Chimpanzee Trekking in Kyambura Gorge Queen Elizabeth National Park is yet another interesting and nature-based activity in East Africa

Chimpanzee Trekking in Kyambura Gorge Queen Elizabeth National Park

February 20, 2024
News Journeys Uganda

Chimpanzee Trekking in Kyambura Gorge Queen Elizabeth National Park is yet another interesting and nature-based activity in East Africa which involves walking through the jungles of rainforests with the help of a tour guide while tracking down the trails left behind by habituated Chimpanzee families and meeting them, visitors spend some time with the Chimpanzees for usually one hour while experiencing their lifestyles, cultures and social behaviors such as means of communication, food collecting methods, how they make their nests among others.

Chimpanzees are primates and just like the mountain Gorillas, are fruit lovers, they live in groups of not more than 80 members, they are hairy, and their DNA is almost 99% of the humans. However, chimpanzees not only stay in high altitudes but are slightly smaller than the mountain Gorillas. They have a life span of roughly 40-50 years of age. The female ones give birth to young ones every after 4-5 years. Furthermore, these intelligent creatures also use tools such as rocks, sticks, and leaves to get their food ready to eat for example they use sticks when foraging for honey and water, and stones when cracking nuts among others.

Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park is also famously known as” The Valley of Apes”. It is located in the Eastern part of the park and it is about 100 meters deep. The valley was formed due to the corrosive and erosive waters of River Kyambura and its steep slopes are covered by a thick rainforest which makes a good habitat for the chimpanzees. The Gorge is home to one habituated family of Chimpanzees with roughly 16-17 members. Furthermore, the Kyambura Gorge is home to numerous other wildlife species and bird species apart from the chimpanzees. Some of the other wildlife expected to be found in the gorge include other primate species such as the playful Olive Baboons, the jumpy  Black and White Colobus Monkey, and the Red-tailed Monkey. These are attracted to the gorge because of the rainforests and the presence of water in the gorge during the dry seasons.

The gorge harbors several bird species and these reside in the rain and riverine forests in the Gorge. Commonly viewed bird species in the Kyambura Gorge include the beautiful Lesser and Greater Flamingos,  the African Emerald Cuckoo,  the solitary Martial eagle, the Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher Black-headed Gonolek, the surrounding savannahs harbor the Common Button and  Black-rumped Button Quail, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Arrow-marked and Black-lored Babbler, Black Coucal, Klaas’s, Diederik and Jacobin Cuckoo, White-headed Barbet, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Black-headed Batis among others. Bird watching in the Kyambura Gorge is carried out on foot and with guidance from a professional tour guide in the company of a Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger.

Black-headed Gonolek feeding

The most involving activity at the Kyambura Gorge is Chimpanzee Trekking which is the highlight of the trip to Kyambura Gorge. Visitors should expect to track and spend time usually one hour with the habituated groups of Chimpanzees. Reservations are done at the Uganda Wildlife Authority Head offices in Kampala in case one is interested in getting involved in the Chimpanzee Trekking Experience in the Kyambura Gorge. The activity costs USD 100 per person excluding the park entrance fees. A limited number of only 8 people are allowed to participate in the activity, visitors are reminded to always stay in groups and also keep a distance of around 7-8 meters away from the Chimpanzees. Sick visitors are also not allowed to take part in the Chimpanzee Trekking experience as they may transmit diseases to the chimps. And also camera flashes are not accepted as they may scare away the Chimps.

What is the best time to visit Kyambura Lodge?

The best time to visit Kyambura Gorge is during the dry seasons and these are usually from December to February and from June to September. Animals usually converge in the gorge during the dry season because it is a water spot hence more animals can be viewed during the dry seasons. Also, the hiking trails can get slippery during the wet seasons hence some parts of the gorge are not accessible.

What are the essentials one should carry during Chimpanzee Trekking in Kyambura Gorge?

Visitors should remember to carry their hiking boots, light rain jackets, waterproof bags, enough drinking water, huts, energy snacks, and a camera with enough fully charged batteries.

How to get there?

The attraction is situated in Queen Elizabeth National Park and can be accessed by either Air or road means of transportation. By road, the park is 410 km from Kampala the capital city of Uganda to Queen Elizabeth National Park which is west of Kampala. The journey by road takes about 7-8 hours depending on the number of stopovers. By Air, the park can be accessed in one hour after boarding a flight from either Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport to Kasese Airstrip.

Where to stay around Kyambura Gorge?

Kyambura Gorge is surrounded by several accommodation establishments that cover all the different types of travelers. These offer a home to tourists ranging from high-end luxury to budget offers. These include; Katara Lodge, Kyambura Gorge Lodge, Park View Safari Lodge, Buffalo Safari Lodge, Marafiki Safari Lodge, Kyangabi Safari Lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge, Ihamba, and Kasenyi Game Lodge among others found around and inside Queen Elizabeth National Park.


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