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The VSPT secured 45-acres of wetland south of the Volcanoes Safaris Kyambura Gorge Lodge. The wetland, which previously had been used as an illegal brick works, is now regenerating rapidly back to its natural state. The rejuvenated wetlands now attract over 200 species of birds, different mammals and primates and the site is used to train members of the community in birding and guiding. This project has been a key success for the VSPT, particularly regarding its ecosystem conservation efforts given the amount of species that have now repopulated the area: new entries are added to the spotters’ lists almost daily!
Indigenous trees have also been replanted, with the help of the community and of Volcanoes guests, along the banks of the Kyambura River. Due to human encroachment and habitat destruction over the past twenty years, hundreds of trees along the riverbank were cut down leading to soil erosion and water pollution.
Community outreach and guide training take place throughout the year with the objective of establishing a pool of qualified local guides who can lead tours of the wetland. Guests can participate in a 2-hour guided walk in the wetland.
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.