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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda’s smallest national park, sits at an altitude between 7000 and 13,000 feet, making for some stunning views. Mgahinga’s most striking features are its three conical, extinct volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga Range that borders Uganda, Congo and Rwanda and forms part of the larger Virunga Conservation Area. As well as being important for wildlife, the park also has a huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivalled.

As the name implies Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to groups of the rare mountain gorillas as well as endangered golden monkeys. While gorilla trekking in Mgahinga is possible, there are fewer habituated groups than in Bwindi and the groups are easily able to move between Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo making sightings less reliable. For us, the stunning views, the lack of crowds, the hiking and opportunities to visit with and learn from the local Batwa communities are the real draw of Mgahinga.

Mount Gahinga Lodge is our favorite property in Mhahinga.

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Elizabeth Gordon