Chimpanzee trekking experience
Chimpanzee trekking experience is very similar to the mountain gorilla trekking experience with the only difference being that on the chimpanzee trek your viewing chimpanzees and not mountain gorillas. Uganda is known to have the highest number of chimpanzees in East Africa with over 5000 individuals living across the different habitats. Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is done all year round in one of the following parks.
- Kibale National Park
- Murchison Falls National Park – Budongo Forest
- Queen Elizabeth National Park – Kalinzu Forest.
- Semiliki wildlife Reserve.
And the most popular and most trekked park is Kibale National Park, known as the primate capital; it has the highest number of chimpanzees among all the chimpanzee parks.
Your chimpanzee trekking experience will start the moment you secure you chimpanzee trekking permit. Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda though one of the most sought after tourist activities it’s not as competitive as mountain gorilla trekking because the chimpanzee population is quite high and the chimpanzee habitats in the country are more than two. This means you don’t have to book your permit way in advance like for the mountain gorilla trekking experience; you can actually book your chimpanzee trekking permit a week or two before the trekking experience, sometimes if you are in lucky you are able to acquire permits on the ground on the day of the trekking. (This is not advisable though because you may find when all the permits for the done and you miss out on trekking.
The chimpanzee trekking permit prices in Uganda vary depending on the park you are having the trekking experience from. The price ranges from 95 USD to 200 USD, depending on your expectations from the trek, your tour operator will advise you on which park will best suit your expectations.
Well the moment you book your chimpanzee trekking permit you will know that now the reality of trekking is here, you will then prepare for the trek physically and mentally. The trekking trails are not so tough to conquer however some physical fitness is needed for you to take on the trek.
You will then get the necessary wardrobe for trekking, and this will include hiking boots, long sleeved clothing, trousers, gloves, hats or caps, rain coats among other things. You should inquire with your tour operator to advice you on the right clothing for the trek.
You will then head to the park of your choice for the trekking experience. The chimpanzee parks are about 4 to 5 hours from Kampala City which is the capital of Kampala, so you will have to travel to the park the day before the trekking experience. You will have an overnight stay within the park or in accommodation close to the park, depending on your preference.
On the day of the trekking you will be up early, have breakfast at your accommodation and then head out to the park headquarters for a chimpanzee trekking brief before you entire the forest. The trekking brief happens between 7am and 8am so you will be entering the forest by 8am. On this brief, rules of trekking will be communicated like not littering the chimpanzee habitat, staying in your trekking group, not engaging in anything that will harm the chimpanzees or threaten their livelihoods among other things.
For your trekking experience remember to carry some water and snack to eat on the trek, it’s common for you to get hungry as you climb. Well after the briefing at the headquarters you will be grouped in groups of 8 to 12 people and each group will be assigned a ranger to take you in the forest for your experience.
You will enter the forest with your ranger and take on a trek for about 2 to 3 hours before you find the chimpanzees and when you find the chimpanzees you will spend an hour with them in their presence, observing them from a 7 meter distance. After the one hour of viewing the chimpanzee, your will then trek back to the park headquarters where you will receive trekking certificates; the entire trek will take a total duration of 5 to 6 hours and after you will head back to your accommodation or connect with your tour guide for other activities.
That in a nutshell will be your chimpanzee trekking experience.