Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda is among the highlights of any Uganda safari besides mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda. Chimpanzee trekking can be done in quite a number of protected areas in Uganda including, kalinzu forest reserve, kyambura gorge in queen Elizabeth national park, kaniyo pabidi forest and budongo forest in Murchison falls national park and kibale national park. Kibale national park is the best place for chimp trekking in Uganda with over 1000 chimpanzees and 12 other primate species to supplement your primate safaris in Uganda, in order to have an unforgettable experience.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is worth 700 USD, however, at a cheaper cost you can enjoy good time with the chimpanzees for the entire day in kibale national park or even other chimpanzee trekking destinations in the country. The chimpanzees are more exciting than the other primates, probably, because, they share 98% of the human DNA; closest mammals to human beings. And when habituated, the chimpanzees get familiar to human encounter and the interaction gets better, because they come down of the trees and stand closest to you waiting for you to take their photos.
According to wildlife, the chimpanzees are categorized under the endangered primate next to the mountain gorillas. However, there are still quite a number of chimpanzees, scattered in a number of destinations in Uganda; Uganda has approximately 5000 chimpanzees in total.
The chimpanzees are the closest animals to humans with about 98% human DNA. This makes them quite intelligent and communicative animals, so you would not want to mock them in any way or else they might strike back at you. The chimpanzees are also highly sociable and live in quite bug groups; the smallest has about 20-50 members and the largest can comprise over 200 members.
The chimpanzees are found of dense forested areas of central and West Africa. However, Uganda is the most populated destination for chimpanzee trekking with most concentration in kibale national park. Most chimpanzees are 4 feet tall, and they weigh about 80 kgs. The female chimpanzees are shorter and a little smaller as compared to the male chimpanzees; usually weigh about 30 kgs.
You can track chimpanzees for one hour just as the mountain gorillas, but the chimpanzee trekking permit is cheaper compared to mountain gorilla tracking in Uganda. And chimpanzee habituation is more thrilling as you get more intimate with the chimpanzees for just a few dollars. Chimpanzee habituation is done in kibale national park in Uganda. It is a more charming adventure however the number of the participants per shift is restricted since their habitats are more sensitive. Two groups of six people each are allowed to have some good time with the chimpanzees in their natural setting.
Chimpanzee trekking is better done in the morning when they are coming down from their nests up in the trees, around 7:00 am east African time. So is chimpanzee habituation, however, it goes on and on through the daylight until your feet says no to your mind. Chimpanzee habituation is led by the chimpanzees themselves as they take you anywhere they want to go and all you got do is follow up until the evening drops in. The chimpanzees are unpredictable to know where they are going but uphill, downhill or even on the ground. Therefore, chimpanzee habituation might be a little tiresome, however the experience surpasses all the fatigue of the day.
Chimpanzee trekking is one of the most captivating activities best done in kibale national park. Kibale national park has the biggest population of chimpanzees in Uganda and is the reason as to why it is referred to as “the primate capital of the world”.
Chimpanzee trekking starts early in the morning with the briefing from the forest rangers about how to behave while encountering the chimpanzees. This helps to avoid fatal accidents that may result as a result of misconduct. Possibly this is the reason as to why children are not allowed to go for chimpanzee trekking. A group of six people is allowed to trek for the chimpanzees at a go; however there are two trekking shifts; morning and evening shifts.
The trek is guided by two rangers, one rangers goes inside a head to spot the alpha male of a certain community, then signals back so that the rest can get started in the trail to track that particular community; chimpanzee trekking takes about 2-3 hours however, a 1 hour interaction is allowed for you and these primates in their natural setting.
Chimpanzee trekking is the opportunity for you to see the chimpanzees in their authentic environment and also earn their behaviors such as the feeding habits, interactions, sociality with other groups and humans, plus, taking closer and clear photos of the chimpanzees is allowed but no flash light. Chimpanzee trekking is such a rewarding activity that you would not want to miss during your primates safari in Uganda.
Best time for Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda
Lying astride the equator, the temperatures of Uganda tend to not be stable and changing from time to time and period to period with in the year. Despite, the average temperature Uganda is 24 degrees Celsius. However, the mountainous areas of Uganda are colder compared to the lowlands in Uganda. Uganda also experiences two rainfall maximas / peaks with heavy showers experienced in April to May and October to November. Despite, this is Africa with no specifications in seasons, so don’t get surprised when a drizzle interferes during the dry season.
The best time for visiting Uganda is April and through May in order to avoid the crowds in the different national parks, however, this is the wet season and heavy rain showers are expected any time during your trekking. But you can visit in July to august or January to February, which is the dry season in Uganda, however, this period, is the peak season for tourism in Uganda, and expect crowds in almost all national parks, plus the prices are higher than those of the wet season.
Other places where you can do chimp trekking
You can choose other destination for your chimpanzee trekking activities in Uganda;
- Bwind national park, however it is done along mountain gorilla trekking and it’s just a chance to spot chimpanzees since they are not the may reason for the trek through the forest.
- Queen Elizabeth national parks, in kyambura gorge, however, the chimpanzee community in kyambura gorge quite mobile but habituated.
- Kalinzu forest reserve along kasese mbarara highway, ideal for any budget chimpanzee safari.
- Kaniyo pabidi eco site and budongo forest in Murchison falls national park.
You can also do you trekking in other places in Africa such as mahale in Tanzania, nyungwe in Rwanda and virunga in the democratic republic of congo.
Rules for chimpanzee trekking in uganda
Chimpanzees are wild animals, therefore interactions with them is highly conditioned with the following rules;
- Keep distance of about 8 km away from the chimpanzees
- Trekking is not allowed if you are sick, because you might infect the animals.
- Avoid eating near the chimpanzees, they might be aggressive in need of food
- No flash photographs and imitating the chimpanzees.
Other rules are communicated during the briefing before chimpanzee trekking starts.
What should you carry?
- Long sleeved shirts and trousers are ideal for hikes through the forest during chimpanzee trekking.
- Rain gear
- Rubber boots to avoid sliding over slippery ground in the forest
- You can take enough drinking water to quench your thirst during the chimpanzee trekking activity since it involves ling walks around the forest.
- You might need a camera to take some photos of the chimpanzees as souvenir or and reference.
- The binoculars are a good idea since chimpanzees can climb high in the trees that you might need the binoculars to clearly see and observe what they happen to be doing.
You are welcome to Uganda for your chimpanzee trekking any time of the year. And always remember to book with the local tour operators, it can be cheaper and not tiresome.