Nkuringo Gorilla Sector Bwindi
Nkuringo gorilla sector is found in the southern part of Bwindi impenetrable national park a home to endangered mountain gorillas which are said to be 98% of human genes which attracts number of tourists worldwide to come and see their close relatives in the mist. Bwindi is positioned in the southwestern part of Uganda estimating 8 to 9 hours’ drive from Kampala or else you can fly from Entebbe Airport using a charter flight to land you to the nearby airstrip of Kihihi from there drive few kilometers to reach the park.
The Bwindi southern sector is more favorable by the seasoned travelers, photographers and those that prefer Bwindi challenging jungle hiking experience. This sector is further subdivided into two trail heads that is Rushaga and Nkuringo trail heads. Nkuringo gorilla sector leads you to 3 habituation gorilla group and there are 24 gorilla permits available per day. Then Rushaga trail head leads you into the forest nature to one of the 8 habituation gorilla families, in this sector there is 48 gorilla permits available per day and other 2 semi habituated gorilla’s groups with one available for a 4-hour Gorilla Habituation Experience.
Nkuringo gorilla trail head takes few minute walk ‘’5minute’’ from the lodge. Note that tracking mountain gorillas in Bwindi’s southern sector is physically challenging, so you need to do physical exercising before you visit to Nkuringo-Rushanga.
Nkuringo gorilla sector or tourism begun in April 2004 after the habituation of the group that was existing in 1996.The gorilla group rangers to the Kashasha river valley below the Nteko ridge and was often found foraging few meters away to the indigenous population outside the park. It was regarded as detrimental to the health and well-being of the animals as they became crop raiders devastating banana plantations, sweet potato and feeding on eucalyptus.
Rangers from the Human Gorilla Conflict Force had to come out to chase the group back into the park on a regular basis. Furthermore, it was decided in the best interests of both the animals and villagers well-being that the international Gorilla Conservation will purchase a 12 kilometers long and 350-meter-wide strip of public land along the river to provide a buffer zone adjacent to the national park and their plan was to protect the gorillas inside the park.
The Nkuringo gorilla sector became famous for its rewardable photographic nature where gorillas always moved from the thick tropical forest of Bwindi to the Buffer zone which sounded has their feeding grounds. So trackers would walk down the Kashasha valley and where they could find the most beautiful family of gorilla waiting. Each tracker could return with the most interesting photos of this group and since then Nkuringo gorilla group became famous to be visited by travelers on their Uganda gorilla safari. Trekkers who do gorilla trekking in the southern sector can be filled with lots of excitement as the flip through the images of their gorilla trek.
The Nkuringo Gorilla Group was led by the silverback named Nkuringo which led the group till 2012 and died at the age of 45years.The group was left with 3 silverbacks, safari, Rafiki and Christmas and the brothers stayed together as Safari led the group. Later Safari disappeared after the gorilla group explored with another family; Bushaho gorilla group and since then, no one knows what really happened to safari and Rafiki took over the family till he was demise on June 1,2020.
Rafiki word is in Swahili language which means friend and indeed he was a friending gorilla and valued the family member. Even his brother Christmas left the group to start his own group but he would return back and be part of the Nkuringo group, Rafiki could always let his brother return home.
What makes Nkuringo an Exceptional Destination
Hikes and gorilla trekking in this region provide the most challenging gorilla experiences within Bwindi Impenetrable national park.
This is an incredible experience which starts early in the morning after briefing at the park headquarter. Then after briefing, meet the ranger guide to lead you to the forest trail head where you can have a chance to view other species like monkeys, bird life species, tree species as you listen to sweet melodies of bird life. Once you locate the group, you will be given one hour to watch them on how they feed, play, swing on the tree branches among others. Only 8 people are allowed to engage in the activity and the age must be above 15 years of age. You cannot engage into this experience without holding a gorilla permits which are booked /bought directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority or by the help of the tour operator who know much information about gorilla’s process. Uganda gorilla permits costs USD700 for foreign nonresidents, Foreign resident at USD600 and East Africa citizens pay UGX250,000 to acquire a gorilla trekking permits. We advise you to pack worm clothes, rubber boots, insect repellent, long sleeved clothes among others.
This is best for the nature lovers and more enjoyable in the morning and evening hours when the day is cool. From here, forest walk can start from Buhoma area or Kabale Butogota –Buhoma then connect to Nkuringo route. Forest walk is so interesting as you can come across many species you never expected mostly primates such as monkeys, baboons forest pigs, tree species among others.
This sector is also ideal for birders as they can be able to spot out a variety of birds such as African emerald cuckoo, white tailed blue flycatchers, short tailed warbler, Kivu ground, yellow eyed black catcher, garners warblers, black bee-eaters, African blue flycatcher mentioned few carry your binoculars for the perfect views over the varied bird species.
On your visit to Bwindi Forest southern sector never leave without engaging in cultural encounter to Batwa and Bakiga community villages. Where you can enjoy their unique traditional dances, songs, poems from local performance and end up with great memorable experience in lifetime.
Where to stay in Nkuringo Region
In this region there are comfortable accommodation facilities surrounded by beautiful scenery. They range from Luxury to budget and such lodges include Gorilla camp, Nkuringo gorilla lodge, Hammerkop bunkhouse, Nkuringo gorilla campsite and many more.
Lastly, a visit to Nkuringo sector rewards traveler with more exciting number of activities to engage in such as gorilla trekking, habituation experience, bird watching, cultural encounters, nature walk among others.