Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda ; Chimpanzee are one of the main attractions in Uganda found in some of the amazing protected area with Kibale national park hosting the largest population of habituated chimpanzee in East Africa. Chimpanzees are man’s closet relatives sharing about 98.7% of DNA composition with man, these chimpanzees are very intriguing creatures because they look and act similar to man. Chimpanzees are very intelligent and widely known for using a variety of tools such as sticks to hunt insects, small primates and antelopes they eat as food.
Chimpanzees are very social beings living in groups consisting of females, males and young ones, chimpanzees give birth at the age of 5 years and take care of their young ones until the age of about 12 years old. Chimpanzee groups evolve with female adolescents in particular living the groups to join others.
CHIMPANZEE TREKKING EXPERIENCE
Chimpanzee trekking offers a close up encounter as spend time with them in their nature habitat, chimpanzee trekking is offered into sessions that is morning and afternoon. Morning chimpanzee tracking as early as 08:00 am, afternoon chimpanzee tracking starting at 03:00 pm.
Chimpanzee trekking starts with a briefing experience at the a briefing center or staring point, the briefing is conducted by an experienced ranger guide and in this session you are taken through the rules and regulations to follow during the experience and in the presence of chimpanzees (Though these chimpanzees are habituated, they can attack you in case they feel threatened). After the briefing you are grouped into groups of 6 people and hike into the forests looking for these playful creatures, you are advised to hire a walking stick to assist you as you navigate through the slippery trails.
Chimpanzees are the second most sought for primates in Uganda after mountain gorillas, the chimpanzee tracking experience lasts for about 2-3 hours of hiking through the thick forests and during your hike look out for black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, pitta and various bird species. The time spent on chimpanzee trekking depends on where the chimpanzee spent their last previous night and your ranger guide known better where to find them, chimpanzee are very vocal being and when nearing their sanctuary you will hear them making noise, you will be allowed to stay in presence while observing them swing from one tree to another, feeding each other and take amazing pictures with your flashlight off.
After one hour of being in the presence of the chimpanzee you will trek back to the start point marking the end of your chimpanzee trekking safari.
WHERE TO DO CHIMPANZEE TREKKING IN UGANDA
KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
Kibale national park is a world’s primate capital with a large population of chimpanzee with over 1400 individuals including over 120 habituated chimpanzees, the park covers an area of 795 square kilometers protecting varied tracts of tropical rainfall. The vegetation cover in the park varies according to the altitude and they include woodland, savannah, wet tropical forest and semi – deciduous dry tropical forests.
Kibale national park is located In the western part of Uganda about 384 kilometers (5 hours drive) from Kampala the capital of Uganda and about 26 kilometers south east of Fort Portal Town. Kibale national park is situated in close proximity to Queen Elizabeth national park, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki national park.
Kibale forest national park is the best destination to do chimpanzee trekking experience in Uganda, Kibale forest hosts 5 habituated chimpanzee groups which are open for chimpanzee trekking and there are higher chances seeing during the trek. During chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park you will also encounter other primates such as black & white colobus, red-tailed monkey, red colobus monkeys and baboons.
Kalinzu Forest also Known as Kalinzu Central Forest reserve another beautiful destination to do chimpanzee trekking , the forest is a home to over 300 chimpanzee with about 40 habituated chimpanzees open for chimpanzee tracking. Kalinzu Forest is found in Western Uganda in Bushenyi district approximately 375 kilometers (5 hours’ drive) from Kampala the capital city of Uganda.
The rate of seeing chimpanzee in Kalinzu Forest is 95%, during chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu Forest you will also enjoy the beautiful scenery, streams flowing through the forests, other primates such as baboons, blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, L’hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and birds such as black and white casket, cuckoo, great blue turaco and sunbirds.
Budongo Forest is the biggest Mahogany forest in East Africa found in Northwestern Uganda about 3 hours’ drive from Kampala, the forest is 115 meters expanse stretching a along the borders of Murchison Falls national park (in Kaniyo Pabidi section). Budongo Forest is a safe for the largest population of chimpanzees but only a few habituated for tourism
Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest requires you to book your permits earlier.
Kyambura gorge also known as Chambura is a beautiful underground forest found in the far eastern corner of Queen Elizabeth national park, Kyambura Gorge also called the Valley of Apes is 1 kilometers across at its broadest point and about 100 meters deep. The gorge protects verdant, rich tropical rain-forest creating a world apart from surrounding plains of Queen Elizabeth national park.
Kyambura Gorge hosts habituated chimpanzees which are encountered during chimpanzee tracking experience, chimpanzees are encountered during a forest walk which is very rewarding as you to encounter more than chimpanzees. Some of the creatures you will encounter include Hippos, elephants, birds and on a rare occasion spot lions.
NGAMBA ISLAND CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY
Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary is an island sanctuary situated on Lake Victoria approximately 27 kilometers from Entebbe by road, the sanctuary was started in 1998 dedicated to offering rehabilitation to orphaned chimpanzees and those rescued from poachers.
98% of Ngamba Island chimpanzee is forested and separated from the visitor’s area by an electrical fence, the sanctuary is a home to 40 chimpanzees which you can spot roaming through the fenced area all day.