Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge is a safari lodge in southwestern Uganda located 2161 meters (7,087 feet) high on Nteko Ridge, overlooking the beautiful swath of the World-renowned Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The ridge provides a superb vantage across the Kashasha River Valley to the forested hill known as ‘Nkuringo’ over the rugged Rift Valley landscape, with the entire Virunga Mountains peaks creating a breathtaking backdrop.
The Nkuringo section of the forest is home to the four 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 a fully-fledged lodge and now named ‘Uganda’s leading Safari Lodge at the World Travel Awards in 2016.2017,2018,2019.
The Lodge prides itself on its green credentials and proudly operates as a carbon-neutral lodge through various initiatives, including solar energy and rainwater harvesting. To reduce the 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 dining.
I n August 2007, Robert & Lydia set out on a research trip to Kisoro Town, in Uganda's far southwestern rugged region. The profound remoteness of the town and its untamed attractions compelled them to hike deeper and explore the Nteko Ridge on the southwest edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
The journey to Nkuringo was Lydia's first into the remotest parts of Uganda. At the time, it took them more than 4 hours to drive the 39 km dirt road from Kisoro to Nkuringo in their trusted four-by-four old cruiser. Things have improved so much that today you'll journey on the same route for a mere one hour. However, the beautifully terraced slope and dreamy emerald landscapes compel visitors to slow down and appreciate the countryside.
They arrived in Nkuringo and set up camp on a ridge elevated at 7000 ft above sea level. The Camp was overlooking the Bwindi forest swatch on one side, the vast ruggedness of southwestern Uganda, and beyond the Virunga Mountains chain. Spending days immersed in this gorgeous wilderness and nights listening to the deafening quietness of the ancient jungle below will forever enchant any adventurous soul. Lydia and Robert were hooked, and their campsite was to stay and become a world-renowned sanctuary for all adventure seekers in these parts of the world.
The south of Bwindi 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. Business here was going to be a challenge for Robert & Lydia, but that never stopped the mind of an adventure geek.
The camp needed guests to operate, and this part of the country was utterly obscured from the travel world. Robert came up with another idea of starting an adventure advisory company to bring visitors to this side of the country; Nkuringo Walking Safaris was born.
By then, trekking mountain gorillas was not available in Nkuringo but across the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Buhoma. The idea of crossing the primeval jungle on foot after trekking gorillas in Buhoma and staying in a camp was too powerful for visitors this far out in the country. And the activities like nature hiking, canoeing, and community walks were attractive for many to join the expeditions.
Throwback: Nkuringo Campsite in 2007
These hikes opened up this unique area to visitors and allowed them to see and feel Uganda's authentic remoteness.
In retrospect, Nkuringo Walking Safaris was integral in the development of Nkuringo Campsite and vice-versa.
"We engaged the community in almost all our ideas, securing their generosity and commitment to development. That gave us the confidence to reinvest and acquire more land to develop the campsite into what we all know today. Fortunately for us, community development came along on this adventurous journey," adds Lydia.
Robert passed on in 2014, leaving behind one of the most powerful sustainable community programs and a world-renowned forest lodge that stands high above southwestern Uganda's rugged landscapes. His love for adventure and connecting with people power us to be the best.
In 2011 the lodge attained Carbon Neutral status. We continue to work with The Uganda Carbon Bureau to offset carbon emissions as part of our responsibility to work harmoniously with nature.
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.