The most thrilling tourist activity in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is that of gorilla tracking, an activity that involve visitors hiking through the forest in search of the endangered mountain gorillas. Surprisingly, Mgahinga can be accesed by travelers taking tours in Rwanda given its location within the Virunga Ranges. This is the reason as to why there are many tour offers that combine gorilla watching in the Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga National Park offered by several tour operators.
Within this magical park, there is only one habituated gorilla group that can be visited by tourists. Known as the Nyakagezi group, this is one of the oldest habituated gorilla in the history of gorilla tourism in Uganda and it consists of 9 members; 2 silver backs, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants. Though most travel books indicate that gorilla trekking in Mgahinga is unreliable because of the gorilla family escapades to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, for more than two years the group has been settled within the park and a good number of tourists have gone gorilla tracking in the park.
Gorilla permits for Mgahinga National Park can be booked at the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kamwokya Kampala or at the park headquarters. You can also book these passes through a recommended tour operator based in Uganda.
Planning a Gorilla Trek in Mgahinga National Park
Gorilla tracking is a vigorous activity that can take a full day. During this tour, you are led by a guide through the gorilla’s empire/tracks as he/she explains all about gorillas such as their ecology, movements and general behavior.
Like gorilla tracking in other groups within Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, the success of seeing gorillas is NOT guaranteed despite the high chance of seeing them. Since they are wild animals living in the jangle, they don’t have a fixed routine; therefore finding them requires luck and the experienced of your guides. These guides know gorillas intimately since they habituate them, they will hence take you to the area where they saw them last. They may also be able to suggest how long the hike might take at the journey start.
Please note that you are free to ask guides to slow down if they are going too fast or if you want to have a rest, look at birds /flowers, and your guide shall wait for u.
DOS AND DON`TS
- -It is advisable that you put on jangle shoes best for steep muddy slopes
- -The weather is unpredictable and it can change any time. Please carry rain wear, sunscreen, a hut and sun glasses, as.
- -You are advised to Carry water and food because this activity is lengthy and tiresome especially to first time trackers
- -Once tracked, ensure that you keep 5m distance from Gorillas. If approached by one, back away slowly.
- -Avoid pointing or waiving your arms- this can scare away annoy gorillas.
please Move slowly and Keep your voice low/better if silent for better tracking
- -When taking photos, ensure that your flash is off for can threaten gorillas.
- -You may carry binoculars, these help u see far features and creatures in details.