Chimpanzee trekking experience in Uganda takes you to explore the pearl of Africa for an exciting encounter with man’s look-alike relatives. Chimpanzees belong to the great ape’s family which includes the endangered mountain gorillas and orangutans. Chimpanzees are the closest to human beings, they are intelligent, and have large brains with the ability to learn other new things.
Chimpanzee Studies by great primatologists like Jane Goodall indicate that chimpanzees have unique cultures in different communities based on their specific habitats and diets. There are two types of distinct chimpanzee species surviving in the wild – There is a common chimpanzee and the pygmy chimpanzee (famously known as Bonobo). The common chimpanzees are surviving in the West, East, Central, and Southern African countries while the Bonobo chimpanzees are only situated in Congo’s jungles and sanctuaries.
Chimpanzee species can live in big extended families/communities of approximately 10 – 100 individuals taking care of each other. Unlike the endangered mountain gorillas and baboons, chimpanzee large communities sometimes split into other smaller groups while searching for food before getting back together. The male chimpanzees stay within their community while the female chimpanzees migrate to the nearby communities when they reach the adolescence stage.
The young chimpanzees become independent at the age of 4 years. Like humans, chimpanzees use complex methods for communication purposes including facial expressions, sounds, gestures, and body language for easy interaction.
Chimpanzee trekking experience in Uganda the pearl of Africa
Uganda as a country offers potentially the best places to engage in chimpanzee tracking in the world. Uganda protects the world’s largest chimpanzee population and a variety of places where tourists can track chimpanzees from. Uganda harbors over 5600 chimpanzees surviving in the wild with a sizeable number of individual communities under habituation. Uganda’s chimpanzee families can even be surviving in the small forests or on private land in some areas. Chimpanzee tracking experience in Uganda can take place in Kibale Forest National Park, Kalinzu forest, Budongo forest in Murchison Falls National Park, Tooro-Semliki wildlife Reserve, Kyambura gorge of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and tourists can also view chimpanzees in the zoo and sanctuaries like Uganda wildlife Education center and the Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary.
Kibale Forest National Park:
Kibale forest is the best place for chimpanzee tracking in East Africa. Kibale forest national park is the hub for several primate species but offers the highest chimpanzee population of about 1500 individuals – Kibale forest protects over 30 percent of the Ugandan chimpanzee population. Kibale forest offers over 3 habituated communities, one chimpanzee community is set apart for tourists while the remaining two chimpanzee communities are for researchers. Besides chimpanzees, the Kibale forest protects other several primate species such as L’Hoests monkey, Bushbaby, blue monkeys, red colobus, Mangabeys, baboons, and Red-tailed monkeys. Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest national park can be combined with bird-watching safaris and other wildlife viewings. Chimpanzee tracking safari allows you to view other wildlife species such as forest Buffaloes, forest elephants, antelopes, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, and otters. Bird lovers can be impressed with the variety of bird species offered. Kibale forest harbors over 345 bird species surviving in the forest and others are located near the Bigodi Wetlands birding sanctuary, Kibale forest bird species include the African grey parrot, breasted pitas, and hornbills.
Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest national park is conducted two times a day offering the morning session which starts at 7 am and at 2 pm on the second session. your chances of viewing the chimpanzee community in the Kibale forest are very high at 95 percent. Tourists to Kibale Forest national park also have another chance of experiencing a full day through a program called chimpanzee habituation with one of the available chimpanzee communities, chimpanzee habituation allows visitors to spend more time with the chimpanzee community. Chimpanzee trekking Permits for Kibale Forest are more expensive compared to any other chimpanzee destination in Uganda at $200. Chimpanzee habituation experience cost $250 per permit per person. For tourists organizing their trip to Kibale forest national park, the chimpanzee tracking permits can be obtained by emailing or calling the Uganda Wildlife Authority office directly and you should book early enough because are permits are always limited. If you book with Devine African Safaris, the company staff help you arrange for everything such as securing the chimpanzee tracking permit, accommodation, and transportation.
Kalinzu forest comes second after Kibale forest national park, Kalinzu Forest is situated just outside Queen Elizabeth National park is preferably the second-best place for chimpanzee tracking in Uganda. Tourists visiting Queen Elizabeth national park often end up going for chimpanzee tracking at the park’s Kyambura Gorge also offers a chance of spotting chimpanzees but Kalinzu forest stands a higher chance of seeing chimpanzees than Kyambura gorge. Besides chimpanzee tracking, visitors to Kalinzu forest can view over 410 bird species, butterfly species, moths, primate species, reptile species, and flowers as you pass through the guided trails in the forest which may take about four hours depending on your physical fitness. Kalinzu forest bird species include the Great Blue Turaco, sunbird, and cuckoos.
Kalinzu forest offers over 290 chimpanzees and about 70 habituated. Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest is managed by the ministry of forestry. Chimpanzee tracking permits for Kalinzu forest costs $ 50 which is way too less but so rewarding. Moreso, Kalinzu forest’s minimum age for chimpanzee tracking is 12 years of age and above.
Budongo forest occupies an area of approximately 825 square kilometers that is accommodating a population of over 800 chimpanzees surviving in the forest, Budongo forest is ranked the third best place where tourists can track chimpanzees in Uganda. Budongo forest is situated within Murchison falls national park – reaching Murchison falls national park takes like3 hours to drive from Kampala or Entebbe. Budongo forest is naturally dominated by the mahogany trees that are providing the best shelter for these amazing chimpanzees and other primate species. Budongo forest habituates over 100 chimpanzees that are ready for tracking at Kaniyo Pabibi out of the total chimpanzee population.
Chimpanzee tracking in Budongo forest has two sessions with the morning session starting at 7 am and the 2 pm afternoon session. The best time for chimpanzee tracking in Budongo is from June to August which are considered the dry seasons. During the dry season, chimpanzees move deep into the forest searching for food, shelter, and water. Budongo forest Chimpanzee trekking can be arranged with the wildlife adventure to the Murchison falls national park.
Kyambura gorge is situated in the valley within the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura gorge is another convenient destination for chimpanzee tracking while on your tree climbing tracking safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kyambura gorge covers 16km long and approximately 100 meters deep with a thick vegetation zone and underground forest. The Kyambura Gorge is making news because of the high concentration of primate species such as Baboons, colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and vervet monkeys. Kyambura gorge chimpanzee population is smaller ranging at 30 chimpanzee individuals, Kyambura gorge chimpanzee trekking has two competitive advantages. It is set within Uganda’s most wanted national park and the second-largest protected area offering the highest concentration of animals gathering together to drink water, Queen Elizabeth national park also protects other primate species and Africa’s largest mammal species. Kyambura gorge chimpanzee tracking gives travelers a rare opportunity to explore a full safari combining chimpanzee tracking with bird watching, unlimited game drive to Queen Elizabeth National park, tree climbing tracking at the Isahasha sector, and mountain gorilla trekking from the nearby Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Kyambura Gorge bird species include the blue-headed bee-eater, falcons, and the African Finfoot to mention a few. One disadvantage of chimpanzee tracking at the Kyambura Gorge is that the chance of viewing chimpanzees is low compared to Kibale forest or Kalinzu forest. Kyambura gorge has a small chimpanzee community that often moves to search for food in the underground forest which makes it harder to spot them on certain days. Kyambura gorge chimpanzee tracking permit costs $50.
Toor-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve:
Semuliki Wildlife Reserve is perched near the border of Uganda and DR Congo, Tooro Semuliki Wildlife Reserve harbors a population of over 260 chimpanzees living in 3 communities in the wild. Tooro Semliki chimpanzees are being studied by Indian university scientist that has found that they have a unique habit of migrating from the forest to go feed themselves in the Savannah plains.
Ngamba island is the smallest forested island situated on Lake Victoria which was transformed into a chimpanzee sanctuary for rescuing orphan chimpanzees in the whole country. Ngamba Island protects over 40 orphan chimpanzees being taken care of within the island. Ngamba Island is not for standard chimpanzee tracking. tourists and families with children are permitted to view chimpanzees from a secure raised platform as you observe chimpanzees feed themselves three times a day.
The Uganda Wildlife Education Center:
Was Formerly known as the Entebbe Zoo established in 1952 to accommodate the injured, orphan animals, and confiscated animals. The Uganda Wildlife Education center harbors over 40 chimpanzees that can be viewed from enclosures by visitors and families with children.