When it comes to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, what easily comes to the minds of so many people are the exhilarating gorilla tours that give gorilla tours Uganda fanatics a memorable encounter with these magnificent beings in their natural habitat.
We can never dispute the fact that gorilla trekking is the major tourist activity in Mgahinga national park however, there are more thrilling Uganda safari attractions in Mgahinga that are usually overshadowed by the glorious Uganda gorilla trekking safaris that happen within the confinements of Mgahinga gorilla national park Uganda.
Its upon this fact that I would like to base my next series of stories on this platform to shine a light on some of these attractions that have always remained lurking in the shadows of the mighty gorillas which are the epitome tourist attractions in Mgahinga gorilla park.
Let’s kick off our series by looking at the Batwa.
Who are the Batwa?
The Batwa people are also known as the Twa people. The Batwa are believed to be the earliest inhabitants of East Africa as some historians and anthropologists have dated their ancestry in this region to as far back as 60,000 years ago. In Uganda the Batwa are minority ethnic group of people with a population of only 6200 people as of 2014 population census results.
They are also commonly referred to as pygmies due to their short size heights. A fully grown Mutwa on average has about 4 feet or less of height and this makes them shorter than any other person of average height in east African region. The Batwa are the original custodians and guardians of the Mgahinga forests as well as those of Bwindi Forest National Park, they lived a life that entirely depended on the forests as they hunted only what they could eat and gathered fruits from these forest. When they got sick, they still turned to the forest to provide them with herbs that were to cure them of their ailments. Long ago, the Batwa also lived a nomadic kind of lifestyle where they built temporary huts using tree branches and covering them with leaves as they would easily migrate from one area to another looking for better fruits and animals to hunt.
However, in 1991, when Bwindi was declared a national park, these people were evicted from the forests and now live on the peripherals of this forest park. In Mgahinga you can still find the Batwa within the national park confinements hence these people co-exist peacefully and harmoniously with other wild dwellers of this national park which include wild gorillas.
Meet the Batwa
With the presence of the Batwa within the park, you can easily have a Uganda cultural safari experience as part of Uganda safari activities in Mgahinga. During this activity, you will understand the way the Batwa used to live in the forest jungles, how they hunted, gathered their fruits, you will also be introduced to the jungle clinic where you will learn about the different herbs that the Batwa used to heal their ailments all of which are present in the forest.
This trail is carried out within the boundaries of Mgahinga National Park on the foothills of mount Sabinyo and Mount Muhavura. At the climax of the trail, you will be led to the Garama cave, this cave is 342 meters long and 14 meters deep and is found below a plateau that lies north of the park about 3km from Ntebeko park offices, the Garama cave holds a lot of cultural and social significance to the Batwa community because before their eviction from the forests, the Batwa used this cave as a council chamber and also a hide out for their warriors after they had raided their neighbouring communities. As of today, the Garama cave is a habitat for bats, the Batwa only use it as stage to showcase their music that are usually performed at the end of the Batwa trail walks.
During this musical performance, the Batwa will reminisce about their good old days in the forest and the agony of being evicted from their ancestral lands that came with the creation of Mgahinga national park. The entire Batwa trail costs 80$ and lasts for about 4 hours giving you ample time to enjoy and learn a thing or two from earliest inhabitants of East Africa. Being one of the most marginalized groups of people, part of the proceeds that are gained from this activity go directly in improving the lives of these people through construction and funding social infrastructures like schools and health centres within this community.
On a visit to Mgahinga gorilla park, you can choose to stay in any of the Uganda safari accommodations in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park such as Mount Gahinga Lodge, Lake Chahafi Resort, Mucha Hotel, Travellers Rest Hotel and Kisoro Tourist Hotel. Getting to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can be done by road using the Kampala- Mbarara- Kabale –Kisoro road which covers a distance of about 434km or a 10-hour drive from Kampala. You can also get to Mgahinga from Kigali city in Rwanda following the Kigali to Kisoro road via Cyanika border post. From Kigali to Cyanika border is 205 km and from Cyanika to Kisoro is 11 km.
Would you like to visit Mgahinga national park, check out Wild Gorilla Safaris. At Wild Gorilla Safaris, we strive to meet all your Africa safari needs as we have got virtually the safari packages that will give you a memorable Africa safari experience. For anyone interested in Uganda wildlife safaris packages we have got you covered with wide range of packages that are tailored basing on the number of days you have and the destination you would like to visit on your Uganda safari tour. If you’ve got only a few days, then choose from our short Uganda wildlife safaris which run from 2 days to 5 days such as 2 days Uganda wildlife safari to Murchison falls or 5 days Uganda wildlife safari with chimpanzees and many more. For those that have got more than 5 days, then I suggest pick from our compressive long Uganda wildlife safaris that run from 6 days to as many as 21 days such as
On top of an epic Uganda safari adventure to many of these savanna parks, you have an opportunity to encounter mountain gorillas. Yes, a Uganda gorilla tour experience is very possible when you visit gorilla trekking Uganda destinations Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. A Uganda gorilla safari to any of these parks gives you an opportunity to meet any of the 19 gorilla families that have been habituated to give you nothing but the ultimate Uganda gorilla tours experience, you can ever think of.
If you’re interested Uganda gorilla safaris these are available in both short Uganda gorilla safari packages such as 3 days gorilla tours in Bwindi and 4 days Bwindi gorilla tour and wildlife in Lake Mburo. There are also long Uganda gorilla tours that run from 6 days to as many as 18 days while featuring many other things along the way to the gorillas. After a magical gorilla tour in Uganda, you can always visit Lake Bunyonyi Uganda and enjoy the stunning views of this magical lake. A visit to Lake Bunyonyi gives you an opportunity to experience a boat ride on Africa’s second deepest lake.
Rwanda is also another gorilla destination you wouldn’t want to miss out on, hence if you are planning for a Rwanda gorilla safari package, check out some of our Rwanda gorilla tours packages which also come in form of short Rwanda gorilla gorilla safaris for those that have got only a few days in Rwanda but those that have got more days, then Long Rwanda gorilla trekking safari packages will do you good as they also give you a chance to visit other Rwanda safari attractions.
Congo as well is another gorilla destination and we have numerous Congo gorilla safari packages that will take you on a Congo gorilla tour adventure to either Virunga National Park for an encounter with mountain gorillas or Kahuzi Beiga National Park where you will encounter Eastern lowland gorillas. Besides gorilla safaris and wildlife encounters in Uganda, you can still explore Uganda’s diversity using any of our wide range of day trips that visit other sites that are near the capital city Kampala or Entebbe international airport such as a Mabamba birding day trip to Mabamba island Kampala city tour day tour Jinja day tour and 1 day Ngamba island chimpanzee safari. Check out our great east Africa safari to such as Kenya safari tours and Tanzania safari tour that take you on an Africa wildlife safari adventure to Kenya and Tanzania respectively.
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- 3 days Rwanda gorilla safari to Volcanoes National Park
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- 2 days Amboseli safari tour
- 2 days Masai Mara
- 4 days Masai Mara & lake Nakuru wildlife safari
- 3 Days Kenya Safari in Tsavo East & Tsavo West National Parks
- 5 Days Nakuru Naivasha & Mara Wildlife Safari
- 6 days Kenya wildlife safari to Maasai Mara, Nakuru, Amboseli
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- 12 days Mara Nakuru Aberdare and Tsavo west