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Kyambura Gorge Chimp Trekking | Chimpanzee Trekking In Kyambura Gorge

Kyambura Gorge Chimp trekking is a great way to see Queen Elizabeth National Park’s lone habituated Chimpanzees in Africa. Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth park has for a long time been a major Uganda safari activity enjoyed by those who safari to Uganda

Many know these primates as the Uganda chimps of the lost gorge because of their isolation from the rest of the world! These Chimpanzees in Uganda cannot access the neighboring Maramagambo-Kalinzu Forests because humans destroyed the corridor in the past 15 years.  However, the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve which is 16 kilometers on the Eastern boundary is their only Uganda Chimpanzee sanctuary.

In your Uganda Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge, you will meet this habituated family of 23 members led by an alpha called Kihango. They are a friendly batch whose cordiality on your safari in Uganda will live you appreciating nature like you never imagined before.

The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in partnership with the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust supports these endangered Chimps in Uganda’s Kyambura Gorge to ensure that they do not go extinct.

Tracking Chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge is one of the exciting safari activities to do in your Uganda safari. Among various tracking techniques, you will locate these primates by the sound of their pant-hoot calls and approach them quite closely once you meet them.

The riverine and tropical rainforest trees on which these Uganda Chimps swing or spend their feeding, resting, and sleeping time are an ideal makeup for nature walks as you do your Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda.

Chimpanzee trekking to Uganda’s Kyambura Gorge will also reward your safari to Uganda with great sights of birds like Hornbills, Bee Eaters, King Fishers, and Turacos.

Additionally, the Kyambura Gorge Chimp trekking experience will make you see the other primates of the forest like Monkeys and Olive Baboons. Once in a blue moon, some trekkers spot Bush bucks, Elephants, Buffaloes, and Giant Forest Hogs.

The Uganda Chimpanzee tours in Kyambura Gorge occur twice a day and departure is from the Fig Tree Camp on the Western Rim of the Gorge.

The warm relationship of these great apes toward human presence will leave you awe-inspired about their life in the beautiful wild Kyambura Gorge. Even in their isolated environment, these Uganda Chimpanzees have stimulated Chimpanzee safaris by welcoming many visitors that safari Uganda.

Below, we examine the experience of Chimpanzee safaris to Uganda Africa in Kyambura Gorge.

Kyambura Gorge Chimp Tracking Time

Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge happens every day at 8:00 am and 1:00 pm. At each designated time, trackers leave in groups of two (2) consisting of about 4 visitors.

The trip takes about three hours, but this depends on how fast you find the chimps or where you find them.

Best time of the day and season of the year to do Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge

Best time of the day

Both the morning and the afternoon sessions are rewarding when it comes to finding the Chimps. This is because the primates are active during the day as they feed, swing on trees, move from one place to another and also prepare their nests for the night.

However, the morning trek is more fruitful as the Chimps will not have gone to distant places. Also, you will be very fresh and active in the activity.

The best season of the year

You can do Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge all year round.

June to October and December to March are dry, but with mild rainfall. This will make it easy for you to navigate the short vegetation and also get beautiful photos on your Chimpanzee safari.

April, May, and November are wet and are also the fruiting season for the trees. This is good because visitors will easily track the Chimps as they will not move far to look for food.

Guidelines For Kyambura Gorge Chimp Trekking

The Uganda Chimpanzee tour in Kyambura Gorge begins with a briefing session in which rangers explain to trekkers the landscape in which they will move. They also tell them what to expect about the Chimpanzees and how to behave around them. After the briefing, clients are led down to the Gorge to experience the Chimps physically.

You are free to ask any questions while you are at the briefing.

In the briefing, the guides will also explain the Chimpanzee trekking rules and regulations to visitors. The following guidelines are put in place to protect you, other visitors, and the Chimpanzees as you walk the trails in the Kyambura forest.

  1. It is better that you do not do Chimp trekking if you feel unwell. Chimpanzees share about 98.8% to 99% of human DNA. Therefore, they can easily catch a human infection.
  2. Tracking the Chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge is only for those above 12 years.
  3. The more you are silent in the forest, the more you will see.
  4. Keep the forest clean by not littering it.
  5. When you meet the Chimpanzees, stay at least 8 meters away from them.
  6. Avoid imitating the Chimpanzees, whether in vocals or actions. It may mean something contrary to them, hence will act accordingly by attacking you.
  7. Don’t chase the Chimps!
  8. You are discouraged from eating next to the Chimpanzees. This will get their attention as they will want your eats. Consequently, they may come for them.
  9. Flash photography is prohibited while with Kyambura’s Chimpanzees of Uganda. This is because the Chimpanzees will be captured by the lights which may mean danger to them. They will attack you in that regard or take the camera away from you.
  10. Just in case you feel like emptying your bowels, do it off the trails and bury the waste and any tissues used, 30 cm deep into the ground. However, to avoid such inconveniences, we advise that you ease yourself before the Kyambura Gorge Chimp trekking journey.
  11. If a Chimpanzee takes your belonging, let it have them as it will find no use for them. It will drop it and you will then have your property back.

The Kyambura Fig Tree Nature Walk Trail

This new Chimpanzee trekking trail begins from the Kyambura Fig Tree lodge through the rainforest to Kyambura Gorge. The trail goes through the built Elephant trench and rises a bit to reveal a beautiful landscape of Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Rwenzori Mountains on the horizon. Offering one of the most scenic Uganda safari tours.

Through the trail, you will be able to view the different Uganda wildlife as you enter deeper into the Gorge. Your ranger will guide you and tell you about the wildlife of the forest, including the Chimpanzees.

Trekking during your Chimpanzee tours will require you to walk for long expanses on the coarse terrain, and when you reach the gorge it will take some time to find the Chimpanzees. However, after a while, you will be able to meet the Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Community who are approachable.

How fit should you be when going on the Uganda Chimpanzee trekking safari in Kyambura Gorge?

Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge does not require a lot of fitness as the activity is generally like a nature walk.  However, those who are fit will normally enjoy their Uganda safari tour experience of trekking.

If you are not fit enough, we advise that you hire a porter to carry your bags to make your experience more comfortable.

How Do Rangers Track During Kyambura Gorge Chimp Trekking

Rangers usually do the tracking while tourists doing Chimpanzee safaris in Uganda follow them. As they track, they are keen to notice any tracks or signs that the primates display for example,

  1. Foot and knuckle tracks
  2. Dung
  3. Housing nests
  4. Leftover fruits
  5. Sound

Additionally, the trackers usually know the favorable locations of the Chimpanzees since they have done Chimp tracking several times on Queen Elizabeth safaris.

Foot and Knuckle Tracks

Chimpanzees have longer front limbs and therefore they move with all four limbs. Therefore, rangers can track the direction of their movements using their limb prints.

Chimpanzee Dung

Rangers can also use the Chimp dung to track how close or far the Chimpanzees are. In case they find their dung dry, it tells that they are far and if it is wet, it tells how near they are.

Housing Nests

Rangers are keen to identify nests on which the Chimpanzees sleep. The presence of the nests will tell the presence of the Chimpanzees.

Leftover fruits

Chimpanzees usually eat fruits and throw unwanted parts away. Therefore, rangers tracking them will track their location using their leftovers because they provide hints of where the primates have headed.


As you approach the Chimpanzees, you will hear them shaking the trees or vocalizing as they communicate with their colleagues. This can help tell trackers where they are.

What are the chances of seeing Chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge?

With the restrained nature of the forest, it is quite easy to find the Chimpanzees by sound as you safari Queen Elizabeth National Park on a Uganda tour.

Meeting The Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Community

The Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Community is the only group, habituated for Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee tracking. It consists of 23 members with Kihango as their leader.

Below is the list of this group that you will meet during your Kyambura Gorge Chimp trekking excursion in a Queen Elizabeth National Park safari.

  • Kihango is the Alpha male
  • Emiti is the Alpha female
  • Kazinga
  • Lumumba
  • Mweya
  • Brutus
  • Enjojo
  • Kaaka
  • Namanya
  • Enyanja
  • Maani
  • Asaba
  • Pamba
  • Natkunda
  • Murungi
  • Ekibiira
  • Njuuko
  • Mulefu
  • Agaba
  • Pesa
  • Embogo

There are also two infant girls in the group mothered by Emiti and Murungi.

Through winning a challenge with one of the previous alphas, Kihango became the groups Alpha in 2017 and Namanya is his closest ally. Brutus and Lumumba are prior alphas while Mweya sometimes tries to challenge Kihango for power.

Kazinga is Kihango’s brother who shows authority over adult females, communicating how he would like to be an alpha.

Mweya, Mulefu, and Mani are known as the “M” brothers, mothered by Murungi. Emiti’s children also include Enyanja, Embogo, Embogo Ekibiira, and Enjojo.

Some members of the group joined the community over the years.

How did this community come to be trapped in Kyambura Gorge?

It is believed that Chimpanzees have lived in this forest for many past years. Once the forest connected with the rest of the Maramagambo, Kalinzu, and Kashoya-Kitomi forests. This made it easy for the Chimps to move from one jungle to another.

However, to get land for settlement, locals destroyed the forest corridor for about the past 15 years hence trapping this family in Kyambura. Even though Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is their only buffer zone, the Uganda Wildlife Authority is planting trees to rebuild the corridor for the chimps to move freely again.

This Chimpanzee community has also been practicing incest due to the failure to meet Chimps from other forests. This is an issue because scientists believe it will lead to the birthing of unhealthy infants. Nonetheless, the Chimpanzees are very used to human presence since there are human settlements around them, and you will enjoy their presence while for a Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda Safari.

What You Need For Kyambura Gorge Chimp Trekking

These necessities will add icing to your whole trekking experience for a remarkable Uganda tours and safaris;

Camera; to take memorable photos of these primates. Remember to avoid flash cameras because it threatens the Chimps.

A notebook and pen; will come through when you want to note observations or your experiences.

A pair of Binoculars; for birding during your nature walk in the forest.

Sunscreen; will keep your skin from being burnt by the sun heat of tropical Africa.

Insect Repellant; will prevent insects from biting you.

A rain jacket or Poncho; with the changeable weather, pack a rain jacket or poncho in case it rains.

A backpack; will help you keep your belongings safely.

Walking Stick; this comes in to help support you while walking on the trails. Queen Elizabeth National Park is not as hilly as some parks but those who are not fit enough for the journey can have a walking stick.

What To Wear For The Activity

When going Chimpanzee trekking, you will need to have the most comfortable and relaxing attire for your experience. These include;

Long-sleeved shirts and trousers; will prevent insects from biting you, the vegetation from hurting you, and the weather from affecting your skin. Please take note to wear dull colors as bright colors will get the attention of the Chimps.

Garden Cloves; will help you to avoid touching plants that may cause allergies or hurt you through the thorns or itchiness.

Hiking Boots; light sturdy shoes are the best for trekking as they will make movement easy and protect your ankles from getting hurt.

Sunglasses and a hat; will cover your face from direct sunlight.

Chimpanzee Tracking Permit Cost In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Over 16 Chimpanzee trekking permits are delivered in a day for the Kyambura Gorge Chimp trekking and below is the cost for different citizens.

Foreign Non-resident (USD)Foreign Resident (USD)East African Citizen (UGX)


The Uganda safari package in your Chimpanzee tracking fees includes a nature walk on the day of tracking and a guide fee. However, it excludes the park entry fees.

How | where can you purchase a Chimpanzee trekking permit?

You can purchase a Chimpanzee permit with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, or at Katunguru headquarters, in the North. Better still, you can also have your Uganda Safari Company (tour operator) purchase it for you.

Can you get a last-minute permit for trekking in Kyambura Gorge?

Yes, it is possible to get a last-minute permit, especially through your tour operator. However, it is advisable to plan your trip and safari activities early to avoid any inconveniences.

What Else Can You do In Kyambura Gorge?

Nature Walks;

The Kyambura Fig Tree nature walk trail will expose you to the beautiful scenery of the park’s landscape and the distant Rwenzori ranges. You will also see the Kyambura River that beautifully runs through the patch of riparian woodlands, alive with birds.

The beauty is that you do not need to pay a nature walk fee since it is in your Chimpanzee permit package.


Birding is also a beautiful adventure to do in the Kyambura Gorge. The forest counts many forest and water birds in its vicinity.

Primate Watching

Other than the Chimpanzee community in Kyambura Gorge, you will also get to see other primates in Kyambura Gorge like Monkeys and Olive Baboons.

Adding Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge to your itinerary will give you the best safari in Uganda. This is an experience that allows you to connect with the closest human cousins who live in the isolated woodlands of Kyambura. Book your adventurous safari today for this exquisite experience!

Other Ultimate Places To Do Chimpanzee Tracking In Uganda

Kyambura Gorge Chimp trekking in Queen Elizabeth National Park is just a glimpse of what the country can give when it comes to Chimpanzee trekking within Uganda.  If your major Uganda safari intention is to do Chimpanzee tracking, then we recommend that you visit

  1. Kibale National Park or
  2. Kalinzu Forest

Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park has over 1500 chimps of Uganda out of the over 5000, and 12 other primates. The park is dubbed the primate capital of the world since it carries the highest concentration of primates in Africa.

There are four Chimpanzee communities in Kibale, but the Kanyantale Chimpanzee Community in Kanyanchu Area is open for Chimpanzee trekking.

Kalinzu Forest Around Queen Elizabeth National Park

This forest is the most famous Chimpanzee trekking destination around Queen Elizabeth National Park and the second best in Uganda after Kibale Forest.

It has over 300 Chimpanzees with about 70 habituated individuals from two groups.

 Alternative places to do Chimp trekking in Uganda are

  • Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park.
  • Semuliki National Park.

Other safari activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park

  1. Game drives
  2. Boat cruise
  3. Birding
  4. Chimpanzee Trekking
  5. Lion Tracking
  6. Hippo Census
  7. Mongoose Tracking
  8. Nature Walks and Community Visits

Frequently Asked Questions About Chimpanzee Trekking In Kyambura Gorge

  1. How many Chimps are in Kyambura Gorge?

There are 23 members in the Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Community as of the time of writing.

  1. Is the Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee tracking worth it?

Tracking Chimpanzees in the Kyambura Gorge is worth it as you get to meet the only surviving Chimpanzee family in Kyambura Gorge. In addition, the forest is a great place to do an adventurous nature walk along with Chimpanzee trekking.

  1. Is it safe to do Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge?

Tracking Chimps in Kyambura Gorge is safe because an armed ranger accompanies a group during the activity. In case of any threats, they will shoot or scare away the wild animals.

  1. How is Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge important?

Kyambura Gorge Chimp trekking is a very beneficial activity, not just for tourism in Queen Elizabeth National Park, but also for Chimpanzee Conservation and employment to the natives who work as guides and rangers.

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