Uganda provides the best chimpanzee tracking experience than any other country in East Africa. This is so because the country is a home to over 5000 chimpanzees. This makes the Pearl of Africa the only place with more chimpanzees in the whole of East Africa, which undoubtedly, makes Uganda is the best destination for primate-lovers. Chimpanzees are one of Uganda’s main attractions along with the Mountain Gorillas. Chimpanzee Tracking is one of the most popular activities in Uganda that brings you closer to these primates as they live their daily life, eating fruit, watching and grooming each other.
Chimpanzees are referred to as our closest living relatives as they share 98% of human genes. However, a chimpanzee trek must be led by trained ranger guides as chimpanzees, though habituated, may still not be welcoming to complete strangers. Kibale forest national park, Queen Elizabeth National Park in the Kyambura Gorge, Kalinzu forest, Tooro-Semliki wildlife reserve and Budongo forest are among the places to trek chimpanzees in the wild.
Kibale Forest is the best destination in Uganda to conduct a Chimpanzee Habituation Experience and in Budongo Forest near Murchison Falls National Park during the off-season. Chimpanzee habituation is the process where the researchers prepare chimpanzees to live their daily lives freely in the presence of human beings. This process can take years before a group of chimpanzees can be safely viewed by the tourists. After gorillas, chimpanzees are the most exciting animals to see on your trip in Uganda.
- Why the Habituation Experience?
Uganda provides a full day Chimpanzee Habituation experience to any primate-lover that visits the country. The travelers get chance to see chimpanzees from their previous night’s nests between 6:00 am to 6:30 am before they start feeding, hunting, breastfeeding, resting, patrolling, until it is time to build new nests for overnight which starts at around 7:00 pm.
- The cost of a Chimpanzee Habituation permit
In Kibale Forest National Park the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience permit costs $220 and is guided by researchers and armed ranger guides from Uganda Wildlife Authority while the regular chimpanzee tracking costs $150 per person in Kibale Forest National Park. These prices are bound to change as of 1st-July-2020.
Where to go for Chimpanzee trekking
There are many parks and places in Uganda where you can track and see the chimpanzees with Kibale forest being the premier destination for the activity. These include;
- Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park
- Semliki Wildlife Reserve
- Kalinzu Forest Reserve
Many chimpanzee trekking sites in Uganda give travelers two sessions of being with these primates. Each chimpanzee trekking session must not have more than 8 tourists. The first session is in the morning from 8am and the second is done in the afternoon from 2pm. With this, the traveler is given chance to choose on which session to take depending on his or her schedule. However one must take note that in the morning the chimpanzees are usually mobile and up in the trees because it is their time to feed and hunt while in the afternoon they at times come down to the ground for resting, grooming each other and mating.