Mgahinga gorilla national park is located in the south western part of Uganda in Kisoro district and it is the smallest National park of the 3 national parks in the Virunga conservation area the other two parks are Virunga National park in DRC and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and all form 434-sq.km of this conservation area. . The park was established in 1991 and it is governed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority with a size of 33.7 sq. km and consists of the partly forested slopes of three extinct volcanoes. From far away, the huge cones of the virunga volcanoes dominate the landscape and beckon you as you approach. When you reach the park you can get a great overview of the area by walking up the viewpoint, just 15 minutes from Ntebeko Gate. Mgahinga Park has great biological importance because throughout the climatic changes of the Pleistocene ice ages, mountains such as these provided a refuge for mountain plants and animals, which moved up or down the slopes as climate became warmer or cooler. The Virungas are home to a large variety of wildlife, including about half the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas.
Best time to visit Mgahinga
Mgahinga is open for gorilla trekking the whole year, but the best time is during the drier seasons from June to August and December to January. At this time the trails tend to be easier to navigate and spending a precious hour with the gorillas might be more pleasant when it isn’t raining.
Weather and climate in Mgahinga
The climate in Mgahinga is mild to cold and wet. The high altitude (2,227-4,127m or 7,306-13,540ft) makes this one of the coldest destinations in the country. It is on average 20°C/68°F during the day, becoming cold in the evening (9°C/48°F).
Mgahinga experiences no real Dry season, so rain is always possible, but there tends to be less rainfall in December to January, while June and July receive the least amount of rain. There are two recognizable Wet seasons: from February to May and from September to November. It is advised to pack decent hiking shoes and waterproof clothing.
How to get to Mgahinga
The Mgahinga National Park is located far southwest, bordering Rwanda and Congo, 14km from Kisoro town. The park lies in the south-western corner of Uganda, 540km from Kampala.
Kisoro is about 540 km from Kampala (Uganda’s capital city). The journey to the park by road takes about 10 hours, excluding rest stops, passing via Kabale and Kisoro. It takes about 8 hours to reach Kabale.
For public transport, there are daily buses/minibuses, which set off at 7.00pm from Kampala. Once in Kisoro Town, you can hike to the park if you are strong enough or hire a cab to the park gate.
Please note that the 80km section between Kabale and Kisoro is a winding, mountainous drive on murram that takes at least 2 hours, while the park gate at Ntebeko lies a bumpy 14km (30 minutes) south of Kisoro.
By Air Charter flights can be arranged from Entebbe or Kampala (Kajjansi) to Kisoro airstrip.