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A Ugandan Safari: Part Two

Nicky, Kate and two Adolfs go in search of the chimpanzees in the Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu Forest


A word of advice: next time your safari itinerary reads ‘the chimpanzee population is quite mobile but the walk is enchanting’ turn around and run like hell.

This chapter of our Ugandan safari features two Adolfs. Why in this lovely country splattered with colonial nomenclature is this a common name? I never asked so sadly I don’t have the answer.

We will start with Adolf the First. If you happen to stay at the delightful Kyambura Gorge Lodge insist that young Adolf takes care of you. On our first morning he announced that we should embark on the Reclaimed Wetlands Walk that was ‘just down the road’ from the lodge. Off we set dodging bicycles, boda-boda’s (of an earlier story on this blog) and the odd careening truck to visit this successful conservation project led by our hosts Volcanoes Safaris and owned by the remarkable but somewhat self-effacing Praveen Moman. Once an illegal brickfield but now a lush 50 acre reclaimed wetland alive with birds, the odd hippo, ferocious safari ants and who knows what else, this walk was all and more than we hoped for other than just a little longer and a little hotter than expected. ‘You can lose some fats’ announced Adolf when we questioned how much longer. Not a man to mince his words.

Kate and Adolf the First at the wetlands project

On the way back we popped into another VS project, a community one this time, the charming Omwani Training Café. Here local youngsters learn how to make a great coffee (all choices from coffee grown locally by a women’s co-operative) and a pizza that would make a Neapolitan proud. Don’t miss it if you are passing by that neck of the woods. It deserves your support.

Pizza to make a Neapolitan proud at Omwani Training Café

And now the final chapter of our Ugandan safari: chimp trekking in the Kyambura Gorge aka the Jurassic-Chasm-not-for-the-Faint-Hearted. Our local guide was, predictably, the nimble Adolf the Second. We peered down into what sounded like Dante’s Inferno due to daily El Niño downpours. Of course nobody told us that the Kyambura River was in flood down there and that three of the five suspension bridges were under water.

Crossing bridges, wading through croc-infested waters, trekking trekking and more trekking... all in search of the elusive chimps

So off we set after Adolf Two – down path 15, up path 13, down path 11, back up path 11, down path 12 and finally staggering out via path 10. Every descent and ascent was straight down and up, at least 150m each time. We bobbed and weaved our way along the floor of the gorge backtracking endlessly whilst the chimps hooted in delight always 200m ahead of us. We stumbled after Adolf who kept hissing ‘Pick up the pace, pick up the pace’. Needless to say we failed dismally. Not a chimp to be seen although plenty to be heard. We even waded through croc-infested waters after the blighters. We tried our best. And all Adolf could say was ‘You are lucky we didn’t do path 4, you would have killed me’. Little did he know …

Nicky and the Kyambura Gorge trekking team after a very long day

The team back at the lodge swept away our disappointment with a promise of a visit the next day to the chimps in the nearby Kalinzu Forest. We ambled through this gentle forest terrain and after 20 minutes found a family of seven chimps gorging on figs high up above us (hence the rather dismal photographs). So remember this name, the Kalinzu Forest. And if you are not in the fat-losing business, insist on it.

Chimps in the Kalinzu Forest

Filed under: East Africa Travel

Tagged with:

Chimps , Uganda , West of Angama Mara , Wildlife

About: Nicky Fitzgerald

After more than 30 years in hospitality, starting with a small hotel at the foot of Africa and followed by a further couple of Cape hotels, most notably The Bay, and sixty plus safari lodges across Africa and India, Nicky has served more meals, puffed more cushions, filled more beds, trained more staff and opened more properties than she cares to remember. Her driving force is ‘will our guests love this?’ She has come full circle and is happily puffing, cooking, training and filling to her heart’s content high up on the edge of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley at Angama Mara.

Browse all articles by Nicky Fitzgerald Meet the angama team

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