Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is one of the most famous tourist activities that travelers engage in to be able to spend time with these chimps. Well, a trek to see chimpanzees in Uganda is such a great opportunity for the visitors to explore the chimpanzees’ daily behavior while in their natural habitat.
Chimpanzee trekking is an activity where the visitors with the help of the game ranger hike into the forest in search of the habituated chimpanzee families. Uganda is the best Chimpanzee trekking destination in all of East Africa with more than 5,000 chimpanzees. Thus beating other East African Countries in these ape species. These Chimpanzees are one of Uganda’s major attractions making the chimpanzee trekking the major activity carried out by visitors in Uganda. There are several places for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda including Kibale forest, Kalinzu forest, Budongo forest (Kaniyo Pabidi), kyambura gorge and Toro-Semuliki wildlife reserve as explained below;
Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale forest: This is the number one and the best destination for chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation experience (CHEX) in Uganda and the rest of Africa. Trust me, you will never miss a chance of seeing the chimpanzees while in Kibale Forest National Park. Kibale forest is home to over 1,500 Chimpanzees and 13 other primates making it a “primate capital paradise of the world”.
The nature of Kibale forest being densely forested makes it the best location for chimpanzee trekking activity in Uganda and this activity is the major reason for the conservation of Kibale Forest National Park. Kibale Forest is one of the best places in Uganda and the entire world to see chimpanzees. For one to do a Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale, you are required to obtain a chimpanzee trekking permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. And Minimum Age for Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale forest is 15years. The cost of a chimpanzee trekking permit in Kibale forest is $150 for Foreign Non-Residents, $100 for Foreign Residents, UgX.100,000 for E.African community members. However, with effect from 1st January 2020, the Chimpanzee trekking permit will cost $200 for Foreign Non-Residents, $150 for Foreign Residents and UgX.150, 000 for E.African community members. The chimpanzee permit for the Kibale forest includes the park entrance fee.
In the Kibale forest, chimpanzee trekking takes around 1-6 hours for the habituated family to be reached according to the speed and the location of the chimpanzee family. The chances of seeing the chimpanzees in Kibale forest are 99%
Kalinzu Forest: After the Kibale forest, Kalinzu Forest is the 2nd best area in Uganda for Chimpanzee Trekking. This forest is near Queen Elizabeth Park and it is the cheapest area for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda compared to other chimpanzee trekking destinations. The minimum age for chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu is 12 years. The chimpanzee trekking permit costs $30 per person. The permit excludes the park entrance fee and if you are planning to do a gorilla trekking alongside chimpanzee trekking, then this forest and Kibale forest are the best solutions for your trip. This forest is near Queen Elizabeth National Park and hence Chimpanzee Trekking can be done along with a visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The visitors who would like to do chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu can book their lodges in Queen Elizabeth National Park since there are no lodges in Kalinzu forest.
Budongo Forest: This is the 3rd best place for Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda. This forest is located near Murchison falls park in northern Uganda. It is easily added to any safari that takes in Murchison Falls Park. The trekking in Budongo forest is privately owned by the Jane Goodall Institute though it is also overseen by the UWA. The Budongo forest chimpanzee trekking permit costs $80. The permit excludes the park entrance fee which is $40 for None Foreign Residents, $30 for foreign residents and UGX.20,000 for Ugandans and other East African Community members. Chimpanzee Trekking takes place in the morning and in the afternoon. And the possibility of seeing the chimpanzee family is around 80%. There is also chimpanzee habituation Experience during the off-season.
Kyambura Gorge: This is found in Queen Elizabeth National Park and it is the 4th best destination for Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda.
However, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the chimpanzee trekking permit in kyambura Gorge sector in Queen Elizabeth national park costs $50 for foreigners per person and UgX.30, 000 for East African community members per person. However, the trekking permit excludes the park entrance fee which is $40 per person for foreign non-resident, $30 for foreign residents and UGX. 20,000 For East African community members.
The cost of chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge is quite lower than in the Kibale forest and Budongo forest according to the Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) tariffs and this has been done in order to promote this activity with in Queen Elizabeth National park. Kyambura Gorge is a hidden rain forest with in a vast savannah grassland and this has made the tourists bypass the opportunity to see the wonders that exist in this strip of beauty with in a vast wilderness resulting in reducing the trekking permits to attract more tourists.
The charge for chimpanzee trekking permit in kyambura Gorge is exclusive of the park entry fee. However, chimpanzee trekking permits of Kyambura Gorge come along with an armed professional guide assigned by Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) to lead your way when trekking through Kyambura Gorge. The tour guide will answer all your questions about the chimpanzees with a lot of expertise so that you learn a lot about these primates with in Queen Elizabeth national park. The cost of chimpanzee trekking permit in kyambura gorge is different from that in Kalinzu forest both in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The probability of seeing the chimpanzees in this forest is 50% since it is done deep in the gorge
Chimpanzee trekking in Toro- Semuliki wildlife reserve: This remote area is home to some Chimpanzees that were habituated by Indiana University Just like Chimpanzee trekking in other places. The chimpanzee trekking permit for Semliki game reserve costs $30 per person for foreign nonresidents and foreign residents and UGX. 30,000 for East African Community members. However the cost of the chimpanzee trekking permit in Toro – Semuliki wildlife reserve doesn’t include in the park entrance fee and since Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve is close to the Rwenzori Mountains Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, and Kibale Forest, it can be easily accessed in the process to other parks or other different activities.
Other primates that will be encountered while trekking the chimpanzee in Uganda include the grey-cheeked mangabey, de Brazza’s, Dent’s Mona monkeys, Black and white Colobus monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Central African red colobus, and the Olive baboons among others. Also during your trekking process, you are able to view a lot of bird species.
Kibale forest remains the most outstanding place to see chimps in Uganda and east Africa and according to the new tariffs, the Chimpanzee Trekking permit fee in Kibale forest has been increased by $50 respectively. A chimpanzee trekking permit fee has increased from $150 to $200 per person with effect to July 2020
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is best done in the morning hours when the chimpanzees are coming down from their nests up in the trees where they slept the previous night and it takes about 1-6 hours depending on the location where it was seen nesting the previous evening. However, once the chimpanzees are found, only 1 hour of interaction is allowed for the visitor and these primates in their natural setting. During the chimpanzee trekking in Uganda, the visitors get a chance to learn their behaviors such as feeding habits, interactions, sociality with other groups and humans, plus taking closer and clear photos of the chimpanzees is allowed but no flashlight during the photo taking. Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is carried out in different areas and various trekking costs as per Uganda Wildlife Authority Tariff.
“Before trekking the chimpanzee, visitors are supposed to obtain the chimpanzee trekking permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The chimpanzee trekking permit is an identification card issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and is used by the visitor to trek the chimpanzee and this permit costs differently according the location of the trekking. Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is a lifetime experience!”
Rules for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda
Visitors should keep in mind the following rules during the chimpanzee trekking activity;
- Keep a distance of about 8 km away from the chimpanzees
- In case you have a flue or any cold related disease, do not trek the chimpanzee as they may acquire human diseases so easily
- Do not litter the park with waste products or disposables
- Avoid eating when you are near the chimpanzees because they might grab the food from you
- Do not use the flash when taking photographs.
- And finally, visitors are encouraged to wear long sleeved shirts, long trousers, and good hiking boots.
Things to carry during the chimpanzee trekking in Uganda include;
- Enough drinking water to avoid dehydration during the chimpanzee trekking process since you aren’t sure of how long you will have to move before reaching the chimpanzee family.
- Raincoat sine the climate of Uganda changes anytime so visitors are required to carry the rain gears for emergency in case it rains when they are deep in the forests.
- A camera is yet another important tool that visitors should not miss out during their chimpanzee trekking activity in Uganda as it will help them to capture their own pictures for memories after their trek
“Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda can be done at any period of the year in any season since Uganda has nearly perfect weather conditions throughout the year and therefore visitors can visit whenever they want”.