Gorilla Families in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Gorilla Families in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: Mgahinga gorilla national park has one habituated gorilla family; although the park is currently hosting the Hirwa gorilla group that migrated to the park from Volcanoes national park in 2019.  The group can be tracked by tourists from Uganda and Rwanda alike.  

Mgahinga Gorilla national park is situated in the southwestern part of Uganda in Kisoro district. Gorilla families in the park can only be tracked by visitors aged 15 years and above. Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park is not so challenging as compared to gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park.  

Nyakagezi Family/Group.

Nyakagezi gorilla family is the only habituated gorilla group that is permanently living in Mgahinga gorilla national park. The gorilla group derives its name from a certain area in the national which has a lot of good looking vegetation where the gorillas can feed enough. Nyakagezi family is considered a trans-boundary gorilla group because it used to cross borders between Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Congo. This made it hard for tourists to track the group until they migrated back to Mgahinga national park and were habituated in the park. The park provides eight gorilla trekking permits on a daily basis for visitors looking to track the group.

Nyakagezi family is composed of 10 members with 4 silverbacks, 2 juveniles, 2 adult females and 2 infants. The group is dominate

Gorilla Families in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga

Hirwa Family.

The Hirwa gorilla family was originally habituated from Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The group derives its name from a Kinyarwanda word ‘Hirwa,’ which means ‘the lucky one.’ This group was formed in 2006, by some members from the Agashya and Sabyinyo families. It originally had 20 members and reduced to 16 members after four gorillas died in 2020 after being struck by lightning in Mgahinga national park.

The gorilla group is led by a silverback named ‘Munyiga,’ as the dominant silverback in the group. The group was one of the few in Volcanoes national park to birth twins. The twins named Isango Gakuru and Isango Gato, were born in 2011 to a female gorilla called Kabatwa. This gorilla family previously inhabited the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo, although it was known for its movements across the Virunga Conservation Area. The revenue collected from tourists tracking the group is equally shared between the governments of Rwanda and Uganda.

Cost of Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga National Park.

Gorilla trekking permits in Mgahinga national park cost USD 700 dollars per person for foreign non-residents and USD 600 for foreign residents and UGX 250,000 Shillings for East African Citizens. Visitors will need to present a copy of their valid IDs or passports, when booking a gorilla permit. Visitors have the option of acquiring a gorilla trekking permit from either a trusted tour operator or directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority; a government organization that manages all the national parks in Uganda.

What to wear when trekking gorilla families in Mgahinga Gorilla national park.

Visitors trekking gorilla families in the park should pack the following; a good pair of hiking boots, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat/ cap, a raincoat, mineral water, packed lunch/ snacks and a camera.

Accommodation in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Accommodation in Mgahinga Gorilla national park include; Lake Mutanda Chameleon Hill Lodge, Kisoro Traveler’s Rest Hotel, River Mucha Hotel, Amajambere Iwacu camp and Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Safari Lodge among others.

Best Time to visit gorilla families in Mgahinga Gorilla national Park. 

Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park can be visited all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. The dry season is also known as the peak season and during the dry season the gorilla trekking trails in the forests are passable, short grass which give you a clear view of the gorillas compared to the wet season when the trails are muddy and slippery which make gorilla trekking difficult.   

How to get to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

The national park can be accessed by road and air. It is located about 494km from Kampala City via Kabale-Kisoro; which is about 8 hours of driving till you get to the park’s headquarters.

Alternatively, travelers can fly from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro Airstrip which takes about an hour. The Kisoro Airstrip is close to Mgahinga national park and hence is a convenient means of travel.

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