Garama Caves in Mgahinga National Park

Your guided tour of the Garama caverns allows you to learn about the lifestyle of these gatherers and hunters who coexisted well with the nature. The Garama cave is 342 meters long and 14 meters deep, and expect to see bats as you travel through it.

The Garama caverns are located around 342 meters beneath a plateau in the northern part of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, 3 kilometers from Ntebeko. It is established inside the old farming zone, although the Garama caverns were discovered in the forest when it was mostly populated by the Batwa pygmies. The Batwa are a few extraordinary animals who lived in the forest for almost 500,000 years and left it undamaged, which is unusual given the present state. Currently, the Garama caverns provide the greatest location for the Batwa cultural show at the conclusion of the Batwa route, elevating the park not only to the top of the list for mountain gorilla trekking safaris, but also for spectacular cultural interactions in Uganda and throughout the world.

When planning your mountain gorilla trekking safaris to Mgahinga National Park or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, including Garama cave exploration on your list of activities in Uganda. The Batwa route, which goes up to the spectacular Garama caverns, is available. When you arrive in the cave, you will be greeted with darkness, followed by the most spectacular cultural and musical performance by the Batwa women, who will be singing songs of grief about “why they were removed from their treasured forest” and pleading to be allowed to return to their wonderful forest. The Garama caverns provided sanctuary to the Batwa during times of distress, such as conflicts, particularly from the Bantu, and also served as a temporary house for their monarch. The hike through these amazing caverns takes 3 to 4 hours and is 3 kilometers long from the park gate.

Your guided tour of the Garama caverns allows you to learn about the lifestyle of these gatherers and hunters who coexisted well with the nature. The Garama cave is 342 meters long and 14 meters deep, and expect to see bats as you travel through it. Look no farther than the Garama cave exploration in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda for magnificent cultural safaris.

The cave is located 14 kilometers south of Kisoro district and leads guests on a pleasant journey to the base of Mount Muhabura’s huge bulk. While exploring Garama Cave, you will be accompanied by the Batwa, who will explain their way of life, practices, and show you to where their cultural acts take place. A face-to-face interaction with the Batwa pygmies is an exciting experience considering their remarkable height of only 1.5 meters. At the conclusion of the Batwa Trail, the cave now hosts an evocative performance of Batwa music. This is one of the caves where the cunning Batwa (warriors) formerly dwelt and battled their Bantu neighbors.

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What else to see and do when visiting Garama Caves in Mgahinga National Park?

Mount Gahinga

This volcanic peak inspired the name of Mgahinga National Park.This dormant/extinct volcano is located on the Uganda-Rwanda border. Mount Gahinga, which reaches to 3,474 meters, is located between Sabinyo and Muhavura. The term Gahinga derives from the Kinyarwanda/Rufumbira dialect and means “a small pile of stones.” Mount Gahinga features a marshy caldera on its top that is said to be 180 meters wide. The vegetation atop the mountain is afro-montane, with bamboo serving as the primary plant.

The bamboo woods on Mount Gahinga, like those on Muhabura and Mount Sabyinyo , provide home for the park’s endangered mountain gorillas. The Mount Gahinga environment includes a variety of diverse animal and bird species. The golden monkeys stand out among these. An ascent of Mt. Gahinga takes you through bamboo forest to a verdant wetland in the summit crater. It takes around 6 hours to get from Ntebeko.

Mount Muhavura

Muhabura is another name for Mount Muhavura. This is one of the virunga Ranges’ eight volcanoes. It is an extinct volcano on the border between Rwanda and Uganda. Muhabura, at 4,127 meters above sea level, is the third highest of the Virunga range’s eight main mountains. It is part of the Albertine Rift, which is the western branch of the East African Rift. Muhabura is located in Uganda and Rwanda. It is located in both Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Muhabura is taken from the local language, Kinyarwanda, and is most likely derived from a past use of the mountain to help navigation. Because of its steep hills, the park can be viewed from many regions of Uganda and Rwanda.

A tiny lake crowns this typical volcanic cone. Seeing this lake is a little reward for a 5-hour hike that climbs from 1700m to above 4100m. The mountain slopes are distinguished by magnificent alpine flora. The Muhuvura track is the quickest and shortest way to see this spectacular flora, whereas the View includes the five other Virunga volcanoes, the rift valley, Lake Edward, and (in clear weather) the Rwenzori mountains. The 12-kilometer round journey takes about 8 hours. If you have your own equipment, try staying at the ranger station near the volcano’s base to get an early start (and enhance your chances of seeing good views).

Mount Sabyinyo

Sabyinyo is one of three volcanoes in Mgahinga National Park that are part of the Virunga Mountains. Mount Sabyinyo is made up of three summits. Sabyinyo is a Kinyarwanda term that derives from the word ‘Iryinyo,’ which means teeth. This mountain, also known as Sabinio, is an extinct volcano in Eastern Africa. The peak is known locally as “Old Man’s Teeth” because its serrated summit resembles worn teeth in a gum line (as opposed to the perfect conical summits of the mountains in this group).

Sabyinyo may be found in three different countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The mountain is located northeast of Rwanda’s Lake Kivu and west of Uganda’s Lake Bunyonyi. Its 3,645-meter (11,959-foot) peak marks the convergence of the frontiers of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. It is also surrounded by national parks established to preserve mountain gorillas by these countries: Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Volcanoes National Park (PNV) in Rwanda, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Mt. Sabyinyo’s slopes are home to endangered Mountain Gorillas.

Hiking Mount Sabyinyo

An ascent climbs to Peak 1 first, then to Peak 2 through a narrow ridge with magnificent fall into deep canyons on both sides. Peak 3 is accessible through a muddy scramble. The boundaries of three nations intersect on this mountain, and you will find yourself in Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda at the same time. The 14km round journey takes around 8 hours.

Garama Caves in Mgahinga National Park

Virunga Volcanoes

Mgahinga National Park has three of the volcanoes that make up the Virunga Region: Gahinga, Sabyinyo, and Muhabura/Muhavura Mountains. Visitors to the park may enjoy beautiful landscapes and hiking possibilities in these magnificent mountains. A trek volcano is an experience you will never forget, whether you are a seasoned mountain climber or a beginner.


The Virunga is distinguished by three vegetation zones that closely correlate to the East African mountains: Afromontane Forest below 2,500m, typical bamboo between 2,500 and 3500m, and Afro-alpine moorland above 3500m. The Virunga gorillas live on all six defunct or inactive volcanoes. The Virungas also protect endangered golden monkeys and relic populations of elephants, buffaloes, yellow-backed duiker, and giant forest hog.

Wildlife in Mgahinga National Park

The slopes of Mgahinga National Park are covered with a succession of unique altitudinal bands of flora. The lowest zone is a recovering region of grass and brush that was previously encroached and removed by farmers. The undisturbed vegetation begins with montane woodland, then moves on to the bamboo zone, montane forest, and the Ericaceous zone, which is home to huge tree heathers. The succession culminates in the stunning alpine zone, which occurs solely on East African highlands over 3000m and has unusual enormous lobelia and groundsel forms.


There are at least 39 animal species and 79 bird species in the park. Elephants, leopards, buffalo, and wild pigs are larger creatures that are rarely seen. The mountain gorilla, which lives within the forest, is Mgahinga’s most renowned resident. The golden monkey, which is found only in the Virungas and one other forest in Rwanda, is a less well-known but equally endangered species. The Rwenzori turaco, crowned hornbill, black kite, and crowned crane are among the notable bird species.

Golden Monkey Trekking in Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga National Park provides the opportunity to follow golden monkeys, also known as a separate race of the more common blue monkeys, a little-known bamboo-associated taxonomic primate classed as ‘endangered’ by the World Conservation Union. The golden monkey, which is only found in the Albertine Rift, has a vivid orange-gold torso, cheeks, and tail those contrasts with its black limbs, crown, and tail end. Until recently, this pretty monkey was common in Rwanda’s Gishwati Forest Reserve, the majority of which was cleared by returned refugees in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, and unconfirmed sources suggest that a small population may exist further south in the same country’s Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Fortunately, within this confined territory, the golden monkey is the most dominating primate; a 2003 study predicted a population of 3,000-4,000 in Mgahinga National Park. These primates are endangered and indigenous to this area, where they coexist alongside the world-famous Mountain Gorilla, as well as buffalo, forest elephants, and other animals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. It was difficult to find the monkeys at first and for many months afterwards because, unlike gorillas, they are small, do not make nests, leave little evidence of their presence on the forest floor, and can be quiet at times, especially in the presence of their main predator, the eagle. They would also flee if they were not used to humans.

You will face some hurdles on a regular basis. The weather is one of our most serious issues. Trekking at a height of roughly 2,500 meters will expose you to severe winds, heavy rainfall, and extreme temperatures, making it the greatest area to see golden monkeys or gorillas, albeit not always trustworthy. The weather has a significant impact on how the day will unfold.


The wind makes it easier to monitor the monkeys as they traverse the hills; they keep quiet and in the middle of the canopy because they have difficulty hearing predators, and when the trees move, you don’t know if it’s the monkeys moving or the wind blowing, or both. When it rains, the monkeys seek refuge and do not move, allowing for a closer look. The woodlands walk every day, no matter what the weather conditions are, even on public holidays. Despite this, when it rains in the forest and the mist falls amid the moss and overhanging plants, it is without a doubt the most lovely location to be.

Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park preserves the Ugandan section of the Virunga Mountains, an imposing chain of nine towering extinct and active volcanoes that stretches along the border with Rwanda and the Congo. These gorilla groups regularly ‘pop in’ and take up residence for a few months at a time. Mountain gorillas inhabit forests high in the highlands and hills, at heights ranging from 8,000 to 13,000 feet above sea level. Mountain gorillas have thicker fur and more of it than other large apes such as chimps, bonobos, and baboons. Their thick fur allows them to survive in a climate where temperatures frequently fall below freezing–in other words, Mountain Gorillas’ thick fur keeps them warm.

Mountain gorillas have elected to spend extended amounts of time in the mountains due to human influence, causing them to endure perilous and often fatal circumstances. Because mountain gorillas are active creatures, monitoring them can take anything from 1 to 8 hours of hiking through the jungle, depending on their mobility and following their routes as advised by rangers. Some mountain gorillas may be reached after a short trek (e.g., 2 hours), whilst others are obstinate and prefer to venture farther into the mountains, where they can be reached after a longer hike.

Bird watching

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has a unique bird biodiversity, with 79 bird species identified so far, including some species native to the East Congo Montane area. Over 295 species in the Virunga Conservation Area are unique to the Albertine Rift Afromontane area, accounting for 59% of all known endemic species. Remember to call the Park Management for a guide who will accompany you around to see the birds, and don’t forget your binoculars! Rwenzori Turaco, Crowned Hornbill, Black Kite, and Crowned Crane, Handsome Francolin, Dusky Turtle Dove, Alpine Chat, Kivu Ground Thrush, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, and Montane Double-collared Sunbird are among the notable bird species.

A drystone wall protects farmland along the Park’s northern border, keeping buffalo in the park and out of crops. The birdwatching route around the wall is wonderful. If you book by 10 a.m. that day, guides will accompany you between 17.00 and 18.00. Along this walk, watch for Chubb’s Cisticola, Banded Prinia, and Doherty’s Bush Shrike, which are loud but inconspicuous inhabitants of the woodland edge, whereas Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, and MacKinnon’s’ Fiscal prefer more exposed perches. The route leads to wide moorland resembling regions of Northern Europe. The common stonechat is plentiful, however it shares the environment with many of the typical African open-country species, such as the Wing Snapping Cisticola, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Grassland Pipit, and Yellow Crowned Canary.

Batwa Trail Experience

Have you had the opportunity to meet them when visiting Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park? You will notice the forest in their eyes and life when you meet them. The Batwa trail experience in Mgahinga National Park allows you to experience and learn about the old practices of the Batwa people who previously lived within the forest. Before Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks were gazetted as National Parks in 1991, the Batwa were the indigenous occupants of the forests. They used to live as hunter-gatherers and formidable warriors in the deep woods near the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes, relying on the forest for food, herbal medicine, and nourishment. The Batwa Trail is usually paired with gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park.

Highlights of the Batwa Trail

The Batwa Trail begins at the bottom of Muhuvura Cave. The walk is a living museum where visitors may learn about the Batwa People, a pygmoid tribe who formerly lived in Mgahinga National Park. These people were hunters and gatherers who relied on the forest for shelter, food, and medicine. When the Mgahinga National Park was created, these people were pushed out of the park and rehabilitated in the communities that surround it. Finally, the history of Uganda cannot be described without discussing the Batwa pygmies. The Garama cave is a holy spot for the Batwa people, who lived in the jungle for over 500,000 years, hunting and gathering but leaving no trace of their presence. A visit to the Garama caves is highly recommended for travelers on a gorilla trekking in Uganda who want to learn more about these remarkable creatures.

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