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Kyambura Gorge, UGANDA (16 February 2019)
Volcanoes Safaris is thrilled to announce the launch of the Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism Project.
The Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism project has undertaken a series of activities since 2009 to safeguard the Kyambura Gorge ecosystem. The strategic assembling of four adjoining sites next to the Gorge over the last ten years seeks to ensure that the gorge is safeguarded for the long term.
Today, Volcanoes Safaris and Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust are the single largest stakeholders in the Gorge ecosystem after the Ugandan Wildlife Authority. Without the intervention of VS and VSPT, the survival of the gorge and chimps would be under severe threat.
The goal of the integrated eco-tourism partnership project is to safeguard this extremely fragile ecosystem through the protection of the land around the gorge and connecting the Kyambura Gorge Lodge with targeted conservation and community activities.
This will ensure that one of the most important areas for avian, primate and wildlife biodiversity in Africa is preserved.
Speaking at the launch of the Kyambura Gorge Project, Praveen Moman, Founder, Volcanoes Safaris said:
"The Albertine Rift stretches from Murchison Falls to the Virunga volcanoes. It is one the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. It is also one of the most densely populated areas of Africa. The challenges of safeguarding habitats for wildlife, preserving wilderness, creating world class tourism products, maximising revenue from tourism, ensuring communities have a substantial stake, remain enormous.
VS and VSPT have been working on the Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism project for 10 years. The strategic assembling of the four sites that were under severe threat aims to protect the Kyambura gorge ecosystem in perpetuity.
We are also enhancing and expanding our community and conservation activities.
We have introduced a series of walks around the Lodge, in the buffer and in the wetland so that guests can experience this magnificent area.
Guests will be asked to plant a tree in the buffer zone to appreciate its significance and to encourage them to support the expansion of the buffer; we will also continue our efforts at creating a community conservancy area; and to see how we can link the lost chimps of Kyambura with chimps in another forest. We are proud to make this significant contribution to the future of the Kyambura Gorge system.
The four sites that were under severe threat are: the Southern site on which the Kyambura Gorge Lodge is built; the VSPT HQ site on the Northern side; the wetland site on the East; the three km buffer zone along the gorge to the West.
The Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism Project is the latest example of the pioneering work undertaken by Volcanoes Safaris (VS) and the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT).
● Kyambura Wetland – VS has reclaimed this wetland at the beginning of the Gorge from an illegal brickwork over the last decade. One of the most significant interventions to protect the Gorge, the wetland is now regenerating rapidly back to its natural state. The rejuvenated wetland now attracts over 200 species of birds and is used to train members of the community in birding and guiding. Guests can participate in a 2-hour guided walk in the wetland. This project has been a key success for the VSPT, particularly regarding its
● Kyambura Gorge Buffer - VSPT has worked on purchasing the 3km long buffer along the northern part of the Gorge since 2009. With the purchase completed at the end of 2018, a 3-hour guided walk has been developed and is offered to guests to showcase the buffer created by the project, the scenic views over the Gorge, the Park and Kyambura reserve, and the chance to experience the local homesteads.
● Kyambura Conservation Centre - The Kyambura Conservation Centre site based on the northern side of the Gorge at the VSPT centre. The Conservation Centre serves as a Training Centre for Conservation and communities.
● Kyambura Community Café - Located at the Conservation Centre, the Kyambura Community Café trains local disadvantaged youth in hospitality.
● Kyambura Coffee - The growing and processing of coffee by the community will continue to be a central part of the project. Kyambura coffee from the VSPT cooperative for women will be available for guests to purchase.
● Kyambura Community Playground - VSPT has created a community playground to encourage and allow local school children to play games and sports, especially soccer.
● Kyambura Gorge Walk – this short walk (45 mins) offer guests the opportunity to experience the unique landscape around the Lodge, between the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura Gorge and the community.
Volcanoes Safaris is recognized as the leader in great ape tourism. The company received the Travel + Leisure Global Vision (2012) and Condé Nast Traveller World Savers (2013) awards. In 2016 the VSPT Bwindi Bar near Bwindi Lodge won the Pure Community Engagement award for training disadvantaged youths; and Virunga Lodge was recognized as Africa’s most romantic retreat by the World Boutique Awards. In 2017 Volcanoes Safaris lodges have been ranked on Condé Nast Traveller’s list of the best Africa Resorts in their 30th annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
Volcanoes Safaris Founder, Praveen Moman, spoke at TedXBend in March 2018 to share his philosophy that making conservation part of the economic mainstream is the key to saving the great apes of Africa.
Watch online here: https://youtu.be/5PWqFTr7DHg.
For more information, please visit: https://volcanoessafaris.com/community/
Click to view photos of the Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism Project Launch Event – Copyright Black Bean Productions and James Suter.
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.