Also called the Valley of Apes, Kyambura Gorge is found in the far east corner of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The gorge is about 1 km across with its broadest point about 100 meters deep drained by River Kyambura. This is one of the most impressive landscapes to find in this country, the Pearl of Africa. The place is full of wildlife including wild game, primates, butterflies and birds.
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This is the main activity at Kyambura Gorge, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) issues permits for chimpanzee trekking. The Kyambura chimp permits are booked at UWA offices in the capital Kampala, on the ground; at Mweya visitor information center or at fig tree camp where the trek starts. This permit offers one hour of interacting with habituated chimpanzees and a day ranger guide.
A chimpanzee trek is a bit strenuous. It requires moving up and down the gorge using a walking stick. Book your ticket early to avoid missing out since this is a popular activity. Ensure to consult your tour operator on the price, availability, and procedure of booking your chimp trekking permit. The age limit for this activity is for those above 15 years.
Chimpanzee Trekking Vs. Gorilla Trekking
Both activities offer long-lasting memories but trekking chimpanzees is easier. This is because chimps usually live on flatter terrain. Additionally, chimpanzees rarely frequent upper mountain tiers. Chimpanzee families are easier to navigate and takes less time compared to gorilla trekking. Keep in mind that chimps are more likely to stick in the tress than on the forest floor.
Getting To Kyambura Gorge
One of the most scenic gorges in the East African Rift Valley, Kyambura Gorge is about 389 km in the southwest of Kampala. The gorge is located about 30 km in the northeast of Queen Elizabeth National Park headquarters. Kyambura Gorge is the only location where to interact with habituated chimpanzees or still in the two-year habituation process. It is a wonderful opportunity to watch these primates going about their activities in the midst of humans.
You have to trek with a guide to Kyambura Gorge. The guide is always ready to respond to your questions regarding the local conditions. Perhaps you might take the road from Katunguru and move about 10 km towards the escarpment. At the gorge, you might have to climb down 200 meters passing from dry grassland at the top to the river and thick forest at the bottom.
Taking the Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Trek
There are two chimp trekking shifts with one at 8 am and the other at 2 pm. Foreign none-residents are expected to pay USD50 for the chimp trek per person. This fee excludes the park entrance fee of 40$ that has to be paid at the gate. The Kyambura Gorge chimp trek shift usually takes between one to three hours. Luckily, there is more to look forward to during the chimp trek.
Activities At Kyambura Gorge
Guided Nature Walk
With steep slopes formed by disorderly waters of River Kyambura, this gorge is covered by a verdant riverine forest. A guided nature walk here offers immense opportunities to catch amazing glimpses of various primate species including:
- Olive baboons
- Vervet monkey
- Red-tailed monkeys
- Black and white Colobus monkeys
Apart from chimpanzees, Kyambura Gorge is also well-endowed with various avian species that make it a bird watcher’s paradise. These include:
- African skimmer
- African broadbill
- White-tailed lark
- Pink-backed pelicans
- Blue-headed bee-eater
Other attractions nearby the gorge.
The neighboring area has multiple salt crater lakes that attract beautiful flamingoes not seen anywhere in Uganda. Additionally, you might also be lucky enough to spot huge forest hogs roaming from time to time.
There are three guided walks near the spectacular Kyambura Gorge. A more straightforward trail is around Lake Kyasanduka forest shore dedicated for bird watching. The second trail is at Lake Nyamasigiri revolving around five interlocking craters extending for over 4 km. Finally, the third trail leads to a large cave home to a large colony of bats food for the rock pythons in Maramagambo forest.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the place to be when looking forward to a wonderful Uganda safari experience. Apart from attractions like the Kazinga Channel boat cruise, you can’t miss the Kyambura Gorge chimpanzee trek. This will get you face to face with habituated chimps for an hour as they go about their daily activities unbothered about your presence.