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Kyambura Gorge Uganda in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Kyambura Gorge Uganda in Queen Elizabeth National Park pronounced as “Chambura” is also known as the ‘Valley Of Apes’.

It was named after the Kyambura River which beautifully runs through the riparian woodland of the cloudy cover of forests.

This river flows through the Kichwamba Escarpment in Africa, Uganda, and pours its water into Kazinga Channel in Katunguru.

The Gorge features tall trees with thick fruit-filled vegetation surrounded by pointed rocks.  Hence, creating one of the most rewarding Uganda landscapes for scenery.

Kyambura Gorge is 100 meters deep at the Kichwamba Escarpment and is 11km long.

It however runs 16km to the Eastern boundary of Queen Elizabeth National Park with the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve.

This hollow, forested place is in the North East of Queen Elizabeth National Park, about 30 km from the park headquarters.

Kyambura Gorge is home to the isolated Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Community which is also known as the “Lost Chimpanzees”.

Lost because they are alienated from the rest of the forest jungles of Kasyoha-Kitomi, Maramagambo, and Kalinzu Forest Reserves.

This has been due to past deforestation activities by the locals in the community.

Consequently, Kyambura Game Reserve is the buffer zone that protects the only habituated chimps in the gorge.

Kyambura Gorge is a primate paradise that sustains wildlife safaris in Uganda by keeping other primates like the

  1. Red-Tailed Monkeys
  2. Black-and-White Colobus Monkeys
  3. Vervet Monkeys and
  4. Olive Baboons

Similarly, the forest is a good destination for birding in Uganda since it hosts birds like Pelicans, Turacos, Bee-Eaters, and African Falcons.

Major things to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Kyambura Gorge are

  • kyambura gorge chimp trekking
  • Birding
  • Nature Walks

Keep hold of an enthralling adventure by visiting the valley of primates, the Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

How Was Kyambura Gorge Formed?

According to scientists, two hypotheses explain the formation of Kyambura Gorge.

The first one suggests that the gorge formed as a result of secondary faulting during the formation of the East African Rift Valley.

The process of secondary faulting created many valleys including the Kyambura Gorge.

Secondly, scientists assume that the Kyambura River overflooded and flowed with great force.

Consequently, it created a deep valley as a result of erosion, and when the waters reduced, the gorge remained.

Location of Kyambura Gorge 

Kyambura Gorge is in South Western Uganda, on the Western Rift Valley.

It is found on the Eastern edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rubirizi District.

Whereas the adjacent Kyambura Wildlife Reserve covers 156km2, the gorge is 11km long.

Positioned at a mean altitude of 1,100 meters above sea level, it is the only place in the park where you will find habituated Uganda Chimpanzees.

Attractions At Kyambura Gorge Uganda In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Kyambura Gorge has an amazing collection of things to see for Uganda tourists. They include

  1. Uganda Chimpanzees
  2. Other Primates and Animals
  3. The Kyambura Gorge and
  4. Birds

Chimps Of The Lost Gorge | Chimpanzees At Kyambura Gorge Uganda In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Kyambura Gorge is a secluded habitation for the Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Community.

They are isolated from the rest of the forest jungles and for many years, they have not seen the light beyond the gorge. Hence, they are referred to as the “Chimps of the lost Gorge”.

These chimpanzees learned to live together, and they inbreed among themselves for lack of access to other Uganda Chimps in other forests.

Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is their only buffer zone.

The Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Community consists of 23 members led by Kihango, their alpha.

Below is the list of members of this group

1)    Kihango the Alpha Male

2)    Emiti the Alpha Female

3)    Lumumba

4)    Brutus

5)    Mweya

6)    Kazinga

7)    Enjojo

8)    Namanya

9)    Kaaka

10)  Enyanja

11)   Asaba

12)  Maani

13)  Pamba

14)  Murungi

15)  Natkunda

16)  Ekibiira

17)   Mulefu

18)  Njuuko

19)  Agaba

20) Embogo

21)  Pesa

There are 23 members in this family as of the time of writing with two adult females having infants, that is Emiti and Murungi’s baby girls.

Kihango became the alpha in 2017 and has always had Namanya as his closest companion.

Former alpha males, Brutus and Lumumba also live in the same group.

Other Chimps like Mweya often attack Kihango, the alpha male to try to seize power from him.

However, Kihango has always won these battles but has lost a finger and toe from it.

Kazinga, Kihango’s brother on the other hand exhibits power over adult females. This shows his passion for being an alpha like his brother someday.

Ekibiira, Enjojo, Embogo, and Enyanja are Emiti’s children. On the other hand, Murungi mothers the “M” brothers, that is Mweya, Mulefu, and Mani.

Other Chimpanzees in the community joined the group over the past years.

These resident chimpanzees, through a kyambura gorge chimp tracking adventure, contribute to the well-being of the local community.

Also, the revenue supports the reafforestation process to help the Chimpanzees cross over to other forests in the future.

While doing Chimp trekking at Kyambura Gorge, visitors can delight in other activities like birding and nature walks.

Kyambura Gorge is the only place to see habituated Chimpanzees in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The other destination around the park is Kalinzu forest.

Other Primates And Uganda Animals In Kyambura Gorge Uganda In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Kyambura Gorge also has other primates like the

  1. Black-and-white colobus monkeys
  2. Red-tailed monkeys
  3. Vervet monkeys and
  4. Olive baboons

Other infrequent animals in the Kyambura Gorge include the

  1. Hippos
  2. Elephants
  3. Buffaloes
  4. Lions
  5. Leopards
  6. Giant forest hogs
  7. Bushbucks

The Gorge

The Gorge itself is another attraction to see at the Kyambura Gorge Uganda. The name Kyambura means “I can not see it”.

Locals believe that the river did not have a name until once, it flooded, astonishing everyone.

Consequently, their belongings and property went along with the water.

When they moved to Lake George to search for their belongings, they did not get them.

Coming back empty-handed, they announced “Kyambura” meaning “I can not see it”. This eventually became the name of the river.

The Gorge itself is 100 meters deep at the Kichwambwa Escarpment and 11km long, pouring at Kaziga Channel at Katunguru.

It supports the Uganda wildlife in Kyambura by providing drinking and bathing water. Both wading and forest birds flock to the gorge.

Birds Of Uganda In Kyambura Gorge

Kyambura Gorge is one of the best birding spots in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Its forest edge favors birding in Uganda and the major birds that frequent the place include

·        Great Blue Turacos

·        Black-And-White Cascade Hornbills

·        Martial Eagles

·        Verreaux’s  Eagle Owls

·        African Fish Eagles

·        African Broadbills

·        Black-Headed Bee-Eaters

·        Papyrus Canary

·        Black-Rumped Buttonquails.

·        Black-Chested Snake-Eagle

·        Speckled Mousebird

·        Madagascar Bee-Eater

·        Sooty Chat

·        Scarlet-Chested Sunbird

·        Compact Weaver

·        Yellow Bishop

·        White-Winged Warblers

Why Should You Visit The Kyambura Gorge | Things To Do In Kyambura Gorge In Queen Elizabeth National Park’s 

Kyambura Gorge is a destination for three best exhilarating activities, that is,

  • Kyambura Gorge Chimp Trekking/ Kyambura Gorge Chimp Tracking.
  • Birding
  • Nature Walks.

Kyambura Gorge Chimp Trekking

There is only one family to track at Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park and it is most times found by their sound.

It takes about 3-4 hours to find the community since they keep on moving from one place to another in a very short time.

Trekkers stay with Chimpanzees for about one hour, studying their behavior.

There is a Chimp tracking trailhead at Fig Tree Camp, and it is 2.5 kilometers East of Ishaka Road.

Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Tracking happens twice daily and starts from Fig Tree Camp on the West end of Kyambura Gorge.

Birding In Uganda’s Kyambura Gorge

Kyambura Gorge abounds with many bird species that encourage Uganda birding safaris.

The Gorge has water birds, forest birds, and other rare species due to its biodiversity.

While the gorge favors the wading birds, the forests suit the forest birds.

Nature Walks In Kyambura Gorge Uganda

Nature walks in Kyambura Gorge give a relaxing experience as you enjoy Uganda’s nature and the fresh breeze from the trees.

The Uganda scenery in Kyambara Gorge has a very exceptional beauty of misty rainforests bordered by pointing rocks and arid savannahs.

Moreso, the gorge area has a large diversity of over 13 distinct habitats supporting various wildlife.

The perfect Kyambura viewpoint sits on the Kichwamba Escarpment and it oversees the Kazinga Channel and the Katinda and Milambi twin lakes.

Around it is also a handicraft shop that sells African jewelry, baskets, and locally produced honey too.

Preparing To Go To Kyambura Gorge Uganda In Queen Elizabeth National Park

To have a fulfilling experience at Kyambura Gorge, it is important to mind about the

  • Important things to carry.
  • What to wear.
  • How you should behave while with the Uganda Chimps at Kyambura Gorge.

Important Things To Carry

  • A well-charged camera for taking photos and videos of the chimpanzees and the nature around you.
  • Have good binoculars if you enjoy birding.
  • Carry an insect repellant to protect you from uncomfortable insects.
  • Also, have a poncho or rain jacket with you, just in case it rains.
  • Lastly, carry a bag where you can safely keep all your belongings.

How Should You Dress When Going To Kyambura Gorge Chimp Trekking?

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers to protect you from the vegetation that may scratch your skin.

Most importantly wear dull colors to avoid getting the attention of the primates. Avoid bright lipstick or shiny jewelry. Chimpanzees are sexual and can get attracted to humans too!

  • Have firm trekking shoes for easy movement through the trails, and in the forest.
  • You can also carry a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen lotion to protect your skin from harmful sun rays.

How You Should Behave When With The Chimpanzees At Kyambura Gorge

Chimpanzees are wild character-based animals that interpret social behavior both amongst themselves and with their visitors (humans).

It is therefore important to know how to behave around them. When with the Chimpanzees,

Keep a reasonable distance from them. This is to make them feel comfortable. Healthwise, it also avoids transmitting any diseases in case either party (chimps or humans) is infected.

For your safety, avoid smiling! Chimpanzees, unlike humans, interpret smiling as a threat. Consequently, they may charge at you in defense thinking that you are threatening them.

Remove your camera’s flashlight; these primates are very inquisitive and so they may want to find out more if they see your flashlight. Or, they may attack you thinking that the camera light is a threat to them.

In case the Chimpanzee takes any of your belongings, let it have it. Chances are they will throw it when they do not see any use for it, and you will have your property back.

Best Time And Period To Visit Kyambura Gorge Uganda In Queen Elizabeth National Park

The dry seasons of December to February and June to September are the best for Uganda tours and safaris at Kyambura Gorge.

This is because several animals converge by the gorge to drink water, and birds too come in plenty.

Additionally, trekking tracks are dry making the activity more enjoyable than it would have been in the rainy season.

How To Get To Kyambura Gorge Uganda In Queen Elizabeth Park

By Road

The most preferred route by tourists is the Kampala-Mubende, Mubende-FortPortal, and Fort Portal-Kasese roads(AI09). However, they can also use the Kampala-Masaka, and Masaka-Mbarara roads.

The former route takes about 7 hours and 30 minutes on 420km while the latter route takes about 7 hours on 375km.

By Air

The flight from Entebbe Airport to Kasese airport is about 1 hour.

A guide or a hotel pick-up service will then pick you up from the airport and guide you on how to get to Kyambura Gorge.

Hotels/Accommodation Around Kyambura Gorge Uganda

Kyambura Gorge has many lodge options for visitors, each with its unique aspect. Below we look at them!

Luxury/Upmarket Accommodation

Mazike Valley Lodge; formerly called Kyambura Game Lodge, is on the South rim of Kyambura Gorge.

Katara Lodge; from its scenic view from the escarpment, this lodge overlooks the beautiful rolling plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Midrange/Moderate Accommodation

Twin Lakes Safari Lodge; this lodge also sits at the end of the escarpment.

It was named after the beautiful twin lakes, Katinda and Milambi. The lodge beautifully overlooks these lakes and the plains in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Parkview Safari Lodge; is a beautiful lodge with an African touch of architecture. It sits on the edge of the escarpment and overlooks Kazinga Channel and Rwenzori Mountain ranges.

Budget Accommodation

Dave and Cave Ecolodge; this lodge stands on lavish gardens in proximity to the Kichwamba Escarpment and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Pumba Safari Cottages; is just a few meters North of Kyambura Trading Centre.

Balcons Guest House; is a simple guesthouse in Kichwamba town.

Other Budget Lodges near Kyambura Gorge

  • Craters Campsite and Country Lodge
  • Kalinzu Eco-Tourism Project
  • Maramagambo Campsite

Kyambura Gorge has throughout the years maintained a great history in protecting Queen Elizabeth National Park Primates.

The most common of these are the Uganda Chimpanzees, which lurk around the beautiful Kyambura Forest.

The great Uganda landscape and birds in the gorge are a great additional adventure to the Kyambura Gorge Chimp tracking.

Book your safari with us today for these exquisite experiences at Kyambura Gorge!

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