Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has a size of 33.7 km2 making it Uganda’s smallest national park. The park takes its name from “Gahinga” the local word for the piles of volcanic stones cleared from farmland at the foot of the volcanoes. The British administration declared the area’s game sanctuary in 1930, it was gazetted as a National park in 1991.

Mgahinga has one habituated trans-boundary gorilla group called The Batwa who were self-sufficient and visitors can learn the secrets of the forest with the aid of a batwa guide.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m as its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.

As well as being important for wildlife, the park also has a huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivalled.

Mgahinga’s most striking features are its three conical, extinct volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga Range that lies along the border region of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda.  Mgahinga  National Park forms part of the much larger Virunga conservtion area which includes adjacent parks in these countries. The volcanoes’ slops contain various eco-systems and are biologically diverse, and their peaks provide a striking backdrop to this gorgeous scenery.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to the habituated Nyakagezi gorilla group- afairly nomadic bunch that have been known to cross the border into Rwanda and the Congo. The family includes the lead silverback Bugingo who is around 50 years old and father to most of the group; his silverback sons, Mark and Marfia; and two blackbacks, Rukundo and Ndubgutse, who love to pose and play in the trees. The two females, Nshuti and Nyiramwiza, both have babies Furraha and Nkanda respectively.

Mgahinga National Park is home to 76 species of mammals, although they are difficult to glimpse in the wild forest vegetation. They include giant forest hogs, bush pigs, forest buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, golden cats, side striped jackals, black fronted duikers and South African pocupines.

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