Birding opportunities are greatest in the montane forest. Bee-eaters, robins, sunbirds and barbets are some of the 217 species found in Rwenzori Mountains National Park.
Keen climbers can choose between two scenic routes to the top of the Rwenzoris - Africa's third highest peak! The trails pass glacial lakes, gorgeous viewpoints, dramatic mountain passes and lush valleys.
Follow the trails up to Lake Mahooma and Buraro chimp forest; through the communities of Kichamba to the Karangura ridge; and to Bundibugo area through Bwamba pass. The communities of Ruboni and Turaco View also offer guided forest walks of various lengths just outside the park
The Batwa Trail
For generations, Mgahinga’s dense forests were home to the indigenous Batwa - hunter-gatherers and fierce warriors who depended on the forest for shelter, food and medicine. Now they lead visitors through the forests and introduce them to their old home - and the techniques they used to survive in it.
The best birding in Mgahinga also takes in some of its most beautiful scenery - in the gorge between Mts Gahinga and Sabinyo, through the bamboo forest, and in the montane forest, where the beautiful Rwenzori Turaco may be observed.
Gorilla Tracking in Mgahinga - Habari link
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the southwestern Uganda on the border with Congo and Rwanda. Covering an area of about 33.7 sq kilometers, the park is a habitat for man's closest, the mountain gorillas which roam about the whole forest in search for food. This park is one of the few places in the world where the endangered mountain gorillas live and it attracts people from different countries to come on Uganda Gorilla Safari. There is no doubt that Mgahinga Gorilla national park is one of the leading tourism sites in Uganda since it harbors these rare primates.
One may wonder why gorilla Safari should be done in Mgahinga and not other places but the secret behind it is that this park has a thick rain forest with a wide variety of tree species and gorillas are known to be vegetarians. There is enough food for them in the park and this is the reason why some even migrate from Congo and Rwanda to this place. Though not in large numbers, gorillas of Mgahinga are easily seen in their natural habitats and this makes tracking more easy compared to other parks.
Gorilla tracking at the park
With a diverse collection of tourism activities, gorilla tracking stands out to be the leading activity at Mgahinga Gorilla national park and 75% of Mgahinga's visitors come to view the primates. With Uganda left with about 400 mountain gorillas, the park is one of the two places where a visitor is guaranteed to have a glance at the endangered species. It is the best point to trek the Nyakagezi gorilla group which frequently moves adjacent in the forests of Conga and Rwanda. The other park where gorillas are found is Bwindi Impenetrable and these two parks are near each other making it possible for one to trek through both of them on most of Uganda safaris.
The moment you visit the park, the welcoming atmosphere is an evidence of adventure filled of natural beauty. A day' trek through the forests of Mgahinga with a well trained guide who explains the gorillas' behaviors along the way is a lifetime experience.
Normally, Gorilla trekking Safari starts from Ntebeko Entrance gate t around 8:00amin the morning daily taking 2-4 hours. A visitor is expected to budget for his/her time well while with a gorilla family since the maximum time allowed to spend with them is one hour.
When to go gorilla tracking to Mgahinga Gorilla national park
The best time to visit the place for tracking is during the two dry seasons when the park is easily accessed. It is during this time that the thick forests can be penetrated easily and when the paths are not as muddy as it is in the rainy season. The two dry Seasons best for Gorilla Safari are; mid-December to end of February and June to October. However, gorilla tracking tourism is possible throughout the year.
How to get there
By road, one can access the park by use of a car from Kampala via Kabale to Kisoro. This journey takes about 8 hours.
By air, one can board a plane from Entebbe to Kisoro Airstrip which is near the park. This is the quickest mode of access and it takes about 1 hour. There are daily scheduled flights which must be booked long in advance with your local Uganda safari operator.
While at Mgahinga Gorilla national park, one should not worry about accommodation because there are various lodges suitable for relaxation and overnight. These are found in Ntebeko, Kisoro and Lake Mutanda. In Ntebeko, the accommodations are; Volcanoes mount Gahinga Safari lodge and Amajambere Iwacu camp. The lodges in Mutanda include; Lake Mutanda Chameleon Hill Lodge . In Kisoro, the lodges where a visitor can stay are; Kisoro Traveler's Rest Hotel and River Mucha Hotel
The Buhoma sector was the first to be developed for gorilla tourism and is the most popular of all the four sectors. It is at this sector where other walks have been developed including; the Munyanga River Trails in the valley of Buhoma, which is a short walk for viewing birds and primates along the forest edge. The waterfall trail which passes beneath tree ferns, epiphytic ferns as well as orchids to visit three dazzling waterfalls. The Rushura Hill Trail, Muzabajiro Loop Trail and the River Ivi Trail of which the latter follows an old raod through the forest, emerging near Nkuringo on the southern edge of the impenetrable forest. The Buhoma community walk and cultural performances which takes up to three hours visiting a typical homestead, the traditional healer and a banana beer brewery is organized by the local community. Of recent, the Batwa cultural experience has been developed in this section of the park. Gorilla families habituated for tracking in this sector include; Rushegura, Mubare and Habinyanja.
All three volcanoes in this park can be summited, taking a full day each. Views from the peaks are well worth the effort - taking in Rwanda, DR Congo, the Virungas, the Rwenzoris, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Lake Edward.
Hiking around the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes gives visitors the chance to spot forest birds, the Rugezi Swamp, wild vegetation, bamboo forests and glorious views of the surrounding lakes and agricultural villages.
Mountain biking follows a well-maintained trail from the park headquarters at Buhoma to the Ivi River. Along this 13km trail you may see wildlife such as bushbucks, black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkeys.
The varied habitats of Uganda’s oldest forest mean it is the ideal habitat for a variety of birds, with 350 species recorded, including 23 endemics (90% of all Albertine Rift endemics) such as the Short-tailed Warbler and Blue-headed Sunbird as well as seven IUCN red data listed species.