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is a typically scruffy little town set amongst some spectacular mountain scenery in the extreme south-west corner of Uganda
. The town contains little to interest most travellers, except perhaps for the large and colourful market.
Mgahinga National Park lies amongst the spectacular mountain backdrop to the south-west of the town, a very small 33 square kilometre reserve which is contiguous with the much larger Virunga Mountains National Park
over the border in Rwanda.
This combined reserve is one of the two most important habitats for mountain gorillas, along with Bwindi Forest
a little further to the north.
However Mgahinga is not considered a very good location for gorillas since it contains only one habituated family which tends to migrate unpredictably back and forth to Rwanda and Congo. But the reserve does offer some good opportunities for mountain hiking.
Up until late 2011 we used to operate safaris which connected Uganda and Rwanda by road, in which case we would often include a stop here at Mgahinga. But these days the key locations in Uganda are properly serviced by light aircraft services and these arduous and expensive overland journeys have become rather redundant.
We therefore rarely have cause to include the following accommodation options in trips ...Mount Gahinga Lodge
... is a good quality lodge on the border of the national park. It was originally built as a base for gorilla tracking, but which is now more focussed on generalised trekking in the spectacular volcanic scenery.Kisoro Travellers Rest
.... is a pleasant and historic small hotel close to down in the valley below.
Instead we tend to most commonly recommend Bwindi Forest
as the prime area for viewing mountain gorillas.