Are you looking for chimpanzee trekking safari in Uganda, price, cost and permits? Well, we get you covered to explore the best of African Safaris. Chimpanzee belong to the great apes family which includes gorillas and orangutans. Chimpanzees have large brains and rare very intelligent with ability to learn new things and that’s why they say they are close to human life. Studies by great primatologists such as Jane Goodall have expressed the uniqueness of cultures among different comminutes based on their diet and habits. There are only two species of chimpanzee remaining in the world and these are the common chimpanzees and the pygmy chimpanzees also known as bonobo. Common chimpanzees can be found in west, east, central and southern Africa while the pygmy chimpanzees can be found in Congo’s jungles. Common chimpanzees are bigger in size and can weigh up to 70 kegs while the pygmy or bonobo chimpanzees are smaller and peaceful with communities led by female leaders. Any of the species can live up to 30 years in the wild and up to 60 years in captivity.
Because of chimpanzee respective intelligence, they are capable of constructing nests using rocks for opening nuts, and they use sticks to remove termites from anthills. Chimpanzees feed on fruits, seeds, honey, tree leaves and insects. Chimpanzees also eat meat from small mammals and other primates
Chimpanzees live in big families between 10-100 individuals that take care of each other’s. Unlike baboons and mountain gorillas, chimpanzee groups split into small groups while looking for food and they get back together again after hunting. The male chimpanzees stay within the community while the female chimpanzees leave the group to the nearby community once they reach adolescence stage. The young chimpanzees get their independence at the age of 4 and just like human beings they use facial expressions, gestures, body language to interact, sound, communicate and convey emotion.
The overall population of chimpanzees has reduced in the last decades with this result they are now called endangered species. The main threat to chimpanzee life comes from diseases, injuries from forest traps, destruction of habitats by human beings for settlement and poaching for meet and trade. Several organizations have been formed to protect the remaining endangered mountain gorillas and they are making sure they remain surviving in the wild. One of the organizations is the Jane Goodall foundation which plays a big role in protecting and conserving the remaining chimpanzees and other primates including mountain gorillas in Africa.
Uganda is one of the best places for chimpanzee trekking in the world. The country has one of the biggest population and a number of places to track chimpanzees. Uganda has over 5600 chimpanzees out of the total number in the wild with a small number pf communities habituated. Chimpanzees in Uganda can be found in budongo forest [Murchison falls national park], kibale national park, kyambura gorge [Queen Elizabeth national park], Toro-Semuliki reserve and kalinzu forest. Visitors can also find chimpanzees in the zoos and sanctuaries i.e. Uganda wildlife center and ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary respectively.
Kibale forest. The best destination for chimpanzee trekking in east Africa is kibale forest national park. The forest is a home to several species of primates’ and the total number of chimpanzees in this forest is 1500 which is about 30% of the total population in Uganda. Kibale national park has 3 habituated chimpanzee communities of which one community is set up for visitors and the other two are for researchers. Apart from chimpanzees there are other primates in kibale national park and these include l’hoest’s monkeys, bush babies, baboons, blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys and grey checked mangabeys among several others. Tracking chimpanzees in kibale national park can be combined with birding or game drives.
Wildlife that is spotted in kibale national park includes bush pigs, elephants, giant forest hog, African buffalo and antelopes to mention but a few. The park is a home to over 345 bird species living in the forest while others living nearby Bigodi wetland bird sanctuary i.e. African grey parrot, breasted pitas and African grey parrot among others.
Chimpanzee trekking in kibale national park is done twice a day with the first shift in the morning at 8am and the second shift t 2pm. There are high chances of seeing chimpanzees in kibale forest national park and visitors have an opportunity of having a full day of chimpanzee habituation in one of the chimpanzee communities designed for tourists. Chimpanzee trekking permits of Kibale National Park are more expensive than any other place in Uganda and they go for USD 150 and chimpanzee habituation experience goes for USD 220. Visitors organizing the chimpanzee trekking trips can acquire permits from Uganda wildlife authority. There discounts on chimpanzee trekking and habituation permits during certain months of the year. If you book with Africa adventure vacations, the company will arrange for you everything including securing the permits.
Kalinzu forest. After Kibale National Park, Kalinzu Forest is the second best place to track chimpanzees in Uganda and it’s located outside Queen Elizabeth national park. Visitors who visit Queen Elizabeth national park sometimes end up going to kyambura gorge in the park and here the probability of seeing chimpanzees is much higher than in kalinzu forest. The higher density and much concentration of chimpanzees in a small area raises the chances of finding about 90% out of the total population in the area.
Apart from chimpanzees, visitors in kalinzu forest should expect to see over 410 species of birds, butterflies, primates, moths, flowers and reptiles while passing through the four guided trails in the kalinzu forest. Bird species in the forest include cuckoos, sunbird and great blue turaco. Kalinzu forest has about 290 chimpanzees with about 70 habituated. A group of Japanese scientists have been studying chimpanzee communities in kalinzu forest for some time. Chimpanzee trekking in kalinzu forest is managed and controlled by Uganda ministry of forestry. Chimpanzee trekking here coct USD 30 which is cheaper than that of kibale forest. The minimum age for chimpanzee trekking in kalinzu forest is 12 years however the only disadvantage of trekking chimpanzees in kalinzu forest is that there is no good accommodation in the forest apart from night camps. For visitors who don’t like night camps they will have to go look for better accommodation near queen Elizabeth national park.
Budongo forest. This is the third best place for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda with over 800 chimpanzees on an area of 825 sq. km. budongo forest is found inside Murchison falls national park. The natural mahogany trees inside budongo forest provide a good shelter for the apes and other primates. There are about 100 habituated chimpanzees in kaniyo pabidi available for habituation out of the total chimpanzee population. Visitors interested in learning more about chimpanzees can go for a whole day of chimpanzee habituation in budongo forest.
Chimpanzee tracking in budongo forest begins at 7 am that’s the morning session and the evening session starts at 2pm. The best time for chimpanzee habituation in budongo forest is between months of May and August and these are rainy seasons. During dry season the chimpanzees move deep in the forest looking fo food, water and shelter and this reduces the chances of seeing them. Chimpanzee trekking in budongo forest can be combined with a wildlife safari to Murchison falls national park. the chimpanzee trekking permits cost USD 85 in Budongo forest.
Kyambura gorge. This is situated in the valley inside Queen Elizabeth national park, kyambura is a good place to see chimpanzees on your safari in Queen Elizabeth national park. Kyambura gorge is well known for its large concentration of primates such as red tailed monkeys, baboons, colobus monkeys, and vervet monkeys. The population of chimpanzees in kyambura gorge is about 30. Chimpanzee trekking at kyambura gorge gives a visitor a good opportunity to go for a safari combined with bird watching, lion trekking and game drive to Queen Elizabeth national park. Bird species found at kyambura gorge include blue headed bee eater, African fin foot and falcons. The small population of chimpanzee often moves deep in the forest making it harder to trek and see them on some days. Chimpanzee trekking permit at kyambura gorge is bought at USD 50.
Semuliki wildlife reserve. Semuliki wildlife reserve is found near the borders of Uganda and DR Congo having a population of over 260 chimpanzees living in three communities. Scientists from Indiana University are currently studying about these chimpanzees and these chimpanzees have a habit of moving upright while living the forest to go feed in the morning.
Ngamba Island. This is a small forested island on Lake Victoria which was turned into a chimpanzee sanctuary for chimpanzees that are rescued over Uganda. There are about 40 chimpanzees that are being taken care of on this island unfortunately this islands is not designed for standard chimpanzee tracking. Visitors are allowed to watch these chimpanzees from a far place as they feed and play three times a day.
The Uganda wildlife education center. This is located in Entebbe and it was formerly known as Entebbe zoo. This place was established in 1952 and its goals were to rehabilitate orphaned, injured and confiscated wild animals. The center has about 40 chimpanzees that can be seen here by visitors.
Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda is only possible in ngungwe forest and in gishwati- mukura national park. Mountain gorillas are the most useful and valuable source of tourism for Rwanda but chimpanzee trekking in ngungwe national park is one of the best activities that all primate lovers should include on their itinerary while visiting Rwanda. A chimpanzee trekking permit in Rwanda costs USD 100. Chimpanzee trekking is the most done activity in ngungwe forest but visitors s. Chimpanzee trekking is the most done activity in ngungwe forest but visitors should expect to see other primates such as l’hoest’s monkeys, Angola colobus, vervet monkeys, Mona monkeys, Ruwenzori colobus, silver monkeys, owl-faced monkeys, golden monkeys, red tailed monkeys, grey checked mangabey and olive baboons among others.
Ngungwe forest has about 500 chimpanzees and most of these are not habituated making finding of these chimpanzees hard because of them move deep down in the forest. Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda is done in uwinka and cyamudongo and the permit are got from Rwanda development board in Kigali and the park
You must book your chimpanzee trekking permit in advance
Children below 12 years of age are not allowed to trek chimpanzees
Don’t litter in the forest while carrying out chimpanzee trekking
Visitors suffering from flue and diarrhea are not allowed to trek chimpanzees
Keep a distance of 7 meters away from chimpanzees
Avoid eating near chimpanzees because they can grab your food violently
Don’t make noise near chimpanzees as this provokes chimpanzees
Camera with flash lights are not allowed to trek chimpanzees
Smoking while trekking chimpanzees is prohibited
Keep in groups with your guide while in the forest
Chimpanzee trekking need proper planning before trekking in order to have a memorable experience with chimpanzees you must have suitable shoes for navigating through muddy terrain and steep areas, long sleeved clothes, insect repellent, packed lunch and water, binoculars, camera, walking stick and porters in case of luggage.
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