Kyambura Gorge Lodge is a former coffee store and was once surrounded by coffee plantations. Today the building has been transformed into a stylish lodge with self-contained guest bandas and social areas decorated with artworks and colourful soft furnishings. From the large terrace you get wonderful views of the wide savanna, gorge and the Rewenzori Mountains beyond.
Days begin with a song from your butler on the balcony, heralding the arrival of your eraly morning tea or coffee. This is typical of the style and level of service you receive at Kyambura Gorge Lodge. The staff are cheerful, friendly and go out of their way to make you feel at home. Your banda is spacious, with a mosquito net-draped bed, a sitting area, polished wooden floors and ample storage space. There's an en-suite bathroom with dual hand basins and a shower, and you have a terrace where you can sit and contemplate the panoramic views.
The main lodge has indoor and outdoor relaxation space where you mingle with fellow guests, catch up on some reading, and enjoy specially prepared cocktails and dine on freshly prepared meals. All food and house drinks are included in your stay, which makes life nice and easy. There's an inviting outdoor swimming pool and a sunbathing deck complete with shaded hammocks for dozing. The lodge offers a massage service, too.
The main reason for coming here is to track wild chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge, although the services and facilities of the lodge run this a close second! The gorge and its sunken forest provide the perfect habiitat for the chimpanzees which run unhindered along branches and leap from tree to tree high above the forest floor. You need a certain amount of agility and stamina yourself to follow them, though the undergrowth and across natural bridges, but it's all worthwhile to spend time in their company. While at Kyambura Gorge Lodge you can also enjoy game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park, known for its big cats and the tree-climbing lions in particular, and take cruises on the Kazinga Channel for excellent wildlife photographic opportunities.
Giiven the lodge's historic involvement in the coffee industry, touring a local communty coffee farm is only fitting. You learn about the cultivation, harvesting and production processes and, naturally, get to taste the end product. You have the chance to buy coffee here, too, not only providing you with a great souvenir but also helping support the local community.
Open: Kyambura Gorge Lodge is open all year.
Location: The lodge is close to Queen Elizabeth National Park, and has views of Kyambura Gorge after which it is named. The lodge is about a 7 hour drive or 45 minute flight from Kampala.
Rooms: There are 8 bandas comprising 6 doubles including a honeymoon/family room, and 2 twins. All have an en-suite bathroom with flush toilet, his and hers basins, a shower and hot and cold running water. There are hairdryers and charging facilities in all rooms, and beds are fitted with mosquito nets. Each banda has a balcony with views of the plains or gorge. Butler service is provided. Bandas are named after individual Kyambura Gorge chimpanzees.
Activities: Chimpanzee tracking at Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu forest, game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park, hikes in the Ruwenzori Mountains, cruises on the Kazinga Channel, bird watching, join a lion researcher on a drive in QENP, following walking trails in the Omunashaka wetland, take the Omwani coffee tour, view art in the Rwenzori Sculpture Gallery established by Damien Hirst.
Facilities: The main lodge includes a lounge, bar, dining area and gift shop plus a large terrace. There is an outdoor salt water swimming pool with a sunbathing area. There is a massage room. There is a free laundry service.
Dining: Meals, soft and house drinks are included. Meals are often served on the terrace.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome, though it should be noted that there are no childcare facilities. The minimum age for chimpanzee tracking is 15 years.
Health: This is a malarial area
Communication: There is Wi-Fi internet access in the main lodge though this can be slow.
Notes: The lodge accepts Visa and MasterCard and cash payments for extras.
The lodge is deeply involved in the local community and supports a number of projects. These include the Omwani Women’s Coffee Co-operative many of whose members are widows, and the Omumashaka Dance Group which raises awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS. They have also helped with building work, planting a tree nursery, developing a playground and providing training in bee-keeping and hospitality Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust has secured 12 hectares of wetland near the lodge called Omumashaka Wetland, formerly an illegal brick works, and is regenerating this by planting trees and educating local people with a view to them becoming guides. Guests are able to visit the wetland.