Wildlife in Mgahinga gorilla National Park – Gorilla and golden monkey tracking
Wildlife in Mgahinga gorilla National Park – This National Park located in the South-Western Uganda on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. This National Park covers an area of about 33.7 square Kilometres and it is a habitat for the endangered Mountain Gorillas which roam about the whole forest in search for food and water. This National Park is one of the few places in the World where the Mountain Gorillas live and it attracts travellers from different countries to come to Uganda for Gorilla tracking tours. There is no doubt that Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the leading tourism sites in Uganda since it harbours these rare primates.
The secret behind Gorilla tracking safaris in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is that this Park has a thick tropical rainforest 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 the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda to this place. Though not in large numbers, Gorillas of Mgahinga National Park are easily seen in their natural habitats and this makes Gorilla tracking easier compared to other Gorilla tracking National Park.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is best known as an alternative destination to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park for Mountain Gorilla tracking, but it also offers good bird watching experience and an opportunity to spent time with the localized Golden monkey. The Nyakagazi Gorilla family is the only habituated Gorilla family here. This means only eight permits a day are available resulting in a very exclusive experience on the day of tracking.
Wildlife in Mgahinga gorilla National Park Highlights
The Nyakagazi Gorilla family of Mountain Gorillas is notable for incorporating four sibling silverbacks. A troop of habituated Golden monkey which is endemic to the Albertine Rift and more-or-less restricted to the Virunga volcanoes can also be tracked. Bushbucks, Buffaloes, forest elephants, duickers are quite often encountered, while other more secretive resident mammals include golden cat, side striped jackal, giant forest hog, bush pig and forest elephants.
Best Time for Wildlife Viewing
The Dry seasons (from June to August and December to January) are the best time for tracking Gorillas. The park stays open throughout the year, but in heavy rain, the trails might be difficult to walk and time with the gorillas and photography can be compromised.
The varied habitats of Uganda’s smallest National Park make it home to a variety of bird species with 184 species recorded. The list includes the Ibis, Pin tailed Whydah, Speckled mouse birds, Stone Chat, Grey-capped Warbler, Wax Bills, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Fire finches, White-napped Raven,
Black Kite, Rwenzori Turaco, Blue-headed Coucal, Paradise Fly-catcher, Rwenzori Batis, Double-collared Sunbird and Rwenzori Nightjars
The endangered Golden monkey is endemic to the Albertine Rift and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers a rare chance to track these striking creatures, high in the dense bamboo forest on the Gahinga trail. There is an estimated number of 3000-4000 individuals in the Virunga area which 42-60 are habituated in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is also home to 76 mammal species although they are difficult to glimpse in the wild forest vegetation. They include giant forest hogs, bush pigs, forest buffaloes, elephants, bush bucks, golden cats, side striped jackals, black fronted duikers and South African porcupines. Great Adventure safaris organizes safaris to watch wildlife in Mgahinga gorilla National Park including gorilla tracking with permits.