Kyambura Gorge Lodge
Chimpanzee Tracking in Kyambura Gorge or Kalinzu Forest
Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, and visitors on the other hand must cross the river using natural bridges in order to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts only 2–3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness.
Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.
Game Drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is considered to be one of Uganda’s most varied and most beautiful protected areas. Queen, as she is affectionately known, is home to two of Africa’s big cats, the majestic lion and the elusive leopard. Kyambura Gorge Lodge guests can explore the plains of Queen Elizabeth Park in Uganda on a variety of game drives, usually at dawn and dusk. It is when daylight hours are coolest that wildlife is most active.
Lion Research Safari - Tree Climbing Lions
Join a local scientific researcher on his daily game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park to locate and record the behavior of a lion pride he is studying. This activity is best done in the mornings when there is ample time to track the pride and chances of finding them are high.
It is highly uncommon for lions to actually climb trees. In fact, there is only one subspecies known to climb trees regularly, and one of the two populations of these subspecies can be found in Ishasha, in the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Finding a pride lounging on the branches of one of the many fig trees in the park is considered to be one of the highlights of visiting the park.
Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise
The Kazinga Channel is a 32-kilometer long channel, rich in wildlife, that links Lakes Edward and George. Boat trips down the channel depart from Mweya Safari Lodge (about an hour’s drive through the park from Kyambura Gorge Lodge) and last 3-4 hours. The boat cruise provides a wonderful opportunity to photograph the many animals that come to cool off at the waters’ edge, including lion, buffalo, hippo, elephant, and leopard.
Kyambura Community Coffee Tour
See the transformation of coffee beans into delicious Ugandan coffee – all done by hand, by local community members – and even get to sample the finished product for yourself. At the end of the tour guests are given the opportunity to purchase some of the cooperative’s coffee, which makes a great souvenir and supports the local community.
Rwenzori Sculpture Foundry & Gallery
Set up by Damien Hirst, the Rwenzori Sculpture Foundry & Gallery are a short drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge. Sculptures by rising Ugandan artists sit alongside works by leading European sculptors, the result of collaborations and artist residencies. All works are inspired by the people, culture, wildlife and landscape of Uganda, and make the perfect memento to mark an unforgettable journey.
Kaymbura Community Café
In June 2014, in partnership with the Kyambura Women’s Coffee Cooperative and the local community, the VSPT opened a non-profit training café. The café will provide a practical training institution for local youths, both male and female, who are disadvantaged as a result of the loss of parents, HIV/AIDS, or physical or mental disabilities.
The training not only aims to provide practical experience to create more job opportunities in the region, but also to improve access to services, medication and healthcare thereby reducing the risk of transmitting HIV through education and providing training for a sustainable livelihood.
The VSPT plans to take ten interns on a quarterly basis for both theoretical and practical training. Volcanoes Safaris guests staying at Kyambura Gorge Lodge can enjoy a coffee tour followed by a hearty homemade brunch with freshly brewed coffee served at the café, or a delicious pizza from the wood-burning oven for tours in the afternoon.
The VSPT secured 45-acres of wetland south of the Volcanoes Safaris Kyambura Gorge Lodge. The wetland, which previously had been used as an illegal brick works, is now regenerating rapidly back to its natural state. The rejuvenated wetlands now attract over 200 species of birds and the sight is used to train members of the community in birding and guiding. This project has been a key success for the VSPT, particularly regarding its ecosystem conservation efforts given the amount of species that have now repopulated the area: new entries are added to the spotters’ lists almost daily!
Over 500 indigenous trees have also been replanted along the banks of the Kyambura River. Due to human encroachment and habitat destruction over the past twenty years, hundreds of trees along the riverbank were cut down leading to soil erosion and water pollution.
Community outreach and guide training take place throughout the year with the objective of establishing a pool of qualified local guides who can lead tours of the wetland. A trail system is maintained throughout the wetland and guided walks are available to Volcanoes Safaris clients.
Both Uganda and Rwanda offer some of the world’s best bird watching, with a vast diversity of bird species. Uganda has over 1,000 bird species with 150 found only in Uganda. Rwanda has over 700 bird species and is home to the second highest number of Albertine endemics in the Albertine region. Each of our lodges offers the chance to see a number of different birds, with the vast majority endemic to the Region.
Kyambura Buffer Walk - Tree Planting
VSPT has worked on purchasing the 3km long buffer along the northern part of the Gorge since 2009. With the purchase completed at the end of 2018, a 3-hour guided walk has been developed and is offered to guests to showcase the buffer created by the project, the scenic views over the Gorge, the Park and Kyambura reserve, and the chance to experience the local homesteads. Approximately 3000 trees have been planted in the buffer area, with the help of the local community and VS guests.
This short walk (45 mins) offer guests the opportunity to experience the unique landscape around the Lodge, between the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura Gorge and the community.
Kyambura Community Playground
VSPT has created a community playground to encourage and allow local school children to play games and sports, especially soccer.
New walking safaris have been created around the lodge to experience the dramatic landscapes of Kyambura gorge and the Queen Elizabeth savannah, and visit a reclaimed wetland. Guests can walk along the Kyambura gorge buffer zone we have created to protect the fragile ecosystem from encroachment and contribute to its long-term conservation project by planting a seedling.