Kyambura Gorge is one Sunken Tropical Forest in the Western Rift Valley hidden, as most people during their time at Queen Elizabeth National Park bypass it and miss the scenic wonder here, unless they have chimpanzee tracking. And I am not sure how many tour operators in Uganda do include it in their itineraries for their visitors,...quite a few of them.
Kyambura Gorge is Game Reserve and part of the Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) in Uganda. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including the only primates in the Queen Elizabeth National Park. The area is an important water source for many animals and is surrounded by savannah, but is generally noted for its high concentration of primate life located in the gorge.
Kyambura Game Reserve was formed to serve as a buffer zone to the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Dry seasons always left much of the park parched, but this beautiful gorge is the much needed oasis for both animals seeking refreshment and for humans, seeking a sight for weary eyes. Water flows from rocks and keeps the gorge green on all time. Rocks that seem to be in various states of tumbling stand out.
For Chimpanzees specifically, its a real-life drama. - a family of chimps trapped in this lost world. – they live in a deep and ancient forested gorge that runs though the African savannah and for over twenty years it has been cut off from the rest of the jungle, leaving them imprisoned. The chimps here face a daily life-or-death dilemma: whether to leave the safety of the gorge and venture into the predator-ridden savannah to find food, or face hunger.
A few visitors who tend to have chimpanzee tracking on their safari itinerary and then get the chance to visit Kyambura Gorge, simply get amazed as to what they find here. Tracking/trekking the chimps in the Gorge is more physically challenging and therefore is suitable only for reasonably fit people. But it is a real rewarding rainforest experience, and the place is just fantastic.
The Kyambura Gorge is an experience for most who track Chimpanzees and hit the hiking trails here. When it comes to Chimpanzee Trekking however, Kyambura Gorge is not the best place for sighting Chimpanzees in the wild. There's now less than thirty Chimpanzee left in this Gorge. If Chimpanzee trekking is your primary focus then you are better off to do so in Kibale or nearby Kalinzu Forest.
The Gorge is North-Eastern side of QENP, approximately 30km from QENP Headquarters. Kyambura Gorge spans a distance of 16km south of Lake George and links to the Kazinga Channel, which forms the northern boundary of the reserve. Village and plantations lie to the south. The reserve's mean altitude is 1100 m.a.s.l. The total area of the reserve is 156 sq. Km. The Visitors’ center is located at the famous Fig Tree Camp on the rim of the Kyambura Gorge, about 2.5 km east of the main road along the turn-off that is clearly marked, some 9km south of the bridge, this road isn’t in great condition but that’s not an issue when you have a 4WD, - getting to QENP as well as this place ideally you need your own vehicle.
The gorge has the most incredible views in Uganda, there is also great viewpoint platform from which you can take some great pictures of the Kyambura Gorge surrounded by the Savannah and a rich tropical Forest below.
Kyambura is the only place in QENP where you can see habituated Chimpanzees and other primates (about 12) including red-tailed monkey, Black-and-White Colobus, Baboons, Vervet monkeys, Giant Forest Hogs and other mammals. The park is also known for its variety of avian/bird species including various Falcons, the Blue-headed bee-Eater and the African Finfoot and so much more ... it a birders Paradise, not forgetting plenty of Butterflies.
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