Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge is a safari lodge located 2161 meters (7,087 feet) high on Nteko Ridge overlooking the beautiful swath of the World-renowned Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The ridge provides a superb vantage across the Kashasha River Valley to the forested hill known as ‘Nkuringo’ and the surrounding swathe of trees of Bwindi Forest.
The Nkuringo section of forest is home to the three Mountain Gorilla families, from where the Lodge provides a prime access point to the start of the amazing gorilla trekking activity. The Lodge has panoramic views of the majestic volcanoes of the Virunga chain, across the escarpment into the Albertine Rift Valley within the DRC Congo.
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, formerly Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, has organically grown over the years from a campsite in 2007 to fully-fledged lodge and now name ‘Uganda’s leading Safari Lodge at the World Travel Awards in 2016.2017,2018,2019.
The Lodge prides itself on its green credentials and through its various initiatives including solar energy and rainwater harvesting proudly operates as a carbon neutral lodge. In order to reduce on use of plastic in the Lodge, we provide water in Jars and encourage all clients to come with their water bottles that they can refill from the dinning.
I t 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.
Throwback: Nkuringo Campsite in 2007
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.
The lodge provides a prime access point to the world-renowned Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to the iconic mountain giants, Mountain Gorillas. The lodge basically sits on the south-west buffer zone of the park and UWA trail head is within a 5-minute walk. This section of the forest is home to the Nkuringo gorilla group (3 habituated families – 24 permits) and the Rushaga gorilla group (6 habituated families + 2 under habituation – 48 + 4 permits); the drive from the lodge to Rushaga trail head is approx 45/60 minutes.
Nkuringo Cultures & Community
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge finds it critical to play a role in order to continue seeing the environment, communities and wildlife around us exist and grow. We operate interactively and support various initiatives across Nteko ridge and Rubuguri regions. We work on initiatives for economic empowerment to improve the standard of living of communities and enrich lives of individuals. Development of communities where we do business is very much part of our culture.
Hiking and Nature Walks
We believe that the best way to see Uganda is on foot; especially where there are hardly any roads and the nature barely touched. Nkuringo is a perfect example of this and we have designed some hikes which are led by our expert guides who are well conversant with the area’s flora and fauna and culture.
Bwindi is a prolific and most certainly one of the best birding locations in East Africa. It is the ideal habitat for a variety of birds, with 350 species recorded, including 23 endemics (90% of all Albertine Rift endemics). The location has been received by birders that have stayed with us looking for Bwindi forest endemics.