Deep in the forests of Bwindi lies a trail of adventure. One known for tracking the largest primates in East Africa. Gorilla trekking is an elating activity that involves one on one encounters with gorilla packs in their natural habitat.
When you visit Uganda, the first striking attraction is the warm reception of the people. Ugandans are lovely and hospitable people. Their desire to conserve the environment is seen in their aggressive efforts to use recyclable and biodegradable materials.
Gorilla Trekking Adventure in Uganda
Gorilla trekking is a well-guided walking safari to view wildlife in a serene natural environment. Mountain gorillas are some of the most endangered primate species in the world. Gorillas can weigh up to 200kg, and seeing them in their natural habitats is a safari to look forward to. These large primates face challenges such as the Ebola virus, deforestation, poaching, and mining.
Thanks to the relentless conservation efforts of the relevant government structures, community support, regulated tourism activities, veterinary care, and park surveillance, the population of mountain gorillas has increased in recent years. The three leading governments that impact gorilla trekking activities include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda.
Almost half the world’s total population of mountain gorillas are found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park that spans an area of 330 square kilometers and sits in the rugged southwestern region at the foothills of the Virungas. The other population lives on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains, spread on the borders shared between Rwanda, Uganda, and the DRC.
In Africa, gorilla trekking activities are common throughout the year, with the peak tourist season in July and August. The dry season, June to September and December to February, allows easy trekking for tourists. The wet season enables the apes to forage at closer distances hence better access to the gorilla packs.
Gorilla families in Uganda
Gorillas live in social structures called troops or bands with blood ties that forage together in a home range of about 0.75 to 16 square miles. Uganda has 20 human-habituated (which means tourists can visit them at close range without dangerous implications) gorilla family groups with Bwindi Impenetrable National Park protecting 19 groups and one in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park called Nyakagezi group. However, the parks protect more wild gorilla troops deep in the jungles, far from human reach.
The gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are in Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo gorilla trekking regions. Buhoma’s gorilla families are Katwe, Mubare, Habinyanja, and Rushegura. Ruhija sector has Oruzogo, Mukiza, Bitukura and Kyaguliro families. Rushaga has Nshongi, Rwigi, Bweza, Kutu, Bikingi, Mucunguzi, Mishaya, Kahungye, and Busingye gorilla families. Nkuringo has Bushaho, Christmas and Nkuringo gorilla families.
Preparing for a gorilla trekking safari
Before undertaking a mountain gorilla trekking excursion, you should consider the following aspects: the country of access, the safari budget, safety protocols, and the availability of trekking permits. Once you decide the correct parameters for your travel and the country of choice, you can prepare your safari items and requisite documentation.
The primates are found on high altitudes, so you are advised to spot comfortable, warm, and environment-friendly apparel. Avoid brightly colored clothes and shoes, carry a rain jacket, long-sleeved shirts or blouses, comfortable trousers that you can hike in. Consider packing hiking shoes, warm attires for early mornings and late evening strolls, cameras, mosquito repellant or bug spray, water, snacks, rain protection gear, hiking sticks, a backpack, and a gorilla trekking permit.
Gorilla trekking is a guided walking safari in the bushes. Therefore, you should adhere to your guide’s instructions at all times. Note that camera flashes are not allowed as they disturb the primates. Avoid direct eye contact with the apes and keep calm when they make alarming noises or try to charge.
Any guest having a contagious illness is advised not to visit the gorilla packs to avoid transmission. Additionally, you are advised to keep a 7-meter distance between yourself and the gorilla to prevent possible transmission of disease or a physical altercation. Other prohibited actions include reckless spitting, smoking, littering, rapid movements, overcrowding, and feeding near the animals.
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
Wondering where you can stay in Uganda? Well, the Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge is a jungle designer lodge on the hilltops of Bwindi Forest. It is a place so fresh and unspoiled that if you pop a marriage proposal you would definitely get a BIG YES! The lodge can serve as the perfect destination to make a marriage proposal to your loved one. The breeze, the bird chirping sounds, and the striking rays of sunshine fill your space with immense joy and satisfaction. The wooden floors and pillars are beautifully and tastefully shined to give a classic luster and style.
The lodge stands at 2,133 meters above sea level. Strategically established above the impenetrable Bwindi Forest, the lodge offers excellent landscape views and accommodation for guests. Nkuringo lodge overlooks a spectacular view of the Virunga Mountains and the Great Albertine Rift Valley. It has fully furnished family villas, garden cottages, and a central lounge. Two interconnected modernized superior cabins, one family villa, and the eight cottages are individually crafted to give the ambiance of a mountain chalet. All spaces enjoy 24-hour security.
The main lounge at Bwindi lodge stands at the highest point of the property. It has high ceilings, large wooden beams, canvas furnishings, and a 360-degree view of the surrounding forest landscape. The ample space and grandeur make it an inviting dining area. You can enjoy different cuisines prepared by Nkuringo’s esteemed chefs.
The villas have two en-suite bedrooms each, with unobstructed views of the Bwindi Forest and the Virunga Mountain range. The outdoor experience is rich and magical, with rickety walkways, fresh air, and classic black volcano finishing.
The 8 cottages have en-suite bathrooms, a walk-in shower, a living room, a fireplace, easy chairs in the living room, and lounge chairs in the verandahs.
Facilities at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
You can access the following within the lodge: keylock safe, nightgowns, electric outlets, hairdryers, WiFi access, balconies, hot and cold showers, in-room fireplace, complimentary laundry service, room service, chauffeur service, babysitting service, airport shuttle service, and gorilla permit processing.
On-site activities include spa sessions, Batwa cultural services, storytelling evenings, garden tours, natural history tours, guided walks, bird watching, and fine dining.
Offsite activities include gorilla trekking and hiking in Bwindi, volcano mountain climbing, guided walks and cycling, bird watching, natural history tours, canoeing on Lake Mutanda, community and cultural tours.
Why you should choose Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge for your gorilla trekking safari
It is in a strategic location that gives you amazing and unhindered views of the surrounding landscapes.
Proximity to the Nkuringo Sector trailhead. It is only ten minutes away from Nkuringo Lodge to this point. The Nkuringo Sector is the initial point for gorilla trekking excursions in Uganda and has three gorilla families in their natural habitat.
Proximity to the Rushaga Sector trailhead. A drive from the Nkuringo Bwindi lodge to Rushaga trailhead lasts 30 minutes. At Rushaga, you can find eight gorilla families and enjoy a minimum of four hours of viewing a semi-habituated gorilla family.
Access to the rare gorilla permit, especially during peak seasons. Guests at Nkuringo Bwindi lodge can quickly apply for the gorilla permit before undertaking a gorilla trekking excursion.
Gorilla trekking excursions packages often include transport costs, accommodation, trekking permits, equipment, and accessories.
Papyrus Guesthouse Entebbe
Nkuringo Safaris also manages a small boutique lodge in Entebbe, Uganda’s central entry point. Papyrus guest house is an eco-friendly boutique lodge in a quiet suburban environment overlooking the quaint Lake Victoria with easy access to all Entebbe amenities.
We recommend this lodge to our guests coming from Entebbe National Airport or its surroundings. It is strategically placed to allow you to explore varied day excursions such as boat rides, hiking, golfing, birdwatching, and general sightseeing of Entebbe town. Papyrus Guesthouse offers private and comfortable luxury rooms to give you much-needed rest during your travel.
Accommodation spaces are en-suite, spacious, and have beautiful verandahs. They include 9 garden rooms and 6 standard rooms, all tastefully furnished in Ugandan artistic styles. You can enjoy sumptuous Ugandan cuisines and other items on their continental menu.
One with nature
Nkuringo Lodge is keen on creating a Carbon Neutral footprint. Every day the lodge capitalizes on solar energy, rainwater harvesting, and the use of biodegradable materials. By involving the local communities in environment and wildlife conservation, Nkuringo realizes its mission of sustaining an eco-friendly lodge while providing luxury accommodation to guests.
Annah is a travel and Safari enthusiast with a great passion for content writing. Her passion for travel and adventure fuels her travel blogging experience. You can connect with her via email or social media handles.