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In 2013 the VSPT began simple tea processing in partnership with the local communities, at the Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge, which is located at the edge of the primordial Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, World Heritage Site and home to the famous Mountain Gorilla, in South West Uganda.
Tea has proven to be a very useful buffer crop when planted between forest areas with protected wildlife, and local human communities. Animals do not eat tea so feel no need to come out of the forest to “crop raid” which is the source of much human-wildlife conflict in areas around National Parks.
A tea tour is available to interested Volcanoes Safaris guests, demonstrating how tea is grown, picked and traditionally processed in Uganda. The tour also shows how ‘black’, ‘green’ and ‘white’ teas are produced and differentiated. Guests are invited to sample the fine teas at the end of the tour whilst looking out over the impressive 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.