Up high in the thick forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lives a mountain gorilla family called Nkuringo. Nkuringo is a Kiga word meaning round hill, perhaps the very same picture you would get when flying over this sector of the park.
Like eleven (11) other mountain gorilla groups in Bwindi Impenetrable National park, Nkuringo was habituated and has been receiving a great number of visitors on gorilla trekking tours since 2004 and I kid you not, none of them will live to ever forget the experience.
This family’s story is not any different from that of our regular human families, and it is such similarities that leave people in awe of how not different in personality mountain gorillas are from us.
At the time of its habituation, Nkuringo had an alpha silverback called Nkuringo; an elderly silverback who had his family at heart. Visitors who made safaris to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park between 2004 and 2008 were able to meet the legendary Nkuringo silverback.
It is no longer news for Kings to rise and fall; and this was not different for the mighty Nkuringo silverback. But fortunately before he passed on in April 2008, he had spent time grooming Safari his son who he intended to follow in his footsteps.
By the time of his father’s death, Safari had learnt a lot from his father’s achievements and blunders and was well equipped to steer the family into the future, especially at a time when the family needed a comforter after the tragic loss.
Many of Nkuringo’s characteristics continue to appear in his younger form, the talented Safari who has seen more light than darkness in the few years of his reign. I think it would be nice if we took off time to encourage safari while on our gorilla safaris to Bwindi and to just wish him the best throughout his regime.
There are nineteen (19) family members that can be seen on a Uganda Gorilla Safari today in King Safari’s family and these include three (3) other silverbacks, Rafiki (a Swahili word for friend), Bahati and Kirungi. Surprisingly just seven (7) months after Nkuringo’s death, the family welcomed “abaloongo” (the Luganda word twins) by Nalongo Kwitonda and they were named Katungi and Muhoozi. Unfortunately Katungi lost a battle to illness and failed to celebrate his second birthday.
This family of nineteen is open to Safari visitors participating in tracking Bwindi’s gorillas along the Nkuringo trail head. Though a steep and tedious hike the exhilarating feeling of seeing this populated family is like a prize which makes you forget all the struggles that you have had to go through along the way.
“Enjoy your Safari to Safari’s Mountain Gorilla Family.”