Birding safari in Kyambura Wildlife Reserve : Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, also known as Kyambura Gorge or Kyambura Game Reserve, is a hidden gem located within the mighty Queen Elizabeth National Park, bordering the Rwenzori Mountains to the north and Lake Edward to the southwest. Kyambura Wildlife Reserve covers an area of approximately 156 square kilometers (60 sq mi). The reserve is encompassed by diverse landscapes, including tropical forests, savannah grasslands, wetlands, riverine forests, and rugged gorges. The heart of the reserve is a stunning Kyambura Gorge, a deep Gorge by the Kyambura River over millions of years. The reserve was formed as the Kyambura-controlled hunting area in 1962 and then upgraded to game reserve status in 1965.

Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 300 species of birds recorded in the area. The reserve’s diverse habitats support a wide variety of different kinds of bird species, including waterbirds, forest birds, savannah species, and migratory birds. Hence, it is one of the best birding destinations in Uganda.

Despite its small size and its thrilling birds, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is home to a rich diversity of wildlife species. Visitors to the reserve may encounter mammals such as chimpanzees, elephants, hippos, and various antelopes, as well as monkeys like red-tailed monkeys and black and white colobus monkeys. One of the main attractions and activities of the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is its large population of endangered chimpanzees. The chimpanzees inhabit the forested areas surrounding the Kyambura Gorge, offering visitors an opportunity to trek into the reserve and observe these fascinating primates in their natural habitat.

Bird watching

Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is a great destination for bird watching. Queen Elizabeth National Park harbors about 300 bird species. Bird watching in Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is carried out in the savannah forest, and Kyambura is the best destination for bird watching due to the trees that contain insects and fruits that the birds feed on. Bird species in Kyambura Reserve include lesser flamingos, martial eagles, Verreaux’s eagle owls, Papyrus canary, pink-backed pelicans, greater flamingos, blue-headed bee-eaters, African skimmers, Papyrus gonoleks, African finfoot, African broadbills, white-winged warblers, black bee-eaters, and many others. Birders here are recommended to carry items such as enough drinking water and snacks, sunglasses, field clothing, sturdy shoes, a notebook and pen, binoculars, a field guide, a camera or good phone, and insect repellent, among others, to make their birding safari memorable.

Other activities to do at Kyambura Wildlife Reserve

Chimpanzee tracking

Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is the main highlight of any trip to the reserve. Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is a captivating adventure that allows visitors to observe these fascinating primates in their natural habitat. The chimpanzee tracking adventure begins in the morning with guidance on how to track these fascinating primates, expectations, as well as carry-on items and safe precautions. After the briefing, you will be guided to trek through the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve’s lush forest in search of these captivating habituated chimpanzee’ groups. Upon encountering a habituated chimpanzee group, you’ll have the opportunity to observe these intelligent primates up close as they go about their daily activities, such as playing, grooming, foraging for food, and carrying their young ones. You will also have the opportunity to take photographs and observe their behaviour.

Nature walks

Nature walks in Kyambura Wildlife Reserve offer visitors a unique opportunity to explore the reserve’s diverse eco-systems, encounter its rich biodiversity, and immerse themselves in the beauty of Uganda’s wilderness. A guided nature walk in Kyambura Wildlife Reserve has two sessions: the morning session, which starts at 8:00 a.m., and the afternoon session, which starts at 13:00 p.m. While Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is famous for its large population of chimpanzees and chimpanzee tracking is the highlight of any Uganda safari in Kyambura Gorge, guided nature walks provide an alternative way to uncover the hidden gems of the reserve’s natural wonders. While on a Uganda nature walk tour here, you’ll have a chance to explore the reserve’s lush forest, stunning savannah, wetlands, and riverine areas. You will also have a sighting of the reserve’s wildlife species, including monkeys, antelopes, elephants, and a variety of bird species, as you explore the reserve’s trails and pathways, among others.

The best time to visit Kyambura Wildlife Reserve

Kyambura Wildlife Reserve can be visited anytime of the year due to its fascinating biodiversity. The best time to visit is during the dry seasons, in the months of June to September and December to February. This is also known as the peak season, and during this time, there is a little amount of rainfall received, making the forest trails for chimpanzee tracking, birding, and guided nature walks passable compared to the wet seasons in the months of March to May and October to November, when the forest receives heavy rainfall, which makes the forest trails slippery, wet, and muddy. However, the wet season, also known as the low season, is ideal for bird watching because there will be plenty of fruits for both the migratory and resident bird species.

Accommodation safari near Kyambura Wildlife Reserve.

There are several accommodation safaris near Kyambura Wildlife Reserve where visitors on a Uganda birding safari can stay. These accommodations are arranged in different levels to suit all classes of visitors, such as Katara Lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge, Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Enganzi Lodge, Bush Lodge, Elephant Hub Lodge, Kyambura Gorge Safari Lodge, Kingfisher Camp, Jacana Safari Lodge, Simba Safari Lodge, and Hippo Hill Lodge, among others.

Papyrus canary

Getting to Kyambura Wildlife Reserve

To get to Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, you would generally travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park, as Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is part of it. The reserve can be reached by both air transport and road transport.

By air: when using air transport means to Kyambura Wildlife Reserve in Queen Elizabeth National Park, you will book domestic airlines such as Aero Link, which operates chartered flights to Mweya Airstrip in Queen Elizabeth National Park, which takes about an hour, and from Mweya Airstrip, you will connect by road to Kyambura Wildlife Reserve.

By road transport, you can drive from Kampala or Entebbe to Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is approximately a 6- to 7-hour drive by car via Masaka and Mbarara, passing through scenic landscapes and rural towns along the way, or from Kasese.

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