Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is situated in the corner of southwestern Uganda in Kisoro District. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.
As well as being important for wildlife, the park also has a huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivalled.
Mgahinga’s most striking features are its three conical, extinct volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga Range that lies along the border region of Uganda, Congo, and Rwanda. Mgahinga forms part of the much larger Virunga Conservation Area which includes adjacent parks in these countries. The volcanoes’ slopes contain various ecosystems and are biologically diverse, and their peaks provide a striking backdrop to this gorgeous scenery.
Mgahinga boasts over 76 mammals which include elephants, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, and bush back. Buffalos, leopards, A bird checklist of over 180 species including the 14 endemic Albertine rift notably the Kivu ground thrush and turaco.
MGNP is an important water catchment area. Due to its protective cover of vegetation, MGNP's role in water catchment is superior to the surrounding terrain. Apart from the numerous streams flowing northwards from the mountains, there is a crater lake on Mt Muhabura and a swamp crater on Mt Gahinga summit. There are also swamps in the saddles between the three volcanoes that retain water all year round, while the plains at the foot of the volcanoes are characterised by deep volcanic ash, and run-off from the mountains rapidly disappears underground. The main source of the north-flowing surface water is the Kabiranyuma swamp in the Muhabura - Gahinga saddle. River Kabiranyuma drains the swamp and is an important source of water for the populations around it. It is the only river that does not dry up completely in the driest months of June to August. River Ntebeko drains the Rugezi Swamp in the Gahinga - Sabyinyo saddle northwards to the DRC, while the Nyabirerema stream drains Mt. Sabyinyo northwards to DRC.
- Mountain gorillas
- Dense Forest