Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda offers you the opportunity to have an in-depth exploration of behaviors of chimpanzees, their body gestures, take their pictures, and also strike your imaginations with them while in their natural habitat during the one hour of magical encounter.
Trekking to see chimpanzees in the wild is by far a unique experience that leaves many thrilled and filled with lots of lasting memories. Chimpanzees are some of the unusual primate species which the majority of visitors on Uganda safari come to see.
Over 5050 chimpanzees are widely distributed in various parts of Uganda which makes Uganda a true primate paradise in East-Central Africa. They share about 98.7 percent of their DNA with humans which makes them our closest relatives. Chimpanzees live in groups or troops of about 30 to 80 members.
The best tourist sites to visit for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda while on Uganda chimpanzee safari are; Kibale Forest National Park, Kyambura Gorge, and Kalinzu Forest Reserve-Queen Elizabeth National Park, Budongo Forest Reserve, Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve. Trekking chimpanzees in anyone of these protected areas reward visitors on a chimpanzee safari tour with a distinct experience.
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park is undoubtedly one of the premier safari destinations when it comes to the chimpanzee trekking experience in Uganda. This park was gazetted in 1993 and occupies an area of 795sq.km. It is set in Western Uganda, about a 5-6 hours drive from Kampala capital city.
Over 13 species of primates thrive within Kibale Forest National Park including over 1500 chimpanzees making it an exceptional chimpanzee trekking safari destination in Uganda.
Dubbed the primate capital of the world, Kibale Forest National Park also hosts other primate species including L’Hoest monkeys, the olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, bush babies, pottos.
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda’s Kibale Forest National Park starts with an early morning briefing on the set rules and regulations at Kanyanchu Visitor Center. The actual treks begin at 8:00 am after you have been allocated into a group of 6 visitors and assigned to the park ranger guide.
You can choose to trek chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park in the morning or in the afternoon which starts at 2:00 pm. Treks are conducted only in already habituated chimpanzee communities and you can spend about 2-4 hours including an hour of the magical encounter.
Between now and 1st July 2020, chimpanzee permits for Kibale Forest National Park are obtainable at $150 for trekkers under the category of foreign non-residents, $100 for foreign residents, and Uganda shillings 100,000 for East African citizens.
Effective 1st July 2020 to 2022, each chimpanzee permit for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park will be booked at $200 for foreign non-residents, $150 for foreign residents, and Uganda shillings 150,000 for East African citizens. The cost of the chimpanzee permit in Kibale Forest National Park covers chimpanzee tracking fees, guide fees, and park entrance.
Kibale Forest National Park is also ideal for chimpanzee habituation experience. This is a whole day experience where you follow the semi-habituated chimpanzees in order to make them get used to human presence.
Habituation experience is a process and usually takes about 2 years less or more depending on how fast chimpanzees can get used to human presence before they are opened to trekking.
The new prices for chimpanzee habituation experience permit in Kibale National Park range from $250 for both foreign non-residents and foreign residents and the East African citizens pay shs.200, 000.
Budongo Forest – Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda
Budongo Forest Reserve forms part of Murchison Falls National Park which is about a 5-6 hours drive from Kampala. This forest reserve is remarkably one of the best destinations to visit for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda. It sits in an area of about 825sq.km and hosts about 800 chimpanzees.
Over 100 chimpanzees have been habituated and set for visitors on Uganda chimpanzee safari to trek. Chimpanzee treks in Budongo Forest begin in Kaniyo-Pabidi Forest with a 7:00 AM morning briefing. You can opt for morning chimpanzee trekking or choose the afternoon session.
Chimpanzee permits in Budongo cost $85 and incredibly, you can combine your wildlife safari in Murchison Falls with chimpanzee trekking in Budongo Forest.
For visitors on the safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura Gorge is that one exceptional place you shouldn’t miss to visit for chimpanzee trekking. Kyambura Gorge extends about 16kms long and 100m deep.
It is known for its diverse primate species including chimpanzees which make it one of the outstanding places for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda. Other primates that thrive within Kyambura Gorge include vervet monkeys, baboons, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys.
On a chimpanzee trek, expect to see not only chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge but also other primates and bird species that thrive within the forest in this area including falcons, African finfoot, and blue-headed bee-eater.
Permits for chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge cost $50 for foreign non-residents and foreign residents and shs.30, 000 for East African citizens.
This is another unusual chimpanzee place worth visiting on a chimpanzee safari in Uganda. Kalinzu Forest is set outside Queen Elizabeth National Park and remarkably, it is such an exceptional destination to explore for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda.
It hosts a huge concentration of chimpanzees and over 410 bird species as well as butterflies, reptiles. Out of about 290 chimpanzees that thrive within Kalinzu Forest, about 70 of them have been habituated for tourism purposes.
Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve
This magnificent wildlife reserve is set on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Over 260 chimpanzees exist in 3 communities in Semuliki Wildlife Reserve.
Chimpanzee permits in Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve cost US dollars 30 for both foreign non-residents and foreign residents then Uganda shillings 20,000 for East African citizens.
Other places to visit to see chimpanzees in Uganda include Ngamba Island and Uganda Wildlife Education Center.
What is the chimpanzee trek in Uganda like?
Treks to see chimpanzees in Uganda start with an early morning breakfast at the lodge after which the visitor is transferred to a respective chimpanzee destination visitor center for a briefing on the set safety measures or rules and regulations for chimpanzee trekking.
The trekkers are always assigned an armed and experienced guide to embark on a trek to see chimpanzees. Usually, the actual trek begins at 8:00 am and the whole adventure can last about 2-4 hours.
Safety measures for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda
- Always keep your voices low while on the search for chimpanzees.
- When sneezing, please cover your nose and mouth when coughing.
- Do not drink, eat, or smoke in the presence of chimpanzees.
- Keep a distance of 7 meters away from chimpanzees.
- Persons above 15 years are accepted to trek chimpanzees.
- Flashlight cameras are not allowed when taking photos of chimpanzees.
Packing list for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda.
The essential items to pack for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda include sunglasses, sweaters, rain jacket or poncho, long trousers, waterproof hiking boots, long-sleeved shirts/t-shirt, waterproof daypacks, insect repellents, a camera with no flashlight, sun hut, valid passport, valid visa, and first aid kit.
Best time to visit Uganda for chimpanzee trekking
Trekking chimpanzees in Uganda is possible at any time of the year. However, the dry season is recommended for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and it normally starts in the months of June, July, August, September, and December, January, February. It is also possible to track chimpanzees in the wet months of the year that is March, April, May, and October, November.
In conclusion, for any plans to visit Uganda, chimpanzee trekking is such a rare primate experience not to miss. Get in touch with the reservation team at Mega Wild Safaris and let us arrange your chimpanzee safari together.
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