If you love mountain climbing, gorilla tracking or exploring cultural trails with intoxicating experiences, this place definitely is a worth & must go . Formed more than 50, 000 years ago by volcanic eruptions, Mgahinga is made of three volcanoes sitted at the orders of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. They are Sabinyo (3,669meters above sea level ), Mgahinga (3,474m) and Muhavura (4,127m).
This is a beautiful and wild place with plenty of wildlife still remaining in its 33.9km2 expanse. It is one of the only two parks in the world where you have a chance of meeting both golden monkeys and mountain gorillas.
There is no dull moment during this adventure as there is so much to see for almost every turn; butterflies, rainbows, plants with fascinating shapes...You will search for the only gorilla group here using their vocalizations. It is called Nyakagezi group and comprises of 11 members, a mix of silverbacks, babies, mothers, juveniles and blackbacks.
In the company of a ranger guide who is well versed with the map of the forest, you will walk through the tangles and grades to get to a good viewing place for gorillas. Having been habituated, they are cooperative and accommodative to visitors. They are omnivores which means they spend much of the day munching fruit, leaves, seeds, roots and nuts.
It is such a cool experience to hear them drumming the tree trunks. The males never tire humming aloud and jumping around as they attempt to get attention of females, with the intent of getting mating favours.
The extra bonus of taking a leisure walk in the forest and bamboo zone is finding endemic bird species like white necked raven, black kite, speckled mouse bird, whydah, Ruwenzori nightjar, Rwenzori turaco, Kivu ground thrush among 250 recorded bird species.
The gorilla trek takes place early morning, as gorillas are much more active and hyper at this time. As the day gets hotter, they move further into parts of the forest that are hard to reach due to the impenetrable nature of the jungle and the steep landscape.
You will see infants and their mothers. At some point, a baby might playfully throw fruit at you to draw your attention to their newly learnt climbing skills. Groups of visitors are limited to 8 people, led by a ranger guide. This manageable size of the group means that you will get personal treatment.
At some point, you will get off the beaten path and delve deeper into dense vegetation. To this effect, a hat or bandana is recommended so you don't get your hair tangled in the thorny vines.
The guides are very caring. They keep looking behind to see if you are okay. If you are not, they will help with your walk and give you an extra push whenever you need it.
You are advised to travel light and only pack things you intend to use during your time in the forest. You are free to carry water and snacks which you can eat while on the move.
Golden Monkey trekking
The tour starts with a briefing focused on DOs and DON'Ts of golden monkey trekking. It lasts an average of 2-3 hours and once you find this endangered species of monkeys, you will spend with them 60 minutes during which you will compare and contrast their characters and features from that of other monkey species. If lady luck sides with you, you might see as many as three families that keep on crossing the trails. Considering they spend much of their time in the trees, you are advised to come with you binoculars for clearer views.
Don't hesitate to carry your rain gear even if it is the hot season. The park experiences spontaneous rains due to its strategic location in a high altitude of a tropical region.
Each of Mgahinga's mountains has lots to offer the discerning mountain climbing aficionado.
The hike to their summits is a worthwhile challenge that entrails braving some narrow stretches of the trail that wind up uphill through relatively steep slopes. But that isn't much of a problem as there are porters on standby to give you a helping hand whenever you need it. Besides, the rangers are patient and won't rush your climb. On the contrary, they will allow you to take things slow so as to allow your body to acclimatize. This will lessen your probability of getting knocked out by altitude sickness. Along the way, you will find stunning gorges, beautiful rock walls & waterfalls. These combined form a spectacular view from different angles.