Radiant Mgahinga National Park is the smallest National Park in Uganda and it is located in the southern parts of Uganda in Kisoro district. It is situated at the border of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and is also home to Gahinga volcanoes and Muhabura. The ambient National Park has only one gorilla family which is habituated and it is called Nyakagezi.
Composition of the widowed Nyakagezi gorilla family
The beautiful Nyakagezi gorilla family in Mgahinga National Park is made up of nine ancient and muscular gorillas. These encompass 4 energetic silverbacks, 2 enraged skinny infants, 2 adult terrifically strong females, and 1 average captive juvenile. Mark is the supreme silverback in the jungle with the duty to protect the rest of the family, he got his leadership from Bugingo who is a bit older.
There are other silverbacks in the family, Matthew and Mafia, that extend a hand of help in terms of protection and co-creation. The muscle-bound Nshuti and clumsier Nyiramwiza are the aunties – adult females who have to look after the infants and juveniles in the family. The juvenile of the family is Nkanda – an enormous and very fierce gorilla.
Giant and impassive Rukundo and filthy whitish Mutagamba are the infants of the family. Barrel-chested Bugingo Is the oldest silver buck in the family and is approaching 54 years of undomesticated life in the jungle of Mgahinga.
Trekking the amicable Nyakagezi gorilla family
Gorilla tracking permits to the original Nyakagezi Gorilla family go For a non-negotiable fee of $700 per person per trek For the foreign non-residents, $600 per person per trek For the foreign residents and Uganda shillings 250,000 per person per trek for East African citizens.
Tracking permits are received in advance and free dates are allocated to tourists. The tracks are guided by professional tourist guides and researchers who have mastered the jungle very well and they are experienced in tracing the movement patterns of the undomesticated Nyakagezi gorilla family.
They further provide information that visitors need to know about the gorillas such as their names, ages and what helps them to adapt to the forest and the cold temperatures in the region.
Gorilla tracking starts with a briefing conducted by the Rangers informing the visitors about the jungle, what to have on, what to do and what not to do while in the jungle especially when close to the gentle giants. Trekking starts at around 8:00 AM and could go up to seven hours since the gorillas normally migrate to parts of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo so tracing them becomes a little bit complex.
However, this comes with ample time to have the feel of the forest and even explore more of the primates that inhabit the forests and the steep slopes of the Virunga volcanoes.
Best time to visit the spectacular Nyakagezi gorilla family
The long dry seasons from June to August are the very best times to visit the gorilla family. Short dry seasons from January to February also provide ambient times for gorilla tracking in Mgahinga National Park. This is because of the steady grounds and non-muddy terrain which makes trekking through the forests easier as compared to wet seasons.
The National Park is however not limited to only these times as it can be visited throughout the year as different seasons offer different experiences to visitors which can even be more exciting with a little bit of complexity.
How to get to the Nyakagezi family
The National Park can be accessed both by road and air transport depending on the visitor’s preference. The Nyakagezi gorilla family is located in Mgahinga National Park which is approximately 497.9 kilometers from Kampala city which accounts for a 9 hours and 6 minutes drive using the Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara – Kisoro road. Visitors can also fly their way to the National Park which takes about 4 hours and 46 minutes to Kisoro airstrip.