Nkuringo Gorilla Group is one of the remarkable Mountain Gorilla families thriving in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park well habituated for encounter on gorilla safaris and tours in Uganda.
Having undergone the normal habituation process from 1997 to 1999, Nkuringo Gorilla group took long to receive the Uganda gorilla safari tour undertakers until the year 2004 since the gorilla family had changed its home range following the habituation.
The history of the area states that this Mountain Gorilla group used to thrive in the out-skirts of the present day park around seventy (70) years ago but due to increase in human population that led to forest encroachment, the Gorilla group was pushed to the interior of the protected forest. However, because of this history, Nkuringo Gorilla group after habituation started to dwell in its ancient home range that was now community land spending around 85% of its time there.
This definitely resulted into human wildlife conflict as the Mountain Gorillas would raid crops in the community which also explains why the group took long to open for tourism. To settle the conflict, an Environmental Impact Assessment was undertaken and a buffer zone was established in 2003 with the local people close to the park selling off their land. The buffer zone stretched to 350m in width and 12km in length along the park borders. Uganda Wildlife Authority owns 200m from the park border where it undertakes adaptive management practices while the remaining is co-owned with the community under their body Nkuringo Conservation and Development Foundation (NCDF) where community livelihood improvement activities are undertaken but in line with the Mountain Gorilla Conservation programme. This buffer zone can be viewed while on gorilla trekking safari in Uganda.
Nkuringo Gorilla Family possessed sixteen (16) members in 2004 when it was eventually opened for tracking among which included; Nkuringo – the then Silverback, Kirungi, Safari, Christmas, Africa, Kwitonda, Kisoro, Kasotora, Mama Christmas, Samehe, Bikingi, Posho, Rafiki, Karibu and Bahati. Some of these profound members have unfortunately been lost including; Bikingi and Kisoro that left in 2005 and 2009 respectively and Nkuringo which died in 2008. However, the group has received new born and it apparently features 19 members under the leadership of Safari as explored on Uganda gorilla tracking safaris.
Tracking the Nkuringo Gorilla Group is still ranked the most strenuous of all the gorilla group treks in the whole of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as it at times forages high up the steep hill accessed by traversing the another steep hill and narrow valley amidst very dense vegetation.