The community in the Rwenzori foothills has introduced a unique, off the beaten path, experience of looking for wildlife in the most customized way. It is the new chameleon trail. This trail is located in a pristine area of the rich tropical rain-forest. Originally available to farmers, the community has converted this buffer into community nature reserve. The existence of the various types of chameleons in this property has turned the formally farm land into a must visit part of the Rwenzori Mountains.
The experience of spotting and studying chameleons in their natural habitat is unique to any other wildlife viewing experience. These small gentle reptiles have a story worth learning. From the way they live to the way they feed. Everyone will find a life lesson by observing the life of chameleons. Realizing how such a slow creature survives the jungles is inspiring.
In this part of Uganda, culture has played a great role towards chameleon survival. During the tour, you will learn what the Bakonzo culture believes about these small animals.
You will find the trail quite interesting learning the specific plants liked by chameleons and why these plants are so dear to them. Every time you spot a chameleon, you will have an opportunity to watch its behavior through the processes of movement marched with changes of skin colors and how they protect themselves.
Have you ever seen how chameleons hunt? Take a picture moment as the chameleon hunts for flies and other small insects. Chameleons are slow but they will never miss their targeted pray. One need less than 20 milliseconds to grab the pray. They propel the tongue that is two times their body length, punching their pray by surprise. Chameleons have a life lesson for you. These gentle creatures will inspire everyone who takes a chance to spend some time with them. You will realize that there is great power in patience and focus when you see the chameleon grabbing all sorts of fast running and flying insects.
The route and habitat:
The trail starts at Ruboni community camp where preparation and orientation is done. You will walk through the local community coffee gardens, by the homesteads until you will be immersed into the rain-forest. Special plants where chameleons stay are well known to the local guide who will be showing you around. To see the chameleons, you will have to focus and be slow in movement. This is when you will see how these local guides have mastered their game when it comes to finding chameleons in the wild.
In the Rwenzori area only, you have a chance of finding up to seven types of chameleons. These include; Tolley’s forest Chameleon, Johnston’s three-horned chameleon, Carpenter’s chameleon, strange horned chameleon, Elliot’s Groove-throated Chameleon, Montane side-striped chameleon and boulenger’s pygmy chameleon. Different chameleon’s types live in different habitats basing on their feeding and living habits. All chameleons have a tool of changing colors for various biological and environmental reasons. You will learn all these discoveries while on the chameleon trail. The trail can be taken any time of the day but it is always better in the mornings and evenings when the weather is cool and easier to trek longer.
This chameleon trail is a full habitat. The forest is neighboring Rwenzori mountains national park and you will certainly be within the national park habitat during the entire tour. During the walk, you will have many other opportunities of enjoying the rain-forests, water falls, birds, and sometimes primates that may have visited from the park.
Specifically, travelers going to queen Elizabeth or visiting Rwenzori mountains National Park will find this an ideal stopover activity. It is easy to travel from queen Elizabeth and do this experience. Better still, guests staying at the Rwenzori base camp will find it even easier. In both cases, this activity can be arranged in advance by contacting the organizers before arrival.
Please note that, the chameleons are in their natural habitat and limited contact or dislocation may be encouraged by our guides, for their safety. despite having to look for them, all our guests have had 97% chance of finding these lovely creatures as we have recorded no visitor who has failed to find them so far.
The chameleon walk is organized by Ruboni community camp. Besides this trail, Ruboni community camp offers other community trails that will give you full opportunity of exploring the Rwenzori Mountains. These include the village cultural tour, the hill climb tour, the overnight hill trek or the treks into Rwenzori Mountains that enable you to explore both the short and high peaks of the mountain of the moon.
With readily available accommodation, you can choose to stay overnight in the newly renovated guest rooms at Ruboni community camp, whose standards have been uplifted to cater for the level of comfort that you may require.
This is how to get to Ruboni community where the chameleon trail is conducted. They We can also organize the transfers from Kasese town and back. In case you want to add this chameleon on a longer Uganda trip. Please contact any tour operator and they know how to get you to Ruboni community camp, Rwenzori.