Chimpanzees are man’s closest relatives sharing about 98.7% of the DNA with man. They adapt to their environments over time developing tools for survival much like humans. You can spend an hour with these creatures in their natural habitat by visiting one of the areas where the trekking happens in Uganda and Rwanda. Chimp trekking brings closer to these primates seeing how they go about their lives in the forest. You will be able to follow them with help of trackers who go ahead of you and ranger guide to get great pictures and learn more about the chimps.
Kibale, a tropical forest of varying altitudes in southern Uganda, is home to 1,500 chimps, the highest concentration in Uganda, as well as the most diverse (13 species in total) and densest population of primates in East Africa. Vervet monkeys, olive baboons and red colobus monkeys are also found in these woodlands, making the forest a primate-lover’s dream. And, with 350 species of birdlife, Kibale will satisfy bird enthusiasts too.The success rate of locating chimps while trekking is over 99%. There are opportunities for Chimpanzee trekking twice each day – morning session starts at 7 am and afternoon at 12 pm with as many as 6 groups tracking each day each with 6 individuals.
Kalinzu forest has about 40 Chimps habituated for visitors but the forest is home to over 300 individuals. The rate of Chimps sighting while on a trek is about 50% but the forest has a lot to offer in addition to the chimpanzee trekking. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and flowing streams while on this chimpanzee trekking safari. This trek is usually long and and therefore requires one to be with good fitness levels.
Budongo forest at the Kaniyo Pabidi section in Murchison falls national park offers a rewarding chimp trekking experience. Budongo forest boasts of the largest population of Chimpanzees but only a few are habituated for tourism. Unlike Kibale where you need to book permits preferably earlier, at Kaniyo Pabidi, you can inform the park rangers the day before your chimp trek.
Kyambura gorge is a remarkable underground forest in the middle of the otherwise Savannah park – the famous Queen Elizabeth national park. The forest has few chimpanzees that are sometimes difficult to spot but the forest walk is rewarding and the views of the gorge from a look out point are priceless. There are chances for one to come across Hippos and elephants as they look out for Chimps; and on rare occasions you could spot lions.
For those with limited time you can visit Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary for an up-close experience with Chimpanzees. The sanctuary is 45 minutes from the Entebbe pier on Lake Victoria on a speed boat and 1.5 hours on a motorized traditional canoe.