Buniga forest trail
Buniga forest trail is one of the famous and amazing trails to try out in the southern sector of bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The Buniga forest trail is found in the Nkuringo sector of Bwindi gorilla park. The sector is home to 3 mountain gorilla families which are Nkuringo, Bushaho, and Christmas. The trail is the best to use if you are intending to have nature walk activities on your gorilla trekking safari in Nkuringo sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Buniga forest trail is 3-4 hours walk trail that gives you an opportunity to encounter different plant species, bird species, as well as animal species. Buniga forest trail exposes tourists to animals such as chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, l’hoests monkeys, olive baboons, duikers, and several bird species. Buniga forest trail is led by the Batwa local guides who have a lot of information about how the Batwa survived in the jungle. They will show you the different plants that were used to cure illness, foods they used to eat, how they used to sleep, and the way they killed different animals for meat.
Buniga forest trail was created by Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation and this employs the Batwa people to lead the walk. Money collected ($25 per person) from travelers that use this trail doesn’t go to the government but to the local communities and it’s used to develop different conservation projects. The Buniga forest trail walk takes you through the jungles and later to Sanuriiro community where the Batwa found their homes after being evicted out of the forest.
Other possible activities in Nkuringo region
Gorilla trekking: This is the most done activity by travelers visiting Nkuringo region. The region is home to two fully habituated mountain gorilla families and these can be trekked at any time of the year. Christmas and Nkuringo gorilla families are the ones open for trekking in this region and to trek them, you need to be having a gorilla permit.
The activity of gorilla trekking begins early in the morning with a briefing and later the groups not exceeding 8 people are led by the armed ranger guides into the jungle. The search for mountain gorillas takes you through different trails led by armed ranger guides. It takes 2-7 hours to locate a mountain gorilla family and the moment you spot the members, 1 hour is given to be around the apes and watch them do daily activities, learn about their habits and take photos.
Gorilla habituation: This activity is only done in Bwindi gorilla park in the whole world and Nkuringo sector is one of the lucky sectors to be having one of the gorilla families that are open for habituation. Bushaho gorilla family is one for habituation purposes and the search for its members starts early in the morning when armed ranger guides lead you into the jungle. Travelers can be around Bushaho gorilla family for 4 hours and during this time, they are able to learn about the gorilla habits, watch the members do daily activities, and take photos.
Birding: Over 350 bird species can be encountered in Nkuringo gorilla sector using different birding trails. Birding exercises are led by armed rangers who know well about birds and their role is to take you to the best birding spots and protect you from dangerous wild animals while looking for birds. Some of the birds in Nkuringo region include speckled tinker bird, narina tragon, malachite kingfisher, scarce swift, crowned hornbill, African jacana, grey crowned crane, horus swift, speckled tinker bird, greater honey guide, grey wagtail, African pitta, Angola swallow, rock martin, forest robin, and toro olive greenbul among others.
Batwa visits: A visit to Batwa can be combined with a major activity such as gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation. Visiting the Batwa communities is normally done in the afternoon when local people pick you up and take you to their homes. On the way to Batwa homes, the local guides first take you through the forest for a simple nature walk to enable you to know more about how they survived in the jungle. You will take a visit to different homesteads and get to see how people live their day to day activities, you can be part of some of the activities, and in the end, you will get entertained by traditional dancers.
When to visit Nkuringo sector
Nkuringo sector can be visited at any time of the year however there are months better than the rest. The dry months from June to September and December to February are the best to visit Nkuringo for all park activities because they are characterized by little or no rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is short and thin with great views of the park animals while the roads leading to the park are passable.
Travelers can still visit Nkuringo sector in the rainy season from March to May and October to November and this favors budget travelers because lodges are at a huge discount. During the rainy season, travelers should know that there is too much rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall and thick and the roads leading to the park are impassable.
Accommodation in Nkuringo sectors
Travelers that would want to spend a night or more in Nkuringo sector shouldn’t be worried about where they will stay because the region has enough lodges for travelers. The lodges here range from budget to mid-range to luxury options and they include Gorilla Heights Lodge, Nkuringo Homestay, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Crested Crane Bwindi Hotel, Bwindi Backpackers Lodge, Mutanda Eco Community Centre, Virunga Campsite, Nshongi Camp, Bwindi Safari Lodge, and Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge among others.
Getting to Nkuringo sector
Travelers can access Nkuringo sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park using road transport or road transport. The gorilla trekking region can be accessed using air transport from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe international airport to Kisoro airstrip where travelers use road transport for a short distance to access the region.
Travelers using road transport can access Nkuringo sector by using road transport from Kampala or Kigali in Rwanda. From Kampala, travelers will go through Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, and finally, use the dirty roads leading west of Muko north of Kisoro town. Those from Kigali will cross to Uganda using Cyanika border in Kisoro and then to Nkuringo region.