Gahinga is part of the Virunga chain Mountains. The name, loosely translated into the English language means ‘little piles of stones. It is situated on the border of Uganda and Rwanda. This mountain is located between Mountain Sabinyo (Virunga’s oldest volcano) and Mountain Muhabura. However, it is the smallest of all three volcanoes. As an important feature of this Volcano, it has a swampy caldera on its summit. This caldera has an area coverage of 180 meters. Out of its nomenclature, Mgahinga National Park attained its name.
Mount. Gahinga stands at an elevation of 11,394 feet above sea level and is an extension of the Mufumbiro range. It’s also a strata-volcano, containing an Afro-montane Forest coverage mainly made of bamboo. This forest cover is the home of mountain gorillas that are grouped as endangered species by UNESCO.
Mount. Gahinga is an extinct volcano which means that there is barely any hope of volcanic eruption. It is located near Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The bamboo vegetation on the slopes of this mountain are a home in which primates such as mountain gorillas and golden monkeys build their nests and attain food from. Other primates such as baboons, vervet monkeys, colobus monkeys and blue monkeys also call this place home. The national park in which this mountain is located is 483 kilometers south of Kampala and can take an average of about 9 – 10 hours of driving to reach there.
ACTIVITIES THAT HAPPEN AT MOUNTAIN GAHINGA.
In contrast with its sister volcanoes like mountain Sabyinyo, hiking mountain Gahinga is much easier. With proper fitness of the hikers, hiking experiences to the peak can take about 6 hours. However, to engage in this activity, tourists need a proper hiking permit which goes for $75 each. The beauty of these hiking permits is that tourists are not required to book in advance. As a usual practice, the hike starts with a brief by the authorities. The brief covers what tourists should expect and how best they should prepare for the hike.
The activity is then followed by assignment of tour guides and porters. Tourists shouldn’t worry about carrying their own hiking sticks since hiking sticks are provided by the park.
Gorilla trekking tours.
This is the main activity for which Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is known. Hiking Mgahinga Mountain is therefore advised to be combined with gorilla trekking to have a wholesome experience. The trekking adventure commences at 8:00am after a briefing session at the national park’s offices at Ntebeko.
These primates are also considered as endangered species and can only be located in the Virunga region. Mgahinga National Park has the highest composition of these creatures and the numbers are set at 3,500 individuals. They are beautiful creatures that tourists should be interested in viewing. Each golden monkey trekking permit costs $100. The trekking goes on for more than one hour.
There are about 180 bird species on the slopes of this volcano. About 12 of these bird species are endemic to Virunga conservation area. They are visible within the vast bamboo vegetation cover on the slopes of these mountains and the best viewing season is during dry season.
Some of these are Alpine swift, blue-headed coucal, grey-throated barbet, macKinnon’s shrike, African citril, thick-billed seedeater, red-eyed dove, African dusty flycatcher, mountain oriole, mountain yellow warbler, and African olive pigeon, among others.