Nkuringo Sector | Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Nkuringo sector is one of the four gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The sector is located in the southern part of the park inhabiting three habituated gorilla families. This sector gives spectacular views of the Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira of the Virunga National park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The sector’s terrain is rugged, making it the most difficult sector to trek gorillas from. Having some levels of fitness and physical ability is required to be able to successfully track gorillas from this sector.
Nkuringo can be accessed from Kabale district on a 3 hours’ road drive to Kisoro. This part of the park can also be reached via Buhoma using the Kabale Butogota route. Charter flights can also be arranged for from Entebbe or Kampala to Kisoro: Aerolink, fly Uganda and the like can be used. Total flight time is one hour, unlike the 8-9 hours’ drive from Kampala to the park.
The sector has a number of activities that can be done say community walks that would help any traveler learn about the day-to-day life of the local people, the Batwa trails which would enlighten one on the life of the people who were able to co-exist with the mountain gorillas for so many years, and most of all gorilla trekking, an activity that would have you meet our closest relatives.
Gorilla trekking is the one activity that most travelers who visit the park flock to do. This sector has three gorilla groups that can be tracked by tourists. In the near past, there was only one gorilla family available for trekking in this sector. The number has however risen to three.
Nkuringo gorilla family: This was the very first gorilla family to be habituated in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Nkuringo gorilla group got its name after the ‘rolling hills’ of where the family was found. The family had many members who however broke away to form their own families. This gorilla family was blessed to have twins named Katungi and Muhoozi, Katungi, however, died before seeing he could be two years. Currently, the Nkuringo group has 14 members. The hike to track this group has proven to be challenging and yet it is the most rewarding as well because of the views.
The Christmas gorilla group: This gorilla group has 7 members with one silverback called Christmas, 1 blackback, 3 females and one infant.
Bushao Gorilla group: After the Nkuringo gorilla family breakup, some gorillas went to unknown places and they had to be searched for. One of the silverbacks that had left the Nkuringo group called Bahati was found with a family not so long after. The group was habituated and named Bushao and it currently has 8 members.
For one to be able to track gorillas in the Nkuringo sector just like in any other place, a gorilla permit is required. The gorilla tracking permit costs only $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and UGX250,000 for East African citizens. The permits can be got from the UWA offices in Kampala or through a tour operator. Since gorilla trekking is on a must-do list of most travelers, gorilla permits get sold out very first. It is for this reason that travelers are advised to book far in advance, at least 3-4 months if they really want to track these endangered primates. The gorilla permit allows a tourist to track the gorillas and only spend an hour with them.
Gorilla trekking aside, the Nkuringo sector offers impressive nature/forest walks through beautiful tails. These walks usually are either in the morning or evening and travelers can enjoy the calming environment. During the walks, be on the lookout for wildlife like bush pigs, monkeys, baboons or even forest elephants.
Bird watching is also possible in Nkuringo. This can be done during the forest walks and travelers should pay attention to see some of these birds say the black bee eater, garners warbler, the African emerald cuckoo among others. Binoculars could come in handy during this activity.
Luxury, midrange, and budget lodgings are all available in Nkuringo, be assured of comfort, safety and the best in service during your stays. Make sure to book your accommodation only after confirming your gorilla tracking permit. The sector of your permit is a major determinant when choosing your accommodation-you couldn’t want to be burdened with a long drive to Rushaga when you booked your accommodation in Nkuringo.