The Best Places For A Chimpanzee Trek In East Africa : The allure of chimpanzee trekking is a personal one, as opposed to the heart-pounding thrill of predator pursuits on savannah-set safaris. Imagine looking back at yourself in the expressive face of an animal with which you share 98 percent of your DNA. You will watch in awe as these uniquely social primates interact with one another, hold their young, and act silly in a comically familiar way. It’s no surprise that it ranks among travelers’ favorite experiences in Africa because it’s a memorable one.

The Chimpanzee trekking Safari experience is unique. Your guide searches for last night’s nests—bunches of leaves high in the dense canopy that you wouldn’t have noticed on your own—as you start your chimp trek. You walk along a path made of crooked branches and fruit pieces with bite marks on them. Unfamiliar bird songs resound throughout the forest.

A tree limb suddenly sways. You hear a hoot along with the loud rustling of the leaves. When you look up, the chimpanzee, the closest living relative of our species, is standing right in front of you. The Experience is just like being in a live, authentic documentary.

Would you like to see chimpanzees in the wild? This article describes the best chimpanzee viewing Destinations in East Africa as well as what it’s like to go on a chimpanzee trek. West Uganda and Tanzania, the nations where primatologist Jane Goodall made her groundbreaking observations of chimpanzee behavior, are home to the majority of chimpanzees in East Africa.

 However, Rwanda, a nation also well-known for the mountain gorilla, another great ape, offers the chance to see chimpanzees. They are even visible in Kenya. In the Ol Pejeta Conservancy near Mount Kenya, two groups of chimpanzees live despite not being native to the area.


Chimps and humans have a great deal in common, including 98% of our DNA. They have social behavior and live in groups of up to 120 chimpanzees, which is comparable to a small human village. They look after each other’s kids. They fight with their siblings. Young children enjoy playing and creating new games, sometimes to the annoyance of adults. Even though there are cultural differences between groups, they use tools.


Depending on where you are, chimpanzee treks can be very different. On a guided hike lasting two to three hours, you are likely to see several chimpanzees because they frequently live close to roads and trails in several parks.

The chimpanzees reside in isolated areas in other parks. Your chimpanzee trek could take the entire day. You rise early in the morning while it’s still dark to begin tracking chimpanzees when daybreak arrives. With the aid of knowledgeable guides, you then adhere to them. It might be necessary for you to cross rocky terrain and dense underbrush. However, taking these hikes is enjoyable because you might come across stunning birds, amusing monkeys, and other unusual animals along the way.

It may only take a few minutes to see chimpanzees at a few sanctuaries. Chimpanzees that were previously kept in captivity and then released back into the wild reside in these sanctuaries, along with many other endangered species. The chimpanzees roam freely in the wild, but many of them are still curious about people and prefer to congregate close to visitor centers and other locations frequented by “hairless apes.” They want to know what their evolutionary cousins are doing just as much as we do!


We are all aware of how quickly infections can spread among people today. But did you know that chimpanzees and humans can both contract a variety of diseases? As a result, if you’re feeling under the weather, you shouldn’t go on a chimpanzee trek.

 Even if you’re in great shape, you shouldn’t approach chimpanzees too closely when you see them out on a trek. Follow your guide’s instructions, but a good rule of thumb is about 25 feet. This shields humans from germs in addition to chimpanzees. It also communicates to the chimps that you are not a danger. Other things to keep in mind:

Avoid eating in the chimps’ presence. It is impolite to eat in front of others if you aren’t going to share, as your elementary school teachers taught you. And sharing with a wild chimpanzee is something you should really avoid. (Well, they might not have said that.)

No use of flash photography, the chimps may become scared or confused by the flashes.


Budongo Forest, Murchison Falls Conservation Area

Budongo Forest, located at the southernmost point of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area, is a sanctuary for 600–700 chimpanzees. They are dispersed across the 500-square-mile forest in a number of different communities. A small human village-sized group of 50 to 120 chimpanzees makes up each community.

In Kaniyo Pabidi, a region on the northeastern edge of Budongo Forest, you have the best chance of seeing one of these chimpanzees. Chimpanzee treks at Kaniyo Pabidi take place both in the morning and the afternoon, unlike mountain gorilla treks, which always begin first thing in the morning. You can go on a tour of this area in the morning or the afternoon.

The walk mostly follows well-maintained paths, but there are a few steep inclines. On your walk, there is a very good chance that you will see chimpanzees. This is particularly true from May to August, when the chimps have access to a lot of fruit in the forest. Because there is so much food available, the chimpanzees don’t have to move around much to eat. This makes it simpler to locate the chimps.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Chance of sightings: High

Kibale Forest National Park

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live the day as Jane Goodall? You can learn more At Kibale Forest National Park.

 Kibale Forest, which is in Western Uganda, is an hour’s drive from Fort Portal. Primates thrive in the forest, with chimpanzees being the most well-known residents. In Kibale, there are two ways to get up close and personal with this fascinating animal:

  • Take a morning or afternoon chimp trek.
  • Spend the day observing chimpanzees with field scientists.

The field option is genuinely unique. You’ll spend the entire day with one group of chimps, observing and recording their behavior. For those who love primates and want to become researchers, this is a dream come true.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Chance of Sightings: High

Kyambura Gorge, Queen Elizabeth National Park

Home to habituated chimpanzees and numerous other primates, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park is a lush rainforest. A chimpanzee trek is most enjoyable in the morning, when the weather is cooler. However, afternoon treks are also an option.

You won’t encounter many significant inclines once you are inside the gorge because the trails are well-maintained. The ascent out of the gorge is steep and challenging, though. After your hike, revive yourself by sipping coffee at a neighborhood women’s cooperative that supports chimpanzee conservation.

  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Chance of Sightings: Medium-High

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

A short boat ride from Entebbe, the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary provides a safe haven for chimpanzees rescued from the pet or bushmeat trade or released from laboratories. They can safely re-learn to be wild at their own pace without any nearby predators.

The chimps are free to roam, discover their surroundings, and go on food-foraging expeditions. To make sure that chimpanzees who are less adept at foraging still receive a healthy diet, caregivers provide supplementary feedings of fruits and other treats twice a day. Visitors have a rare opportunity to see chimpanzees up close by watching the feedings from a raised walkway. Additionally, visitors can take a stroll through the island to observe chimpanzees in their natural forest habitat.

Lake Victoria
Chimpanzee Trekking
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Chance of Sightings: Guaranteed

 Semliki Wildlife Reserve

A premier conservation area is the Semliki Valley, which is located deep within Uganda’s western rift valley. The chimps in this area are well-known for frequently standing and walking on two legs compared to other chimpanzees. They are also quite the engineers; during the dry season, they dig small wells to obtain drinking water.

 And unlike most other chimpanzees, they are calmer. The Simliki Chimpanzee Project’s biologists claim that they engage in fewer fights that result in injuries. Even compared to other chimps, they hunt less.

 They are also more difficult to spot than in other parks, though. The chimps may be a little more solitary than in other parks, and your chimp trek will take you over varied terrain. But many tourists consider the longer hike to be advantageous. Semliki’s breathtaking scenery is a result of its location at the intersection of the East African savannah and the Central African rainforest.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Chance of Sightings: Medium


Gombe Stream National Park

Jane Goodall began her groundbreaking study of chimpanzee behavior in Gombe in 1960. The work she began has since been joined by an international team of primatologists and ecologists, and it is still being done today!

 The Gombe National Park is the smallest national park in Tanzania. North of Lake Tanganyika, a narrow band of chimpanzee habitat crosses over cliff faces and river valleys. The other mammals that live in Gombe are mostly primates. Red-tailed and red-colobus monkeys prefer to hang out in the forest canopy, while beachcomber olive baboons frequently inhabit the forest floor.

  • Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
  • Chance of Sightings: High

Rubondo Island National Park

Rubondo Island, which is shielded by Lake Victoria’s waters, serves as a refuge for threatened and endangered species. The 1960s saw the arrival of chimpanzees on the island after their upbringing in European circuses and zoos. They have flourished in this environment, producing truly wild new generations.

 The only ways to explore this island are by walking and hiking. The island’s African gray parrots, which rank among the smartest birds in the world, are another attraction, even if chimpanzees are your main interest. These parrots were brought here after being saved from the illegal pet trade, even though they are not native to Tanzania (they are from further west). Because they enjoy many of the same foods, particularly figs, you may occasionally find them near chimpanzees. Many native animals, including the elusive Sitatunga antelope and the majestic hippo, are also likely to be present.

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Chance of Sightings: Medium

Mahale Mountains National Park

When it comes to wildlife viewing, Mahale Mountains National Park is one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. Around 800 chimpanzees live there among its verdant hills. Although chimpanzees are the main draw, each morning birds transform the slopes into a kaleidoscope of color. The monkeys are almost as entertaining; you might see red colobus, red-tailed monkeys, and blue monkeys.

 Chimp treks are conducted all year. The best time to go is between July and November, when the park’s native wildlife congregates around dwindling water sources.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Chance of Sightings: Medium


Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest, which is home to 14 different primate species, is a primate lover’s paradise. Along with chimpanzees, other primates that you might encounter include blue monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, and the critically endangered golden monkey.

 In actuality, Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to the majority of Rwanda’s chimpanzees. Finding these chimpanzee groups can be challenging because of their extensive range; if you go chimpanzee trekking for just one day during the year, your chances of seeing them are roughly one in three. Multiple days in the park improve your chances.

From June to August, when fig trees are bursting with fruit, there are more opportunities to see chimpanzees. A fig tree covered in fruit is comparable to an endless free buffet for chimpanzees. And just like humans, chimps move more slowly after eating a lot.

 A large network of well-kept walking trails can be found in Nyungwe, and one of them is a suspended walkway high in the canopy from which you can see animals that you otherwise wouldn’t. But you might need to deviate from the path if you’re looking for chimpanzees.

  • Difficulty: Moderate to High
  • Chance of Sightings: Medium-low


The Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to a group of rescued chimpanzees who live in the wild, despite the fact that chimpanzees are not native to Kenya. These chimpanzees lack the skills necessary to live entirely on their own because they were abandoned or saved from human abuse. The chimpanzees spend their days exploring, climbing, interacting with one another, and relearning what it means to be a chimpanzee after being restored to health. The Jane Goodall Institute is supporting this incredible endeavor.

 How did a chimpanzee sanctuary end up in Kenya? A rescue center in Burundi was in danger in the early 1990s due to the country’s civil war. Ol Pejeta consented to give these chimpanzees a secure home.

You might encounter some of those original chimpanzees during your visit as they savor their golden years in this serene environment!

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Chance of Sightings: High


Even just seeing the chimpanzees in East Africa is worthwhile. But when you can go on the safari of your dreams, why stop there? Go on a mountain gorilla trek, see the Big 5, observe the great wildebeest migration, learn about the local cultures, and ride in a hot air balloon for a bird’s-eye view of Africa! Your trip will be tailored by Achieve Global Safaris to your list of preferences. Call us right away!

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