The Kyambura Gorge casts an amazing view upon the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park, the gorge has a spectacular view. It’s also known as “the valley of Apes” for it’s a home to chimpanzees and its only here in Queen Elizabeth where you will be able to visit chimps if you happen to be on safari in this region. The gorge stretches approximately 16km long and 1km across as its widest point and with its deepest point being 100m, the Gorge is composed of a tropical rainforest close to the Equator while its surrounding is made up of the Savannah type of vegetation that dominates Queen Elizabeth National Park. This gorge is drained by one main stream which is Kyambura River. Its rich Bio-diversity allows the gorge to be a standout with a thick vegetation of trees and with the canopy not allowing sun shine through makes it a dense forest vegetation and allows it to support the various species of animals that comprise of primates and birds.
Kyambura Gorge hosts a great number of activities that one can do while on safari but the most notable one of all is Chimpanzee tracking in the Gorge and for that anyone doing a trip in Queen Elizabeth National Park should not miss out, meaning do not limit yourself to just a few days but rather keep your expectations up.
Based on the current reports from research teams in the area, it is believed that there are only sixteen habituated chimpanzees that remain in the valley but yet still offering an amazing experience to those who visit here for tracking. While one can visit chimpanzees elsewhere in Uganda like in Kalinzu Game reserve, Kibale Forest National Park and Budongo Game Reserve, Kyambura Gorge is one place that you cannot put off as it will offer you more than just a chimpanzee experience when in this region with the option to do a game safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park after the trek.
Chimpanzee tracking is done twice a day with in groups of maximum of 6 people and you go along with Uganda wildlife Authority ranger guide. With only 6 people allowed at a time to trek the chimps one has more chances of getting in-depth with the rangers and moving at much slower pace which allows you to see more than just the chimps on the trek but also other primates and birds. Since the Kyambura Gorge has one community of chimps, it should be noted that tracking chimps here is much complex and harder compared to Kibale Forest National Park, with the success rate for seeing the chimps at 80% and above. The walks are usually long as the chimps are more elusive and keep in trees and thickets as they search for food. When you meet the chimpanzees here like in any other place where they are found, visitors are allowed to spend with them a maximum of an hour viewing and taking photos for memories of the trek. Kyambura Gorge has more than just Chimpanzees as one can also see Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Baboons, Red Tailed Monkeys, vervet monkeys, Giant Forest Hogs among other mammals.
Whereas chimpanzee tracking in Kibale is at USD200.00 per person per trek which is the new proposed rate starting July 2020, for Kyambura the rate is at USD50.00 per person per trek due to the success rate of seeing the chimpanzees and the fact that its only one chimpanzee family in the Gorge that is habituated for visiting, one may miss seeing these great apes but nevertheless it is one that comes highly recommended. The chimpanzee tracking permit for Kyambura Gorge requires you to have it booked in advance to avoid missing out as there are only 6 slots available in the group, Encounter Africa Safaris will ensure to book you the permit and make sure you track. Contact us to book you this safari.
As for the birders, the Gorge is a secret gym for you as you have a variety to see among these are the Bar-tailed Godwit, Martial Eagle, Papyrus Canary, White-winged Warbler, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Lesser plus Greater Flamingo, Chapin’s Flycatcher, White-tailed Lark, Corncrake, African Broadbill, Papyrus Gonolek, Pinkbacked Pelican, Shoebill, African Skimmer, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl and the Black Bee-eater are commonly seen. Flamingos are common visitors here as well.
Private and game viewing and walks in the Gorge are available to botany lovers and primate lovers to explore the gorge. Also there is a lot to see and game drives in there nearby areas of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Travelling to Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park can be accessed for those traveling from Kampala through Mbarara with a distance of 420km or for those coming from Kampala through Fort Portal at a distance of 410km. this can also be accessed from Kigali, Rwanda for those starting their trip in Rwanda. We also have charter plans from Entebbe connecting to Kasese and Mweya Airstrips. The drive is usually approximated to be about 6 hours’ drive on the road.
Just in the surrounding of Queen Elizabeth National park is a variety of accommodation facilities which one can explore and choose from basing on your budget and choice. Among these the common option that you can choose from are: Katara lodge, Jacana Safari Lodge, Elephant Hab Lodge, Kingfisher camp and Kyambura Gorge Safari Lodge.
Other than just visiting this part, Kyambura Gorge is surrounded by Queen Elizabeth National Park which hosts a range of activities that one can do ranging from game drives, boat cruises and walks around the park, birding trips are also available for the savannah species of Birds. Other areas of interest are Kalinzu Forest, Maramagambo Forest, Mweya Peninsular, Ishasha Sector and Kazinga channel that come at an affordable price and if you are interested in doing a trip that includes all these and more contact us and we shall arrange a trip for you and customize it to meet you interests and needs.