Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and Rwanda takes you to the dwelling place of closet human cousins in animal kingdom. Getting the reality of which of the two countries is best for chimpanzee trekking depends on the feeling you get after visiting them.
In Uganda, the most famous chimpanzee trekking destination is Kibale National Park with about 1500 chimpanzees and others. In Rwanda, chimpanzee trekking is known to Nyungwe National Park.
Chimpanzees have about 98 % human DNA which bring them closest to humans. They live in communities with a democratically elected Alpha male as there leader. In Uganda about 4 chimpanzee communities have been habituated to human presence like Kanyantale chimpanzee community that has been visited since 1993.
Is Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda or Rwanda part of your bucket list, and are you planning to visit Africa for a natural setting primate safari? Is chimpanzee trekking one of your favorite primate activity and you are not sure which country of Uganda and Rwanda is worth spending your hard-earned money on? Or where to find the largest population of chimpanzee of Uganda and Rwanda
Whether trekking chimpanzees in Uganda or Rwanda, expect to see others primates like blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus, olive baboons and others. These forests are homes to different bird species including Albertine endemics in case you are a keen birder on a chimpanzee trekking tour in Uganda or Rwanda.
Making a comparison of which destination to choose for chimpanzee trekking of Uganda and Rwanda depends on what you wish to see even beyond chimpanzee trekking. It is best to highlight key points to consider when selecting either Uganda or Rwanda for chimpanzee trekking, where to see chimps in both countries, consider chances of seeing chimps on any given trek, where to stay, how to get to the chimpanzees, how chimp trekking destinations connect with other popular safari destinations and so much more. For more information, please contact us.
In Uganda, Kibale National park has the biggest population of chimpanzees approximately 1500 chimpanzees. Kibale National park which lies in the western part of uganda is also home to the largest population of habituated chimpanzees in East Africa. Other uganda chimpanzee destinations include Kaniyo Pabidi in Budongo Forest Murchison Falls National Park in Northern Uganda, Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Karinzu ecotourism site and Semliki National Park.
In addition, Uganda chimpanzees can be viewed from Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary which is there safe haven after being rescued from poachers, traffickers, abandoned and others that cannot return to there communities.
At Uganda Wildlife Education Center ( UWEC) the former Entebbe Zoo, chimpanzees are confined in exhibits with vegetation similar to that in their natural setting. You may choose to take a guided tour in the center with a small facilitation fee or do a personal walk through the center. You can book chimpanzee up close or chimpanzee caregiving too but this requires special arrangement.
Uganda is popularly known as the primate capital of Africa. Its forest cover provides a comfortable home to so many primates most of which live in the forest and sanctuaries. It is believed that Uganda has about 5000 chimpanzees and out of these, about 1500 are resident in Kibale National Park.
The process of habituating chimpanzees takes sometime and requires a lot of commitment plus funding. Chimpanzee habituation in Kibale National Park starts with briefing at Kanyanchu Visitor center then you can visit them in Ngogo and Kanyawara.
Others primates you may get to see during chimpanzee trekking include blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, olive baboons, L’hoest’s, pottos, bush babies and others.
Apart from gorilla trekking, the next best primate activity in either countries is chimpanzee trekking. Uganda and Rwanda have so many similarities and just few differences. People will visit these two countries either to trek gorillas, golden monkeys or chimpanzees.
Rwanda being part of the Virunga area is a primate haven because of the natural forest cover where they enjoy freebies. Rwanda is yet another East African country with chimp trekking as a tourist activity. Rwanda chimpanzees are still undergoing habituation so expect to see some wild behavior.
Chimpanzees in Rwanda are trekked in Nyungwe Forest National Park, Cyamudongo forest and the newly introduced Gishwati-Mukura National Park. Of these, Nyungwe Forest National Park is the most popular. Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda has two sessions that is morning and afternoon so request for the most comfortable timing for you to participate in the trek. Encounter Africa safaris organizes trips to visit the semi habituated chimpanzees and other activities done in the forest.
Every tourist much obtain a chimpanzee trekking permit to allow them viewership. You must reserve the Rwanda chimpanzee trekking permit in advance from Rwanda Development Board ( RDB).
In Rwanda, a chimpanzee permit costs USD100.00 per person per trek but you must find availability of the permits in advance since they are sold on first came first served basis. There is a limit to the number of chimpanzee trekking permits sold for tourism.
In Uganda, different chimpanzee trekking destinations have different prices. In Kibale National Park, the permit costs USD200 per person per trek per day,chimpanzee habituation cost in Uganda is 250 in Kyambura Gorge, a chimpanzee permit is at USD50, in Budongo forest, a permit costs USD80.00 while in Karizu Forest Reserve one can part with USD50.00 to trek chimpanzees. At Uganda Wildlife Education center, you only pay for entry fees and you will have access to the chimpanzees. The cost of chimpanzee viewing at Ngamba chimpanzee sanctuary in Lake Victoria varies with the package you choose so ask the tour operator for more details.
The cost of chimpanzee permit in Rwanda Nyungwe National park and Uganda Kibale National Park includes spending one hour with a habituated community of chimpanzees, services of an armed ranger guide and park entry fees. All chimpanzee activities in both Uganda are half day so one can choose to do a morning or afternoon trek.
Unlike Rwanda, Uganda is yet ahead by offering chimpanzee habituation experience which allows one to spend more time with chimpanzees under habituation. Normally only 4 people are allowed to visit these primates still under habituation and a permit for this goes for $250 per person. If you are interested in spending more time with chimpanzees, then Uganda is the country for you.
While chimpanzee trekking is possible in Uganda and Rwanda, truth be told that Uganda offers the best opportunity to see habituated communities of Chimpanzees on any given trek. Kibale National Park is not only good but has been described by many writers and tourists as one of the best place to see chimpanzees in Africa. Kibale is folllowed by Budongo Forest, Karinzu eco-tourismsite and then Kyambura Gorge.
In Rwanda to be specific, Nyungwe Forest, chimpanzees are semi habituated and thus this requires tourists to wake up early and look for them while in Uganda, chimpazees are fully habituated and are used to people so the experience is different. In Uganda, most chimpanzee trekking take up to half a day while in Nyungwe forest National Park, you cannot rule out spending the whole day looking for chimps as their movements are unpredictable.
Unlike mountain gorillas which live in organized families, chimpanzees live in communities and break up into small groups called parties of about 6-8 during day so as to reduce on the efforts of competition on food. They will then link up in the evening to make their nests for sleeping.
Chimpanzees enjoy vegetarian cuisines especially those provided by the forest although sometimes they stray into the local people’s gardens. They love feeding on foliage like plants, fruits, soft stems, roots to mention but a few. Chimpanzees have also been noticed to eat meat especially in times of extreme scarcity they may feed on the monkeys.
Most chimpanzee communities in Uganda and Rwanda are about 50-150 individuals. During chimpanzee trekking, you will be briefed then 6 people will trek a given party in order to avoid over crowding (this is in Uganda-Kibale National Park) however due to the fact that these parties keep on joining and separating, you may also find yourselves joining up and separating.
Two chimpanzee trekking sessions are conducted per day that is in the morning and afternoon and only one hour is allowed with the chimpanzees when you locate them. this is to allow them time to continue feeding without destruction.
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and Rwanda requires that you carry your hiking boots, walking stick, a camera, insect repellant, wear long trousers, some warmers in case it gets cold, sun glasses to protect your eyes from buzzing insects, first aid kit, energy snacks, back pack, rain coat in case it’s a rainy season, a pair of binoculars, your packed lunch on the day of chimpanzee trekking (please refer to what to pack for gorilla trekking as this is the same.
On a daily, all tourists will be transferred to the headquarters of each National Park where you will be met by park officials for registration and then briefing about the dos and don’ts while with chimpanzees. In Uganda the Kibale National park chimpanzee briefing point is at Kanyanchu Visitor center and in Nyungwe forest National Park at Uwinka.
After briefing you will then be assigned a ranger guide who will trek with you in the forest until you find a community or part of chimpanzees. Keep in mind the rules of chimpanzee trekking so as not to mess up your experience. The chimpanzees operate a spy network that notifies the rest about the presence of intruders in there environment. They communicate by beating tree trunks or hooting.
After finding these great apes, you will spend approximately one hour of observing their behaviors, taking photographs and simple videos and then return to your lodge for relaxation. On your trek, your guide will assist in explaining everything anything-pertaining flora and fauna and all informative messages needed to spice up your trek.
One needs to spend a night before his/her trek. Rwanda has basically few accommodation options available for one to overnight at before chimpanzee trekking. Some of which include Nyungwe Forest lodge, Gigaku Guest House, Nyungwe house, Gisaku Family Hostel and others .
Uganda specifically in Kibale National Park, has a number of optional accommodations available to book for the nights in this park. they are categorized budget, Mid-range and or Luxury Lodges. Some of the Kibale forest accommodation facilities include Kibale safari Lodge, Primates lodge, Kyaninga Lodge, Ndali lodge, chimps Net, C.V.K to mention but a few
The accommodations you can book for chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge Queen Elizabeth National park include Mweya Safari Lodge, Jakana Lodge, Bush Lodge, Simba Safari camp, Katara Lodge and others.
In Murchison Fall National park, you can book accommodation for chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo Pabidi at Paraa Safari Lodge, Nile Safari Lodge, Sambiya Lodge, Red chillis camp, Murchison River Lodge to mention but afew,
Chimpanzee trekking is normally not done as a standalone activity, it is mainly combined with gorilla trekking for those interested in primates as well as game viewing. Rwanda offers the best connectivity when it comes to this. It is easier and convenient to drive from Nyungwe Forest National Park to volcanoes National Park on good road compared to driving from Kibale National Park to Mgahinga or Bwindi impenetrable National Park.
You must have booked a gorilla trekking permit in advance too to enjoy the full primate adventures of Uganda or Rwanda. This is in case you select a combo of gorilla trekking with chimpanzee trekking.
Contact us for chimpanzee trekking tours to either Uganda or Rwanda and we can as well combine or tailor your safari to include all highlights such as game viewing, gorilla trekking, cultural experiences among others