It was August 2007, on a research trip to the town of Kisoro, that we were attracted to explore the Nteko Ridge on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This was my first visit to Nkuringo. At the time it was a 4 hour – 39km drive from Kisoro on a shockingly poor road, today the same journey can be made in an hour and a half, however we recommend hiking from Kisoro and canoeing across Lake Mutanda as this gives an immersive experience of real, rural Uganda.
In 2007 a simple campsite existed at Nkuringo known as Nkuringo Campsite, however business was non-existent. This is when Robert Brierley one of the founders of Nkuringo Walking Safaris had his fantastic idea. He suggested setting up walking trails between Kisoro and Nkuringo and through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, connecting Nkuringo with Buhoma. These hikes opened up this unique area to visitors and allowed them to see and feel the real Uganda en route.
This was virgin territory most certainly in 2007 where the phone network footprint came down to a single square meter on the side of a hill. Making any business work here was going to be a challenge.
In 2008 the phone network, although better still required you to stand with your phone in the palm of your hand to receive an SMS message sent as planned in a previous communication. It was in 2008 that Robert Brierley and Nandudu Lydia partnered with Asigario a former UWA ranger and guide who had spent his life living in Nkuringo and the adjacent
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Each bringing a different skill to the table they developed a collection of unique and exciting walking safaris.
Nkuringo Campsite was integral to the success of the walking safari activity. People needed somewhere to sleep irrespective of how simple the accommodation was. By purchasing a building adjacent to the campsite and securing a long lease on a portion of the campsite it allowed Nkuringo Walking Safaris to grow by developing their own accommodation. Even though the original campsite has grown into a fully-fledged comfortable lodge the original ethos of helping the local community thrive has not changed.
With continued reinvestment the lodge continues to grow daily, by adding detail and infrastructure improvements. We are now proud to say that Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge has grown to offer both mid-range and up-market accommodation.
In 2011 the lodge attained Carbon Neutral status and continues to work with The Uganda Carbon Bureau to offset carbon emissions as part of our own responsibility to work in harmony with nature.
The Nkuringo walking safari is our home grown sustainable tourism initiative.
The walk provides visitors the chance to explore a section of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and the surrounding countryside including an incredible local fishermen’s experience as you traverse the beautiful Lake Mutanda in a traditional dugout canoe. Each walk is no more than a day long allowing you to explore the area at a gentle pace with your guide, make the most of photo opportunities and interactions with the local communities you meet along the way before arriving at the lodge for a hearty meal and comfortable night’s sleep.
From humble beginnings as a small campsite in Bwindi, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla lodge is now perched on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and offering quality accommodation to those trekking mountain gorillas in the southern sector.
Robert Brierley died in March 2014 at the point of the big transformation from Camp to lodge. We believe he smiles down on the team left behind as we strive to move forward and be the BEST lodge In Bwindi.
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