Located in the farthest southwestern corner of Uganda, at an altitude between 2,227 meters (1.4 miles) and 4,127 meters (2.6 miles) above sea level, Mgahinga National Park is the country’s smallest park, covering only 33.7 km² (13 miles²). Set against a breathtaking backdrop of the three northernmost peaks of the now extinct Virunga volcanoes—Mount Muhavura, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Sabinyo—Mgahinga National Park is made up of heath vegetation, montane forest and savannah woodland.
In the past, much of the park’s natural habitat was destroyed as a result of population growth and poaching. In 1930, Mgahinga National Park was declared a game sanctuary and in 1991 it was gazetted and made a part of the Virunga Conservation Area. The park is one of only two locations in the country that offers refuge to the endangered mountain gorilla. Over the course of history, the park has also been considered to be of great biological importance for its ability to provide shelter for mountain plants and animals that migrate along the slopes due to climatic changes. Mgahinga National Park is home to over 75 species of mammals, including elephants, side striped jackals, forest buffalo and the endangered golden monkey. It is also recorded to have over 150 bird species, including the crowned crane, blue-headed coucal and white-naped raven.
There are different options of travel to the park; however, the most common route runs through Kibale and Kisoro from Kampala (540 km, or 335 miles, away) at an estimated 8 hours of travel time—including 80 km (50 miles) stretch of winding mountainous roads. There are also air travel options from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro.
The park has two wet seasons, one from February through May and the second from September through December, during which temperatures are generally cooler, averaging 15 C (59 F) and dropping to about 10 C (50 F) at night. The drier months are the best times to go, especially for gorilla trekking.