Gorilla tracking at Nkuringo

In May 2008 I had the good fortune to experience a region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park infrequently visited by the majority of visitors to the park. Nkuringo is located on the southern border of the park at about 2100m asl. Nkuringo is home to one of four habituated groups of gorilla’s to be found in the park and has it’s own visitors reception for those trekking this gorilla group. As the crow fly’s Nkuringo is 10km from Buhoma where most visitors to the park are accommodated, however to drive to Nkuringo from Buhoma is a 160km 6 hour journey. Buhoma has developed since the mid 1990’s as the tourism hub for activities in Bwindi.

Nkuringo is accessible through the forest directly from Buhoma. The hike is a minimum 4 hour walk of about 12 km which is how I got there with my guide from Nkuringo Walking Safaris http://www.nkuringowalkingsafaris.com and two rangers as escorts.

I had booked accommodation at Nkuringo Gorilla Campsite and Bunkhouse through the campsites website http://www.traveluganda.co.ug/nkuringocampsite and Nkuringo Walking Safaris. The campsite and bunkhouse provides accommodation for budget travellers undertaking the walk through the forest and for people tracking the Nkuringo Group of Gorillas. The facilities are basic that includes 5 twin bedded rooms in the bunkhouse, a traditional twin bedded grass roofed banada in the campsite. pitches for some 10 tents for those with their own equipment, a large eating shelter, pit latrine composting toilets and a bush shower that hangs in a tree behind a reed curtain. The rates of US$12- a single and US17.50- a twin are fantastic value. The accommodation was simple and very clean. It was great to be able to hang my wet gear for drying at days end and to be able to sit around a camp fire with my guide to discuss our days walk and the life in this very remote wonderfull location.

What the accommodation lacks in respect of luxury is made up for in offering the countries greatest visual panoramas. One side of the ridge the campsite sits on has a 14km view of uninterrupted gallery forest and the reverse view to the south a chain of volcanoes that extends to the active Nyiragongo in the DR Congo.

The staff looked after me preparing great meals and hot water for my shower. My over riding memory though was sitting on a bench atop of the campsite taking coffee in the afternoon enjoying the visual elements of the forest in front of me.

Thanks to all the Nkuringo Walking Safaris team and the community at Nkuringo that made my stay so very memorable.

Origbran Sept 08

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