Things to do in Nkuringo after gorilla trekking
Things to do in Nkuringo after gorilla trekking: Nkuringo is one of the 4 sectors of Bwindi gorilla park where mountain gorillas do live. Mountain gorilla trekking is the most done activity in this region and is done between 2 mountain gorilla families named Nkuringo and Christmas. The other sectors of Bwindi where mountain gorilla trekking can take place are Buhoma, Ruhija, and Rushaga.
Nkuringo sector is located in the southern sector of the park near Rushaga sector and these are the only two sectors where mountain gorilla habituation is done in Bwindi and the whole world. Gorilla trekking in Nkuringo sector is done only if you have a gorilla trekking permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority. The gorilla trekking permit is bought at a fee of $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 East African citizens.
Trekkers must go with their trekking permits to the briefing centre on the day of trekking for the wardens to allow them to be part of the trekking activity. The trekking starts with a briefing and thereafter armed ranger guides lead the trekkers into the jungle to look for the gorilla group. To find the gorilla families in Nkuringo region can take 2-7 hours but during the search, trekkers are able to meet different animals, birds, and plants. When the gorilla family is located, trekkers are able to be around the group for 1 hour and see members do daily activities, take photos and learn about their habits.
Gorilla trekking is the main activity done in Nkuringo region of Bwindi gorilla park. The sector has other activities that travelers can be part of and these include the following.
After a normal gorilla trekking activity in Nkuringo gorilla region, trekkers can participate in gorilla habituation and spend 4 hours with a different gorilla family that is undergoing the habituation process. Bushaho gorilla family in Nkuringo region is one of those that are available for habituation activities within the park. To be able to habituate this gorilla family you must book a permit before arriving in the country so as to be allowed to be part of the 4 trekkers that trek this group a single day.
Habituating Bushaho gorilla family starts with a briefing and then armed ranger guides lead the trekkers into the jungle. The trekkers are accompanied by researchers and conservationists that help to teach them how to make mountain gorillas get used to human presence. Searching Bushaho gorilla family takes 2-7 hours of meeting different park animals, birds, and vegetation but the moment the mountain gorilla family is spotted, trekkers are allowed to be with it for 4 hours.
Bwindi gorilla park is one of the best birding places in Uganda with over 350 bird species and these can be seen in all park sectors including Nkuringo. The birding activities are guided in this park by armed ranger guides that take you around the best trails to see different bird species. During the birding activities, birds should move with their birding books, cameras, and a pair of binoculars in order to enjoy the activity.
Birding activities in Nkuringo region expose travelers to birds such as African pygmy kingfisher, African flycatcher-chat, sooty falcon, ross’s turaco, doherty’s bush shrike, jameson’s antpecker, mountain wagtail, cape wagtail, African olive pigeon, pink-footed puff back, waller’s starling, yellow-rumped tinkerbird, crested guinea fowl, tambourine dove, klaas’s cuckoo, African paradise flycatcher, yellow-fronted canary, snowy-crowned robin chat, dusky twin spot, African wood-owl, handsome francolin, great blue turaco and tit hylia among others.
Nature walks in Nkuringo region after gorilla trekking is one of the activities that enable you to explore the park on foot with a help of an armed ranger guide. The nature walks in Nkuringo sector can be done around the lodge or in the sector led by a ranger guide who takes you through well-constructed trails in the region. During the nature walks, travelers are able to meet different mammals, primates, birds, plants, and water sources.
Batwa cultural experience
The Batwa cultural experience takes you outside the park to know more about the Batwa people that used to live in the forest before the eviction in 1991. Tourists will be led by the Batwa guide who will take them through the jungle showing them how they used to live in the park, collect fruits, and honey, kill animals for meat and use plants as medicine. The Batwa cultural experience enables you to meet old people who will tell you stories of long ago, see people do day-to-day activities in their homes, be part of food preparations, and get entertained by the traditional dancers.
The appropriate time to have a gorilla safari in Nkuringo sector
The most appropriate time to visit Nkuringo region is the dry season which happens from June to September and December to February. During the dry seasons, there is little or no rainfall and this leaves the trekking trails dry, the vegetation is thin and scattered with good views of the animals and the roads leading to the sector are in good conditions.
Tourists can still visit Nkuringo area in the rainy seasons of March to May and October to November and this favors the budget travelers because all the lodges are always giving out discounts. Travelers should however note that in the rainy season, there is too much rainfall which makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery. The roads leading to the park are in bad condition and the vegetation is tall and thick giving unclear views of the park animals.
Where to stay in Nkuringo sector while on a gorilla trekking safari?
Lodges in Nkuringo gorilla sector are so many so where to stay depends on your budget for they range from luxury to mid-range to budget options. The lodges in Nkuringo region include Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi Backpackers Lodge, Mutanda Eco Community Centre, Nshongi Camp, Crested Crane Bwindi Hotel, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, and Virunga Campsite.
Getting to Nkuringo sector for gorilla trekking
Nkuringo sector can be accessed in a single day using road transport or air transport. By air transport, there are different airline companies such as Aerolink Uganda and Bar Aviation that organize flights to Bwindi gorilla park. The flights start from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe international airport and connect to Kisoro airstrip where a driver-guide connects you to Nkuringo sector within a few hours.
Using road transport, travelers can use Kampala/Entebbe and drive through Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, and Kisoro and thereafter connect to Nkuringo sector. The journey is long but with different stopovers, stunning views of surrounding places, and meeting local people. Travelers from Kigali can connect to Bwindi gorilla park by crossing to Uganda using Cyanika border in Kisoro and connecting to the sector.