Mount. Gahinga

Mount. Gahinga

Here is what you need to know about Mount. Gahinga; this is the name which was adopted and given to Mgahinga national park in the southwestern part of Uganda. It is one of the eight mountains making up the network of great Virunga chain of mountains, occupying a portion of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Other mountains include; mountain Karisimbi, Visoke, Nyiragongo, Muhabura, Sabyinyo, Nyamuragira and Mount. Mikeno. This stratovolcano is believed to have been in existence for over 100,000 years.

The natives in their Kinyarwanda dialect term it as “a small pile of stones” because of its outlook and the swampy caldera at the summit. It is smaller than Mount. Muhabura and Sabyinyo, in which it lies in between but so epic.

The caldera at the peak is raised about 3,473m above sea level and spans to 180m wide. Afro-montane and bamboo forest vegetation occupy the base. The mountain is composed of piles of small stones.

Accessing the mountain.

As it is at the border between Rwanda and Uganda, any of the two countries can be a gateway to it. But first in Uganda; you will have a full day drive from Kampala to Kisoro – Mgahinga Gorilla National Park via the scenic Mbarara route. Then in Rwanda, drive northeast to Volcanoes National Park which also shelters a portion of the mountain. Flying to Mgahinga national park is also an easier option, instead of stressing up the entire day with long drives and road humps.

Cost of Hiking Mount. Gahinga.

Exclusive of the entrance fee, price for other optional activity, porters, meals and accommodation; the hiking permit costs 80 USD for foreigners, whereas East African citizens and Ugandans are charged 50,000ugx, payable on the same day or months before travelling. The permits can be acquired through a tour operator at the Uganda wildlife authority offices in Kampala or in Kisoro where the park is located.

Activities and attractions in and around Mount. Gahinga.

Hiking.

Mount. Gahinga is the smallest and easiest mountain to hike of all the 8 mountains making up the Virunga ranges. No experience, or technical equipment’s needed to get to the summit; but rather commitment, and love for the hike. You need about 6 hours to ascend and descend the peak; with amazing views of the rolling hills, scattered homesteads, and the lush forest cover.

The hike starts at approximately 7:00am local time with a briefing session. After everyone has converged, the guide and head ranger will explain the entire hiking experience, formation of the mountain and other mountains in the vicinity and then set you off for an adventure.

Mountain Gorillas.

Mountain Gorillas feed, relax and sleep at the foothills of this mountain range increasing your chances of encountering them while ascending or descending. Mountain Gorillas are a rare species of gorillas found only in the continent of Africa. Their entire bodies are covered with black hair except for the ears, nose and thumbs.

With a gorilla permit costing 700 USD for Non-foreign residents, 60usd for foreign residents and 250,000ugx for east African residents, trekking mountain gorillas can be an addition to hiking the magnificent Mount. Gahinga.

Golden monkeys.

These are one of the creatures you can encounter on your hike to and from the mountain summit. The golden monkeys are some of the most beautiful and active monkeys in the world. They play in the tree branches at the foothill of the mountain, feed on bamboo shoots and spend nights there.

Best time to climb mount Gahinga.

Dry season is the best time for hiking and exploring the great Mount. Gahinga. These are months ranging from late December to March and June to September.

Though least talked about, Mount. Gahinga is one of the most interesting mountains in the Virunga mountains. Standing at its summit exposes you to both verdant plains and green vegetation of Rwanda and Uganda.