MOUNTAINEERING IN MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK

 

Mountaineering in the pearl of Africa is one of the major tourism activities. With the desire to reach the rewarding summits of the mountains of the pearl, together with the fulfillment that comes with conquering the raged slopes of the mountains. This has interested many mountain Climbers to explore mountaineering in Mgahinga national park.

This national park is located in the south western region of Uganda in Kisoro district. It was established in the year 1991 after parks’ area of occupation being a game reserve in the years 1930-1950.  It covers an area of 33.9km, dominated by bamboo forest, Rwenzori Virunga montane moorlands, tree heath and Albertine rift montane forest.

Mgahinga national park is a famous inhabitant of the mountain gorillas in Uganda together with Bwindi impenetrable national park. The presence of these gentle apes in the slopes of the national park, with the golden monkeys in the bamboo forest has earned the park a slogan that states “where silver meets gold”. This slogan justifies Mgahinga national park as the only protected area in Uganda where the mountain gorillas co-exist with the golden monkey species.

The park is part of the incredible Virunga chain mountains encompassing three inactive volcanoes, these include; Mountain Muhavura, Mountain Gahinga and Mountain Sabinyo. These make up the eight Virunga chain volcanoes that are shared and found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo.

Mountaineering in Mgahinga national park is carried out along the slopes of Mountain Sabinyo, Mountain Muhavura and mountain Gahinga. All these three dormant volcanoes are located within the area of Mgahinga national park.  Hiking the three mountains on a Uganda hiking safari is a rewarding experience. With great views of the Virunga mountain ranges and the surrounding beautiful landscapes.

Hiking Mountain Muhavura

Mountain Muhavura sometimes referred to as Mountain Muhabura is an inactive dormant volcano that is situated in the western Albertine rift in the Virunga ranges. This mountain takes up the third position in height among the Virunga volcanoes, with a height of the 4127km. It is shared by the Uganda and Rwanda borders, located in volcanoes national park area of Rwanda, and on the Uganda side, it is located in Mgahinga national park.  Hiking of mountain muhavura takes about 8 hours covering a round distance hike of 12km.

Mountaineering along the slopes of mountain Muhavura reward breathtaking views of the Rwenzori ranges, Bwindi impenetrable national park, Lake Edward and the Virunga volcanoes.

The summit of Mountain Muhavura is the highest peak among the three mountains in Mgahinga national park.

Hiking Mountain Sabinyo

Mountain Sabinyo is the oldest mountain among the eight Virunga volcanoes. It is an extinct volcano whose summit is shared by Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo. The summit of mountain Sabinyo stands at a height of 36699meters, making it third in position among the other two volcanoes in Mgahinga national park.

Hiking mountain Sabinyo offers a sight of the endangered mountain gorillas, as these are found along the slopes of the mountain. The hike to the summit of the Mountain takes about 8 hours, hiking the steep edges of the mountain that takes up to 14km.

A breathtaking view of the Virunga ranges of Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic republic of Congo all on one summit of mountain Sabinyo is a great reward for hiking this beautiful mountain.

Hiking Mountain Gahinga

This is a special mountain, where Mgahinga national park derived its name. Mountain Gahinga is shared on the borders of Uganda and Rwanda. It is located between Mountain Muhavura and Mountain Sabinyo, making it park of the Virunga volcanoes.  It is the smallest among the three dormant volcanoes in Mgahinga national park, with a summit of height of 3473meters, the shortest still among the two.

A six hour hike to the summit of mountain Gahinga rewards a view of its swampy caldera and along the way, golden monkeys are easily spotted in the bamboo forest.

Mountaineering in Mgahinga Park is surely a rewarding experience. Hiking through the forest and vegetation of the park with the rewarding views of three dormant volcanoes, beautiful flora and fauna along the way.

This experience begins with a short briefing about the hiking in the Mgahinga with all the necessary precautions provided. A ranger guide is always in the lead of mountaineering in Mgahinga national park, taking climbers through the tails with interesting narrative facts about the various attractions and physical features found in Mgahinga national park.

Summiting of the mountains is available whole year round in Mgahinga national park. Tourists interested in mountaineering in the park are required to pay to fee for this activity. To take on the challenge hike of the Mgahinga volcanoes, non-foreign residents pay up a fee of 80USD, foreign residents pay up 70USD and 50,000ugx for the East African residents.

Besides mountain climbing in Mgahinga national park, visitors can enjoy gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking, Batwa experience, guided nature walks, gorge walks, arts and painting.

Mountaineering destinations in Uganda are quite many, from the mountain ranges in Rwenzori national park, Mountain Elgon in Mountain Elgon national park and mountain Morungule in kidepo valley national park and the Mgahinga volcanoes.

Mountaineering in Mgahinga national park is one of the activities not to miss out on a hiking safari through the various beautiful mountains of Uganda.



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