Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest park at just 33sq km and it is located in the far south western part of Uganda bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. However this park is one of the most dramatic park, it covers the northern slopes of the three among the six Virunga Volcanoes: Mt. Gahinga (3,474 m), Mt. Muhavura (4,127 m), and Mt. Sabiny (3,645 m). Despite being small in size, Mgahinga national park is of great importance given that it is a home to the endangered mountain Gorillas. This park together with other two parks in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo: i.e. Parc National des Volcans and Parc National des Virunga respectively form the 434-sq. km ‘Virunga Conservation Area’. Since Mgahinga is 33.7 sq. km, it is just 8% of the Virunga Conservation Area and the whole park is found in Bufumbira County of Kisoro District. The park’s vegetation is partly forested and the huge cones of the Virunga volcanoes that dominate the landscape contribute to the great scenic view of the area.

Though mountain gorillas form the major attraction to the park, the park also harbors other wildlife which includes 76 mammalian species such as golden monkeys a localized and distinctive race of the Blue Monkeys, Black and White colobus monkey, leopard, forest elephant, and giant forest hogs as well as a number of bird species. The park is also the most scenic park in Uganda, it offers panoramic views that stretch northwards to Bwindi and a southern skyline dominated by the steep volcanic cones of the Virungas, surely one of the most memorable and stirring sights in East Africa.

The park is surrounded by different local communities like the Pygmy Batwa African tribe which tribe in the past lived by hunting and gathering fruits from Bwindi Impenetrable forest. These people were relocated after the park was established to protect the Mountain Gorillas. They now entertain visitors and also sell their handmade crafts as souvenirs.

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