Best places to see chimpanzees in Uganda
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda takes you to some of the closet relatives of humans with a DNA of about 98% . To allow chimpanzee trekking, the wild chimpanzees must be habituated to be in the presence of humans at least for an hour without altering there natural being which brings us to the best places to see chimpanzees in Uganda.
Uganda has the largest number of habituated chimpanzees in Africa living in tropical Kibale forest. The population of chimpanzees in Kibale National park is estimated to be 1500 chimpanzees as of now.
Other Uganda chimpanzee trekking destinations include Kambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth National park, Kaniyo Pabidi Forest in Murchison Falls National Park, Kalinzu forest on the periphery of queen Elizabeth National park, Bwindi Forest National Park though not habituated, Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary and others.
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You must obtain a chimpanzee trekking permit in rom Uganda Wildlife Authority or other organizations that take care of the habitats where chimpanzees live in Uganda. Two chimpanzee trekking sessions that is morning at 0800 hours and 1500 hours about lasting between 2 hours to 3 hours depending on there proximity.
Only an hour is allowed in the presence of the chimpanzees when you locate them. this is to allow them time to go about there day today activities like grooming infants, feeding, reproducing and others
To have more time with the chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, you may book chimpanzee habituation experience. You have to rise up earlier than others and follow the rangers and researcher at dawn. You are expected to see the chimpanzees de-nesting from about 0530 hours to about 0630 hours.
Where To See Chimpanzees In Uganda
Kibale National park
This tropical rain forest lies in western part of Uganda occupying about 795 square kilometers. The forest hosts about 13 primate species including the chimpanzees, black and white colobus, red tailed monkeys, bush babies, pottos, L’Hoest’s, grey cheeked mangabey, olive baboons and others.
The forest has an altitude of about 1590 meters above sea level. Rains of average 1800 mm are received annually. Its Northern tip is the wettest area and Southern section adjoins Queen Elizabeth national Park with a corridor of about 180 km of long used for migration of wildlife.
Other than wild animals, Kibale National park has a rich birdlife with over 325 bird species recorded. Although the list is still expending, some of the birds you may get to spot include black bee-eaters, yellow spotted nicator, blue-breasted kingfisher, Abyssinian ground thrush, African pitta and others.
The Bigodi Wetland sanctuary is one of the prime birding areas of Kibale National Park located in Magombe swamp. Here you may also spot primates like black and white colobus, chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, mammals like mongoose, bushbucks, forest elephants, wild forest hogs and others. A walk to Kihingani Wetland outside Sebitoli gives you a similar experience to Magombe wetland.
Kyambura Gorge In Queen Elizabeth National Park
At about 100 meters deep at the bottom of the rift valley in Queen Elizabeth National Park is Kyambura gorge. The Gorge was carved by River Kyambura that runs into Kazinga channel.
The trek starts from Kyambura Fig tree camp at about 0800 hours and 1400 hours per day. some level of fitness is required to hike into the valley. You need comfortable tracking boots too to help you maneuver through the slippery slopes especially during the west seasons.
Kaniyo Pabidi Forest In Murchison Falls National Park
To get to this chimpanzee sanctuary, you take about 8 km inside Kichubanyombo Gate of Murchison Falls National Park to arrive here. You get the opportunity to do chimpanzee trekking beneath some of the over grown leftover mahogany trees of Uganda.
This is one of the prime birding areas of .Murchison Falls National park. You have high chances of spotting birds like Blue-caped Mousebirds, Black-headed Gonolek, Vitelline Masked Weavers, Green winged pytilias and others.
Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary In Lake Victoria
This is part of Koome Islands in fresh water Lake Victoria located 23 km southwest of Entebbe in Uganda. The sanctuary is a project set up by Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust ( CSWCT) under Dr Jane Goodall.
It is home to rescued , saved, homeless, orphaned chimpanzees which cannot be returned to there communities. It aims at teaching visitors, general public and the local community about the relevancy of protecting the chimpanzees and there habitats.
When you visit in the time of feeding, you stand at the feeding platform and participate in giving them food while watching struggle for the fitness come to life.
Uganda wildlife Education Center ( UWEC)
This is the former Entebbe zoo. It is the summary of almost all wild life that Uganda is proud to host. The wild animals are kept in exhibits with environment similar to that in the wild where these animals live. some of the animals you may get to see during a self-guided or guided tour in the center include chimpanzees, lions, cheetahs, leopards, waterbucks, cape buffaloes, elephant, zebras, giraffes an array of birds and so much more.
Kalinzu Forest serve
Kalinzu Forest serve in located at the periphery of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Although these chimpanzees are mainly used for research, during peak seasons, chances are opened for trekking them.
How To Book Chimpanzee Trekking Permits In Uganda
The some of the chimpanzees trekking permits in Uganda are sold by Uganda wildlife Authority that is the KIbale National park and Kyambura gorge chimpanzees permits. the rest are sold by the care takers of these chimpanzee habitats. This explains the variation in the cost of chimpanzee trekking permits throughout the country.
At the moment the Kibale National park chimpanzee trekking permits cost $300 per person per trek.
Knowing the date , number of people to trek with, the most convenient time to do chimpanzee trekking helps in securing them. You need to purchase your chimpanzee trekking permits in advance because they get sold out fast. Only 6 permits are realized for the public to book per troupe.
What Is the Age Limit for Chimpanzee trekking
15 years and above is the age limit for chimpanzee trekking. A child above this age is expected to be able to withstand the conditions in the forest. The environment of National Park has limited under growth that a child at this age can walk through.
The topography of areas where chimpanzees live is slightly flat allowing easier movement with no need to hike. Using the trails created by regular trekkers, you get to locate the chimpanzees. You may hear them hoot or beating buttress roots to alert others of your presence.
The time you take to locate the chimpanzees may not favor the patience of a child below age 15 years
Sometimes the chimpanzees tease there visitors which may not go well with a child below this age. They may reach out, touch you or pull your hair which may seem not comfortable to a child.
Making noise is prohibited in the forest because it scares even other forest dwellers which may be hard to contain by a child below this age.
Chimpanzees are fast in movement which keeps trekkers on there toes. It is hard to keep up with a child below age 15 years.
What can A Child Below 15 years Do As Parents Go Chimpanzee Trekking
In Kibale National Park, ecofriendly activities for children below 15 years can be arrange with the children ranger instructors. When parents go chimpanzee trekking in the pack, children cane go for educational forest walks for about 1 hour to 2 hours.
They learn about ecosystems and its inhabitants when they take these walks. Take part in ecofriendly games, creative activities like pond dipping, cyanotype, photography and batik making.
You do not have to worry about where to leave your child as you go trekking chimpanzees in Kibale National Park
What Is the Best time TO Book Chimpanzee Trekking Permits
Chimpanzees trekking is an all year round activity but the drier months that is June to October and December to January are peak times.
Chimpanzees feed closer to the ground during the dry seasons because there is plenty to munch on. The wet seasons are normally coupled with wet soft grounds, which the chimpanzees do not fancy. Most of the wet seasons chimpanzees keep up in the tree branches so carry a pair of binoculars to get a clearer look.
What Is The Cost Of Chimpanzee Trekking Safari
Securing the chimpanzee trekking permit is the constant cost amongst the different chimpanzee trekking packages that is luxury, mid-range or Budget.
In Kibale National Park the cost of chimpanzee trekking permit is $300 per person per trek. Two sessions that is morning and afternoon are available for you too book.
The cost of the chimpanzee trekking permit for Kibale National park includes park fees, ranger guide fees, security during chimpanzee trekking, park maintenance, chimpanzee medication fund and others.
20 % of the total annual profit from chimpanzee trekking is given back to the local community to support their projects. This is one way to include the local community in the conservation of the chimpanzees.
Which Is The best Chimpanzee Trekking Destination
Kibale National park in Uganda has the largest number of habituated chimpanzees but its permits are limited. Only 6 chimpanzee trekking permits are released per day for every group of chimpanzees
Meeting the chimpanzees in the wilderness is exciting as you get to meet some of the closest cousins of man in there natural setting not in a zoo or circus where they may be choreographed to act. No matter where you go, that excitement is unmatched.
Depending on how you wish to feel after meeting the chimpanzees, every place is unique on its own. Kyambura gorge chimpanzees are live in a steeper area so you have some challenges locating them in the forested depression.
Murchison falls National park‘s Kaniyo Pabidi Chimpanzees live amongst some of the oldest left over mahogany trees in Uganda. They share there habitat with a range of other primates like black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey and others. These chimpanzees share the same area with the best part of River Nile course Murchison Falls.
Ngamba Chimpanzee sanctuary gives visitors chance to watch chimpanzees up close and participate in feeding them too. Visitors learn the importance of conserving nature where these apes feed, get a better view of how humans can co-exists with these primates.
What are The rules Of Chimpanzee Trekking
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the chimpanzees when you locate them. they are wild animals that may pass an infection to you or you to them. This is one of the possible precautions you can take.
- Volunteer to stay behind in case you catch a communicable infection like Corona Virus, Flu, cholera and others. These animals are susceptible to these infection because they have a DNA of about 96% to that of humans.
- Never eat or smoke before the chimpanzees because they may be enticed to grab it from you
- Do not feed the chimpanzees as they are naturally supposed to look for own food not depend on human support.
- Children 15 and below are not allowed to do chimpanzee trekking because they may not withstand the conditions in the wilderness or sustain there stay in the forest as time of locating the chimpanzees is unknown.
- Never enter the forest without a park ranger because there are other forest dwellers that may harm you or get lost in the forest.
- If you wish to take a long call, ask the ranger guide to dig a hole atleast 30 cm deep and cover waste beyond recognition.
- Making noise in the wilderness while searching for chimpanzees is forbidden. They are scared of unfamiliar noise in there habitats.
- Never use flash photography for chimpanzee trekking as it may scare these great apes.
- Provoking the chimpanzees is forbidden because they may turn violent although it has never happened in the history of chimpanzee trekking in Uganda. It is also possible.
- Only one hours is allowed with the chimpanzees when you locate them
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