Chimpanzee Trekking In Uganda

Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda

Chimpanzee trekking is one of the most exciting and safari highlights for tourists on an Africa safari in Uganda. Chimpanzees are next to mountain gorillas as the most popular Primate species in Uganda and almost 80% who come on a Uganda tour visit the gorillas and chimpanzees.

In Uganda, there is a population of about 5000 chimpanzees distributed in game parks and various forests. Chimpanzees in Uganda are however regarded as endangered because their population was once much more than it is now but because of the unstable political environment which used to hit Uganda in the 1980`s and other countries in the region and poaching, their  population reduced. Chimpanzees in Uganda were sometimes hunted for food while some were sold as pets.

The original Ugandans do not eat chimpanzees and never used to even rear them as pets, but the immigrants from the neighbouring countries particularly from Democratic Republic of Congo who came into Uganda or fled the political unrests from their country have greatly affected the population of chimpanzees and other primates in Uganda. There are also situations where chimpanzees have been caught is snares targeting other animals like antelopes and most of these snares are deadly enough to kill the crewless chimpanzees. the government of Uganda and tourism authorities have tried their best to fight these habits that threatened the lives of wild animals and the community is responding positively towards safeguarding the lives of these primates and other wildlife in Uganda.

Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National Park
Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest National Park

Where to see chimpanzees

Chimpanzees in the wild are only found in 21 countries in the whole of Africa including Uganda.

Uganda in particularly the best destination to see chimpanzees in East Africa. There is still a lot of hunting the chimpanzees for meat and human encroachment on the habitats of chimpanzees in the west and central Africa which is a sign that chimpanzees will soon be critically endangered in Africa if those activities are not controlled.

If you are visiting East Africa for chimpanzee trekking of Chimpanzee habituation Experience, a safari in Uganda is the most recommended to reward you a memorable experience. 

Uganda is a small country just like the size of England, but this Pearl of Africa has various forests and national parks in which chimpanzees can be found in their natural habitat. A trip to Uganda can reward you with the opportunity to do either chimpanzee trekking or chimpanzee habituation experience or both depending on your choice.

Some destinations in Uganda offer both Chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation while others offer chimpanzee trekking only. Below are some of the national parks and forests where you can find chimpanzees while on your Uganda tour.

Kibale Forest national park, Budongo forest – part of Murchison falls national park, Kyambura gorge – part of Queen Elizabeth National park and Kalinzu Forest reserve, are some of the places where you can see chimpanzees while on your Africa safari in Uganda. On a lucky day, one can encounter a chimpanzee in other areas such as Bigodi wetland Sanctuary, Buniga Forest and Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park.

Bugoma forest central reserve is also one of the areas where chimpanzees can be found but they are still going through habituation process and they are yet to be available for trekking by visitors.

The National parks are the best places to have chimpanzee habituation or chimpanzee trekking in Uganda. The chimpanzees in these parks are fully habituated and accustomed to human presence. They do not run away when they sense or see people approaching them peacefully, they instead stay put or continue with their business while visitors see them and take pictures from a distance of course.

Primate tours in Uganda are one of the activates that is most liked by many people who visit Uganda for a tour, chimpanzee adventure in Uganda is a competitive activity which requires that you book your chimpanzee permit in advance and prices for the chimpanzee permits vary with the parks you intend to visit and the activity i.e. chimp trekking or chimpanzee habituation.

Kibale Forest National Park
Chimpanzee Trekking In Uganda

The chimpanzee trekking experience

The Chimpanzee experience in Kibale Forest

Kibale Forest National park is a paradise for people who love primates, with chimpanzees and other 12 twelve species of primates. Kibale forest is the only destination in Uganda where both chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation can be experienced. Chimpanzee trekking is an amazing tourism activity where you man not only encounter chimpanzees but also other animals and some other primates along the way. During chimpanzees trekking, you have to track the chimpanzee up to where they have settled in the forest, so it lasts about 2-5 hours. Visitors are allowed to interact with the chimpanzees for one hour before they head part to the starting point.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

On the other hand, Chimpanzee Habituation is an extraordinary tourism activity where you get to experience a day with people who are directly involved in the chimpanzee habituation process like the researchers and habituators. The process of habituating chimpanzees takes about 2 years and when visitors get chimpanzee habituation permits, the enjoy the privilege of spending the full day watching the researchers go about habituating chimpanzees. The habituation of chimpanzees in Kibale national park is a continuous activity (all year round) because there are some groups in the forests that are not yet habituated.

Chimpanzee Experience in Budongo Forest

While on a Uganda safari, Budongo Forest which is part of Murchison Falls National park is your other destination to trek chimpanzees. Budongo forests is approximately 4-5hours drive from Uganda`s capital Kampala which makes it the nearest destination for chimpanzee tracking in Uganda and thus making it possible for a visitor to do a one day chimpanzee trekking safari basing in Kampala unlike a one day gorilla trekking in Uganda which is impossible. For trekking in Budongo forest, visitors can leave their room in Kampala at about 6:00am and by 7pm; visitors will probably be back in Kampala.

However, it is recommended that you make it a two, three or more day’s trip to allow you enough time to explore the rest of remarkable attractions which Murchison falls has to offer, perhaps visit the Uganda rhino Sanctuary reserve and do rhino tracking, or continue to Murchison falls for other like top of the falls visit, game drives, boat cruise among others. Please talk to your tour operator to include chimpanzee tracking on your Uganda safari itinerary.

Chimpanzee Experience in Kyambura Forest

Kyambura Gorge located in Queen Elizabeth national park is one of Uganda’s rewarding destinations for chimpanzee tracking. Kyambura is a scenic gorge that has been called the lost valley by the BBC, while others call it the valley of Apes.

It is part of the Western Rift Valley and very special with its unmatched scenery and backdrop for chimpanzee trekking.

The terrain in Kyambura Gorge is a bit rough since it may require crossing the creeks and small rivers but all is an excitement of trekking the chimpanzees of Kyambura Gorge.

Visitors are allowed to trek chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge for about 3 hours and the cost of the chimpanzee permit for Kyambura is relatively cheaper compared to that of Kibale forest national park. There is no chimpanzee habituation in Kyambura Gorge.

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