Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura
Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura: Chimpanzees are endangered species of primates in east African found in a few places among which include Kyambura gorge. These chimpanzees are endangered because of poaching that was done by surrounding communities before the parks were gazetted. After gazzetting Queen Elizabeth national park, a few chimpanzees stayed in Kyambura gorge, and because of the great work done by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, their population is increasing and some have been habituated for tourism purposes.
Chimp trekking is the main activity done in Kyambura located on the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth national park. The activity is controlled by the Uganda Wildlife Authority which manages park activities. Just like any other primate park, tourists are given 1 hour to be with the habituated chimpanzees under the guidance of armed ranger guides.
Kyambura gorge has over 10 primate species among which include red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, and vervet monkeys but the most famous ones are the chimpanzees because they are said to be close relatives to human beings.
Most of the chimpanzees in Kyambura gorge have been habituated and tourists are able to spend time with them while keeping the rules and regulations. The activity is done by the tourists in Queen Elizabeth national park which they combine with other park activities like the boat cruise on Kazinga channel, and game drives among others.
For any tourists to be part of the chimpanzee trekking activity they need to inform their tour operator so that they book the chimpanzee permits in advance. The chimpanzee trekking permits for Kyambura gorge are sold on a first come first serve basis a reason why you need to book earlier before the trekking date.
Chimpanzee permits for Kyambura gorge tend to sell out fast during the dry season when the park is receiving a high number of tourists. A lot of tourists visit the park in the dry seasons because that is when they get great experience because the park is receiving little or no rainfall, the vegetation is short with good views of the wild animals and the roads leading to the park are in good condition.
Chimpanzee trekking experience in Kyambura gorge
Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge is done twice a day which is in the morning and evening. Tourists will gather at the starting point for a briefing where they will learn about the rules and regulations of the activity before heading out to the jungle,
Armed ranger guides lead the group not exceeding 8 people into the forest where they start searching for where the apes could be. Kyambura is not very big and there searching the chimpanzees takes a few hours. It takes 2-4 hours to meet their apes carrying out their daily activities.
When the chimpanzees are spotted, armed ranger guides do give trekkers 1 hour according to the rules to be around the chimpanzees and this enables them to learn about their habits, compare them to human beings, take photos and watch them do daily activities such as hunting, nesting, coupling and grooming among others.
How much is chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge
Chimpanzees are endangered species of primates that need a lot of care and protection to avoid them from being extinct. For any tourist to encounter habituated chimpanzees in any of the parks in the country they must pay a certain amount of money which is used for the conservation.
A single chimpanzee trekking permit for Kyambura gorge does cost $50 for foreign non-residents, $40 for foreign residents, and UGX 30,000 East African residents. These permits need to be booked in advance of 3-4 months from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or a trusted local tour operator.
What to pack for chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge?
The packing list for chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge should include long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, a sweater, a rain jacket, gardening gloves, a hat, sunscreen, waterproof hiking shoes, long cotton stocks, a pair of gaiters, toiletries, first aid kit, sanitizer, insect repellents, facemask, drinking water bottle, energy-giving snacks, a camera and a pair of binoculars among others.
Best time to trek chimpanzees of Kyambura gorge
Chimpanzees in Kyambura can be trekked at any time of the year but there are months that are months that are better than the rest. The dry months from June to September and December to February are the best to do chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge and this is because they are characterized by little or no rainfall which keeps the trails dry, vegetation is short with good views of chimpanzees and the roads leading to the gorge are passable.
Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge can be done in the rainy season from March to May and October to November because the park is open. Tourists should know that during the rainy season, the area is receiving plenty of rainfall which makes the trails muddy and slippery, vegetation is tall with unclear views of chimpanzees, and roads leading to Kyambura are impassable.
Accommodation on a chimpanzee trekking safari in Kyambura
With so many accommodation facilities found in Queen Elizabeth national park, tourists can’t fail to get into where to stay based on their travel budget. There are budget, mid-range, and luxury accommodation facilities such as Kyambura Gorge Lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge, Engiri Game Lodge, Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge, Buffalo Safari Lodge, Irungu Forest Safari Lodge, Elephant Hab Lodge, Kyangabi Crater Lake, and Queen Elizabeth Park View Tourist Lodge among others.
Accessing Kyambura gorge
Kyambura gorge is found on the eastern side of Kyambura gorge and it can be accessed by road transport or air transport. By air transport, tourists can be to Kyambura by flying to Mweya airstrip which is located inside the park. There are flights at Kajjansi airstrip and Entebbe international airport organized by Aerolink Uganda or Bar Aviation Uganda.
By road transport tourists can get to Kyambura gorge in 7-8 hours from Kampala through Masaka, Mbarara, Bushenyi, and Kasese or Kampala through Mubende, Kyenjonjo, Fort Portal, Kasese to the park. From Buhoma sector of Bwindi, tourists will drive through Kihihi and Kanungu to access the park and visit Kyambura gorge.