Located in the southernmost part of Bwindi national park, Nkuringo was for long the only habituated gorilla family in Nkuringo region. Named after a nearby hill, Nkuringo this family is preferred by travelers who are interested in exploring the less visited groups in Bwindi. It is absolutely one of the most interesting gorilla families in Bwindi.
The name Nkuringo means “a round hill” in Rukiga language, referring to a nearby hill where the group was first sighted. For many years, Nkuringo family lived in tense conflicts with the community as the group was fond of sneaking into people’s gardens and destroy crops, like bananas, maize, potatoes, etc. which caused immense pressure on their survival.
This conflict prompted the Uganda Wildlife Authority to begin habituation process and reduce their movements. Being the pioneer group to be habituated, it was not quite easy to do habituation in Nkuringo given the poor infrastructure, unfavorable weather conditions and the wild nature of the family; which is why it took the habituation process to last from 1997 to 2004, more than any other gorilla family.
Nkuringo family was officially launched for tourism in 2004 and some communities were displaced to allow ample space for the family and since that time the group has enjoyed harmonious life with the neighboring communities. At the time, the group was composed of 17 gorillas under the leadership of silverback Nkuringo, but following continuous internal fights, the group reduced to only 12 members.
Until April 2008, silverback Nkuringo was still at the helm of leadership of this historical group, it perished due to natural causes and age leaving behind his two sons, Silverbacks Rafiki and Safari. It was Safari who succeeded as a dominant silverback for the family.
Fortune befell the family, and in the same year, 2008 a set of twins – Katungi and Muhozi was produced by mother Kwitonda. But unfortunately due to illness, Katungi perished at the age of one and half years.
Nkuringo family previously experienced another split when silverback Christmas moved on to form his own group, named Christmas; this brought the total number of gorilla families in Nkuringo region to two.
Nkuringo family is currently home to 12 members, with 4 silverbacks. Some of the members are; Rwamutwe, Muhozi, Tabu, Furaha and Kiza (infants), Kwesima, Kuhirwa and Magara (juveniles), Karibu and posho (black backs), Kwitonda, Mama Christmas, Samehe and Kasotora (adult females). The dominant silverback is Safari, plus other 3 who include Rafiki, Bahati and Kirungi.