Gorilla Families

In the southern sector of Bwindi, there are 8 habituated families spread across 3 trailheads, Rushaga, Nyabaremura and Nkuringo.

Rushaga Gate Families: Nshongi, Mishaya, Bitukura (a newer group currently undergoing habituation)

Nyabaremura Trail Head Families : Kahungye (the largest family), Busingye, Bwenza

Nkuringo Gate Families: Nkuringo, Christmas, Nkuringo 2 (name is coming)

What does your day look like?

A magical experience awaits you and we are delighted you’ve chosen us to help bring this to life for you!

You will start the day a little earlier than normal, Karungi will get you started with a hot shower, delicious breakfast and send you out the door with a packed lunch.


The early morning mist rolls over that settles in the valleys is absolutely breathtaking, we’ve allowed time for you to stop, admire and capture the moment along the way!

Karungi will escort you to the briefing point, help get you settled and handle your registration.

A Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Guide will introduce you to Bwindi with a brief history, the do’s and don’ts of your hour with these majestic creatures. Every encounter with these majestic creatures is different – as are the trekking times.


The path to the gorillas will be different for every one, as you are going to see them in their natural habitat and they move around to a new place each and every day. You could come face to face with them within the hour, or it could take you multiple.

We will be waiting for you when you return an exhausted but exhilarated human!

Please remember you are visiting them at home in their natural environment, so you will find them, when you find them.  They are wild creatures, and unfortunately the time you will take to find the family cannot be known ahead of time.


You will be able to gain a much better (even a good idea) of how far you will need to hike, the morning of your adventure as the trekkers will know where they left them the day before.


Trekking Permits

A little confused on how to purchase a Mountain Gorilla trekking permit for Bwindi’s southern sector??

Our team at Karungi can help you secure one!

 

We know and understand how difficult it is to find information on travelling independently in Uganda, we are here to help.

 

Permits in the Bwindi’s southern sector are purchased for Rushaga and Nkuringo. Gorilla groups from the Nyabaremura trailhead are purchased and briefed from Rushaga. 

If you let us know in advance we can secure your place, send us an email and we’ll assist in sorting it out for you, even if you are not staying at Karungi Camp.

 

Optionally, there are times when abandoned permits can be found for a little cheaper than advertised a day in advance of the trekking date. These are not guaranteed, more likely in the low season, however are possibly an option for those who have time, and won’t be disappointed if the permit does not eventuate.  

 

Rushaga / Nyabaremura Entrances

Depending on your level of fitness, shorter / slightly easier treks can be requested from Rushaga Gate. Keeping in mind you are spending time in a dense, tropical rainforest, whilst visiting wild animals in their natural habitat. The terrain will be uneven as the guides hack their way through the forest, and the distance will depend on how far the gorillas have moved that day.

 

If you want to spend slightly longer in the forest and experience the steep terrain, let us know and we can ensure you are assigned to one of the Nyabaremura families. 

 

Nkuringo Entrance

Nkuringo is a path slightly less travelled, although equally as beautiful with moving experiences to be had.

 

During the hike in there is a steep hill down, and the same hill can be challenging on the way out after chasing the mountain gorillas all over the forest for the last few hours.

Costs to Consider 

Permit – $700 USD (Inclusive of the UWA permit fee + additional costs required to secure the permit)

Porters, Guides, Rangers, Trekkers – A tip is customary. Guidelines: a good tip tends to be around 95,000 UGX ($25 USD)

Porter – These are members of the local community who are not employed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). They will be with you throughout the day, carry your pack, your camera, your water, or simply be your support as you explore Bwindi. While not mandatory to employ a Porter, they do have the ability to make your journey much more enjoyable! There are no set fees / prices for your porter, and you are free to tip them as you see fit. All money paid to the Porter goes to their families.

Rangers – UWA employees who have been trained as a guide to interact with guests, answer all your questions, and to ensure you have an enjoyable experience through the forest. You will be accompanied by 1 during your trek. The tip you provide your guide will be shared between the rangers and trekkers.

Rangers – UWA employees, a ‘rank’ below the guides, and will ensure you have a safe trekking experience. They will lead the way and bring up the rear of your trekking group.

Trekkers – UWA employees who are up and in the forest early each and every morning to find their gorilla family and direct your guide to their whereabouts, so you can be rest assured you will see them! You will find them with your gorilla family to spend your magical hour.

Transport – Karungi Camp can help arrange either a boda boda (a motorcycle taxi) or a car, depending on preference. Please keep in mind prices here do change frequently, but at the time of writing (Jan 2019), a boda boda for the day is approx ~ $17USD and a car rental for the day will be approx ~ $50USD

What to bring

Rain jacket

Waterproof shoes

Waterproof pants: while not necessary, really do make a difference

Gaiters

Gorilla Permit

Passport

Cash for tips to guides & porters: either Ugandan Shillings or US dollars will be accepted

Sunscreen: particularly for trekkers in Nkuringo, the steep trek in and out of the forest is quite exposed, and you’ll notice it on sunny days! 

Water

Camera 

Packed lunch: Karungi provided

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)

The UWA is a conservation platform in place to manage all Uganda’s National Parks and conserve its wildlife for all.

The UWA team will guide you through the day.

A permit system is used to control entry into the park. Permits are purchased for specific days, with 8 permits per habituated group per day, segmented to just 64 permits in the southern sector with a maximum of 120 permits daily around the entire park.

Permits are reserved only with purchase.