Where are Chimpanzees found in Uganda?
Chimpanzees are a huge attraction in Uganda with different destinations where one can see or go for chimpanzee tracking with high chances of chimp sightings. A chimpanzee tracking permit is required and should be booked in advance. The prices vary for different destinations.
A chimpanzee tracking permit costs US$ 200(foreign non-residents), US$ 150 (foreign residents), UGX 20,000 (East African Community). This price applies to Kibale National Park.
In Queen Elizabeth National Park its costs US$ 50 (foreign non-residents), US$ 50(foreign residents), and UGX 30,000 for (East African Community). Tracking in Kyambura gorge
A chimpanzee habituation permit in Uganda costs US$ 250 for both foreign non-residents and foreign residents. East African Community members can get the permit at UGX 200,000 approximately US$ 57
Kibale National Park
Kibale national park is located outside the town of FortPortal and is the best chimpanzee tracking destination in Uganda with a diversity of primates like L’hoest’s monkey, red-tailed monkeys, red colobus monkey, and blue monkeys. Kibale forest is also occupied by a variety of forest birds. The main center/trailhead for chimp tracking is the Kanyanchu visitor’s center. Chimp tracking in Kibale is done twice at 08:00 AM and 02:00 PM. The activity can take 3hours to a whole day including the 1 hour that allows you to spend time with chimps. Those who wish to spend more time with the chimps can opt for the habituation experience. Please note that children of 15 years and below are not allowed to participate in any chimpanzee experience.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the 2nd largest park covering an area of 1978 square kilometers with a large diversity of animal and bird species. There are several activities in the park including game drives in the Kasenyi plains, boat cruise on the Kazinga channel, birding in Maramagambo forest, exploring the different crater lakes.
Chimpanzee tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park is done both inside park in the Kyambura gorge and outside the park in Kalinzu forest.
Kyambura Gorge Chimp tracking
The Kyambura Gorge is situated in the Eastern part of the park in the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve. You will take a walk through the forest in groups of four and you will easily locate the chimps by their sounds before you see them. Once you locate them, you closely approach them and watch them groom and play. While in the forest, you may also come across other primates like Black & White colobus, Vervet monkeys, olive baboons, and others. The activity starts at 08:00 AM or 13:00 PM and it takes about 3 hours depending on the speed of the group and location of the chimpanzees.
Kalinzu Forest chimp tracking
Kalinzu forest is located on the Kasese – Ishaka road supporting a wide range of forest wildlife like black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, and L’hoest’s monkeys. The quality of chimp sightings in Kalinzu is good and the trek takes about 4 hours moving through the forest.
NB: The traveler is advised to book and make payment for their Chimp tracking permit(s) strictly not later than 2 months before the tracking date.
Queen Elizabeth national park has other activities like boat cruise, game drive, air balloons all these can be accompanied on the chimpanzee primate tour.
Budongo forest/Kaniyo Pabidi Forest
Budongo forest is a tropical rainforest located in Masindi district in Murchison Falls National Park hosting a large population of chimpanzees. The terrain in Budongo is flatter and easier and the chances of seeing chimps are at 80%. There are trails in the forest that allow visitors to catch sight of the chimpanzees. After locating them, you spend about 1 hour with them. You can also take part in chimpanzee habituation allowing you more time with the chimpanzees.
Accommodations in Budongo
Of course, your trip will be mighty and unforgettable, you will do good to book with a reliable lodge, for example, Budongo eco-lodge, new court view hotel, and many others.
Ngamba Island is situated southeast of Entebbe with rainforest surroundings on Lake Victoria. Ngamba Island is a sanctuary for 50 orphaned chimpanzees providing great facilities and care to the chimpanzees. The sanctuary has a fenced area large enough for chimps to roam around. The Chimpanzees are fed with fruits, vegetables from the viewing platform that provides an opportunity for visitors to observe the chimps feeding and also take photographs through the fence.
Ngamba Island can be accessed by boat or helicopter. A motorboat crossing takes about 45 minutes and the traditional canoes take about 90 minutes. Make sure to leave in time so as not to miss the daily feeding sessions that happen twice a day.