Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda
Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda is one of the top Uganda Safari Primates tours that travelers would love to engage in when they visit Uganda. Chimpanzees are primates that share 98% of human DNA which makes them close relatives to humans. Chimpanzee trekking is an interesting activity in Uganda where visitors move into the forest in search of the chimpanzee families and once found spend one hour with the chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Chimpanzee trekking is the second most done activity in Uganda after gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park.
Chimpanzee trekking is an interesting and exceptional activity in Uganda which is carried out in various destinations namely Kibale forest national park, Budondo forest, Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu forest.
Where to go for Chimpanzee trekking safari
Kibale Forest National Park: Kibale forest national park is located in western Uganda in Kamwenge district and is known as the primate capital because it’s a home of 13 primate species including the chimpanzees. Kibale national park harbors the highest number of chimpanzees which are about 1500 which makes chimpanzee trekking the most popular activity in the park. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park can either be done in the morning or afternoon and trekking starts at Kanyachu Information Centre where you first have a briefing about the expectations and the rules to follow during trekking. Kibale forest national park is also a home of other primates apart from chimpanzees such as the red-tailed monkeys, vervet, black and white monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, grey-cheeked Mangabey, pottos, l’hoest monkeys and animals such as elephants, bush pigs, warthogs, giant forest squirrels, bushbucks, duikers among others.
Kibale forest national park is also the only destination in Uganda where chimpanzee habituation experience is carried out. Chimpanzee habituation is an exceptional activity where wild chimpanzees are trained to get used to human presence. During chimpanzee habituation in Kibale forest national park visitors move into the forest with a team of researchers, guides and park rangers to participate in the habituation process which allows the visitors to spend more time with the chimpanzee families which is 4 hours compared to chimpanzee trekking where they spend one hour in the presence of the chimpanzees.
Budongo Forest Reserve: Budongo forest is situated in Murchison falls national park and it is one of the nearest chimpanzee trekking destinations in Uganda in that it takes about 4 hours’ drive from Kampala to Budongo forest. Budongo forest is the biggest Mahogany forest in East Africa and is a habitat 9 primate species including large numbers of chimpanzees in Uganda. Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest can either be done in the morning or in the afternoon which starts with a briefing at the headquarters before starting to trek in the forest which takes about 3 hours. Budongo forest also harbors other primate species aside chimpanzees including black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons among others. Budongo forest is a great destination for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda where you will gain great experiences while on your chimpanzee trekking activity in Uganda.
Kyambura Gorge: Kyambura Gorge is a chimpanzee destination situated in the eastern part of Queen Elizabeth national park. Kyambura Gorge offers the best chimpanzee trekking activity in Uganda in that chimpanzee trekking is easy and simple compared to that of Kibale national park where you trek in steep slopes. Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge gives visitors lifetime experiences on your safari in that it can be combined with other activities in the Queen Elizabeth national park such as boat cruise of Kazinga channel, wildlife viewing in Kasenyi and Mweya peninsula. Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge can also be done in the morning or in the evening with a guide just like in other chimpanzee destinations hence giving you incredible and unforgettable memories. There are other primates that can be viewed during chimpanzee trekking like red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, baboons among others.
Kalinzu Forest Reserve: Kalinzu forest is another great destination for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda which is located in western Uganda Bushenyi district near Maramagambo forest and Queen Elizabeth national park. Kalinzu forest is a natural tropical forest that harbors 6 primate species with about 320 chimpanzees where 50 chimpanzees have been habituated into 3 chimpanzee groups available for trekking on a daily basis. Kalinzu forest is the second-best destination for chimpanzee trekking after Kibale forest national park due to chimpanzee trekking experience and the cost of the chimpanzee trekking permit which is cheaper compared to other destinations. Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest is either done in the morning or in the evening which starts with a briefing and takes about 3 to 4 hours. During chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest you will spend one hour with the chimpanzee families as you learn more about their habits, behaviors, watch them feed, breastfeed, take photos among others and you will also be able to view other primate species such as vervet monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, black and white monkeys, red tailed monkeys, pottos, bush babies and different bird species.
Cost of a chimpanzee trekking permit
A chimpanzee trekking permit in Uganda varies depending on the destination where you will be trekking the chimpanzees, for example, a chimpanzee trekking permit in Kibale national park costs $150 per person, in Budongo forest it costs $90 and $50 for both Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu forest.
How to book for a chimpanzee trekking permit
Chimpanzee trekking permits can either be booked directly through Uganda Wildlife Authority offices where you will contact them by email or on phone. You can also book a chimpanzee trekking permit through a trusted tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris which will acquire the chimpanzee trekking permit for you. Booking through Achieve Global Safari is the best option in that we will save you all the hustle and not only book a chimpanzee trekking permit for you but also plan your entire trip which includes transportation to the destination, accommodation, meals, activities you want to engage in while on a safari among others.
Best time to go for chimpanzee trekking
Chimpanzee trekking activity can be carried out anytime throughout the year though the best time is during the dry season which is also known as the peak season in the months of June to September and December to February. The dry season is good for chimpanzee trekking in that it’s the period when there is less rainfall, therefore, the chimpanzee trekking trails in Kibale national park, Kalinzu Forest, Kyambura Gorge, and Budongo Forest Reserve will be passable compared to the rainy season in the months of March to May and October to November when there is heavy rainfall which makes trekking trails in the jungle muddy and slippery. However, the rainy season is the best time for bird watching is the forests in that there will be plenty of food and fruits for the birds which makes it the best birding time.
What to pack for chimpanzee trekking safari
When going for a chimpanzee trekking safari in Uganda you need to pack various items including
- Permit, a chimpanzee trekking permit is the most important item to pack when going on a chimpanzee trekking safari because it is the key to chimpanzee trekking therefore without a valid chimpanzee trekking safari you will not be able to trek chimpanzees in any destination.
- Hiking shoes will keep your feet dry while trekking in the jungle especially during the rainy season.
- Garden gloves, the garden gloves will protect your feet from getting hurt from thorny branches in the forest which you might torch during trekking.
- Long sleeved shirt and trousers, these will protect your legs and arms from the thorny trees and insects which might enter your trousers during trekking.
- Insect repellent, this will protect you from the biting insects in the jungle for example mosquitos, tsetse flies, safari ants among others.
- Waterproof jacket/poncho, the waterproof jacket will protect you from the rain in case it rains while you are trekking in the forest.
- Energy snacks, the energy snacks include packed food from the lodge and drinking water which will give you energy when trekking because chimpanzee trekking can be unpredictable therefore it can take 3 to 7 hours depending on the location of the chimpanzees.
- Long socks, the socks will be tucked into the long trousers so as to prevent the safari ants from entering your body.
- Warm sweater, this will give you warmth because it’s always cold during morning and evening hours in the forest.
- Backpack, the backpack will be used to carry all your items on your Uganda Chimpanzee safari such as energy snacks, camera, permit among others.
- Hat and sunglasses will protect you from direct sunshine and rain in case it rains during trekking in the forest.
- Walking stick, this will be available at the headquarters and it will help you during trekking in the steep slopes and give you support during the rainy season when the trails are slippery.
- Camera, when going for a safari u should pack a camera and extra batteries so as to take plenty of photos and also capture the moments with the gorilla family.
- Binoculars, binoculars will be used to view long-distance attractions when trekking, for example, the birds since the forests are good destinations for bird watching.
Chimpanzee trekking is a unique activity that will give you exceptional and lifetime experiences during your safari in Uganda.