Today was the start of the 25 days Exploring Uganda Safari with a transfer to our first national park – Mgahinga gorilla national park. Mgahinga gorilla national park is the smallest national park in Uganda and was set aside mainly to protect mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The park has over 180 bird species and several mammals including forest elephants and Buffaloes which are shy and rarely seen, in fact one will normally find their footprints as opposed to sighting them.
The reasons most people visit Mgahinga gorilla national park is to do gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking, birding especially in search of the Albertine rift endemics, the Batwa trail and to hike the volcanoes. The park has 3 of the 8 Virunga volcanoes within its boundaries and each of them is a one days hike to any of these volcanoes.
The Virunga volcanoes in Mgahinga gorilla national park are; Mt Gahinga – this is the shortest of the three Volcanoes and the easiest to hike. Gahinga is translated ‘piles of stones’. It generally takes 6 hours for a round hike to and from – it is shared between Uganda and Rwanda. Mt Muhabura is the highest of the 3 volcanoes it generally takes 8 hours to the summit and back for a typical hiker. Muhabura is taken from the local luggage to mean ‘guide’ because it always gave them a sense of direction depending on where they were – this volcano is shared between Uganda and Rwanda. Mt Sabyinyo which is translated ‘Old mans teeth’ because of the formation on the top and it is shared between Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo.
Today was mainly for transfer from Kampala to Mgahinga gorilla national park. The clients traveled with Aero Link from Entebbe to Kihihi airstrip and were picked up from there and transferred to Mt Gahinga lodge. The lodge is such a pleasant place to stay while you explore this park, a short minute walk from the trail head for golden monkey trekking. We arrived in the night and the staff were very pleasant waiting for us. It was a tiring hectic day but it ended well with some sighting of the L’hoest monkey, Blue monkey and the Black&white colobus monkeys as we drove through the Bwindi impenetrable forest to Kisoro – Mgahinga.