Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda.
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda: Uganda is undoubtedly the greatest place in East Africa to see chimps, and it is one of the most popular activities in Uganda, alongside hiking to see mountain gorillas! Uganda has approximately 5,000 habituated chimps and gives tourists a 1-hour visit to observe the chimps or a 6-hour chimp habituation excursion (called CHEX).
Chimpanzees are gregarious animals, and their family groups can range from 10 to 100 people. They are highly intelligent animals who have used qualities and behaviors passed down through generations, such as using pebbles to break nuts and empty pods to collect water. Most importantly, they are entertaining and playful. So travelling to see them is a fantastic experience. You may observe them interacting, playing, and even squabbling and fighting with one another (much more exciting than watching a pride of lions sleep all day on safari)!
In terms of practicalities, the chimp permits cost $150 per person and include park admission on the day of the trip. The minimum age for chimp trekking is 15 years old, with the exception of Kalinzu Forest, where the minimal age is 12 years old.
Where to trek Chimpanzees.
Kibale National Park
In Uganda, there are various places to watch chimps, including Kibale Forest, Budongo Forest, and Kyambura Gorge. Kibale Forest, located in the country’s south-western region, offers by far the best chimp experience. This woodland is home to roughly 1,500 chimps and has a near-perfect success rate in seeing them.
Kibale forest national park also has 12 other primate species besides chimps, such as black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and grey cheeked mangabeys. So keep an eye out for these animals.
The famous Queen Elizabeth National Park‘s Kyambura Gorge is a rare underground forest in the center of the otherwise Savannah park. The forest includes a few chimps, who can be difficult to see at times, but the woodland walk is gratifying, and the views of the canyon from a lookout are priceless. There is a chance of encountering hippos and elephants as you search for Chimps but this happens on rare occasions.
The Kalinzu Forest
Kalinzu Forest, situated near Queen Elizabeth National Park, is another option. There are approximately 290 chimps here, with over 70 of them habituated. As previously said, the minimum age for trekking with the chimps here is 12 years old, which is lower than the average. The permission cost is also significantly lower because it is owned by a different management – $35 per person against $150 per person in Kibale. However, because there is no adequate lodging in the Kalinzu Forest, you will need to return to Queen Elizabeth National Park to overnight and, more often than not, conduct the chimp trekking as a day trip.
The Budongo Forest
Budongo Forest, located in the Murchison Falls National Park, is another location where you can view chimps. The mahogany trees in the Budongo Forest offer ideal protection for these cognitive chimps and other monkeys. There are about 100 habituated chimps here, and tourists can also choose for a full-day chimp habituation experience (CHEX) in Budongo.
Budongo provides chimp trekking in the morning at 7 a.m. and in the afternoon at 2 p.m. The greatest time to follow chimps in Budongo is between the rainy seasons of May and August (which may sound contradicting to most safari destinations). This is because during the dry season, chimps migrate deep into the forest in search of scarce food, water, and shelter. This migration drastically limits the odds of sighting them because you have to journey much further to try to find them. Chimpanzee permits in Budongo cost $110 and are frequently bundled with a safari and an experience at Murchison Falls.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Visiting the Ngamba chimp sanctuary is one of the best things to do in Uganda, especially if you are a conservationist or a fan of monkeys. A tour of the island allows visitors to get up close and personal with the chimps while also learning about what is being done to safeguard them around the world. Visiting the Ngamba island sanctuary is also an indirect means of contributing to the monkey rescue and rehabilitation. Part of the revenue generated by tourism is also used to pay caretakers and people who go out on outreach missions.
Rules & Regulations for Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda
Chimpanzee Trekking Rules and Regulations were established to educate people before they ventured into the forests. These rules were created to protect both chimps and visitors. Chimps go through a two-year habituation training on how to interact with humans in their forest and not scamper away when you visit them. The following are the laws and restrictions that must be followed when on a chimpanzee trekking safari in Uganda.
A minimum age of 15 years is required for tracking or all-day habituated experience. The Uganda Wildlife Authority is in charge of enforcing this age limit. The minimum age for Kalinzu forest is 12 years old.
- Travelers should keep at least 10 meters between themselves and the chimps.
- Trackers must adhere to the guidelines established by the ranger during the orientation and journey.
- Provocation is not permitted for our chimps because they require freedom as well.
- Smoking is not permitted in the presence of the primates.
- Travelers suffering from a cold, diarrhea, the flu, or any other communicable disease are not permitted to monitor chimps.
- Photographers are not permitted to use the flash mode of the cameras because they frighten the chimps.
- The only way to get to the forest trail heads is with the help of a guide or a ranger.
- Travelers who want to relieve themselves should do so off the trail and after burying their waste 30cm deep with tissue.
- Keep your voice low so that you can observe more chimps interacting with one another.
- Travelers should respect the maximum of 8 individuals permitted to track.
- When you see these primates in their natural habitat, stay with the group and make no noise.
- Do not consume alcohol in front of the chimps.
- Always follow the recommendations of the handbook.
Trackers are allowed one hour in the bush to study these unusual species.