Chimpanzee Trekking in Kyambura Gorge – Queen Elizabeth National Park
Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park is a magical valley for chimpanzee trekking with a few chimpanzees that can be trekked during Uganda safaris. The Kyambura Gorge experience is much more fascinating as tourists go trekking in search of the chimpanzees within the gorge which is also referred to as the “valley of apes”. This is because the Kyambura Gorge is the only valley or depression that is home to chimpanzees in Uganda, which makes the atmosphere amazing. The underground rainforest is amazing including the vegetation types, birds, chimpanzees, and monkeys. The chimpanzees in the Kyambura gorge have been habituated and therefore accustomed to human presence and safe to trek.
Kyambura Gorge isn’t such a big chimpanzee trekking destination with many chimps but offers a much unique experience. Other destinations like Kibale National Park and Budongo forest have numerous chimpanzees with habituated groups that can be trekked during Uganda chimpanzee trekking safari. Kibale forest has over 1,500 chimpanzees and it is also dubbed the primate capital of the world. Although chimpanzee sightings are not guaranteed, tourists may hear the chimps. Only about sixteen (16) chimpanzees are estimated to be in the gorge.
Each chimpanzee trekking experience in Kyambura Gorge lasts between one and three hours with two sessions each day; one at 8:00 am and the other at 2:00 pm. When you enter the gorge, you will be marveled by the verdant, rich tropical rain forest just a few kilometers from the equator line. Below in the gorge is another beautiful world, different from the savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park with less sunlight shut out by the tree canopy.
Wonderful as it is for an amazing experience, Kyambura Gorge is found in the far eastern corner of the popular Queen Elizabeth National Park-famed for tree climbing lions within the Ishasha sector. The gorge is approximately 1 km across at its broadest point and about 100 meters deep. The gorge is actually drained by river Kayambura. The gorge is a section of the popular Queen Elizabeth National Park that many tourists usually visit for wildlife tours and trek chimps as part of their trip.
Best time for Chimpanzee trekking is all year round, however, it is during the months of June – July and December to February that are drier and make chimpanzee trekking easier. Walking the trails is easier during these times and the experience tends to be enjoyable.
The western region of Uganda has several national parks for tours and Kyambura gorge can be tailored in any trip. Tours that can be undertaken in western Uganda include visits to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for Uganda gorilla safaris. Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the top spots for Uganda Wildlife Safaris and a 4 days tour to the park is great for both wildlife viewing as well as chimpanzee trekking.
To trek chimps, an individual must have a chimpanzee permit. Just like gorilla trekking, only persons above the age of 15 are allowed to trek chimps.
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda can also be added onto other primate tracking tours like Uganda gorilla safaris or golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Surrounded with other wildlife parks, chimp tracking can also be undertaken on the same tour with Uganda wildlife safaris, adventure trips, bird watching tours or any other activity. For the perfect primate tracking experiences, Uganda is the best option followed by Rwanda which is also home to mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. However, for Africa tours that include viewing thousands of animals migrate, then a Tanzania safari or Kenya safari to see the wildebeests or visit other national parks comes in handy.