Kyambura Gorge Chimp Trekking Part 2 –

Kyambura Gorge Chimp Trekking Part 2 –

Our two chimp trekking experiences in Uganda could not have been more different. The first experience at Kibale National Forest was more up close and personal encounter with the Beta asserting his dominance and naturally interacting with humans. Our second experience at Kyambura Gorge was a far more distant experience but in many ways a more natural  in my opinion.

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Chimp Tracking, Kyambura Gorge, Uganda

Chimp Tracking, Kyambura Gorge, Uganda

What you need to know about Kyambura Gorge Chimp Trekking

You arrive at the visitors centre in Queen Elizabeths National Park and then drive in small groups to the site where you will be entering the gorge. As with all the chimp and gorilla trekking experiences in Uganda your time with the animals is limited to an hour and you must have got permits in advance.

Wandermust Mummy at the top of Kyambura Gorge

Wandermust Mummy at the top of Kyambura Gorge

What should you take with you when chimp trekking in Kyambura Gorge

Now I am going to admit I am not the most surefooted hiker but even so the hike was difficult. I definitely needed a my hiking stick (For those who are interested, you might want to read our guide to what to wear for gorilla and chimp trekking).

As you descended into the Gorge, you really feel like you are descending into nature and a less sanitised experience (though the chimps at Kibale are wild, you can tell the are more used to seeing humans).

What it’s like in Kyambura Gorge Chimp Trekking

There was no guarantee down in the Gorge that you would actually get to see the chimps. The Gorge is a large area that the chimps move through, and the Gorge is split into areas by rivers, which are filled with hippos and you can also easily stumble across other wildlife while down there which means you may have to chose another route sharpish! This happened to us on two occasions. The first we found a male elephant on our path and quickly had to retreat. The second, a fresh lions footprint caused another retreat. It was both exhilarating and also slightly terrifying but the Rangers were excellent and carried weapons to scare any animals away. Our rangers told us that in all their years they had never had to fire their guns!

Down in the Gorge we came across two unexpected – the first was a 40 foot spiders web (the picture doesn’t do it justice). Not a place for arachnophobics!

40ft Spiders Web!

40ft Spiders Web!

The second was an elephant graveyard. It felt like we had stumbled into the real life Lion King!

Elephant Graveyard, Kyambura Gorge

Elephant Graveyard, Kyambura Gorge

Now, our trek hampered by stray elephants and lions, was further exacerbated by a constant rainfall. The perils of going to Uganda in the wet season and we were giving up hope of actually seeing the chimps here.

As we were about to give up, we noticed a flash of fur in the distance. The only problem, there was a river between us and them. Our guides were undeterred and managed to get us across the rapidly rising river, but had concerns about whether we would get back.

It was worth the perilous crossing. We got five minutes to watch the chimps at a distance – they had placed themselves on a small island in the middle of another river but we got to watch them swinging front the trees. In many ways I am glad we couldn’t get closer. The Kyambura Gorge chimps are cut off from both chimps and human contact so it felt like we were;t intruding in their space. I also feel really privileged to see these chimps as they won’t stay this way forever. There are great concerns over the chimps at Kyambura Gorge as if they don’t make contact with other groups, there will be issues related to inbreeding. However, these chimps have been cut off for so long, if other chimps were introduced into this area, the Kyambura Gorge chimps would be unlikely be able to compete. I feel really privileged to have had this experience.

The Kyambura Gorge Chimps

The Kyambura Gorge Chimps

Our joy at this experience, was soon replaced by slight fear as we realised the river had risen even more rapidly wile we had been watching. There was a great hurry to get back. Wandermust Daddy ended up wearing the female rangers wellington boots, which were about seven sizes too small while I was carried over by the male ranger. It was an exciting way to end the day.

Click here to read about our other completely different chimp trekking experience at Kibale National Forest

You might also be interested in our Guide To What to Wear for Gorilla and Chimp Trekking!

 

 

13 Comments

  1. April 6, 2017 / 2:20 pm

    We had a great time camping in Queen Elizabeth National Park in our pre-baby days. I was slightly nervous about the tales of hippos and elephants wandering through the campsite at night though! We didn’t go on a Chimp trek – it certainly sounds like an adventure. #FarawayFiles

    • April 6, 2017 / 2:22 pm

      It felt like one! We did another chimp trek that was a completely different experience E

  2. April 6, 2017 / 8:00 pm

    Oh my goodness, what an amazing experience! Fresh lion footprints, an elephant graveyard, a flooded river AND the chimps. I would love to do something like this. Thanks so much for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  3. April 6, 2017 / 9:13 pm

    What an amazing walk – the spiders web – like nothing I’ve ever seen – what kind of spider makes a web like that? And the elephants grave yard. I would have turned and fled at the lion footprint but you have a whole lot more gumption than me! I’m glad you did get to see the chimps on your hike. I’m intrigued to read your advice on what to wear gorilla watching so I’m off to read that. #FarawayFiles

  4. April 6, 2017 / 10:08 pm

    What an adventure! Sounds like an Indiana Jones movie. I hope these species survive our human onslaught and I’m glad to hear the trek respected their habitat.Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

    • April 7, 2017 / 5:48 am

      The only problem this particular group has is that they are cut off so it is the balance of inbreeding or introducing other chimps which they may not be equipped to survive

  5. April 7, 2017 / 3:26 pm

    Now this is an adventure with so many ‘eek’ moments. I’m not sure which would make me quake more – the 40ft spider’s web or the thought of being trapped the other side of the river. You have my utmost admiration.
    #farawayfiles

  6. April 12, 2017 / 11:36 pm

    Wow this must have been an amazing experience! I really wish I would have went tracking chimps too when I was in Uganda and Kibale – didn’t have time though which was a shame. It does look like an amazing experience, great you got to see them! #farawayfiles

    • April 17, 2017 / 9:26 am

      It was brilliant – a reason for you to go back ?

  7. April 26, 2017 / 8:11 pm

    Wow – what an experience! Did you ever feel unsafe? I have never done anything like this – seems that it would be an unforgettable experience! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • April 27, 2017 / 5:01 am

      Looking back maybe I should have been but at the time no the rangers were very good!

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