Nyakagezi Gorilla Group in Mgahinga National Park where Gold meets silver
Nyakagezi Gorilla Group in Mgahinga National Park where Gold meets silver. Mgahinga gorilla national park is situated in the southwestern Uganda, Kisoro district and the is recorded as the smallest National park in Uganda that it covers 33.9sqkm. The park was established with the main reason to protect the highly threatened gorillas in 1991 as the name of the park advocates.
Mgahinga National park is of the Virunga massif that is composed of the three parks which include; Volcanoes National park, Rwanda, Virunga National park, DRC and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda.
It is only a 3hour drive from Kigali Rwanda to Mgahinga Gorilla National park and its about 8 or 9hour drive from Entebbe to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Therefore, one saves 5 to 6 hours having flown to Kigali than flying to Entebbe. Nyakagezi Gorilla group exists as the only habituated gorilla group in Mgahinga gorilla national park.
Nyakagezi gorilla group was named after a place in Mgahinga which has got plenty of food that attracts mainly gorillas to reside in this area, called” Nyakagezi” thus the name Nyakagezi gorilla group.
This group of Mountain Gorillas consists of 9 members including the silverback (reigning silverback), Bugingo (the former leader), Ndugutse and Rukundo (black backs), Mathew and MAFIA (silver backs), Mutagamba (infant), named after the former Minister of tourism, Nkanda and Furaha (juvenile).
The Nyakagezi area in Mgahinga extends up to the National frontiers with DRC and Rwanda at times the above group visits the other groups in Volcanoes and Virunga National parks.
Mark (the reigning silverback) still co exists with Bugingo (dormant silverback) who is about 45 years of age in harmony without clashes. Mark took over from his father Bugingo from then they live together in the same group unlike in the other gorilla families where, when a dominant gets old and weakens its usually dethroned, isolated thus forced to seek refuge in other groups. For example, in Mubare gorilla group, when Kanyonyi took over the leadership, from Ruhondeza, he left the group and lived a single life until his death.
Nyakagezi gorilla group is the pleasant group to visit it being the only group in Mgahinga national park, therefore, there is no congestion of visitors. This is a charming group that no one should miss out while on Ugandan safari with two silverbacks co-existing in harmony.
The amalgamation of gorilla trekking and the volcano hiking un Mgahinga gorilla national park, the three sets of the extinct volcanoes are situated in a park where the Nyakagezi gorilla group lives so this gives one a chance to meet two activities in the same place. Thus one may choose to attend to both activities in one day, or may decide to lodge for a night and run the activities in two days.
Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) sells 8 permits for Nyakagezi gorilla family in Mgahinga gorilla national park a day. These permits can be issued by UWA branch office in Kisoro town along Bunagana road or at Ntebeko briefing center in Mgahinga.
A gorilla permits for foreign nonresident costs $700, and $600 for foreign residents and 250,000 UGX for east African citizens.
UWA works hand in hand with Rwanda and DRC to improve wildlife management, conservation as well as tourism activities in the region. mountain gorillas usually move across the international boarders; hence international conservation efforts are aimed to managing these mountain highlands as one unit.
Before 2013, this group was very mobile and it used to cross to Rwanda and DRC but since then, it has settled as they prefer a small range for nesting, feeding, and relaxing and there is plenty of food to feed on.
NOTE; It is only in Mgahinga National park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National where gorillas can be tracked. While other tourist activities may include
- Batwa trail experience
- Visiting Garama cave
- Mountain hiking
- Golden monkey tracking.