Mountain gorilla trekking in Nkuringo Sector
Mountain gorilla trekking in Nkuringo sector in Bwindi National Park is a very adventurous and exciting experience in Bwindi. Nkuringo sector is located in the southern part of the park and it’s one of the four mountain gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi National Park.
This sector was popularly known for being home to one of the most elegant and fierce silverback – Rafiki. Unfortunately Rafiki was killed by poachers in June 2020. Despite that the sector is still one the tourists seek to have mountain gorilla safaris when in Uganda.
Nkuringo sector was established in Bwindi National Park in 2004 as the second sector of the park about 10 years after the opening and establishment of Buhoma sector which was the first sector in the park in Uganda.
The sector has some of the most entertaining mountain gorilla families and adventurous tourists also prefer visiting the sector compared to Buhoma. It has some of the most challenging trekking trails but the challenge is worth it. The views from this sector are scenic; they include ranges of the virunga massif and the parts of the Rwanda, Uganda and DRC regions.
Nkuringo sector currently has 4 habituated mountain gorilla families that can be trekked by visitors to the sector. The families are Nkuringo mountain gorilla family with 12 members, Christmas mountain gorilla family with 6 members, Bushaho mountain gorilla family with 12 members and Bikingi Mountain gorilla family with 14 members. Of the four Nkuringo was the first to be created and was popular because of Rafiki; but this is also the toughest to trek in the sector.
Bushaho is known to be the easier and most exciting group to trek with a number of playful infants that keep you entertained all through the one hour you spend with the mountain gorillas. A trek to the other groups is also fulfilling as these two groups.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Nkuringo is done throughout the year and like all mountain gorilla trekking experiences a trekking trip for in Nkuringo starts in the morning with a brief at the park offices. During this brief, the different rules and guidelines for the trekking are communicated and then you are assigned a ranger and a trekking group.
Only 8 people are allowed to be in one trekking group. After the brief, you will then head in the forest in search for the mountain gorillas. When you find the gorillas you will spend an hour with them and then head out of the forest.
This entire trekking experience can take you bout 6 to 7 hours or more depending on how far the mountain gorilla group you’re trekking is from your starting point.
Since the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic all trekkers visiting Nkuringo and other sectors are advised to have tested covid-19 negative before taking on a mountain gorilla trekking adventure.
This is a requirement on top of the others that include but not limited to: –
- Not trekking while you are sick of any communicable illness
- Keeping a 7 meter distance between you and the mountain gorillas
- Don’t feed the mountain gorillas
- Not harming or engaging in any harming activities that can affect the gorillas
- Follow the ranger’s lead and directions as you are on the trek.
- Don’t litter the trekking trails
- and many more other requirements
The trekking rangers and the tour operator usually communicate these requirements and guidelines before your trek.
Mountain gorilla trekking permits for the Nkuringo sector are purchased through the Uganda Wildlife Authority or through your tour operator. The mountain gorilla trekking permits in Uganda cost USD 700 per person per trekking experience.