Chimpanzee trekking is an interesting activity in Uganda where visitors move in the forests in search of the chimpanzees and once found spend 1 hour with the chimpanzee families in their natural habitat.
Chimpanzees are popular primates in Uganda and the most visited attractions just like the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park. Uganda is a home of about 5000 chimpanzees and over 1500 chimpanzees are found in Kibale national park while other chimpanzees are found in other destinations such as Kalinzu Forest Reserve, Budongo Forest Reserve, Kyanbura Gorge, Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve, and Ngamba Island Sanctuary. Chimpanzees are primates that are close to humans in that they share 98%of their DNA composition with humans and they live in groups of 10 to 30 members and have a lifespan of 40 years whereas those in captivity can live for up to 60 years.
Where Chimpanzee Trekking activity is done in Uganda
Chimpanzee trekking is carried out in different destinations in Uganda and they include
Kibale National Park: Kibale national park is located in western Uganda in fort portal distance and is the best place for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda because it offers the best chimpanzee trekking experience, harbors the largest number of chimpanzees and chimpanzee habituated families in Uganda. Kibale national park is also the only destination in Uganda where the chimpanzee habituation process is carried out. Chimpanzee habituation is the process where chimpanzees are trained by the researchers and game rangers so as to get used to the human presence for trekking and the process usually takes a period of two years.
Kibale national park is a home of 13 primate species with chimpanzees as the major attraction in the park. Other primates in the park include Olive baboons, L-hoest monkeys, Black and white monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Red tailed monkeys, Blue-tailed monkeys among others. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park can either be done in the morning at 8 am or in the afternoon at 2 pm and it takes about 2 to 5 hours trekking and one hour in their presence taking photos, enjoying the juveniles playing as they entertain the family among others.
During chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park, you will be able to view the chimpanzees nesting, de-nesting, breastfeeding, hunting among others, therefore, giving you great and unforgettable experiences during your safari in Uganda.
Kalinzu Forest Reserves: Kalinzu forest reserve is another destination that harbors the chimpanzee families in Uganda. Kalinzu forest is a natural ecosystem forest reserve that is located in south-western Uganda in Bushenyi district near Maramagambo forest and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kalinzu forest reserve is the second destination for chimpanzee trekking after Kibale national park and is a home of about 320 chimpanzees of which about 50 have been habituated hence ready for trekking. Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu Forest Reserve can be carried out either in the morning or in the afternoon though it is best done in the morning at takes about 3 to 4 hours trekking in the steep slopes and muddy areas in the forest.
Budongo Forest Reserve: Budongo forest is located in Murchison falls national park and is another destination known for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda. Budongo forest is a home of six habituated gorilla families that are available for trekking on a daily basis. Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest is best done in the morning though there is also an afternoon chimpanzee trekking. During the months of May, June, July, and August, visitors in Budongo Forest Reserve have a 90% high chance of viewing the chimpanzees and during other months the visitors have about 70% of viewing the chimpanzees because there will be food scarcity during the other months. Chimpanzee tracking in Budongo forest takes about one to three hours depending on the location of the chimpanzees because they like to move from one place to another in search of food.
Kyambura Gorge: Kyambura Gorge also known as the valley of apes is situated in the northeastern part of Queen Elizabeth national park and part of the western rift valley. Kyambura Gorge is the only destination that harbors the habituated chimpanzees and other primate species in Queen Elizabeth national park. Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge is best done in the morning and takes about one to three hours. Kyambura Gorge is the only destination in Uganda that offers a cheap chimpanzee trekking permit in Uganda.
Toro Semuliki Wildlife Reserve: Toro Semuliki Wildlife Reserve is another destination for chimpanzee tracking in Uganda located in western Uganda within Ntoroko and Kabarole districts. Chimps trekking in Toro Semuliki Wildlife Reserve is best done in the morning and visitors who engage in chimpanzee trekking activity will also get an opportunity to view chimpanzee families, other primate species and bird species since it is known for bird watching and chimpanzee trekking.
Ngamba Island Sanctuary: Ngamba is a sanctuary that was established in 1998 by the local and international organizations to protect the orphaned chimpanzees and the chimpanzees that were rescued from poachers by Uganda Wildlife Authority. Ngamba sanctuary is located on Lake Victoria and is a home of about 49 chimpanzees. Chimpanzee trekking activity in Ngamba Island is best done in the morning where visitors get an opportunity to feed the chimpanzees, walk them around, talk to them, play with them among others which gives you the best experience while on your chimps trekking safari in Uganda.
When to go for ChimpsTrekking
Chimps trekking in Uganda can be done anytime throughout the year and the best time is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, December, January, and February. Chimps trekking in Uganda is done in forest areas and during the wet season in the months of March to May and October to November there is a lot of rain in the forest which makes the grounds get wet, slippery and muddy which makes chimpanzee tracking hard and difficult.
Cost of Chimps Trekking permits in Uganda
The trekking permits vary according to the destination where chimpanzee trekking is going to be carried out. Chimpanzee trekking permit is Kibale national park costs $150 for the Foreign Non Residents and $ 100 for the Foreign Residents and chimpanzee habituation permit in Kibale national park costs $200. Chimpanzee trekking permit in Budongo forest costs $90, $50 in Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu forest. Chimpanzee trekking permit in Kibale national park is the most expensive in that Kibale is the best chimpanzee tracking destination in Uganda with the largest number of chimpanzees compared to other chimpanzee destinations.
What to pack when going for Chimps Trekking
Visitors who want to engage in chimpanzee trekking activity in Uganda should pack various items including
- Chimps trekking permit, the chimps trekking permit is the most essential item that any visitor going for chimpanzee trekking activity should not forget because, without a chimpanzee trekking permit, you will not be allowed to trek the chimpanzee families in any chimpanzee destination.
- Insect repellent, the insect repellent will protect your body from forest insects such as safari ants and tsetse flies.
- Drinking water, when going for chimps trekking activity, visitors are advised to carry at least 2 liters drinking water because chimpanzee trekking activity is unpredictable in that it can either take a short period of time of about 2 to 3 hours or a long period of time of about 2 to 6 hours. Therefore drinking water will help you to gain energy and proceed with the trekking activity.
- Hiking boots, visitors should carry hiking boots that are comfortable so as to allow easy movement in the jungle especially during the rainy season in the muddy and slippery rain forest. Hiking boots help you by keeping your feet dry and protecting your ankles.
- Rain jacket/poncho, the rain jacket will be used to protect from rain in case it rains when in the jungle trekking the chimpanzees. It will also protect some items like the camera among others.
- Long sleeved shirt and trousers, the long sleeved shirt and trousers will keep your body warm because the forest are sometimes cold and they also protect your body from thorny tree branches and shrubs.
- Garden gloves, the garden gloves will protect your hands from germs and being prinked by the thorny tree branches and thickets in the forests because sometimes you can touch the tree branches for support.
- Hat and sunglasses, the hat and sunglasses will protect your head from direct sunshine and protect you in case it rains in the jungle while trekking.
- Waterproof backpack, this is a bag that will be used to carry the equipment for your chimpanzee trekking safari in Uganda. Items include insect repellent, drinking water, rain jacket among others.
- Camera, the camera is also important during chimpanzee trekking activity in that it will help you to take photos, videos and capture the moments during the one hour given in the presence of the chimpanzees.
- Binoculars, chimps trekking in Uganda is done in forest areas that harbor various bird species hence visitors on chimpanzee trekking safari should carry binoculars for clear viewing of the different bird species in Kibale national park, Kyambura Gorge, Kalinzu Forest Reserve among others.
Rules and Regulations for Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda
- Visitors to take park in chimps trekking should be 12 years and above.
- Visitors should keep their voices low while in trekking and in the presence of the chimpanzees.
- While in the presence of the chimpanzee family, visitors should keep a distance of 8 meters away because the chimpanzees are wild animals.
- Visitors should not eat while in the presence of the chimpanzee families because some food particles might fall down.
- Visitors should not litter while in the forests
- Visitors with illnesses like flu, cold or diarrhea are advised to cancel chimps trekking activity because they can easily be affected by human diseases.
- While in the presence of the chimpanzees, visitors should not use flashlight cameras while taking photos because they distract the chimpanzees.
- In case a visitor wants to ease his or her self, he can do that off the chimpanzee trails and should later bury the wastes 30cm deep so as to prevent the chimpanzees from getting near the waste.
- Chimpanzee trekking only allows a maximum number of 6 people per each chimpanzee group.
Chimps trekking is an interesting and adventurous activity that shouldn’t be missed during your safari in Uganda because it offers you with magical and lifetime experiences.