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Kyambura Gorge Lodge

on the edge of the famous Queen Elizabeth National Park

Contemporary and strikingly beautiful

What was once an old coffee store on the edge of the famous Queen Elizabeth National Park in south western Uganda is now the eclectic, contemporary and strikingly beautiful Kyambura Gorge Lodge.

Located approximately 370 km from the capital city of Kampala, the bucket list safari destination boasts sweeping views of the savannah, the distant mountains and the Kyambura Gorge.

Local tradition meets modern design in the lodge interiors, with eight unique timber and brick guest ‘bandas’ (bedroom and en-suite units) reflecting the local building style but including luxury touches for the discerning traveller. Each has a private balcony overlooking a unique view across either the savannah or the gorge. A personal butler service, saltwater swimming pool with expansive views and tranquil massage area complete the offering.

However the main draw-card of the destination is of course its ideal location for trekking the majestic primates that call the sunken forest of Kyambura Gorge home.

Valley of the Apes

Aptly referred to as ‘Valley of the Apes’, Kyambura Gorge lies in the far eastern corner of Uganda’s most visited national park. It’s drained by the River Kyambura, and boasts one of the most impressive landscapes in Uganda. Its verdant tropical rainforest contrasts with the savannah above, and the area is teeming with diverse wildlife including, of course, the country’s famous primates.

Amongst these are the renowned chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons as well as red tailed monkeys, to name a few. Some of the chimps have been habituated, meaning that they are familiar with humans and happy to continue with their daily activities in their presence. Kyambura is the only area within the Queen Elizabeth National Park where one can see the habituated chimps, so the offering is indeed unique.

The area is also renowned for its six hundred bird species – the highest to be found in any African park. Think Martial Eagle, Pink-backed Pelican, Lesser and Greater Flamingo, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl and many, many more.

It’s best to explore the impressive flora and fauna of the gorge on foot, with a well-trained guide. The service providers in the area are highly knowledgeable, and will no doubt enhance your discovery of the depths of the gorge. There are a range of different well-maintained nature trails in the area, so guests can arrange their experience according to their own fitness levels. Between the breathtaking beauty of the forest and the intimate encounter with the the local wildlife, the gorge experience is an unforgettbale one.

100 species of mammal

Those exploring the Queen Elizabeth National Park at large will be dazzled by its sparkling lakes, extensive savannah, lush wetlands and, of course, verdant forests. The Park itself is home to about 100 species of mammal, including antelope, crocodile, hippo, elephant, buffalo and many other. A highlight second only to the chimps of Kyambura is the tree climbing lions of the Ishasha Sector of the Park. No more than two populations of lion in the world climb trees as part of their daily behaviour. While it is generally assumed that these particular lions climb trees to protect themselves against the biting tsetse flies on the ground, others claim that they do so to escape the heat on the ground and enjoy the cool breeze above. Whatever their motives, they sure know how to put on a good show!

The Kyambura Lodge team allows guests to experience all of this and more, with chimpanzee trekking, game drives, channel boat cruises, tree climbing lion viewing expeditions, mountain hikes, salt lake tours, wetland visits and coffee excursions all part of the offering.

Dry season in Kyambura is from December to February and May to August, and wet season in March, April and September through November. The best time to visit Uganda at large is from June to August, and then again from December to February.