Uganda still stands out as the most favorite chimpanzee trekking destination in East Africa and across all the 21 states in Africa with chimpanzees. A glimpse of these great apes in the wild is incredibly a mesmerizing experience of a lifetime! Uganda is a strong hold to the estimated population of up-to 5050 chimpanzees that are widely found in various parts.
A trek to see chimps in their natural habitat is amazing and incredibly the best opportunity for you to make comparison between them and humans since they share at least 98.7% of their genetic DNA with human beings.
The best places to go for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda.
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park, the world’s primate capital lies in Kabarole district in Western Uganda. It is magically a stunning rain-forest park with 13 primates, these include an estimated number of 1500 chimpanzees. The 12 more primates inhabited here include the blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, bush babies, olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, L’Hoests moneys, pottos, mangabeys, black and white colobus monkeys among others.
Tracking a habituated chimpanzee community in Kibale Forest National Park takes 2 to 4 hours inclusive of an hour with them. Generally, the experience includes getting to learn more about their daily behaviors, body gestures and meanings, taking photos and a lot more.
Chimpanzee permits in Kibale are also affordable costing foreign non-residents $ 200, $150 for foreign residents and UG. Shs. 150,000 East African citizens. What is interesting is that, the cost includes guide fees, park entry fees and actual chimpanzee trekking experience.
Being one the amazing places to go for chimpanzee habituation experience, habituation permits now cost $250 for foreign non-residents and foreign residents while UG. Shs. 200,000 is paid by citizens within East African community.
Budongo Forest is one of the incredible places in Uganda where chimpanzee trekking is actively done. This forest reserve lies and makes up part of the extensive Murchison Falls National Park which is also the only park lying in Northwestern Uganda. It expands up-to 825sq.kms of land area and protects the estimated number of over 800 chimpanzees.
About 100 of these have undergone habituation and can be interacted with while on chimpanzee trekking safari. All chimp treks here start at Kaniyo-Pabidi Forest with briefing either you plan for a morning session or afternoon with permits costing about $85 per person.
Kyambura Gorge features among the most favorite places in Uganda when it comes to chimp trekking. Famous as the lost valley, Kyambura Gorge is found on the Western Rift Valley just in Queen Elizabeth National Park the only place in Uganda to see the tree climbing lions.
Chimpanzee treks here take about 3 hours inclusive of 1 hour of close interaction. It is an affordable destination with chimpanzee permits costing foreign non-residents and foreign residents US Dollars 50 while East African citizens pay Uganda shillings 20,000.
Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve
Semuliki Wildlife Reserve may not be popular chimpanzee trekking but it is one unusual destination worth exploring. It is set between Kibale Forest National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Western Uganda. An estimate of 260 chimpanzees live within this reserve with 3 troops.
Kalinzu Forest is one of the rare places worth visiting for unique chimpanzee trekking experiences in Uganda. This forest reserve straddles just outside Queen Elizabeth National Park and protects over 290 chimpanzees, 410 birds.
An estimate of 70 chimpanzees here have undergone through habituation and can be trekked at only US Dollars 30.
Uganda is an amazing destination with more options for you to see chimpanzees and besides trekking them from anyone of the above listed places, there is also possibility to watch them in anyone of the following places. You can visit Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) or Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
When to travel to Uganda for your chimpanzee trekking experience?
Uganda is open and welcomes tourists interested in chimpanzee trekking throughout the year. But the dry season is by far the best period for you to have the best of chimp trekking experience in the pearl of Africa. There are 2 significant dry seasons to take note of; one that is recorded from June to September and December to February.
Well, despite the fact that the dry season is the most favorable, there is also opportunity to trek chimps during the wet or rainy season (from March to May or from October to November). But the disadvantage side of it is that most places experience heavy rains during this period.
Chimpanzee trekking dos and don’ts to expect to follow
- Chimpanzee trek adventure is limited to 6 visitors
- A distance of 8-10 should be kept to avoid chimps from contracting human infectious diseases.
- No drinking, eating and or smoking when with chimps.
- To be considered eligible to trek chimps, you should be above 15 years.
- Tourists with communicable diseases like cough, flue among others may not be permitted to go track chimpanzees.
- Use of flashlight cameras isn’t permitted.
- Always cover your mouth if you need to cough or nose when sneezing.
- Keep within your group that is trekking chimpanzees with you and keep your voices low.
Things to carry for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda
- Insect repellent
- First aid kit
- Good camera without flashlight
- Long sleeved shirt
- Rain jacket
- Sun glasses