Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is an ultimate primate walking experience offering tourists a lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with chimpanzees right in their natural habitat.
The largest chimpanzee population in East Africa resides within Uganda. Over 5600 chimps are distributed throughout the different destinations in Uganda with majority living in Kibale Forest National Park.
Chimpanzees are part of the great apes family and the others include gorillas and orangutans. They are close to humans and considered to be the most intelligent with ability to learn new things. Chimpanzees roam freely in West, East, Central and Southern Africa whereas the bonobos exist in Congo.
Chimpanzees stay in large communities, each consisting of 10 to 100 members. The adult male is responsible for the protection of the entire community/troop and mating. Like most apes, chimpanzees spend most of their time foraging on plants, leaves, shoots, fruits, roots and stems.
Chimpanzee tracking in Uganda –the best places to visit
Uganda is most popular for its rewarding chimpanzee trekking experiences. The habituated communities in the different location offer a remarkable opportunity for tourists to interact with chimpanzees in the wild. Here are the best places to consider a must-visit for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda;
Kibale National Park
Lying in Southwestern Uganda is the magnificent Kibale National Park where over 1500 chimpanzees reside. This park is known for its incredible chimp walking adventures where guests get up close and personal with chimpanzees in the wild. All Kibale chimpanzee treks begin from Kanyanchu tourism center and you require 2-4 hours to have a complete exploration with these apes.
One hour of observing chimpanzee behavior is guaranteed and you will be accompanied by an experienced park guide. In the course of the chimpanzee trek, you will also be spotting other varied primates including bush babies, red-tailed monkeys, red colobus monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, blue monkeys, baboons, grey cheeked mangabeys, pottos and others.
Birds- Kibale is home to a significant bird population including black and white casqued hornbills, wagtails, green breasted pittas and others. Kibale chimpanzee permits are available for reservation at USD 200 per person and booking is possible through an authorized tour operator.
Budongo & Kaniyo-Pabidi Forest (Murchison Falls N/Park)
Situated in the Northwestern side of Uganda, Murchison Falls Conservation Area is a vast area encompassing other protected areas including Budongo and Kaniyo-Pabidi Forests. These are dominated by primates including chimpanzees and forest bird species. Chimpanzees in Murchison Falls NP exist in the tropical rainforest-dominated areas like Rabongo Forest, Budongo and Kaniyo-Pabidi Forests. The habituated chimpanzee communities are found in Kaniyo-Pabidi Forest a section of Budongo Forest.
Kyambura Gorge (Queen Elizabeth National Park)
A Uganda safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park doesn’t stop at viewing the big game alone but takes you through chimpanzee encounters. The Kyambura Gorge provides the best chimpanzee treks in its already habituated communities. There are comfortable places to book for overnight stay at Kyambura Gorge and including Katara Lodge, Kingfisher Camp, Kyambura Gorge/Game Lodge, and Jacana Lodge.
Toro-Semliki Wildlife & Kalinzu Forest Reserves also provide excellent chimpanzee trekking experiences in Uganda. These are the least visited locations and guarantee authentic encounter with chimps.
What to pack for a Uganda chimpanzee trek
Regardless of your luggage weight, never forget to have essentials for your chimpanzee trekking tour in Uganda. These include waterproof hiking boots, insect repellents, camera that is free of flashlight, safari hat, daypack, long sleeved shirts, trousers, bottled drinking water, snacks and others. Be sure to use a suitable 4×4 Uganda car hire for your travel while visiting the chimpanzees.
Guidelines for chimpanzee tracking (Uganda)
The set rules and regulations must be observed at all times on Uganda chimpanzee trek. They include;
- Observing a distance of about 8 meters away from chimpanzees
- Visitors shouldn’t go and track chimpanzees when sick or feeling sick.
- Do not feed chimpanzees in the wild.
- A minimum acceptable age limit for chimpanzee trekking is 12 years.
- Don’t make noise on a chimpanzee trek.
- Burry all human wastes deep in the ground, about 30 cm.
Chimpanzee trekking Versus Gorilla trekking (Africa)
Both primate adventures provide memorable encounter with unique primates. Chimp trekking is all about exploring chimpanzee communities and gorilla trekking allows you to see mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in Mgahinga & Bwindi while tracking chimpanzees is possible in the various habitats.
Chimpanzee habituation Vs chimp tracking
Chimpanzee trekking is done in already habituated chimp communities and chimpanzee habituation is conducted in the semi-habituated communities. Tracking chimpanzees takes about 2-4 hours and two sessions are always available while habituation takes full day or half day and it is a process of initiating chimpanzees to get used to the presence of humans.
When to go for chimpanzee tracking
Chimpanzee tracking adventures are carried out at any time of the year. However, the most preferred time is during the dry season and that is from June to September or travel from December to February.
Is chimpanzee trekking hard?
Unlike gorilla trekking, tracking chimpanzees takes you on moderate trek. The altitude challenge during chimpanzee tracking isn’t as hard as it is when you are on gorilla trekking adventure.