Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda
Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda is one of the top Uganda Safari activities that many travelers book to go and enjoy the primates in their habitats. Uganda the capital of primates in the world is well known for its abundance of primates that roam around in the several habitats across the country. The pearl of Africa though famous for the endangered gorillas it’s also home to over 2000 chimpanzees that are spread in about several habitats thus Kibale forest National park that has the highest number of chimpanzees in Uganda, Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu forest in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Budongo forest on Murchison falls National park, Bigodi wetland sanctuary, and Ngamba Island on lake victoria. In past years Uganda was known to have over 50,000 chimpanzees at a time, that’s why it’s called the capital of primates; unfortunately due to human activities that have led to encroachment of the chimpanzee habitats causing the number of the chimpanzees to significantly reduce.
The chimpanzees are also endangered primates like the gorillas and they share up to 90% of their DNA with humans. They are quite intelligent and curious beings, noisy and social. Their bodies are covered with black hair with only the long arms, short limbs, fingers, toes, ears, and face are covered with hair, and they also have no tails.
Chimpanzees in the different habitats across Uganda have been habituated for trekking purposes and can be trekked all year round. Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is the activity where individuals spend an hour with the chimpanzees after a trek through the forest.
On a chimpanzee trekking activity in Uganda, trekkers will be up early to head to a briefing session at 7:30 am then after head into the forest with a ranger to locate the chimpanzees, depending on the location of the chimpanzees in the forest, the trek may take about 4 – 7 hours and of those hours you will spend one hour with the endangered the chimpanzees.
On a chimpanzee trekking experience in Uganda, 12 people are allowed to see a chimpanzee community at a time for one hour compared to the 8 people for one gorilla family. Also, chimpanzees are habituated in communities that are normally bigger in number compared to the gorilla families. However, all the other rules are similar and include but not limited to:
- Keeping a distance of seven meters between you and the chimpanzees
- Stay in your trekking group when in the forest
- Follow the ranger’s instructions
- Avoid direct eye contact with the chimpanzees
- Don’t use flashes while taking pictures
- You must be 15 years and above to take part in the Chimpanzee trekking experience in Uganda
- Don’t irritate the chimpanzees by doing anything that may cause them to charge at you
- Don’t trek while you are ill
- Don’t cough or sneeze directly in the chimpanzees always cover your mouth or nose when you need to do so
- Adhere to the one-hour time cap you have with the chimpanzees.
- Among other rules and guidelines
Your trekking attire for the whole experience is still similar to that you take on gorilla trekking trips which include:-
- hiking shoes or boots (preferably waterproof)
- Long sleeved clothes (moderately thick)
- trekking or walking stick
- Insect repellents
- Hat and rain jacket if you must
- Water bottle with water
- And other things that you dim necessary for the trek.
- Always remember to carry a snack for your trekking experience
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is done at several locations with varying chimpanzee permit fees; the locations are:-
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park has the largest number of chimpanzees in the country and is the best location for any chimpanzee trekking safari. The park has three habituated chimpanzee communities that receive visitors daily. The chimpanzee trekking permits in Kibale Forest National Park cost 200 USD per person per a trekking experience. The trekking experience starts at Kanyanchu information centre at 7:30 am, where you are briefed and group with others and a ranger and then after the ranger takes you in the forest for your experience. This is the top place to go for Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda.
Kibale also offers its visitors chimpanzee habituation experience which is a more extended time with the endangered chimpanzees; this is done at a habituation fee of 250 USD and it’s also organized separately at the park offices.
This valley of apes in Queen Elizabeth National park’s eastern section is also home to the endangered chimpanzees and they are very easy to find in this 100meter deep gorge. Trekking in the gorge is less tiring compared to that one in Kibale National Park. The chimpanzees trekking permits for this gorge coast 50 USD per person per trekking experience.
Kalinzu Forest is also in Queen Elizabeth National park and its home to a number of primate species that include the endangered chimpanzees. Chimpanzee trekking in this rain forest is at a permit of 40 USD.
This forest in Murchison Falls National park is a home to chimpanzees and is ranked second to Kibale National park in a number of chimpanzees living in the habitat. The trails of this forest like the ones in Kibale National park are quite hard to trek and the trekking experiences also take as long as the treks in Kibale National forest. The chimpanzee trekking permits in Kalinzu forest cost 80 USD in high seasons and 75 USD in the low seasons. High seasons are the dry months in Uganda which is December/January through to mid-March and from June through to mid-September; during these months the trekking trails are much easier to trek.
You can also find chimpanzees in Ngamba Island for viewing while on a boat cruise on Lake Victoria.
Trekking permits in all these different locations are obtained at all the location offices before the trekking experience.