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Buniga Forest Walk

Explore the spectacular hidden treasures of the Buniga Forest and its variety of wildlife, bird and plant species on this wonderful trail, done on the company of the local guides who have expert knowledge on their attractions within the area. Buniga Forest Reserve is one of the remaining forests neighboring Bwindi Impenetrable National park. Because of the increased reduction of the area of the forest largely due to encroachment that leads to loss of the biodiversity, this hiking trail was established by the Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF) to conserve the Forest and manage it for the ecotourism-related activities.  Besides protecting the Forest, the returns from the nature walk also benefit neighboring villages and encourage the locals to actively participate in the conservation of the Forest.

Where is the Buniga Forest

The Buniga Forest Walk is one of the best community based adventures you can enjoy while on a gorilla safari in Bwindi Forest National Park in South Western Uganda! Located in Nkuringo within the southern part of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, this 1.5 km trail explores Buniga Forest, with its lush tree ferns and giant lobelia.

The Walk is guided by the local Batwa – an indigenous group of people who formerly lived a nomadic life in the gorilla forests of the Great Lakes region of Africa. While on the nature walk through the forest, tourists benefit from the Batwa’s extensive forest knowledge and survival skills, passed from one generation to the next.

The Buniga Forest Walk is arranged by the Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF) and the walk starts and finishes at the NCCDF offices in Nkuringo. The Walk includes a 1 km walk through the Buniga Forest fragment, followed by a visit to the Sanuriiro settlement, 5 km distance,
to allow you to meet the Batwa both then and now.

The Walk

The 1 km trail is an easy to moderate hike with frequent stops to experience the forest from the perspective of the Batwa. You’ll learn how the forest sustained the ‘First People,’ providing them with food, medicine, clothing, shelter, crafts and tools, tradition and folklore.

Fact Sheet

Location:
Nkuringo, SW of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
It is located in Kanungu District, UGANDA.

Timezones:
EAT (GMT +3)

Currency:
Uganda Shillings, UGX

The Forest Forest

Within the Forest you will encounter many indigenous plant species with special importance to the Batwa people. Keep your eyes open for the giant lobelias and tree ferns.

Buniga Plants:

Buniga Forest is home to many endemic trees and flowers. You’ll find giant lobelias and tree ferns nestled into the slopes near the trail. While Buniga Forest is an isolated forest fragment, its floral diversity is rich. Within the Forest you will encounter many indigenous plant species with special importance to the Batwa people.

Keep your eyes open for the giant lobelias and tree ferns which give Buniga Forest its mystical feel and species like Syzygium which provides food for chimpanzees.

Your Batwa guides will point out the species of interest and tell you how different species provided medicine or fiber for clothing or construction materials.

Buniga Animals:

While on the Buniga Forest Walk, keep your eye out for primates and endemic birds as well as signs of more elusive creatures, like a chimpanzee nest or two.

The Forest is also important habitat for many mammal species including small antelopes called duikers and primates like black-and-white colobus, red-tailed, blue, and L’hoesti monkeys. Keep your eyes out and ears open for signs of Chimpanzees that occasionally visit Buniga Forest.

Birds

Buniga Forest is known for its diversity of bird life, with over 100 species of birds identified within and near to the forest. The trail within Buniga Forest allows visitors the chance to sit and listen and spot different species of birds.

Buniga Forest Walk:

While Nkuringo is best known for mountain gorilla trekking and grandstand views of the Bwindi hills and Virunga volcanoes, other, hidden treasures await discovery in the depths of Buniga.

Throughout the 1 km long trail in Buniga Forest, you’ll learn how the forest sustained the Batwa providing them with food, medicine, clothing, shelter, crafts, tools, tradition and folklore.

Enter the forest with a Mutwa guide to learn the secrets of the Batwa’s traditional forest culture, and also, found out how they live today in the nearby Sanuriiro settlement.

The Trail and Settlement Visit:
The guided walk follows an easy to moderate hike on a new and well-developed trail. Allow at least three hours for the walk and the visit to Sanuriiro Batwa settlement.

The walk starts and finishes at the NCCDF office in Nkuringo. However, you will need your own transport to visit the Sanuriiro Batwa settlement, 5 km distant.

Mountain Gorilla Tracking:

The Nkuringo, Christmas, Kahungye, Shongi, and Mishaya habituated groups of mountain gorillas can be tracked from this area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Book your gorilla tracking permits directly with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, but add the Buniga Forest Walk to your travel itinerary.

Sanuriiro Batwa Settlement

The Buniga Forest Walk includes a visit to one such settlement at Sanuriiro. The transition to a new existence outside the forest has not been easy for the Batwa. Many exist as landless squatters while more fortunate communities live in new, purpose-built villages.

The transition to a new existence outside the forest has not been easy for the Batwa. Many exist as landless squatters while more fortunate communities live in new, purpose-built villages.

You are welcome to ask questions and discuss the Batwa’s situation directly with them. The same guides that take you through Buniga Forest as the Batwa lived then, will take you to where they live now in Sanuriiro settlement.

After a short tour, sit and visit with members of the community, both young and old and watch the women weave the traditional baskets of the region, with natural materials and dyes.

The community members of Sanuriiro are finding other ways of subsistence, building on their traditional knowledge learned from their elders in the forest. From gathering of wild honey in the forest to the cultivation of bees in beehives, which are shown here.

The Buniga Forest Walk, by providing employment opportunities, allows for the Batwa to make a living off of their forest knowledge,

Plus an opportunity to pass the old ways down to the younger generations who are growing up in settlements like Sanuriiro.

Your visit also validates that their traditional knowledge has value and contributes toward elevating the social status of the Batwa in the larger community.

The Buniga Forest Walk has been developed slowly, over many years, so that the benefits and rights of those involved are clearly established and the foundation for this as a tourist encounter.

The Buniga Forest Walk is an authentic culture and nature experience with the benefits going directly back into the community.

Guides

In addition the Batwa guides, you will be accompanied by a community guide. It is with authentic joy that the Batwa welcome you to Buniga Forest.

At every turn is another experience that you will remember for a lifetime.

Your guides on the Buniga Forest Walk learned the skills and knowledge they will show you from their elders.

It is with great pride and satisfaction that they pass this knowledge to you in a wonderful exchange that happens both in Buniga Forest and in the Sanuriiro Batwa Settlement.

Feel at ease and among friends on your walk.

All of your guides are from the Nkuringo area, including the Batwa guides and a community guide to serve as your translator from the local language used by the Batwa guides to English.

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Customer Reviews

Ngoni Safaris Uganda

Customer Reviews

Michael T 06/June/2021

TripAdvisor
Above & Beyond
Review of: 3-Day Gorillas trekking and Batwa Experience
Sedrick went above and beyond to accomodate our request for an itinerary alteration due to our compressed time in Uganda. He also compeltely took care of scheduling our covid 19 testing and drove us to the site on arrival.

Our driver/guide Ben was also outstanding!

**We highly recommend using a porter during gorilla trekking as their are some complex parts to the trail/terrain. This also benefits the local people by providing them work.**

David 24/June/2021

TripAdvisor
Seeing Lots of Animals and Uganda
The schedule suited my time in Uganda exactly and was a great opportunity to view some of the top wildlife and natural wonders of the country. Lodgings range from mid-range to near upscale and are in beautiful locations. Food is good and ample. My driver, Stanley, was expert at spotting wildlife and, very importantly on the Ugandan roads, a careful and skilled driver. You see various parts of the country on this tour, and due to distances, be aware you'll spend quite a few hours on the road. One thing they might add is an itinerary going into more detail ahead of time on each day's activity and suggested things to bring. I was concerned about the needed COVID test for return home, but they took care of arranging that, and it turned out successfully. Overall the tour was a real highlight and is highly recommended.

Justo Nov 18, 2019

Safaribookings
I went on an 11 day safari visiting Kampala, Jinja, Lake Mburo NP, Bwindi NP, Queen Elizabeth NP and Kibale NP. Communications with Ngoni were prompt and easy from the start. As soon as I made my booking, Sedrick contacted me through WhatsApp and guided me through the rest of the process. Leading up to the tour he made sure I was well-prepared to begin. He was always very clear and friendly. Service was exceptional. I had the pleasure of going on this safari with three members of Ngoni's staff - Sedrick, Nelson and Joel. These guys made my comfort their priority from the moment we met. Whether it was checking if I was okay with the accommodations or making sure I always had a bottle of water, I always felt like I was being well taken care of. Nelson is an excellent guide. His knowledge about the flora and fauna of Uganda was extensive, always able to answer any questions I had and was eager to teach - it's obvious that he has a great love for his country and it's environment and is eager to share this love with his clients. My experience with Ngoni and Uganda surpassed all expectations I had. Absolutely amazing, and thanks to the guys at Ngoni it feels like a new home - can't wait to come back and visit. Webale, brothers!

Stephany Aug 13, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
Sedrick was unique and stood out from the rest in the high quality communication he provided since the first inquiry. He called me to provide information about the itinerary and see if I had any questions even before booking the tour. We communicated through WhatsApp for any other questions that came to mind after that call. After picking me up from the airport, he and Pilot (additional tour guide) provided plenty of information about the country to give me some context and we started our long drive to the impenetrable forest. The food was delicious with many options; the accommodation was very clean with exceptional service; and the transportation from Entebbe to Bwindi park was very comfortable (although long). As a solo female traveler, both tour guides (Sedrick and Pilot) did an exceptional job at enduring I accomplished everything intended to in Uganda, and always made me feel safe. I highly recommend to book your safari with this company because the quality and professionalism will not let you down.

Shakira Dec 14, 2018

Ngoni safaris uganda is the best tour operator in Uganda. A few weeks back we traveled to Bwindi impenetrable with sedrick to explore the beauty that is Uganda. This company took care of us . with most comfortable car , Great guide .We highly recommend it to the next travelers

Winnie Dec 19, 2018

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
I was going on a gorilla safari with my friend and this was going to be the first ever safari for the both of us. Luckily, the communication with the office was super easy and we got answers to all of the questions we needed. The driver / guide (Sedrick) was very professional and funny and made our time very pleasant. Also, he had a proper knowledge of the local area close to the Mgahinga national park and he promptly spoke some 7 languages which we thought was super positive. The safari was surely the highlight of out East African trip!

Ritah Jan 2, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
My Team and I did a five day trip, including Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls and Kidepo. It was truly an incredible experience. Our guide, Sedrick, was knowledgeable, skilled in driving in some challenging settings and just plain fun to hang out with for five days. The lodging was perfect, especially Savannah Lodge. The tents and beds were high quality. The views were spectacular. Meals were delicious and varied. I recommend Ngoni safaris Uganda with all my heart and soul!

Pilot May 28, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
Our six days trip was amazing. The driver/guide had an incredible knowledge of animal and bird-life and are so interesting to talk to. His driving skills through lashing rain and massive puddles was admirable! The cooks managed to produce varied and delicious meals from the kitchen, which we ate both at accommodation or roadside when we were travelling from one place to another . At all times we felt safe and well-looked after. All in all, an incredible experience, due not only to the abundance of wildlife we were lucky enough to see, but also to the great efforts put to have our Safari a better one . The safari was full of fun. Traveling with ngoni safaris is my life time memorable experience and I highly recommend it to travellers who would love to visit uganda or EastAfrica for holidays, vacations or Adventure.. Even five stars are too small .
 
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