This small national park protects the Ugandan portion of the Virungas, a chain of six extinct and three Congo. Mgahinga was proclaimed with the primary aim of providing sanctuary to the rare mountain gorilla, some 300 of which live in the Virungas, and gorilla tracking remains the most popular activity here though it is dependent on the seasonal movements of the habituated groups.
Mgahainga supports a diverse forest and mountain fauna, notably the localized golden monkey and at least 12 bird species endemic to the Albertine Rift, but also small populations of elephant, leopard, buffalo and black-and – white colobus monkey. The spectacular setting at the base of the volcanoes, the tallest of which reaches an elevation of 4,507m, is among the most stirring in East Africa.
Size: It covers approximately 386 sq km.
Location: It is located far southwest, bordering Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, 14km from Kisoro town.
How to get there: Getting there is a one day drive from Kampala via Kibale. Public transport runs as far as Kisoro, where taxis are available to the park gate.
When to visit? Any time but check that the gorillas are around.
Where to stay: An up market lodge, community-run bandas and camping are available at the entrance gate. There is plenty of accommodation in Kisoro.
Activities: Gorilla tracking depends on whether the gorillas are around (they sometimes-not often- move across the border). Permits must be booked at the UWA office in Kampala. Guided walks to the volcanic peaks require an early start. En route to Kisoro lies lovely Lake Bunyonyi, hemmed in by steep mountains and studded with small islands.