Uganda Hiking Safari On Mountain Gahinga: Mount Gahinga is an extinct volcano in the Virunga Mountains, situated on the border of Uganda and Rwanda. Gahinga Mountain lies between Mount Sabyinyo and Mount Muhabura, but it is the smallest of the three volcanoes. The mountain is sometimes known as Mount Mgahinga. The mountain got its name from a local Kinyarwanda, which means “small piles of stones.” This awe-inspiring mountain has a swampy caldera on its summit with an altitude of about 3,474 meters above sea level and comprises a beautiful afro-montane forest and bamboo that shelter mountain gorillas. But there are other fascinating wildlife species and birds that make up the Mt. Gahinga ecosystem, including golden monkeys. This is part of a chain of eight volcanic mountains in the Bufumbira range. The volcano chain spans across Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mount Gahinga offers astonishingly easier volcano hikes, unlike Mount Muhabura, Mt. Sabyinyo, or Karisimbi volcano in Volcanoes National Park. But all in all, you should be physically well to make a complete 6-hour trek to the top of Mt. Gahinga in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Permits for Gahinga volcano climbing are available for US$70, and there is no need for prior booking.

Treks to the peak of Mt. Gahinga begin at 7:00 a.m. after a briefing from the park official at the Mgahinga Park offices. After the briefing, you will get a hiking stick, and in case you need the services of porters, they are also available for hire at an affordable price. Your first stage of trekking to Mt. Gahinga takes you through a dense bamboo forest just at its base. This is the easiest stage, and interestingly, there you will get a great opportunity to see wildlife species such as buffaloes and primates. And golden monkeys are notable for these.

As you continue ascending, you will get to see many volcanic caves and other volcanic features occupied by bats. Gahinga volcano generally has a unique peak compared to that of Muhavura and Sabyinyo volcanoes. Once you reach the top, you will find an extensive shallow crater swamp with rare sub-alpine plants, including lobelia, Alchemilla, and Senecio.

Tourists that usually hike Mountain Gahinga combine it with activities at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, such as;


Mgahinga National Park is one of the best birdwatching destinations in Uganda, hosting over 180 species of colorful birds, making it a true bird haven for bird lovers. During a bird-watching tour in the park, you will be accompanied by an experienced bird guide who will guide you through the birding spots while explaining to you their different behaviors in the wild. Among the birds to look at are the Striped Breasted Tit, Streaky Seedeater, Stray Seedeater, Stone Chat, Speckled Mousebird, Southern Red Bishop, Shelly’s Dusky Crimsonwing, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Nightjar, Yellow-Vented Bulbul, yellow-throated long claw, White-starred Robin, White-necked raven, White-naped Raven, White-starred Robin, Western Green Tinker Bird, Wax Bills, Thrush, and Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, among others.

Gorilla trekking

Mountain gorilla trekking is the main highlight of any Ugandan trip to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The national park is home to only one habituated gorilla family called the Nyakagezi gorilla family, which is composed of 2 adult females, 2 infants, 2 blackbacks, a toddler, and silverbacks led by Mark as the dominant silverback, assisted by others. Gorilla trekking is a thrilling activity in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, where tourists get to explore the thick rainforest on foot in search of these remarkable habituated mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park begins in the morning with a briefing at the park’s head office about the rules regulations and expectations, among others. After the briefing, tourists are assigned an experienced guide who will lead them to the forest in search of the gorilla family, which takes about 2–4 hours, depending on where the mountain gorillas are allocated. During gorilla trekking, you will also get the opportunity to explore some of the hidden treasures of the forest, such as birds, mammals, reptiles, and other primate species. Upon encountering these captivating apes, you will be allowed to have face-to-face interaction with the gorillas, observing their daily activities such as feeding, breastfeeding, and playing, among others. In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, a maximum of eight individuals over the age of 15 are allowed to trek with mountain gorilla families in a day.

Golden monkey tracking

Golden Monkey Tracking is another activity that can be done after gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, which is home to over 4,000 golden monkeys. This activity is only done in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Like gorilla tracking, it also starts in the morning with a briefing and ends with you walking through the forest in search of these endangered monkeys. encountering these joyful golden monkeys involves hiking along the bamboo forest of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in order to access these joyful and unique habituated golden monkeys. During Uganda golden monkey tracking, you will get a great opportunity to spot some of the exhilarating attractions that contribute to the park’s beauty, such as bird species like the beautiful Rwenzori turaco, handsome francolin, Rwenzori batis, Kivu ground-thrush, blue-headed weaver, black-collared apalis, dusky crimsonwing, red-throated alethe, and the Regal sunbird. Golden monkey tracking permits are readily available and can be purchased on arrival at the park headquarters. Among other activities

What should I pack for the Mount Gahinga hike?

The essentials to consider on your hiking adventure in Mgahinga National Park or Volcanoes National Park, particularly at Mount Gahinga, include a long-sleeved shirt, trousers, a pair of warm socks, a camera, a daypack, a pair of gaiters, insect repellents, sunscreens, a rain jacket, a sweater, bottled water and enough snacks, gardening gloves, and waterproof hiking shoes, among others.

Uganda Hiking Safari On Mountain Gahinga
Mountain Gahinga

The best time to go for the Mount Gahinga hike

Mountain Gahinga hiking tours are open throughout the year, but the best time is during the dry season. There are two phases of a dry month or season, such as the long and short seasons. The long dry season begins in June/July. August and September. A short dry month to consider undertaking the Mount Gahinga hike includes December, January, and February. During this season, the volcano experiences very low rainfall, and the trails are kept drier, making it easier to navigate via the forest and steep slopes as you climb to the peak of Gahinga volcano (3,474 meters).

Hikers can still hike Mountain Gahinga in the rainy season, which occurs from March to May and October to November, but you should keep in mind that during this period, there is plenty of rainfall, the trekking trails are muddy and slippery, which reduces the speed of hikers, the vegetation in the park is tall, which gives unclear views of the animals on the slopes of the mountain, and the roads heading to the mountain are blocked.

Uganda Hiking Safari On Mountain Gahinga: Getting to Mount Gahinga

Mount Gahinga is about 8–10 hours’ drive from Kampala, the capital city. It is found within Mgahinga, southwestern Uganda, and from Kigali, it is reachable via the Katuna or Chanika border, about 3-5 hours’ drive. Or you can take a flight starting from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airstrip in Kampala to Kisoro or Kihihi airstrip.

Uganda Hiking Safari On Mountain Gahinga: Where to stay while on Mount Gahinga climbing tours.

There are several lodges within Mgahinga National Park where one can choose to stay for the night before and after climbing the mountain. These hotels offer budget, mid-level, and luxury services. The choice depends entirely on one’s interests and budget. The accommodation facilities include Mucha Hotel in Kisoro, Mount Gahinga Lodge, Virunga Hotel, Travelers Rest Camp, Kisoro Tourists Hotel, and Amajambere Iwachu Community Camp. For today, we focus on Mount Gahinga Lodge.

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