I had only intended to pay Uganda a quick three-day visit to see the renowned mountain gorillas at Bwindi. As it would turn out, my 'brief' visit turned into a 10 day adventure of a lifetime, courtesy of Robert from Nkuringo Walking Safaris.
I first contacted Robert to obtain a quote for the tour (based on numerous positive reviews on TripAdvisor), and this turned out to be the beginning of a 20+ email (and phone!) correspondence over many months in which Robert spent an amazing amount of time and effort tailoring an itinerary to suit my interests, budget and timeframe. Robert has an expansive wealth of knowledge on Uganda, and handpicked some amazing accommodation for me throughout the country as well as arranging everything from airport transfers, transport and permits which admittedly made things much easier. He also quickly picked up on my interest in primates and walking, and subsequently recommended the full day (11.5hrs!) chimpanzee habituation tracking in Kibale NP as well as the golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga NP - both of which are relatively less well-known activities but absolutely stunning in their own rights (especially the trek in search of the endangered and beautiful golden monkeys amidst a bamboo forest 2000m+ above sea level).
My guide Adolf, accompanied me throughout all my walks: around the hilly community of Nkuringo, on the forest trails of Bwindi NP and across lovely Lake Mutanda via canoe then through the local village towards Kisoro. Adolf's specialty was birds, and through him, I was instilled with a newfound love for East African birds as he taught me to recognise and also identify the calls of local birds (or at least some of them!)
For me, the highlight of Uganda came within Bwindi NP. I trekked the gorillas from the Nkuringo group, and whilst it was a (ridiculously) tough steep climb down to them (even with the assistance of porters carrying my backpack), all that was forgotten once we entered the beautiful lush rainforest of Bwindi and found these gentle giants in their natural habitat, eating and playing and walking around us. We watched as the infants played tag with each other around a bush, and one even curiously came up and tugged on the pants of a member of our group before being shooed away by the guide. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to witness this snapshot of their lives, and it is a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Overall, I was immensely impressed with the efficiency, professionalism and warmth of the staff at Nkuringo Gorilla Camp. My thanks go to Robert, Lydia, Adolf, my driver Moses and the rest of the team for an experience of a lifetime. I would recommend you guys to anyone in a heartbeat and hope to be back soon one day!
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