest mountain on the chain of Virunga Mountains deriving its name from a local Kinyarwanda word sabyinyo meaning old man’s teeth, the mountain stands at the altitude of 3,645 meters.
Hiking on mount sabyinyo starts as early as 7:00 am in the morning with briefing, hiking mount sabyinyo is a hike of 8 hours to and from while navigating on sabyinyo gorge trail through rugezi swamp and thick forests. On this trail get a chance to enjoy views of the while Virunga chains, calderas on top of Gisozi hills, Kisoro town, bunagana town and Lake Mutanda. You get to encounter animals like forest elephants, buffalo, duikers and many more. Hiking on mountain sabyinyo gives you a golden opportunity of being in three nations that is Rwanda, democratic republic of Congo and Uganda since its peaks are shared by these three countries.
Hiking on mount gahinga
Mountain gahinga is situated on the border of southwest Uganda in Kisoro district and northwest of Rwanda, gahinga volcano standing at an altitude of 3,474 meters derives its name from a Kinyarwanda/Rufumbira word meaning piles of stones which are seen on the slopes of the volcano. Hiking mount gahinga is easy if compared to mount sabinyo and muhabura taking you through on trails passing through bamboo and alpine vegetation, on the hike you get to encounter animals like golden monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, golden monkeys and many more. Hiking on this mountain takes 6 hours to and from the volcano, you also get to encounter buffaloes and duikers as they roam on the slopes of mount gahinga. Mount gahinga had a crater lake which has now turned into a swamp on top of the volcano.
Hiking on mount muhabura
Mount muhabura mostly referred to as the guide is a magnificent volcano standing at the altitude of 4,127 meters, mount muhabura derives its name from a local Kinyarwanda word meaning the guide as it is the third tallest mountain in Uganda and can be seen from a far. Hiking mount muhabura is a very challenging hike of a proximately 10 hours through different vegetation zones, the hike starts at as early as 7:00 am giving you exceptional views of Virunga volcanoes, Rwenzori mountains ranges, queen Elizabeth national park and lake Edward.
Tips for Volcano hiking in mgahinga gorilla national park
- While at the briefing listen carefully to the rules and regulations and information given to you by the hiking guide.
- Carry energizing snacks and enough drinking water with you
- Wear the right hiking shoes
- Pack your personal essentials
- When hiking always keep your bag light
- Always follow the trails
- When you encounter animals stay at a distance from them
- Make sure you are physically feet and make sure you can handle the pressure of hiking
- While hiking pace yourself “hiking at a very high speed will get you exhausted easily”
- Be ready to encounter slippery and muddy trails
- Prior to your hiking, do some physical exercises
The following are the essentials/ must packs for hiking safari.
- Comfortable hiking shoes
- Wear comfortable clothes including water proof jackets for rainy days
- A porter
- Wear gardening gloves
- First aid kit
- Sun screen and insect repellents
Mgahinga gorilla national park is a fantastic tourist destination offering extra interesting safari activities a part from volcanic hiking such as mountain gorilla trekking, nature walks, birding and the cultural batwa trail encounter.
How to Get to Mgahinga gorilla National Park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is situated in Kisoro district in Bafumbira County and can be accessed by both air and road transport. By road the park is 477 kilometers from Kampala city the capital city and largest city of Uganda an 8-9 hours’ drive, mgahinga gorilla national park is located in south of Kisoro town and it is approximately 15 kilometers to the park’s headquarters in Ntebeko. From kabale you take a road trip west wards approximately 55 kilometers to Ntebeko the park headquarters, for tourists on a combined safari with mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi impenetrable national park the park can be accessed from buhoma sector which is a drive of approximately 4 hour’s drive.
By air mgahinga gorilla national park can be accessed by using a chartered flight either from Entebbe international airport or kajjansi airstrip which lands at Kisoro airfield.
Mgahinga can also be reached by air from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro airfield. There are daily flights to this destination.
WHERE TO STAY AT MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK
While in mgahinga national park for volcanic hiking acommodation can is got from Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp, Virunga hotel and campsite, East Africa amazon guest house, Mt. muhabura climbers rest camp, mount gahinga lodge, Amahoro guesthouse, Ruhondo beach resort, heritage Inn, golden monkey house and many more.
Generally, visiting Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is worthy to be under your consideration because reaching the park will quench your curiosity for mountain gorilla tracking, golden monkey trekking and an unforgettable encounter with the Batwa trail. You shouldn’t also miss out on Sabyinyo mountain hike. All these spectacular experiences will leave you with great memories about your Uganda safari.