Regional National Parks

Mgahinga NP

Mgahinga NP /Uganda/

The smallest, but possibly greatest, of Uganda’s national parks boasts three Virunga volcanoes: Muhavura (4,127m/13,540ft) with a lake at the top, Mount Gahinga (3,474m/11,398ft) with a swamp-filled crater, and Sabinyo (3,669m/11,959ft) where three countries meet. If you track mountain gorillas here you are a member of a special club. One habituated gorilla group means only eight visitors per day. The park’s closeness to Kisoro Town makes it very interesting to budget travellers.

Activities in Mgahinga NP

Park entry costs USD 40 for non-resident foreigners, USD 30 for resident foreigners and UGX 20,000 for East Africans. Children (5-15 years) pay USD 20 if they are non-residents, USD 10 if they are residents and UGX 5,000 if they are from East Africa. Primary/secondary school groups are charged UGX 3,000 per student. University/tertiary school groups are charged UGX 5,000 per student.

Gorilla Tracking in Mgahinga

Price (includes park entry fees): foreign visitors USD 700; foreign residents USD 600; East Africans UGX 250,000 — discounts valid till 30 June 2021: foreign visitors USD 400; foreign residents USD 300; East Africans UGX 150,000

Golden Monkeys in Mgahinga

Prices:
– golden monkey tracking: foreigners USD 60; East Africans UGX 40,000
– golden monkey experience: foreigners USD 100; East Africans UGX 100,000

Volcano Climbing in Mgahinga

Price (includes park entry fees): foreign visitors USD 80; foreign visitors USD 70; East Africans UGX 50,000

Sabinyo Gorge Walk & Other Nature Walks in Mgahinga

Prices:
– Sabinyo Gorge walk: foreign visitors USD 30; foreign residents USD 15; East Africans UGX 15,000
– other nature walks: foreign visitors USD 30; foreign residents USD 15; East Africans UGX 10,000

Batwa Trail Experience in Mgahinga

Price (includes park entry fees): foreigners USD 80; East Africans UGX 50,000

Volcanoes NP

Volcanoes NP /Rwanda/

Volcanoes NP; photo by Marcus Westberg

Near Musanze Town, Volcanoes National Park shares three volcanoes with Mgahinga and adds two more: Karisimbi (4,507m/14,787ft) and Bisoke (3,711m/12,175ft). It has 12 habituated mountain gorilla groups.

Activities in Volcanoes NP

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• gorilla tracking: USD 1,500 — discounts valid till 31 May 2021: families 15% discount (couples and children over 15 years old); foreign residents USD 500; Rwandans and EAC citizens USD 200; other nationals of Africa USD 500
• golden monkey tracking: foreign visitors USD 100; foreign residents USD 65; East Africans USD 55; Rwandans RWF 4,000; students RWF 2,000 — discounts valid till 31 May 2021: 10% off for individual travellers, 15% off for family visits
• Mt Bisoke climb (3,711m/12,175ft), a day trip: foreign visitors USD 75; foreign residents USD 65; East Africans USD 55; Rwandans RWF 4,000; students RWF 2,000 — discounts valid till 31 May 2021: 10% off for individual travellers, 15% off for family visits
• Mt Muhavura climb (4,127m/13,500ft), a day trip: foreign visitors USD 100; foreign residents USD 75; East Africans USD 60; Rwandans RWF 5,000; students RWF 3,000 — discounts valid till 31 May 2021: 10% off for individual travellers, 15% off for family visits
• Mt Gahinga climb (3,474m/11,400ft), a day trip: foreign visitors USD 75; foreign residents USD 65; East Africans USD 55; Rwandans RWF 4,000; students RWF 2,000 — discounts valid till 31 May 2021: 10% off for individual travellers, 15% off for family visits
• Mt Karisimbi climb (4,507m/14,787ft), a two-day trip: foreign visitors USD 400; foreign residents USD 250; East Africans USD 200; Rwandans RWF 30,000; students RWF 15,000 — discounts valid till 31 May 2021: 10% off for individual travellers, 15% off for family visits
• Mt Gahinga (3,474m/11,400ft) + Mt Muhavura climb, a two-day trip: foreign visitors USD 200; foreign residents USD 165; East Africans USD 130; Rwandans RWF 20,000; students RWF 10,000 — discounts valid till 31 May 2021: 10% off for individual travellers, 15% off for family visits
• Dian Fossey Tomb visit; foreign visitors USD 75; foreign residents USD 65; East Africans USD 60; Rwandans RWF 4,000; students RWF 2,000 — discounts valid till 31 May 2021: 10% off for individual travellers, 15% off for family visits
• Lake Ngezi hike and other nature walks, a 4-hour trip: foreign visitors USD 55; foreign residents USD 45; East Africans USD 35; Rwandans RWF 3,500; students RWF 2,000 — discounts valid till 31 May 2021: 10% off for individual travellers, 15% off for family visits

Virunga NP

Virunga NP /DR Congo/

looking into the lava lake; photo by Marcus Westberg

The oldest national park in Africa has staggering environmental variety: from the Congolese side of the Virungas through the savannah up to the permanent snow on the Mountains of the Moon i.e. the Rwenzoris (5,109 metres/16,762 ft). It includes Sabinyo, Karisimbi, Bisoke, Mikeno (4,437m/14,560ft), Nyamuragira (3,058m/10,031) and Nyiragongo (3,470m/11,400ft). Tourists can visit six mountain gorilla groups here, and they usually start their tracking from Goma/Gisenyi.

Other activities:
• climbing the active Nyiragongo volcano and spending a night there
• chimp habituation walk
• Tchegera Island overnight (Lake Kivu)

Virunga National Park is currently not open for tourism.

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Bwindi NP

Bwindi NP /Uganda/

The steep valleys and high ridges of Africa’s oldest rainforest hide much more than just mountain gorillas. Some of the highlights of different Bwindi gates:

• Buhoma: most accessible gorillas, nature walk to three waterfalls
• Nkuringo: spectacular views of the Virunga volcanoes
• Ruhija: nature walk to the bamboo zone or the big swamp that gave Bwindi its name, best birding
• Rushaga: largest number of habituated gorilla groups, the longer gorilla habituation experience, occasional visits of elephants

Activities in Bwindi NP

Park entry costs USD 40 for non-resident foreigners, USD 30 for resident foreigners and UGX 20,000 for East Africans. Children (5-15 years) pay USD 20 if they are non-residents, USD 10 if they are residents and UGX 5,000 if they are from East Africa. Primary/secondary school groups are charged UGX 3,000 per student. University/tertiary school groups are charged UGX 5,000 per student.

• Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi

Prices (include park entry fees):
– gorilla tracking: foreign visitors USD 700; foreign residents USD 600; East Africans UGX 250,000 — discounts valid till 30 June 2021: foreign visitors USD 400; foreign residents USD 300; East Africans UGX 150,000
– gorilla habituation experience: non-residents USD 1,500; residents USD 1,000; East Africans UGX 750,000

• Crossing Bwindi on Foot

Price: foreign visitors USD 30; foreign residents USD 15; East Africans UGX 10,000

• Nature Walks in Bwindi

Price: foreign visitors USD 30; foreign residents USD 15; East Africans UGX 10,000

• Bwindi Batwa Forest Experience

Price (includes park entry fees): foreigners USD 40; East Africans UGX 40,000

Activities near Bwindi NP

• Batwa Experiences in Buhoma and Nkuringo

• Community Walks in Buhoma

• Community Walk in Rushaga