Virunga National Park is a national park in the Albertine Rift Valley in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was created in 1925 and is among the first protected areas in Africa. In altitude, it ranges from 680 m in the Semliki River valley to 5,109 m in the Rwenzori Mountains.

The park is part of the larger Virunga Conservation area that spreads over the three countries. Each of these countries protects its own portion of the Virungas, in the Parc National des Volcans and Parc National des Virunga respectively. The three parks together form the 434-sq. km. ‘Virunga Conservation Area’ or VCA. Mgahinga is 33.7 sq. km, just 8% of the VCA. The entire Park is in Bufumbira County of Kisoro District.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is 33.7 sq. km and consists of the partly forested slopes of three extinct volcanoes. From far away, the huge cones of the Virunga volcanoes dominate the landscape and beckon you as you approach. When you reach the park you can get a great overview of the area by walking up the viewpoint, just 15 minutes from Ntebeko Gate.

Mgahinga Park has great biological importance because throughout the climatic changes of the Pleistocene ice ages, mountains such as these provided a refuge for mountain plants and animals, which moved up or down the slopes as climate became warmer or cooler. The Virungas are home to a large variety of wildlife, including about half the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas.

Things to do and to see

Always keep an eye open when you’re out in the park and if you’re lucky, you might see one of the many breeds of monkeys and birds who see the Virunga National Park as their home. But also bigger mammals like Elephants, Buffalo and Hippo can be found in the Virunga Park.During your stay at the Mikeno Lodge, the Virunga Park Headquarters and the Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage are really just a short walk away. If you’re interested, you can get a tour and see behind the screens of the entire operation. Who knows, you might get to meet the Director of the park, Prins Emmanuel De Merode.

Maps and Transportation

At just 33.7km2, Mgahinga National Park is Uganda’s smallest national park. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the southwestern corner of Uganda. The Park covers the northern slopes of the three northernmost Virunga Volcanoes: Mt. Muhavura (4,127 m), Mt. Gahinga (3,474 m), and Mt. Sabinyo (3,645 m). The Park is about 10 km south of Kisoro and is bordered to the south by the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and to the west by the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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The park is part of the larger Virunga Conservation area that spreads over the three countries. Each of these countries protects its own portion of the Virungas, in the Parc National des Volcans and Parc National des Virunga respectively. The three parks together form the 434-sq. km. ‘Virunga Conservation Area’ or VCA. Mgahinga is 33.7 sq. km, just 8% of the VCA. The entire Park is in Bufumbira County of Kisoro District.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is 33.7 sq. km and consists of the partly forested slopes of three extinct volcanoes. From far away, the huge cones of the Virunga volcanoes dominate the landscape and beckon you as you approach. When you reach the park you can get a great overview of the area by walking up the viewpoint, just 15 minutes from Ntebeko Gate.

Mgahinga Park has great biological importance because throughout the climatic changes of the Pleistocene ice ages, mountains such as these provided a refuge for mountain plants and animals, which moved up or down the slopes as climate became warmer or cooler. The Virungas are home to a large variety of wildlife, including about half the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas.

Things to See in Mgahinga National Park

There are lots of things to see in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. From the endangered mountain gorillas to golden monkeys, three of the Virunga Volcanoes and unique flora and fauna. Here are the top attractions of Mgahinga National Park. that you should not miss! Checkout the full list of things to see in the park

Mountain Gorillas

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to more than half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorilla. Fortunately for the gorillas are the main reason as to why the park was created by the Uganda government.

Virunga Volcanoes

Mgahinga is one of the most scenic given that the park lies on the northern slopes of Mt. Muhabura, Mgahinga and Sabyinyo. These three volcanoes create an unforgettable regional backdrop.

Golden Monkeys

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the only destination where Silver meets Gold. The park protects both mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The golden monkeys are an ancient group of monkeys that are only found in the Virunga.

Mount Sabyinyo

Sabinyo has three peaks. Sabyinyo is a local word that comes from the word ‘Iryinyo’, meaning tooth. The borders of three countries converge on this summit and you will find yourself simultaneously in Rwanda, Congo and Uganda.

Mount Gahinga

Mgahinga National Park derives its name from this volcanic mountain.This dormant/extinct volcano lies on the border between Uganda and Rwanda. An ascent of Mount Gahinga climbs from Ntebeko takes around 6 hours.

Mount Muhabura

This classic volcanic cone is capped by a small but lake; a modest reward for a 5 hour trek that rises 1700m to over 41OOm. The word Gahinga comes from the local Rufumbira dialect meaning “a small pile of stones”.

Maps and Transportation

The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a biodiverse, mountainous area in southwest Uganda. It’s home to many of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, who feed on roots, leaves and fruits from the park’s many tree and fern species. Restricted numbers of viewing permits help protect the endangered gorilla families. In the park, rough paths weave amid dense forests, which are home to many butterflies and birds.

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Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi National Park

Getting There

Bwindi has various gorilla families in different locations, be careful not to select the accommodation not close to the briefing point.

Where To Stay ?

You can choose to take a charter flight from Entebbe or spend some hours on the road while enjoying the scenery. More information here.
Gorilla Trails within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, there are 4 different areas where you can track the mountain gorillas,  and they include Buhoma, Ruhija,Rushaga and Nkuringo. Each of these areas has specialized accommodation close to the tracking area.

How To get a gorilla trekking permit?

Visiting the Gorillas of Uganda require that you get a tracking permit at a cost of $ 750. Here are some guidelines to follow

Which Uganda Safari Company To Use

Are you finding it hard to make up your mind on which tour company to book your safari with? Find our list of reliable agents.

How To Trek The Gorillas

Rules for gorilla tracking and more information.

What To Wear?

Gorilla Trekking gear guide, Good quality walking boots if trying any hikes or even climbs, warm layers of cloth for the cold evenings and clothing for wet weather remember it becomes cold and wet at this high altitude. However during the day, the sun is strong even when cloudy therefore always remember to carry and wear sunscreen as well as a sun hat. In addition, you may have to carry along waterproof bags to safeguard cameras and binoculars plus additional equipment for the hike. Water plus snacks are additional recommended items plus a packed lunch for people doing full-day expeditions.

Gorilla Families

A list of habituated gorilla groups and where they are located.

Where Else Can I see The Gorillas?

You can visit the mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. See this link for Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
Nature Walks, Nature walks in Bwindi area, visit the Batwa, Munyangwa River and so much more.

Birdwatching

The diverse habitats in Uganda’s most ancient forest imply that is the perfect habitat for a diversity of bird species, with about 350 recorded different species, with 23 endemics. More info about Birding in Bwindi.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

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Accommodations in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Information on where to stay in Bwindi before and after gorilla trekking in Uganda. The list below is for budget, midrange and luxury options. Buhoma is well known for its range of accommodation that favors both budget and up-market tourists. It’s always better to book in advance.

Up-market as well as Moderate locations

  • Lake Kitandara Camp
  • Gorilla Resort
  • Gorilla Forest Camp
  • Buhoma homestead
  • Gorilla Homestead
  • Bwindi Volcanoes Lodge
  • Engangi Camp Uganda
  • Nkuringo Gorilla Campsite
  • Buhoma Community Bandas
  • Mantana Tented Camp

Budget locations

Our best choice for budget accommodation is Bwindi Gorilla Conservation Camp

Other places to stay in include Bwindi view Canteen as well as Buhoma Community Campground.
Ruhija: its well known for its guesthouse can easily be booked through Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Maps and Transportation

Located in Nyanza District about 85km from Kigali City, the construction of the building started in 1957 and completed in 1959 as a Palace for King Mutara III Rudahigwa but he passed away before occupying it.

In May 2006 the building was transformed into a National Art Gallery until May 2018 when a new Museum of Art was opened up in the former state house located in Kanombe. For the moment, a new exhibition focusing on “ Home grown solutions” as one of strategies and solutions used by the country for economic development and peace building aftermath of 1994 Genocide against Tutsis is under preparation.

Meanwhile, the museum still open to the public with exhibition photos on daily life and history of Africans among them we have Nigerians, Ugandans and Rwandans.

Rwanda’s National Art Gallery: A Palace For Contemporary Art

Rwanda’s most prestigious art museum is housed inside what was meant to be King Mutara III Rudahigwa’s new palace (he died before the building was completed in somewhat mysterious circumstances after a routine vaccination went wrong). Today it houses mostly contemporary paintings and stylistic sculptures on themes dealing with the genocide, unity and brotherhood. Keep hold of your ticket, as admission to this museum entitles you to a 30% discount at King’s Palace Museum – Rukari.

Maps and Transportation

This brand new museum opened its doors on 16th July 2015. Based at Lake Kivu in the Western Province, the building consists of two floors with a traditional herbal medicine garden based on rooftop. It is the first and only environment museum on the continent that exhibits energy sources both renewable and none renewable. The museum is the center of education for our visitors, helps them to understand and safeguard their environment and ensure an integrated and durable development.

From the museum view of lake Kivu

Different families of animals in this museum are present

Crocodile

There’s plenty of things to do: kayaking, boat tours, lounging at the beach, etc. And you can do it from Gisenyi, Kibuye, or Kamembe.

Maps and Transportation

A perhaps more optimistic place to visit while in Kigali is the Kandt House. The former home of Dr. Richard Kandt, a physician and explorer who traveled to Rwanda in 1897, the house has a strongly historical air. Kandt is credited with being one of the founders of the city in 1907, when he established a base for the center of administration for German East Africa. He also discovered one of the sources of the mighty Nile River. Situated just 10 kilometers from Kigali International Airport and the city center, this attraction is easily accessed by tourists.

Last but not least, it is the only remaining mark of the former Natural History Museum, that is; a temporary exhibition of live snakes, and a baby crocodile (measured 1 m in 2017). While visiting this external part, one can enjoy the view of spectacular surrounding scenery, most importantly, stunning view of Kigali, Shyorongi, and Jari mountains.

At the present moment, Kandt House Museum comprises three main parts:

The first part presents Rwandan life in all its aspects (social, economic, and politically: monarchism) before the colonial period.

Why to visit Kandt House Natural History

In the second part, which is the biggest one, the museum traces experience of Rwandan people during the colonial period, more specifically under the German rule from 1884 (the time of Berlin conference), throughout colonial administration, World War I, few to mention; up to 1916, including Richard Kandt life and his deeds in Rwanda.

Another attractive gallery is the third part where the history of Kigali; Kigali before colonial time, during colonial, and its naissance as capital city, is well presented.

Maps and Transportation

In the Northern Province of Gicumbi district, 80 kilometres northeast of Kigali at Mulindi w’Intwali lies the National Liberation Museum Park. This museum tells the story of the Rwandan Liberation struggle that brought an end to the Genocide against Tutsis. This struggle was initiated by the political wing known as the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), led by its military wing, Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), from 1st October 1990 to 4th July 1994.

The museum illustrates the sequence of events before, during, and after the struggle through visuals that include texts and artifacts. One of the objects exhibits the bunker which protected the then Chairman of High Command, now President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E Paul Kagame. Other objects embody the Arusha Agreement, the Campaign against Genocide, Radio Muhabura used by the RPF and RPA for mobilization, like-minded events as well as initiatives. Visitors are always fascinated by the longstanding bunker that sheltered H.E Paul Kagame along other officials’ bunkers.

What You Should Know:

We are currently going through the consultancy period on the construction of the Liberation Park museum. The consultation will be within Rwanda and directed to the people of Rwanda. The foundation stone was laid by H.E the President of the Republic of Rwanda at “Umurindi w’intwari”.whilst the place is being visited.It is one of 8 sites we have as Institute of National Museums of Rwanda.

Maps and Transportation

Situated on a hill 2km southwest of town, this fascinating museum is less about ancient history and more about royal residences. The displays centre on a replica king’s ‘palace. Inclusive in the ticket price is a guided tour that helps explain some of the architectural idiosyncrasies inside the royal compound, including why the royal beer brewer’s hut had an entrance without a lip, and other curiosities such as why the woman who looked after the king’s milk was never able to marry.

Behind the royal compound are the inyambo (sacred cows) with their super-sized horns. In some, the span between the horn tip and horn tip exceeds 2.5m. Despite their fearsome appearance they seem to like nothing better than having lullabies sung to them!

Crowning the hill itself is the royal residence of King Mutara III Rudahigwa, built by Belgium in 1931. This colonial-style home served as the royal palace until he died. Unfortunately, most of the furniture and gifts he received from visiting dignitaries were stolen during the genocide, but it’s still an interesting home to wander through, with its peculiarities including three sitting rooms, the best of which was reserved for receiving white people. There are also excellent panels (in English) about Rwanda’s history. Mutara was the first mwami (king) to convert to Catholicism and in the beginning, was so enthralled by the Belgian rulers that he once thanked God for having sent them to Rwanda.

What You Should Know:

Based in Nyanza, 88 km south of Kigali Capital City, this was the residence of King Mutara III Rudahingwa and the Royal Palace that was traditionally built. This Palace offers a glimpse into Rwandan traditional seat of their monarchy, it is an impressive museum, restored to its 19th century state and made entirely with traditional materials. Recently the Long horned Traditional cows, Inyambo were also introduced for cows make up most of Rwandan Culture . On the neighboring hill of Mwima, one can also visit the burial grounds of King Mutara III and his wife Queen Rosalie Gicanda.

Maps and Transportation

Kigali City Tour on your Visit Rwanda trip will take you to Rwanda’s Genocide Memorial.

Long before visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial, even before stepping onto Rwandan soil, you have so many questions you ask yourself.like What led to the unconscionable, systematic slaughter of more than 1 Million Rwandans — mostly ethnic Tutsis — over just 100 days in 1994?

How does a country not just survive but recover from such a harrowing human catastrophe?

How does the atrocity influence the interactions between Rwandans today and what deep, dark holes are left in their hearts?

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Remarkably though, Rwanda today is a country rebuilt. As I  can be driven into Kigali, you can find a clean, developed city (Rwanda is one of the cleanest countries in Africa) with a strong infrastructure, modern buildings and well-paved roads — the very streets where Tutsis were openly maimed and killed just 25 years ago.

What You Should Know:

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  • I strongly suggest visiting the memorial at the beginning of your trip to Rwanda. The perspective gained from your visit will provide valuable historical, social and cultural context as you explore the country further.
  • Entrance is free but do consider offering a 10 USD donation. The centre, managed by the UK-based Aegis Trust (an NGO committed to genocide prevention), relies on monetary gifts to maintain the memorial, educate the world about the dangers of racism and support survivors of the genocide.
  • Dedicate at least 2-3 hours to complete the tour.
  • For a more informative experience, an audio guide (headset) is available for 15 USD at the beginning of the tour.
  • Complete your visit by sipping coffee or, if you don’t lose your appetite after viewing the exhibits, eating lunch at the onsite café. Proceeds help the centre fulfill its mission.
  • Photography inside the building is not permitted but you’re free to take photos outside.

Maps and Transportation

Experience Twin Lakes Burera and Ruhondo in Rwanda

Lake Burera or Bulera is a lake of northwestern Rwanda. It borders Uganda on the southern slopes of Mount Muhavura. It lies to the east of Lake Ruhondo and Musanze.

Between Musanze and the Ugandan border are two scenic lakes usually referred to as the twin lakes; Lake Bulera and Lake Ruhondo.

While you are on a safari in Rwanda, You can visit the island, where you will get a boat or dugout canoe ride to the respective island in lakes Ruhondo and Burera.

Enjoy the nice scenery and bring packed lunch and have a picnic at the island. Discover nature in traditional canoes, enjoy the breathtaking landscape, wetland habitat and water birds.

Twin Lakes Burera and Ruhundo in Musanze can be visited after  Gorilla tracking or after Golden monkey tracking.

Camping on Lake Burera

After you have headed to Musanze,  just head northwest as if you were heading to Gisenyi (google maps has all the information).

Upon arrival at Cyuza’s Island, you will take a short (and uphill) five minute walk to the eating area, which is really just a cement and wood open-air room with a thatched roof.

It has a beautiful view of the lake, and looks out over the Muhabura volcano. Regarding sleeping arrangements, the camping area is great.

Since it’s Musanze, it can get pretty chilly at night, so don’t forget the cozy blankets and sweaters! Something to keep in mind: this is not a ‘luxurious’ experience – there aren’t showers, the bathroom is a (well-maintained) compost toilet, and I would advise bringing (and cooking) your own food.

However – this place is lovely, good value, and a unique way to spend a weekend in Rwanda!

The view from tents, as pictured above, is still one of the best views you can  ever have.

In addition the tourist doesn’t have to worry about  transport and all accommodations  are covered by Land Tours and Travel company

Maps and Transportation