Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge.
In the south-western region of Uganda, near Queen Elizabeth National Park, is Kyambura Gorge, where it is possible to undertake chimpanzee trekking. The chimpanzees were trained to be near to people a few years ago, and the population is thought to be around 19 chimpanzees.
In addition to chimpanzee trekking, one can see various wildlife, birds, and primates such the olive baboon, the white colobus monkey, the black colobus monkey, and the red-tailed monkey. Primates can be found in this location due of the riverine forest, which offers breathtaking views of the lush canopy.
Trekking with chimpanzees is possible all year long.
Trekking in Kyambura gorge.
The most alluring activity in Kyambura Gorge is likely chimpanzee tracking. The closest living relative of humans, chimpanzees are among the most cognitive members of the ape family.
Though only for short distances because they prefer using all four limbs, they can walk on two legs like us. Chimpanzees live in groups of 30 to 80 people.
Large parties are broken up into smaller ones, which then eat individually before returning to the larger one before nightfall. For relaxation in the late afternoon and early evening, they construct nests atop trees.
The nests are quickly constructed by bending a number of tree branches into the shape of a cozy chimp sofa. Chimpanzees are most active in the morning after emerging from their makeshift nests.
They begin by randomly choosing fruit in the morning, becoming much more picky as the day wears on. Because of their superior intelligence, chimpanzees will use weapons, including stems, to combat people.
Termites can be lured or expelled from their burrows using the same stems. Despite eating mostly fruits, chimpanzees will also kill tiny antelopes and other primates. The unfortunate victim is chased, corned, and eaten during the orchestrated group hunt.
Why the Kyambura Gorge Chimps Exist?
The chimpanzees of Kyambura Gorge have been moving through a smaller, natural forest corridor for thousands of years to forage and mate with other chimpanzee communities in forests like Katsyoha-Kitoma, Maramagambo, and Kalinzu.
Human activity, including deforestation and the establishment of new towns, largely devastated this woodland corridor.
In the gorge, the chimpanzees got stuck. The Savannah, which is home to many lions, leopards, and hyenas, is the only way to reach the other woodlands. The chimpanzees were left with little choice but to stay in the gorge and create a life for themselves.
Inbreeding, in the opinion of scientists, may result in mutations and low birth rates.
New Forest Corridor For Kyambura Central Forest Reserve Chimps
In an effort to link the chimpanzees to the Katsyoha-Kitoma forest, the Volcanoes Safaris and the Uganda Wildlife Authority have planted nearly 6000 trees in the former forest corridor.
The chimpanzees in the gorge will be able to transit this new forest corridor and interact with neighboring clans, expanding the gene pool.
In Kyambura Gorge, there are two sessions available for chimpanzee trekking—morning and afternoon. A seminar at the visitors center along the Gorge kicks off the first session early in the morning.
Cost and Accessibility of Chimpanzee Trekking Permits
The Uganda Wildlife Authority must first issue licenses for people to track chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge. The park headquarters at Mweya are where the permits are obtained. Only 8 licenses are issued by the Authority per session, for a total of 16 permits per day.
Visitors must drive to the gorge for instruction from Mweya. Visitors are given a walking stick and a Guide to accompany them as they descend the gorge after receiving a briefing.
Going down the 200-meter slope that leads to the river below the valley is the first task. Because they are so noisy, chimpanzees can be located by listening for their far cries and hoots.
If they are silent, their excrement and footprints in the mud can aid in finding them. When you find them, you can observe them playing, nursing, mating, resting, and even fighting. When they notice guests, the chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge have an amazing habit of climbing down trees.
This makes it possible to take stunning photographs up close. Hiking down the gorge exposes visitors to a distinctive and magnificent wildlife in addition to the chimpanzees. The opportunity to view unusual vegetation and tall tropical trees will be available to visitors.
Animals like hippos, elephants (rarely), and other smaller primates live in the gorge as well. The entire process takes two to three hours.
In Kyambura Gorge, a permit to view chimpanzees costs $50. For chimpanzee trekking, a 12-year-old must participate. For comparison, you can also have a look at our 3-Day Chimpanzee Trekking Safari in Kibale National Park.
What you should know about Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge.
It takes a lot of effort to go chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge since you have to climb up and down a valley. Once you descend the gorge, you might also need to spend a lot of time following the primates.
To perform the exercise with minimal bodily exertion, one must be in good physical condition. For individuals who love nature, the exercise is quite satisfying.
It is a really unusual treat to explore an underground forest with incredible vegetation and creatures. The experience will stay with you forever. A person must be at least 12 years old to be eligible for chimpanzee tracking.
In Kyambura Gorge, every chimpanzee is habituated, or accustomed to human presence. For foreign visitors to Kyambura Gorge, chimpanzee permits cost $50.
Each of the three groups—Ugandans, East Africans, and foreigners residing there—pays 30,000 shillings. It’s crucial to reserve the permits ahead of time to avoid being let down at the last minute.
Chimpanzee sightings are less likely than in Kibale Forest. This is due to the fact that the chimps occasionally venture too deep down the gorge, making it difficult to get to them in time.
The majority of visitors do see the chimp, though, and very seldom do they miss out. See our 2 Days tour of Queen Elizabeth itinerary if you’re interested in monitoring the chimpanzees.
How to Access Kyambura Gorge.
Through the town of Mbarara, it is about 420 kilometers from Kampala to the Gorge. The distance is 410 kilometers while taking the Kampala Fort Portal route. By car, it typically takes six hours to reach Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Tourists can reserve a chartered flight from Entebbe International Airport to the airfield at Mweya to bypass the lengthy car ride. One hour is spent on the flight.
Your tour operator or hotel can arrange to pick you up from the airport and drive you to the Mweya visitors center in a private vehicle.
You will be taken to Kyambura Gorge after buying your tickets in Mweya. The Mweya Visitors Center is 30 kilometers from Kyambura Gorge. At Fig Tree Camp, which is close to the Kyambura Gorge’s edge, there is a small Visitors Center just for the Gorge.
Other Attractions in Kyambura Gorge apart from Chimpanzee trekking.
Primate and Wildlife viewing.
In addition to chimpanzees, baboons, Vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and Colobus monkeys live in Kyambura Gorge. From the gorge’s edge or while still on the Savannah, you can start to glimpse primates and birds grazing down the valley.
It’s beautiful to see this from the Savannah that surrounds it. Visitors can actually walk around the gorge’s edges instead of plunging down it to admire the view below.
You should be prepared to see a variety of woodland animals, such as hippos, antelopes, and elephants, if you choose to travel down the valley. Other creatures like buffaloes, leopards, lions, and hyenas also occasionally frequent the gorge.
Nature and Forest Walks:
Explore the magnificent Kyambura Gorge. While visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park, many visitors focus on the Savannah and the wildlife. They are unaware that they are missing one of nature’s greatest wonders in action.
In addition to its natural splendor, you have the impression that you are in a secret, captivating place. To see some of the forest animals including giant forest hogs, Colobus monkeys, re-tailed monkeys, and hippos, guided nature walks can be taken in conjunction with chimpanzee tracking or alone on foot.
You will experience a totally other world while taking nature hikes at the Kyambura wildlife reserve.
You are abruptly introduced to a cold underground forest with stunning tree canopies and incredible wildlife from the sweltering Savannah that surrounds the gorge.
Your Guide will impart knowledge on the valley’s history, wildlife, and birdlife. The morning and afternoon shifts of the nature walks are organized.
The fig tree camp’s nature walks begin at 8:00 am in the morning and at 1:00 pm in the afternoon. The nature walks can only be participated in by two groups per session. Four people typically make up each group.
A birdwatcher’s haven is Kyambura Gorge. Because of the beauty and towering trees, the gorge is appealing to birds. The birds like the fruits and insects found in the trees, which are abundant.
Many of the birds are forest inhabitants, but there are also many birds who go to the gorge on purpose to feed before returning to their nests in the savannah or marshes near Lake Albert and the Gorge.
The common species include the African broad bill, Martial Eagles, falcons, African finfoot, Verreaux’s, Eagle owl, African skimmers, white- tailed lark, Bar-tailed Godwit, black headed bee-eaters, pink backed Pelican, Shoebill storks, Corncrake, papyrus canary, Chapin’s flycatcher, papyrus gonolek, black-rumped buttonquail, white winged warbler and flamingos.
The males, females, always stay in groups of 35 to 80 people. Additionally, sometimes these chimpanzees even mis up.
Chimpanzees can jam nuts into tree roots and use stones as hammers.
Chimpanzees utilize stems or twigs as instruments to plunge into termite holes so they can eat the termites that have already settled there.
The water-soaked leaves of chimpanzees are then sucked for moisture.
A chimpanzee chews leaves.
They travel short distances in an upright manner.
They are quick climbers and establish their nests high in trees, where they frequently rest during the day. At night, they simply construct their nests utilizing tree branches.
Chimpanzees walk on four feet.
Female chimpanzees give birth every four to five years, and they don’t have a set season for mating.
Chimpanzees begin eating fruits at sunrise when they descend from their nests, and after a few hours of feeding, they start selecting the riper fruits and refraining from plucking needlessly.
Young antelope or goats are added to the chimpanzees’ meals. They use their hands to pick fruits even though some fruits, like berries, can be picked with the mouth.
Most frequently, young monkeys like the blue monkey and small baboons are killed by chimpanzees.
In addition to chimpanzee trekking, visitors to the queen Elizabeth national park can learn more about the majestic canopies of Kyambura, which are located in the gorgeous savannah and offer breathtaking views of the rift valley’s steep slope.