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Mgahinga national park is one of Uganda’s smallest parks situated on the slopes of the Ugandan part of the great Virunga volcanoes, it is home to one habituated gorilla family known as the Nyakagezi, it’s the only park where the golden monkeys can be found covering an area of 33.7 square kilometers on an altitude of 2227m-4127m above sea level, Mgahinga adjoins the great series of the Virunga in Rwanda and the democratic republic of Congo. The national park as declared a game sanctuary by the British government by 1930 as a way of conserving the critically endangered species that called it home and by the 1991 it was upgraded to a national park.

Golden monkeys are a critically endangered species living in the bamboo forest, it’s a rare and exclusive monkey compared to other primates they have a unique and outstanding color endemic to the Albertine rift valley region, they have been habituated to contain human presence living in groups of 100 led by one Alpha male, the commonly feed on bamboo shoots, leaves, seasonal fruits, and sometimes small invertebrates. Tracking golden monkeys is done with in the national park they take time to build nests and are always in the same place so there is always no need for pre-tracking like the mountain gorillas, golden monkeys are beautifully colored orange – gold enticing to look at, they give an opportunity to take very beautiful photography. Tracking id done in the morning from 8 am and an hour is allowed to spend with these magnificent creatures. Just like the gorillas it’s advisable to book permits to track golden monkeys prior to the time of tracking.

Besides golden monkeys, the park is popular for gorilla tracking and home to 39 species of mammals and 79 birds’ including the Rwenzori turaco and the crowned hornbill, large mammals like elephants, bush pigs, are present in the national park although they are rarely seen, the park is covered in a series of distinctive bands of vegetation from a grassy land, montane woodland and the bamboo zone.

There are other activities to participate in while at Mgahinga national park besides golden monkey tracking these include gorilla tracking, birding, the batwa trail, nature walks, volcanic climbing that takes place on Muhabura, Sabinyo and Ghahinga among others. Mgahinga is home to the batwa pygmies and the Bafumbira who live on the slopes of Muhabura. The parks surrounding environment has beautiful lakes of Mulehe and Mutanda with several tourism activities taking place at the lake canoeing.

The park can be accessed all throughout the year but best during the dry season of December –February and June- mid-september, during the wet months of March-April and september –November in these months, the park is usually covered in misty clouds. The park is 524 square kilometers from Kampala via Kampala-Mbarara- Kabale –Kisoro by road taking 8 hours’ winding through beautiful rolling hills, tea and banana plantations, chatter flights can be organized to Kisoro airstrip.

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