Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Nestled in the foothills of the Virunga Mountains on Uganda's southwestern border, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a hiker's paradise and a haven for endangered mountain gorillas. Visitors here can trek through breathtaking volcanic scenery to encounter these gentle giants, alongside golden monkeys and a plethora of birdlife. Mgahinga is a great alternative to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for gorilla trekking adventures.


Straddling the Ugandan border and shrouded in the mystical aura of the Virunga Mountains, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is an adventure unlike any other.

This tiny park, encompassing only 33.7 square kilometers, packs a mighty punch. Three colossal dead volcanoes – Muhabura (4,127m), Gahinga (3,474m), and Sabinyo (3,645m) – dominate the landscape, their slopes carpeted in verdant vegetation.

Mgahinga's true stars, however, are the majestic mountain gorillas. Sharing this haven are playful golden monkeys, with their distinctive golden fur and black masks, adding a touch of color to the emerald expanse. Keep your eyes peeled for a plethora of birdlife, from the handsome Rwenzori Turaco to the elusive black-and-white colobus monkey.

Gorilla trekking adventures in Mgahinga begin at the Ntebeko trekking center, the park's headquarters. Here, expert guides lead you through dense bamboo forests and up volcanic slopes, searching for these gentle giants. Treks typically last 3-8 hours and reach altitudes of up to 3,474 meters (Gahinga's peak).

But Mgahinga isn't just about gorillas. Volcano enthusiasts can embark on challenging yet rewarding hikes. 

Scaling the slopes of Muhabura or Gahinga offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Virunga massif, while the truly adventurous can conquer the tri-point peak of Mount Sabinyo (3,645m). Here, on the border of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, you can stand in three countries at once – a unique bragging right without the need for multiple visas!

Mgahinga's vegetation is as diverse as its wildlife. Hike through bamboo forests teeming with life, traverse verdant slopes dotted with wildflowers, and encounter giant heather at higher altitudes. The air is crisp and refreshing, and the silence, broken only by the calls of birds and the rustle of leaves, is truly restorative.

Beyond the park boundaries lies another fascinating chapter of Mgahinga's story. Once hunter-gatherers who called the park home for centuries, the Batwa people now live in nearby communities. Visiting them offers a glimpse into their traditional way of life and a deeper understanding of the park's cultural significance.

So, if you seek an adventure that blends breathtaking scenery, awe-inspiring wildlife encounters, and a touch of cultural immersion, then Mgahinga Gorilla National Park awaits.

Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga National Parkd

Mgahinga is a beautiful swatch of the Virunga Conservation Area on the Uganda side and a perfect alternative to gorilla trekking in the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Gorilla treks here are easier and more scenic. The bamboo forest zone habours other impressive inhabitants, the golden monkeys. Endangered little primates are found only here and nowhere else. And, you trek higher into the volcanoes for an immersive adventure..

Gorilla Trekking Safari Packages

Be inspired by a selection of our favorite Uganda and Rwanda gorilla tour packages. From primate trekking adventures to family-friendly holidays – all completely flexible and arranged to your travel needs.


Best time to visit

The best time to visit Mgahinga Gorilla National Park depends on your priorities. Uganda experiences two dry seasons (December-February and June-August) and two wet seasons (March-May and September-November).

The dry seasons offer clearer skies and better visibility for gorilla trekking, as the undergrowth is less dense. However, these months also coincide with peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and potentially higher accommodation rates.

Traveling during the wet seasons can be rewarding if you don't mind occasional rain showers. Lush green landscapes flourish during this time, and the park teems with vibrant birdlife.

Additionally, you'll encounter fewer crowds during the low season, making your wildlife encounters more intimate.

How to get to Mgahinga

Reaching Mgahinga National Park from Entebbe International Airport, the country's main gateway, is a scenic journey. The distance is approximately 500 kilometers by road, with a drive time ranging from 7 to 9 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.

For a quicker option, consider flying into Kisoro airstrip, located just a 1.5-hour drive from the park headquarters at Ntebeko.

However, scheduled flights are limited, so booking well in advance is crucial.

Kigali International Airport in neighboring Rwanda is another option, approximately a 3-hour drive (140 kilometers) from Mgahinga. Keep in mind that this route involves crossing the border, so ensure you have the necessary paperwork in order, including your visa and gorilla trekking permits.

Accommodation - where to stay in Mganhinga

There are few safari lodges or camps that are very close to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. However, there are some decent options available in Kisoro town which is about 30 kilometers away from the park entrance. You may consider these options for your experience in the park.