The Bwindi National Park covers an area of some 320 square kilometres in southwest Uganda, near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite the country’s turbulent post-colonial past, this territory was soon declared a protected area by government authorities. What had been a British Crown Reserve until the country’s independence, became an animal sanctuary two years later, in 1964, which expanded the protection for mountain gorillas. However, human activities such as hunting, logging, collection of firewood and small farms were still common. It would not be until 1991 when this space, together with the Mgahinga Forest on the border with Rwanda, was gazetted as a national park in an effort to fully protect all the animals that inhabit it.
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is divided into four sectors:
Buhoma, to the north, was the first to open to tourism. The Mubares were the first to be visited by sapiens adventurers in 1993. After that, the Habinyanjas (1999), the Ruseguras (2002) and the Katwes (2018).
Nkuringo, to the west, is the home of our protagonists. Nestled in the Kashasha River Valley, it is the steepest sector in the entire park and has three habituated families: the Nkuringos, introduced in 2004, the Bushahos (2012) and the Christmases (2016).
Ruhija, to the east, was opened in 2008 with the Bitukuras. Later, the Oruzogos (2011), the Mukizas (2015) and the Kyaguriros, who are reserved exclusively for scientific research, would join the list.
Rushaga is the most visited sector, with seven habituated families: the Nshongis, Mishayas, Busingyes (2011), Bweezas (2011), Kahungyes (2011), Bikingis (2019) and Muchunguzis.
Finally, the Mgahinga National Park, on the border with Rwanda, is the exclusive home of the Nyakagezis. They share protected space with the golden monkeys (Cercopithecus kandti) that are endemic to this forest.
The park is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the government body that is in charge of all the protected areas in the country.
(Extract from Omugana, Stories from Nkuringo)
Stories from Nkuringo
by Ricardo Núñez Montero
€39 + VAT (4%) (paperback)
€19 + VAT (4%) (eBook)
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"It all started in 1997, when our family was first sighted by a tracker patrol of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Nkuringo, which in Rukiga, the local language, means ‘rounded hill’, was the name chosen to baptise the imposing silverback who led the group..."
15,000 word story
100 full-page photos
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When Rafiki was killed by poachers in June 2020, the commotion spread to the main international media outlets. As a photographer, Ricardo Núñez Montero had run into Rafiki on countless occasions, and one of his images served to illustrate the reports from the New York Times, CNN or ABC News, among many others. But beyond the initial shock, Ricardo felt the need to tell his story, from his first contacts with humans to the circumstances surrounding his unfortunate death. This is the story of a family that is already part of the legend of one of the most beautiful and exuberant environments on earth: the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.