Trekking Chimpanzee in Kyambura gorge; Kyambura gorge also known as the valley of apes has an underground tropical forest located in the far eastern corner of the well-known Queen Elizabeth national park in south western part of Uganda.

This gorge is approximately 30km from the park headquarters and 420km from Kampala city by road. It covers a distance of 1km and 100meters deep and links to Kazinga channel by swamp forming the northern boundary of this reserve.

Kyambura gorge derives its name from a history that the river once flooded and carried away local people with their property and when the waters reduced, people followed the river in search of their friends but in vain, so they came back lamenting that Kyambura meaning “i couldn’t find it” in the native language thus naming the place Kyambura.

This beautiful gorge was formed by the disorderly waters of river Kyambura, having a rain forest and a river flowing through it that acts as a home of some animals in the park.

Kyambura gorge is the only place in Queen Elizabeth national park where habituated chimpanzees are found. It also harbors different primates like the red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus, Baboons, Vervet monkeys. Different bird species can also be seen like the African pigmy kingfisher, Blue headed kingfisher, falcons, black and white conquered hornbill many many more.

Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge-Queen Elizabeth national park

Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park Uganda

According to researchers there are only 16 chimpanzees remaining in this gorge. The chimpanzees in this area have been habituated for almost two years so they are familiar with humans and can do their daily activities in the presence of humans.

Chimpanzee tracking permits can be booked through your tour agency that deals with Uganda wildlife authority or can be booked directly at the park headquarters or at (VIC) Visitor Information Center in Mweya at a cheaper price than all the other chimpanzee tracking places like Kibale forest.

The Chimpanzee trekking here at Kyambura is not strenuous though it involves hiking up and down the hills looking for the chimpanzees which can be easily found due to their loud shouts and hooting that can be heard at a distance and if no voices heard you can follow the foot prints and poop left on the floor.

Once the Chimps are found they can be seen playing, interacting with each other, mating and chimpanzees here often climb down the trees when they see visitors giving you a chance to get great photos of them at a close range.

Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge has two sessions, the morning and afternoon sessions. Only 8 permits are available per session making it 16 permits per day. If you plan to do this trekking activity on your itinerary, you will be assigned a guide to lead you to the gorge after the briefing. The whole activity takes about 2-3 hours.

Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge-Queen Elizabeth national park

Chimpanzee Viewing along the Kyambura gorge trail.

Note that the chances of seeing the chimpanzee in Kyambura gorge is not as high as compared in Kibale forest national park, because the chimps sometimes move too far into the gorge looking for food, making it difficult to reach them, but when you happen to encounter them, the experience becomes amazing. Only people above the age of 12 years are allowed to track chimpanzees because one needs to be mature enough to endure the physical and mental aspects of the activity.

Apart from the chimpanzees’ trekkers can also see other forest animals and primates along the trek down the river like hippopotamus, Elephants bathing in the valley and many others.

Kyambura gorge has other activities apart from chimpanzee trekking like nature walks and birding. The gorge can be explored on foot giving you a chance to interact with wildlife and the nature therefore do not miss this great home of wildlife in the heart of queen Elizabeth park.

Chimpanzee trekking rules: The rules and guidelines are the same as those in other chimp tracking areas in Uganda:

For your own safety and protection of the chimpanzees, you are required to follow these few chimpanzee trekking rules along the forest trails.

  • Chimpanzee share 98% of their DNA genes with human beings and therefore can catch your disease. You must not enter the forest to track them when you are sick.
  • The minimum age for people interest to go chimp tracking is 12 years
  • Do not litter in the forest. In other wards what you take there should be brought back with you at the end.
  • If you need to urinate or defecate, do so off the trail, bury your waste in the hole of 30 cm deep along with any toilet paper.
  • Keep as quite as possible if you want to see more and enjoy all what the forest can offer to you.
  • Stay at least 8 meters (25feet) from the chimpanzee at all times
  • Do not mimic the chimpanzee vocalization, you may not do it the way their fellows does and it will not give you good experience.
  • Make sure you do not eat near the chimpanzees
  • Never chase the chimpanzee, you may get bad results as they remain wild though habituated.
  • Do not use flush photography as this may scare away the chimpanzee.
  • Listen to all what your guide has to say, you will enjoy a lot in the forest jungle.


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