Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park
This is a stunning meandering extensive gorge with the deepest part at 100m low, drained by River Kyambura. It is located in the eastern part of Queen Elizabeth national park near the equator crossing. Kyambura gorge has an underground forest which is a habitat to chimpanzees hence being referred to as “the Valley of Apes”. Other wildlife in this gorge include birds, butterflies, forest hogs and other small wildlife. It is part of Kyambura wildlife reserve and is the chimp trekking destination in Queen Elizabeth national park. It is believed that the thrilling steep slopes of this magnificent gorge were formed by the flooding River Kyambura leading to these slopes which are covered by ever green vegetation. Before sloping down to the gorge, the eyes are caught by the lovely views of the entire landscape and surrounding as well as the birds that keep roaming at this area.
The gorge was named after the river Kyambura which also derived its name from a scenario that is believed to have happened many years ago. They say that this river once flooded and took away lots of local people and property and some of the remaining people decided to follow its path in search of their colleagues and property. They however failed to find them and they returned in pain mourning “kyambura” meaning “I couldn’t find it”. The river was then named Kyambura and the gorge as well named after the river.
Kyambura gorge is famously known for chimp tracking, however, it has a small number of chimps and finding them may take long hours or great luck but you’ll always hear thrie loud sounds while walking in the forest. The forest is abit big yet the chimps are few, so they may move to distant areas where you may not be able to reach but the forest will not disappoint as you spot some of the rare bird species and butterflies around this place. The chimps have been habituated and are familiar with people. Just like at other chimp tracking destinations in Uganda, visitors have to follow instructions when in this forest and when they come across these chimps.
Budget travelers can consider going for chimp trekking in Kyambura gorge on their wildlife safari since it is cheaper than at other major destinations like Kibale forest national. A chimp tracking permit costs US$200 per person in Kibale and US$50 per person in Kyambura gorge.
Besides hosting chimpanzees, the forest under Kyambura gorge is a home to other primates including vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and olive baboons. More about: Kyambura Chimpanzee Trekking
Other activities that tourists enjoy at Kyambura gorge
Birding in Kyambura Gorge
Kyambura gorge and the surrounding savannah offer the best sightings for birders with a variety of species. At this place, you’ll spot both forest birds and savannah birds. Birds that have been recorded there include White-tailed Lark, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Greater Flamingo, Black and white casqued hornbill, Papyrus gonolek, Papyrus Canary, African skimmer, Black rumped buttonquail, Bar-tailed Godwit, Corncrake, white winged warbler and many more.
Forest walks and guided nature walks
Visitors can be go for a forest walk around the trails in Kyambura to enjoy the stunning views of the forest, listen to the songs of the birds and learn about the surrounding and other animals that live around this gorge.
Getting to Kyambura gorge
From Kampala to Kyambura, it takes about 6-7 hours via Mbarara road and about 8-9 via Fort Portal. Reaching the Visitors centre at Kyambura requires a drive off the road and takes less than 30 minutes to arrive at the centre and the gorge.
Best time to visit Kyambura gorge
Kyambura gorge is open for tourist activities throughout the year. However, the best time to visit this gorge is during the dry months due to the steep slopes that become slippery during the wet season when this place is receiving a lot of rain. The track that connects from the main road to Kyambura Visitors Centre also becomes slippery when it rains. The dry months are from January to February and June to July and the wet months are from March to May and August to December.
Accommodation around Kyambura
There are a number of accommodations in the nearby surrounding of this area, though there isn’t any very close to the gorge. Visitors have to take a short drive from their accommodation to the gorge. Accommodations in areas nearby the gorge are Kyambura Gorge safari lodge, Katara lodge, Jacana safari lodge, Kingfisher camp and Elephant Hab Lodge. It is also very possible to travel from Mweya and go for activities at Kyambura early morning.