Kyambura gorge is located in the spectacular Queen Elizabeth national park in the western part of Uganda in the Kasese district, and a good place to go chimpanzee trekking and nature walks. Queen Elizabeth national park is famous for hosting tree-climbing lions. Kyambura gorge is also popularly known as “The valley of Apes” and it is a stunning underground forest about 1km wide, 100 meters deep, and 32km long.
The name Kyambura is derived from the gorge river called Kyambura that drains the forest, the word Kyambura is linked to mean “I couldn’t find it” the river was named so as the locals believe that River Kyambura flooded one time and carried away people and their properties but when they came to look for their belongings, friends, and family they couldn’t nit see anything. The gorge is home to some of the habituated chimpanzees in Uganda and these have 98% human DNA though they are now described as endemic for they are left less than 300,000 in the wilderness of tropical Africa.
Chimpanzee trekking is commonly done in Kyambura gorge, the tracking can be done in the morning or in the afternoon where you adventure the forest in search of these great apes and once you find them you will be allowed to spend a maximum of one hour observing them in their natural habitat. There are a few chimpanzees in the Kyambura gorge so the chances of seeing them are low compared to Kibale forest national park. Chimpanzee trekking permits in the Kyambura gorge cost $50 per person per trek and children below the age of 15 are not allowed trek as well as people with infectious diseases such as flu, cough or diarrhea.
There are only 16 trekking permits that are available for trekking chimpanzees per day at Kyambura gorge with 8 available in the morning and the other 8 in the afternoon. Booking these gorilla permits can be done through Uganda Wildlife Authority or through any trusted tour operator like us or at the Mweya visitor information Centre. If you are planning to visit the park in the high season, you are advised to book your permits in advance.
Apart from chimpanzee trekking, the gorge hosts a number of wildlife and primate species such as red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, giant forest hogs, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, bushbucks, bush babies, and so much more.
Kyambura gorge is also home to numerous bird species of which some are endemic to the forest, birds at Kyambura gorge include African foot, martial eagle, blue-headed bee-eater, African skimmer, pink backed pelican, white-winged warbler, papyrus gonolek, African broadbill, corncrake, black-rumped buttonquail, papyrus canary, lesser flamingo, greater flamingo, rare shoebill, African broadbill, pink backed pelican, bar-tailed Godwit, and many others.
How to get there
The gorge is situated 400 kilometers from Kampala and this can take 6-7 hours’ drive by road. Tourists who don’t like long journeys can also take standard chartered flights from Kajjansi airfield or Entebbe international airport to Mweya airstrip and then drive to Kyambura gorge for an hour.
Where to stay
Kyambura gorge has no accommodations but tourists to this place can sleep in the nearby hotels at Queen Elizabeth national parks such as Katara Lodge, Kingfisher Camp, Jacana Lodge, Kyambura Safari Lodge, and many others