Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park is Uganda’s smallest National Park with 33.7Km2. However, it is also one of the most dramatic for the park lies on the northern slope of mountain Muhabura, Mgahinga and Sabyinyo, three volcanoes that create an unforgettable regional backdrop.
These parks are three of the six virunga volcanoes that mark the southern limit of the Albertine Rift valley and are divided among Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The virungas are home to more than half of the world population of the endangered mountain gorilla. 380 individuals roam the slope volcanoes while the remaining 340 live nearby in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable National Park. Fortunately for the gorillas, Mgahinga small area is supplemented by those of two larges, adjoining parks in Rwanda (Volcanoes) and Dr. Congo (Virunga N.P) Though gorilla tracking is the park’s most popular activity, Mgahinga merits a visit simply to appreciate the scenery. The choice of hikes allows for all abilities, ranging from the eight hour return trip to the summit of mountain Muhabura, to gettle strolls across the lower slopes beneath the magnificent three peak backdrop. The park experiences two rainy seasons March – May and September – November. October is the wettest month with 250mm of rain and July the driest with 10mm. Flora and Fauna Mgahinga’s slopes are covered with a series of distinct attitudinal bands of vegetation. The lowest zone is an area of grass and bush which was formally encroached and cleared by farmers and is now regenerating. Undisturbed vegetation starts with montane woodland and followed by the bamboo zone, montane forest and the Ericaceous zone which contains giant tree heathers. The sequence culminates with the spectacular alpine zone which occurs only on East African mountains above 300 and includes bizarre giant forms of Loberian and groundsel. The park contains at least 39 species of mammals and 79 birds. Large mammals include; elephants, leopards, buffalo and bush pig but rarely sighted. Mgahinga’s most famous residents is the mountain gorilla, less famous but equally are and deserving of protection is the golden monkey which is found only in the virunga and in one forest in Rwanda. Notable bird species include the Rwenzori turaco, crowned hornbill, black Kite and crowned crane. .