Between 1993 and 2004, gorilla tourism in Uganda began and the Nkuringo group was one of the first groups of gorillas in the country to be habituated. There are some fantastic Nkuringo gorilla tracking tours to enjoy. We will cover our recommendations further down, but first a little introduction.
Back in 2004, a group of gorillas was habituated that foraged around the Kashasha River Valley below the Nteko Ridge. The International Gorilla Conservation Programme purchased an area of land previously inhabited by villagers that would regularly have their crops taken by the gorillas. The intention was to minimize human / gorilla conflict and help relocate the locals to a better area.
Initially, the Nkuringo group included one of the oldest silverbacks named Nkuringo who lived until the old age of 49 years. This gorilla also lends his name to the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, which runs fantastic treks to see the gorilla groups of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
This group now includes 16 individuals, however, gorillas often swap groups and split apart. There are now 11 gorilla groups in total in the area, which are visited from 4 different trailheads. Each of the groups are then led by a silverback and are well habituated to visitors. Visitor numbers to each group are strictly controlled to cause the gorillas minimal stress.
The gorillas live on a steep and sometimes muddy area, which can be challenging to walk. Visitors should be in good physical condition, however, walking sticks are provided. Depending on where gorillas are in the forest, the trek can last the entire day. Although, it usually lasts a few hours and begins with registration at the areas of Buhoma, Ruhijja, Nkuringo and Rushaga.
Now, let’s go over some fantastic tours to see the gorillas. There are also based around the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge. The lodge offers very comfortable accommodation, great food, and beautiful views of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The lodge is also very close to the Nkuringo registration point at the start of the trailhead for gorilla treks.
Let’s go over some of the Nkuringo gorilla tracking tours…
The Primate Tour – 10 Days
To combine the Nkuringo gorillas with chimpanzees, other primates, and some Big 5 sightings, we recommend the 10 day Primate Tour.
This is a classic primate safari in Uganda and takes you to some incredible areas for wildlife on a quest to see the most iconic African primates found in Uganda.
Over 10 days, enjoy visiting different protected areas, including the Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and then the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park for the gorillas.
Within the Kibale Forest National Park, you will find the chimpanzees and you will enjoy a habituation experience with our closest cousins. This is where a group of chimpanzees are being familiarised with visitors. Enjoy sitting with the chimps for as long as you like, which can be as long as until dusk if you like. The experience is quite physically demanding, so you can call time when you wish.
While in this region, you will also enjoy the beautiful Crater Lakes. This area is where the African continent is slowly splitting apart. The movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates has created some beautiful lakes and spectacular scenery, which you can enjoy on your visit.
After the Kibale Forest, visit the Queen Elizabeth National Park. This is a great place to spot some of Africa’s Big 5. You will also enjoy a game drive within the park to find the different animals. The park contains elephants, lions, leopards, Cape buffalo, 500 birds, and 10 different primate species.
Now, it is time for the gorilla trekking part of your tour. Enjoy visiting the famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park from the comfortable Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge. After familiarising yourself with the lodge, head out early the next day to find the gorillas.
You can enjoy a maximum time of one hour with the gorillas and it will then be time to return to the lodge for some delicious food. The next day, you will enjoy canoe excursions and a visit to the beautiful Lake Mburo National Park.Entebbe, Uganda, AfricaPrice per person from $This is the classic primate safari tour in Uganda. Over 10 days, you will visit the Kibale Forest Na More info
The Primate Tour – 7 Days
Offered as a shorter experience than the classic primate tour above, over 7 days enjoy visiting different protected areas in Uganda. You will focus on the many different primate species (with particular attention to chimpanzees and gorillas).
You will visit the incredible Kibale Forest National Park, the beautiful Crater Lakes, and then the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
In the Kibale Forest, you will enjoy a habituation experience with the resident chimpanzees. The time you spend with the chimps is up to you. You can stay for a short time or until dusk if you want more time with the chimps. The idea is to help familiarize the chimpanzees with tourists and it can be physically demanding, so you can call time when you wish.
After your time in the Kibale Forest, you will head to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This is where you will begin your trek to find the magnificent mountain gorillas. While here, enjoy staying at the very comfortable Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge. This is located very close to the gorilla trailhead and provides spectacular views of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Entebbe, Uganda, AfricaPrice per person from $On the classic primate safari tour in Uganda, you will visit the Kibale Forest National Park to see More info
5 Day Gorilla Trekking Tour
To focus exclusively on the gorillas and to visit two different groups, you can enjoy the 5 Day Gorilla Trekking Tour.
Enjoy fantastic scenery of mountains and rolling hills in this beautiful park of Uganda. You will fly from Entebbe to Kisoro where you will later find Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge nearby the Bwindi Forest.
The lodge is located around 300 meters from the visitor reception area to see the gorilla group. You will begin your trek in the morning after arrival at the lodge. After a briefing, you will start the trek, which will last a few hours depending on where the group is in the forest.
You will spend one hour with the gorillas once we have found them. After this, it’s time to return to the lodge for some delicious meals.
The next day, you will enjoy your 2nd gorilla trekking experience. This time, we will head to the Rushaga section of the park. Again, you will start in the morning at around 8 am. After this, begin your trek to find the gorilla group. You can stay with them an hour. You will then return to the lodge for a warm bowl of soup and some relaxation time.Entebbe, Uganda, AfricaPrice per person from $On the 5-Day Gorilla Trekking Tour from Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, enjoy visiting two groups of gorilla More info
4 Day Gorilla Trekking Tour
A shorter experience than the above gorilla trek, the 4-day version differs from the 5-day by visiting one gorilla group and not two.
After your short flight to Kisoro from Entebbe, you will head to the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge to familiarise yourself with the accommodation. Enjoy delicious food and a comfortable night.
The next day, you will head just 300 metres from the lodge to the start of the gorilla trekking trail. After a briefing on correct behavior around the gorillas, it’s time to set off. The trek itself depends on where the gorillas are in the forest. This usually takes a couple of hours but can take a few more depending on how far in the forest the group has decided to be. Often, the favorite part of the experience is when you meet the silverback and the youngsters.
You can spend an hour up close with the gorillas with plenty of time for photographs. After this, it’s time to head back to the lodge for some delicious food and a relaxing night before your journey home.Entebbe, Uganda, AfricaPrice per person from $Visit the incredible Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Explore the mountainous landscape at the More info
The Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge
For other trip ideas in the area and across Uganda, you can send a message to the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge. The lodge is an excellent base for the gorilla groups and is only a walk away from the start of the gorilla trekking trailhead.
The Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge sits on the Nteko Ridge, which was a carefully chosen location for excellent views and access to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
The lodge is a fantastic place to see the gorillas, but also to see the other diverse wildlife and culture of the Bwindi region. Aside from the gorillas, the birdwatching from the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge is especially enjoyed.
The Bwindi Forest is home to gorillas and many different birds, but also black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, civet cats, elephants, buffalo, bushbucks, bushpigs, yellow-backed duikers, giant forest hogs, black-fronted duikers, clawless otters, genets, and different bat species.
Dinners at the lodge consist of a four-course meal freshly prepared and made from locally sourced ingredients.
Enjoy comfortable accommodation, delicious freshly made food, and spectacular panoramic views of the Virunga Volcanoes and Albertine Rift Valley.
Activities at the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge include:
- Visiting Batwa pygmies
- Enjoying a guided village walk
- A guided multi-day trek to/from Kisoro via Lake Mutanda
- Walking through Bwindi Forest to the park headquarters at Buhoma
- Tracking the Nkuringo Gorilla family (assuming you have a tracking permit)
- Tracking the Nshongi Gorilla family at Rushaga (assuming you have a permit)
- Simply enjoy the amazing views of the gallery forests of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Virunga volcanoes