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Chimpanzee Tracking in Kyambura Gorge – Permit Prices, costs, when to book, Chimp trekking guide and more

Chimpanzee Tracking in Kyambura Gorge allows travellers to spend time with the Great Apes within the dramatic underground rainforest on the Eastern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kyambura Gorge is about 100 meters deep and over 1 kilometer long marked by thick tropical rainforest that not only shelters endangered chimpanzees but also olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys in addition to birds such as African finfoot, falcons and blue-headed bee-eater. The area is surrounded by sweeping savannah grasslands on both sides with a lot of sunshine.

How chimpanzee tracking is conducted within Kyambura Gorge

Chimpanzee Tracking in Kyambura GorgeMuch as chimpanzee sighting is not guaranteed in Kyambura Gorge, travellers stand a good chance of spotting and hearing the sweet melodies of these close cousins as they are already habituated.  Chimpanzee trekking tours begin at 8:00am (for morning session) and 2:00pm (for the afternoon session), and last from 1-4 hours. Before venturing into the underground forest, intending trekkers are first briefed at the Visitor’s Center near the Gorge boundary and permits have to be acquired from Queen Elizabeth Park head Offices at Mweya.

Chimpanzee tracking experience in Kyambura Gorge is more than just searching for chimpanzees in their natural habitat but also introduces travellers to the exceptional ecosystems of the Gorge’s underground rainforest including vegetation types, bird watching, studying the chimpanzee and other monkeys’ ecology.

There are currently two habituated chimpanzee troops in Kyambura Gorge, hence Uganda Wildlife Authority issues only 12 permits each day (6 permits for each habituated troop). Travellers are then assigned guides to lead through the treks, which involve walking down the slope to the popular Kyambura River down to the Valley. Given the playfulness and vocal nature of chimpanzees, their location can be recognized from their hoots and screams in addition to footprints and fecal matter. Once located, visitors spend one hour to watch and photograph then breastfeeding, fighting, playing, resting, grooming, foraging and sometimes mating.

The Great Apes in this Gorge are known to descend from trees each time they notice visitors in their presence and after the one hour with them return back to the Lodge. Remember that hiking through Kyambura Gorge is physically demanding because it involves ascending and descending valleys for long hours.

Chimpanzee Tracking permits for Kyambura Gorge

Chimpanzee tracking permits for Kyambura Gorge cost only $50 for foreign residents and non-residents as well as Shs. 30,000 for East African Community residents.

Guidelines for tracking Kyambura Chimpanzees

Travellers have to be 12 years and above to track Kyambura Chimpanzees at any point.

Flash photography is prohibited because the shatter and sound scares the Great Apes.

Avoid littering the forest, given that animals might consume dangerous elements such as polythene bags that could affect their digestive system.

Avoid making noise while trekking the chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge because it also scares the primates and other creatures in the Park.

Avoid eating, drinking and smoking when close to Chimpanzees because they could attack.

Avoid entering the forest when you are sick, especially while suffering from flue or cough.

Best time to track Chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge

Chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge can be tracked all year round although the forest trails are muddy and slippery during wet season-March to May and October to November. Travellers therefore prefer undertaking the activity during the dry season-June to August and December to February when trails are drier thus more favorable.

Where to stay during the Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee tracking Experience

Travellers planning to trek chimpanzees or explore other attractions in Kyambura Gorge can stay at Kyambura Gorge alongside other nearby accommodation facilities such as Jacana Safari Lodge, Kingfisher Camp, Mweya Safari Lodge, to mention but a few.

Besides Chimpanzees, other inhabitants of the underground rainforest of Kyambura Gorge include olive baboons, vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys and black and white colobus monkeys in addition to elephants, leopards, Hippos, spotted hyenas, Buffaloes, giant forest hogs and many others. Also expect sights and sounds of birds such as black-rumped buttonquail, African finfoot, Verreaux’s eagle owls, African skimmers and black-headed bee-eaters among others.

How to access the underground forest of Kyambura Gorge

The underground rainforest of Kyambura Gorge is about 420 kilometers from Kampala via the Mbarara route or 410 kilometers via the Fort Portal route, lasting 6 hours by road. Alternatively, travellers can use air transport whereby flights can be chartered from Entebbe International Airport to Mweya Airstrip then transfer for another 30 kilometers from Mweya Visitor Center to the Gorge.

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