Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda – Where to see Chimps
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is the second popular primate tracking activity after gorilla trekking. Chimp tracking is a very amazing primate walk experience. The chimpanzees are the world’s man’s closest relatives after the bonobos that offer thrilling encounters in the jungle. Though chimpanzees can be seen in zoos, having an experience of seeing them in their natural habitat is a unique treat.
There are three top destinations for a Uganda chimpanzee trekking experience and these are;
- Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park is Africa’s top primate habitat also referred to as the world’s primate capital. The park is located in western Uganda within a moist ever green rain forest. The park covers about 766 square kilometers with a diverse array of landscapes in one of the remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests.
Gazetted in 1932, the park was established in 1993 to protect a large area of forest. Today, it is an important eco-tourism and Uganda safari destination popular for its population of habituated chimpanzees and twelve other primate species. The park has some of the highest abundances of primate species in the area.
Chimpanzees in Kibale’s Kanyanchu have been trekked ever since 1993 and the chances of seeing them is high. Guided chimpanzee trekking walks happen on a daily starting with two sessions one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The morning chimpanzee trekking activity starts at 8 am and the afternoon session starts at 2pm. Each chimpanzee trekking session in Kibale lasts about 3 hours depending on the different factors.
The primate walk offers an opportunity to see the largest number of chimpanzees in their natural habitat. The chimpanzee groups are accustomed to human presence (habituated) and therefore very safe to trek. Each trek starts from the Kanyanchu visitor centre where briefing and registration is done.
- Budongo Forest
Budongo Forest is the second popular destination for Uganda chimpanzee tracking safaris after the popular Kibale National Park. Budongo Forest Reserve covers about 825 square kilometers in a natural forest reserve. Budongo forest is located northwest of Kampala city-Uganda’s capital adjacent to Murchison Falls National Park.
Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest is done in the Kaniyo Pabidi sector. It is in the Kaniyo Pabidi sector where the only habituated chimpanzee group in Budongo forest are found. Chimpanzee trekking starts from the visitor’s information center at Budongo Eco Lodge taking about few minutes to trek.
Chimp tracking experience takes a few hours as the chimps tend not to be very far and can be heard from the trek start point. However, during certain periods of time when there is less food in the forest, chimps travel to further points wandering deeper into the forest in search of food and water which makes tracking them longer and finding them becomes less certain.
Each day, there are two chimpanzee trekking sessions in Budongo forest and these are in the morning and in the afternoon.
Trekking chimpanzees in Budongo forest is very suitable for tourists interested in short trips from Kampala because it is the closest chimpanzee trekking habitat in Uganda from the capital.
- Kyambura Gorge
Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park is a magical valley with a few chimpanzees that can be trekked during Uganda safaris. The Kyambura Gorge experience is much more fascinating as tourists go trekking in search of the chimpanzees within the gorge which is also referred to as “valley of apes”. This is because the Kyambura Gorge is the only valley or depression that is home to chimpanzees in Uganda which makes the atmosphere amazing. The gorge is approximately 1 km across at its broadest point and about 100 meters deep.
The chimpanzees in the Kyambura gorge have been habituated and therefore accustomed to human presence and safe to trek. Kyambura Gorge isn’t such a big chimpanzee trekking destination with many chimps but offers a much unique experience. Only about sixteen chimpanzees are estimated to be in the gorge.
When you enter into the gorge, you will be marveled by the verdant, rich tropical rain forest just a few kilometers from the equator line. Below in the gorge is another beautiful world different from the savannah plains with less sunlight as it is shut out by the tree canopy.
Wonderful as it is for an amazing experience, Kyambura Gorge is found in the far eastern corner of the popular Queen Elizabeth National ark famed for tree climbing lions within the Ishasha sector.
Kibale National Park, Budongo Forest and Kyambura Gorge are the top three chimpanzee trekking in Uganda destinations. However, chimpanzees in Uganda can also be seen in the Kalinzu forest and Toro Semliki wildlife reserve though not recommended for trekking. All the above habitats are natural homes to the chimps, however, chimpanzees can be seen at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) formerly known as the zoo.
Jewel safaris has expertise in planning chimpanzee trekking tours in Uganda with best itinerary recommendations. Aside from chimpanzee trekking, we also plan bespoke Uganda gorilla safaris, wildlife tours, bird watching safaris, white water rafting and all adventure trips. With more eased means of charter flights, we also tailor combined or single trips in East Africa and these include Rwanda gorilla tours, Kenya safaris and Tanzania wildlife safaris.