Uganda Destinations Mount Elgon National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located high in the clouds, between 2,227m and 4,127m above sea level. It was established to protect the endangered mountain gorillas that live in its dense forests, as its name suggests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.
The park is significant not only for its wildlife but also for its cultural significance, particularly for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This hunter-gatherer tribe was the “first people” of the forest, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets is unrivaled.
The three conical, extinct volcanoes that make up Mgahinga are part of the spectacular Virunga Range that runs along Uganda’s, Congo’s, and Rwanda’s border. Mgahinga is part of the much larger Virunga Conservation Area, which includes parks in both Rwanda and Uganda. The volcanoes’ slopes are home to a variety of ecosystems and are biologically diverse, while their peaks serve as a striking backdrop to this breathtaking scenery.
PARK AT A GLANCE
- Size: 33.7km2, making it Uganda’s smallest National Park.
- The park takes its name from “Gahinga” – the local word for the piles of volcanic stones cleared from farmland at the foot of the volcanoes.
- The British administration declared the area a game sanctuary in 1930; it was gazetted as a National Park in 1991.
- Mgahinga has one habituated trans-boundary gorilla group.
- The Batwa were self-sufficient – and visitors can see how during a fascinating tour with a Batwa guide to learn the secrets of the forest.