Chimpanzee Tracking in Uganda
Chimpanzee Trekking is one of the most fascinating experiences just after Gorilla Trekking, with only 4,950 chimpanzees left in Uganda and conserved in the zoos, sanctuaries and a few remaining rain forests, the government is using all possible measures to conserve the population of these primates. A chimpanzee trek is a lead by the trained ranger guides who know how to follow the clues that lead to tracking down the chimps, and the guides also provide important information on other life of the forest.
Chimpanzee tracking also known as Primates walk begins at 08.00 for the morning exercise, 15.00 for the afternoon exercise and lasts 2 to 3 hours according to where the chimpanzees are located and how fast they are moving. Chimpanzee is the most sought after primate by visitors, but you should look out for the black & white colobus, red-tailed monkey or the grey-cheeked mangabey.
The chimpanzees through habituated may still not be welcoming to complete strangers if they do not see a familiar face of the guides they have sen on numerous visits.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is the process of getting chimpanzees accustomed to human beings on a daily basis by rangers and researchers by humans spending time in the vicinity of wild chimpanzees to slowly let them become used to our presence, this process takes years before a group can be safely and successfully viewed by tourists and after gorillas, chimpanzees are the most exciting animals to see on a safari in Uganda..
Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives sharing 98% of human DNA, they are Sociable, intelligent, communicative and have the ability to utilize tools like rocks for crushing nuts, empty pods for hollowing out water plus sticks for capturing termites from their holes. The average weight of an adult well grown male chimpanzee is between 35 and 70 kilograms, with a height of approximately 3 meters whereas tan adult female chimpanzee weighs between 26 and 50 kilograms and a height between 2 and 4 feet.
The chimpanzees have a life expectancy of 40 years although those in captivity have been known to live up to 60 years. These impressive primates stay in groups of 10 – 100 members, babysitting each other’s young, kiss, groom one another and even hold hands with the young chimps becoming independent at the age of 4 years.
Why conduct a Chimpanzee Habituation Experience excursion in Uganda?
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is full day activity which can only be done in Uganda where tourists get a chance to watch chimpanzees from their previous night nests between 6:00 am to 6:30 am before they start feeding, copulating, hunting, breastfeeding, resting, patrolling, until it is time to build new nests for overnight which starts at around 7:00 pm.
Price of Chimpanzee Habituation Permit in Uganda?
The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience permit costs $220 and is guided by researchers and armed rangers and guides from Uganda Wildlife Authority while Uganda chimpanzee tracking costs $150 per person in Kibale Forest National Park.
Places where to conduct a Chimpanzee Trekking Excursion
The Chimpanzees are one of Uganda’s main attractions along with the Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzee Trekking is one of the most popular activities in Uganda.
Below are some of the places where one can engage in the chimpanzee trekking activity in Uganda inclusive of;
This is the best destination for conducting a Chimpanzee Trekking alongside Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Uganda, it is Kibale Forest that wins hands-down. Kibale Forest is the park for the Best Chimpanzee Tracking in Uganda, but not only in Uganda but all of East Africa. Kibale Forest is home to 1,500 Chimpanzees plus 12 other primates making it a primate lover’s paradise.
Located near Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu Forest is the 2nd best area in Uganda for Chimpanzee Trekking at a price for permits is USD 30. These chimpanzees here have been habituated by Japanese Researchers and Chimpanzee Trekking can be incorporated into a visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Chimpanzee Trekking takes place in the morning and in the afternoon with the Habituation Experience taking place during the off-season with the probability of seeing them exceeding 80%. Budongo Forest is near Murchison Falls Park in northern Uganda, thus a chimpanzee trekking safari can easily be added to a safari that takes in Murchison Falls Park.
Kyambura Gorge near Queen Elizabeth National Park
Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth is done down in a deep gorge where there is a smaller Chimpanzee Group found here with a probability of about a 50% not forgetting the incredible scenery of the Gorge where you traverse rivers, forests, streams.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda can be done at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, a home to orphaned chimpanzees. Efforts to conserve the chimps are widely acknowledged and supported by the Jane Goodall Foundation which plays a big role in the conservation of the Chimpanzees in Uganda.
Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve
The Semliki Wildlife Reserve offers amazing Chimpanzee Trekking alongside birding, tropical jungles, the Semliki River. The Chimpanzees have been habituated by Indiana University who at times have worked under adverse conditions.
Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve is close to the Rwenzori Mountains Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, and Kibale Forest thus the possibility of combining the safaris.
Most of these destinations offer two sessions of chimpanzee trekking with each Chimpanzee Trekking session having not more than 8 tourists with the morning trek (from 7 am) and the afternoon chimps trek (from 2 pm). The tourists chose to track in either one of the two depending on their time schedule. However, each of the two chimp session offers a different encounter. For instance, in the morning the chimps are usually very mobile and up in the trees because they are feeding and hunting other monkeys, while in the afternoon they often come down to the ground for resting, grooming each other, and mating.
What to carry while Chimpanzee Trekking
- Wear comfortable shoes with a good grip, suitable for climbing steep moist muddy slopes
- Wear clothes that are long-sleeved as this will protect them from the pricking thickets as you move through the verdant jungle
- Carry rain gear, since the weather here is highly unpredictable
- Bring enough drinking water plus energy snacks to keep your energy levels high
- Carry a pair of binoculars to view the chimpanzees at a distance.
- Carry a camera for taking photos but remember to remove the camera flashes as they are strictly not permitted.
Rules and regulations to follow while Chimpanzee Trekking
Chimpanzees through habituated, they are still wild animals that will get uncomfortable and disturbed in their personal space. Below are some of the trekking etiquette to ensure a safe and amazing trekking experience.
- Avoid eating near the chimps.
- Flash photography is not allowed in the park.
- Children below the age of 12 are prohibited from entering the park.
- Chimps need freedom therefore no provoking them once you enter the park.
- A distance of about 8m is very important between you and the chimpanzees.
- The Ranger Guides are the only ones allowed to help get access to the forest.
- People with diseases such as flu or diarrhoea should refrain from visiting the park.
Chimpanzee Trekking will offer you other amazing sights including black & white Colobus, grey-cheeked Mangabey, red-tailed monkey bird species and plant species within the forest.