Nshongi Camp is one of the budget accommodation facility found in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park a home to mountain gorillas. Nshongi Camp is one of the budget accommodation facilities found in Rushaga sector on the southern side of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The lodge is located a very short distance from the Rushaga headquarters where gorilla trekking activities start. Rushaga sector has the highest number of mountain gorilla families in Bwindi and it’s the same area where Bikingi gorilla family which is available for habituation purposes is found.
Nshongi camp comprises 6 traditional bandas built with local materials of mud bricks, and these bandas are built in a traditional African style with grass thatched roofs. The rooms at this lodge are big and comfortable with double beds, private bathrooms. Each banda has a private veranda that gives great views of the surrounding areas. The lodge doesn’t have electricity but it has lantern lamps in every room which gives you a real jungle experience. They have a lovely staff with good customer care. They have a restaurant with good chefs and food is served three times a day.
Nshongi Camp is a perfect base for gorilla trekking in Rushaga sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park The lodge is a 3-4 minutes walk from where you start the gorilla trek and for travelers that don’t have gorilla permits yet, they can contact the lodge management to book the permits for you but in advance. The lodge has a beautiful garden where you can always seat for fresh air and they do have a campfire every evening where guests do gather to get some warmth, listen to stories, and get to know each other.
Getting to Nshongi Camp
Travelers can get to Nshongi Camp using riad transport or air transport. By air transport, different airline companies such as Bar Aviation Uganda and Aerolink Uganda do have daily flights to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Flights take 1 hour and 45 minutes from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe international airport to Kisoro airstrip where road transport is used to connect to the camp.
Travelers can access Nshongi Camp using road transport from Kampala which takes 9-10 hours or Kigali which takes 4-5 hours. From kampala/entbee, you go through masaka, Mbarara, kabale and Kisoro then to rushaga sector where nshongo camp is found. Travelers from Kigali will drive to the Uganda-Rwanda borders and cross to Uganda using Katuna border in Kabale or Cyanika border in Kisoro where they will connect to Rushaga sector of Bwindi.
Activities to do while staying at Nshongi Camp
Encountering mountain gorillas: Rushaga sector has the highest number of mountain gorilla families in bwindi impenetrable forest national park and therefore guests intending to stay at Nshongi Camp have a variety to trek. Bikingi gorilla family is the only one available for habituation while others are there for gorilla trekking purposes only. Gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation start from the headquarters where trekkers gather for a briefing from the park wardens. Those going for habituation are grouped not exceeding 4 trekkers while those going for trekking are grouped not exceeding 8 trekkers.
Armed ranger guides led the trek by taking you through the quick and easy trails for a period of 2-7 hours. The time taken to locate a gorilla family depends on the speed of trekkers, and the location of the gorilla family. During the season, trekkers have opportunities of meeting different mammals, primates, and birds. When the fully habituated gorillas are located, trekkers are given 1 hour to be around them while for the semi-habituated gorilla families, trekkers are given 4 hours to be with the mountain gorillas and be part of activities to make them get used to human presence around them.
Birding: Rushaga sector is home to more than 350 bird species of which some are endemic to the region. A lot of bird species can be seen around the park with a help of armed ranger guides who know the best spots to use. During birding in Rushaga sector of Bwindi, bird lovers from Nshongi Camp will be able to see birds such as Thick-billed honey guide, speckled tinker bird, black and white casqued hornbill, black bee-eater, least honey guide, lesser honey guide, speckled tinker bird, common house martin, olive woodpecker, angola swallow, grassland pipit, rock martin, barn swallow, western nector, little greenbul, toro olive green bul, fire crested alethe, olive thrush, kivu ground thrush, great swamp warbler, wood warbler, green hylia, Rwenzori batis, green crombec, African paradise flycatcher, dusky tit, bronze sunbird, grey apalis, black-throated apalis, African dusky flycatcher, collared apalis, and copper sunbird among others.
Batwa cultural experience: There are so many Batwa communities around Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and tourists who enjoy the African culture can take a visit to their homes to know more about them. To visit the Batwa people, you pay a certain amount of fees which goes directly to their communities to improve their lives. The whole experience is led by the Batwa guides who first take you around the forest to show you how they used to survive there. Later they take you to their communities where you visit homes, interact with local people, see how they live their day to day love, and get entertained by the local traditional dancers.
Nature walks: If you are intending to stay at Nshongi Camp, don’t miss out on being part of the nature walk activities done inside the national park or around the lodge. The nature walks are guided by armed ranger guides to protect you from dangerous wild animals and may be showing you the right routes to use. During the nature walks, you will be able to come across animals such as elephants, duikers, giant forest hogs, buffaloes, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, bush pigs, chimpanzees, olive baboons, and birds such as olive sunbird, common fiscal, copper sunbird, swamp flycatcher, sooty boubou and swamp flycatcher among others.
When to stay at Nshongi Camp
Travelers can stay at Nshongi Camp at any time of the year while having their safari in Bwindi impenetrable forest national however the best season is the dry one. The dry season from June to September and December to February attracts a lot of travelers to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park because they are characterized by little or no rainfall that makes the trekking trails stay dry, the vegetation is short and thin with good views of the animals and the roads leading to the park are in good condition.
Travelers can stay at Nshongi Camp during the rainy season and this favors budget travelers because there are always discounts on the prices. The rainy season occurs from March to May and October to November and they are characterized by too much rainfall that makes the trekking trails stay muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall and thick with unclear views of the mountain gorillas while the roads leading to the park are in bad condition.