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Mount Gahinga Volcano

Straddling between the Pearl of Africa and the land of thousand hills, this mountain as well shadows between Muhabura and Sabyinyo but it’s the smallest with a tower of 3,474m. Sometimes called Mgahinga, its name was sought from a local word that means small piles of volcanic stones.

Uniqueness of Mount Gahinga.

Gahinga is the youngest mountain of the Virungas. There are eight mountains that comprise Virunga ranges which have spanned through ages and pre-histories but Gahinga is just a century making it the youngest of them all.

It has a caldera on its summit. People who hike this mountain get unforgettable views of the swampy amazing circular water spot that is 180m wide. The caldera formed on the aftermath of an eruption before the mountain became extinct.

The slopes of Gahinga mountain are beautified by bamboo forests that offer thrilling sights for visitors, offering a chance to spot golden monkeys, mountain gorillas and other unique primates.

Hiking Mount. Gahinga.

Mountain Gahinga offers one of the easiest hikes which do not require any previous hiking experience whether it is done from Uganda or Rwanda. While in Uganda, the mountain is accessed from Mgahinga national park and Volcanoes national park for those that choose safaris from Rwanda.

Hiking Mount. Gahinga starts at 7am in both countries and climbers converge at the park headquarters for briefing where they get informed about the hiking trails, safety precautions of the activity among others.

The climb takes around 6-8 hours to hike this mountain but while on the way to the summit of this amazing natural tower, endless views from golden monkeys, mountain gorillas, bush duikers, bird species, black and white colobus monkeys are rewarding.

Other attractions and activities.

Mountain Gorillas.

About 80 gorillas are protected in the bamboo forests of Mgahinga National Park and these wild gifts being widely endangered are the main tourist attraction in the park with the only gorilla family being Nyakagezi. Visitors shouldn’t miss traveling with a very spectacular camera to capture the amazing moments that they don’t want to forget in the one hour they spend gazing at the huge apes found in the park.

Wild life.

While on the hike of Mountain Gahinga, visitors get lost in sights of animals like geckos, snakes, elephants, spotted hyenas, leopards, golden cats, bushbucks, among others.

Golden monkeys.

The bright colored fur mixed of gold, orange and brown attracts a variety of tourists to gaze and appreciate the kind of nature that make Uganda the Pearl of Africa. The bamboo forests found in Gahinga are sacred to these wonderful monkeys as they both fed on them and use them as shelter leaving in groups of up to 100 all loyal to their male Alpha. Visitors usually don’t strain with glimpsing these small primates as they can be sighted easily joying high in the sky and trees.

Activities around Mount Gahinga.

Golden monkeys and Gorilla trekking experiences.

The Virunga massif is filled with pride for being the only area that keeps secrets of the golden monkeys in Uganda and Gahinga is one of the blessed environments for spotting these beautiful monkeys. Tourists can double a gorilla trek, golden monkey habituation, with a hike to this mountain. Searching for monkeys is less strenuous compared to tracing for gorillas as they don’t move over long distances and enjoy jumping on tree branches. A gorilla trekking permit of just $700 and golden monkey trekking permit at 60$ give tourists the opportunity to wow the wonders of the beauty brought by these primates.

Batwa trail experience.

Batwa are the original inhabitants of these forests as they benefited from them for the past 500,000 years before they were resettled from the amazing sceneries of the forest. As they were clanged to spending their lives with nature, they didn’t go far away from the park even when they were relocated hence visitors get to contribute to their wellness by buying hand crafts done by them, getting entertained by them through traditional dances, songs, learning about their history among others.

Bird watching

The Virunga massif is glorified with about 250 birds and about 115 of these can be traced in Mgahinga national park. The best time for birding in this area is April to May and October to November.

Visitors get to gaze at some of the following species that include double collared sun bird, paradise fly catcher, fire finch stonechat, olive woodpecker among others.

When to hike Mount. Gahinga?

Hiking the mountain can be done year in and out from either Rwanda or Uganda but the dry season is more recommended as it provides dry hiking trials to climbers that are manageable. Usually both Uganda and Rwanda have a dry season that spans from June to September and December to February.

How much is hiking Mount Gahinga?

The cost of hiking Gahinga mountain is $80 per person and visitors who require to climb this mountain with help from porters will pay an extra cost for their services (usually 15$ / 20$ per person).

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