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By Emma 20 February 2020

Hiking through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda: Buhoma to Nkuringo

YZ Sales Manager Emma embarked on a walking safari from Buhoma to Nkuringo – an incredible hike through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to see the local wildlife, with a chance of spotting mountain gorillas.

We arrived in Buhoma, where we spent the night before embarking on our trek across Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. We were walking from the north to the south side of the park, which is approximately 23 kilometres, and we were told that the total time for our trek would be anywhere between 5 and 7 hours.

Briefings & logistics of the hike

The lodge (Buhoma Lodge) where we stayed looked out onto the park, and it was here we met our guide for our briefing on what to expect. We also organised details such as requiring porters and lunches, as well as being advised on what clothing to wear (the weather can change instantly, from thunderstorms and heavy rain to bright sunshine). We opted to take four porters to help us with all our luggage, just in case we found things hard going. (In hindsight, I don’t know how we would have coped without them and strongly recommend them to anyone doing this trek. It makes your life a lot easier and helps make a big difference to the local community.)

The actual trek from Buhoma to Nkuringo

We set off at about 8:30 the next morning and began the challenge. Our guide, Moses, was very knowledgeable on the flora and fauna, and also educated us on the Batwa Pygmies and their origins and existence in the forests. We were marching along at a pretty good pace and enjoying the sights and the adventure. We were on a good path for quite a while, which made it quite easy to start with – even crossing the rivers in the bottom of the valley was quite straightforward.

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The first 3 hours of the trek, although very hot from the humidity, were comfortable and passed very quickly. The different terrains we moved through made our route very interesting and gave an insight into how the land is used for farming and the development of community tea plantations. As we progressed into the final phase of the walk, the reality began to kick in that, having started out at approximately 1600 metres above sea level, we were aiming for our final destination at 2100 metres, which meant we still had a long way to go up!! This proved to be a much harder mission than initially anticipated and the effects of the altitude certainly took their toll. However, everything is done at your own pace, and the guides, rangers, and porters stop as often as you need to make sure you are doing okay and can get through safely. (What was embarrassing was that a lady from the local village, who was a friend of our guide, went steaming off ahead barefoot and with a child on her back; she made it look so easy!)

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After a very hard last hour of the trek, we finally arrived in Nkuringo (which was an incredible feeling) just after 2pm. Once we had got settled in our lodge (Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge) and sat down and reflected on what we had just done, the sense of achievement was in itself overwhelming, and was emphasised by the reaction from people when we told them where we had walked from. It was only at that point that the enormity of the challenge actually began to sink in!

Who is this trek suited for?

It’s an experience I would certainly recommend to anyone who enjoys trekking and a challenge. If you want a slightly easier journey, reversing the route and going from Nkuringo to Buhoma would be better for you. During the dry season, there is the added option of detouring to visit the waterfalls, which would extend the walk but includes some breathtaking scenes.

Will you see gorillas?

As the Buhoma to Nkuringo trek follows along the feeders lines to the gorilla sites, there is a chance that you’ll spot the mountain gorillas during the trek; however, we cannot guarantee any specific wildlife sightings.

If you are interested in going on a trekking safari to Uganda, please don’t hesitate to contact our Uganda experts to start planning your luxury tailor-made adventure today. Alternatively, take a look below for more inspiration: