Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda
Chimpanzee Trekking Safaris in Uganda promise dramatic primate encounters and exceptional rainforest experiences. Uganda stands out a s top primate destination to see chimpanzees and other primates up close.
Chimpanzee Trekking Safaris in Uganda
Chimpanzee trekking is one of Uganda’s top safari destination activities, promising dramatic primate encounters on chimps tracking safaris. A few troops among the estimated 5000 chimps in Uganda are habituated for tourists to visit within their natural habitat. The hike through the rainforest jungle with a troop is what we call chimp trekking.
Trekking chimpanzees through the tall, tangled scrubs and primeval trees that carpet western Uganda’s rainforest demands you have a guide with a machete, wear light hiking boots, hiking trousers, a ridiculous hat to keep the thorns out of your head. The experience requires that you carry a bucketload of patience and a wild sense of humor. Such dramatic encounters are exceptional, but even on a slow day, the chimpanzee tracking is exceptionally thrilling.
Trekking entourages set off daily across the forest floor at 0800 and, about half an hour later, reach the treetop nests that the chimpanzee community had built the previous night. They spend the next hour watching the chimps feed, play, laugh, hug, kiss, and fornicate. The male chimps hold fight bouts, slap hollow buttress roots, and chase each other, jostling for a seat at the top of the hierarchy.
Your trackers will find them by following a trail of knuckle prints, dung, and half-digested fruit and allow tourists to observe them from a distance, avoiding loud noise, sudden movement, standing, shaking branches, and worst of all, staring at them. Still and all, tempting to gaze into the eyes of a wild creature that shares 98.4 percent of our DNA will change everything you thought and felt about primates.
Nkuringo Safaris offers customized chimpanzee trekking safaris in Uganda, tailor-making every detail of the safari experience to suit traveler’s choice of travel style and budget. Most of our chimp trekking packages combine the chimpanzee safari experience with seeing the mountain gorillas in the far-flung mountainous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. A chimpanzee safari combines well with wildlife game drives in the nearby Queen Elizabeth National Park or the far northern Murchison Falls National Park.
Uganda offers great inland-safari experiences to moderately match our neighboring destinations in case you’re avoiding the border crossing bureaucracy. You can see the primates, fly across the country, take a game drive, a boat safari, and relax a serene holiday spot on a private all-inclusive Uganda safari.
WHERE TO SEE CHIMPANZEES IN UGANDA
The best place to see chimpanzees in Uganda is Kibale Forest National Park, home to five Habituated chimpanzee troops within easy walking distance from the Kanyanchu trailhead. Observing them in their natural habitat is a rare treat.
Kibale Forest is home to around 1500 chimpanzees living in 13 communities. Of these, various groups have been successfully habituated; some for scientific study, and others, such as the Kanyanchu group, are used for trekking experiences. Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda occurs daily, in the mornings, and afternoons, and typically lasts 3-4 hours with up to one hour spent with the chimps.
To see chimpanzees in Uganda, one requires a trekking permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority. The permit costs USD 200 per person per day for non-residents. Foreign resident’s permit costs $150 per person and East African Nationals par 150,000 Uganda Shillings (UGX).
Kyambura Gorge, located in the far eastern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park, is another protected reserve that offers chimpanzee trekking in Uganda. The 300ft deep “Valley of The Apes” gorge is surrounded by the beautiful savannah and craters of Queen Elizabeth National Park, with the Rwenzori Mountains as a brooding backdrop. While the chances of seeing chimps here are lower than in Kibale, the incredible scenery is just as much part of the attraction. Trekking down through the vines and giant fig trees (less conventional than tiring) will make you feel like you’re in an underground forest.
Made of two eco-tourism sites, Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro, Budongo forest offers excellent chimpanzee trekking safaris for trekkers interested in more challenging experiences than in Kibale Forest. A good site for chimps trekking is Kaniyo Pabidi, en route to Murchison Falls and part of the greater Murchison Falls Conservation Area. The other site, Busingiro, is home to the Royal Mile, one of the country’s top bird-watching tracks.
CHIMPANZEE HABITUATION EXPERIENCE IN UGANDA
A primate experience that rivals chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience that offers trekkers a whole day with a wild chimpanzee troop.
Suppose an hour isn’t enough for you. In that case, Uganda’s chimpanzee habituation experience, where you’ll spend a whole day following a chimps community undergoing a six-year habituation process, will suit you perfectly. You’ll need to be prepared for a fair bit of brisk walking – chimps can move fast – but it will be worth it for the rewards of a more intimate encounter.
When they sense your intrusion, non habituated chimps would have disappeared into the forest jungle long before you could see them. But the habituation process, which takes at least six years, carefully reassures the chimps that humans do not pose a threat.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (abbreviated CHEX) occurs in Kibale Forest, considerably a much entertaining excursion, costs USD 250 for both foreign non-residents and residents, and costs 250,000 Uganda Shillings for East African nationals. Budongo Forests issues 8 CHEX permits per day at USD 230.
The chimp habituation experience is much more intense from dawn to dusk, nest to nest. Tourists head out in the morning to find the chimps; they leave their nest and stay with them all day until they make their nest for the night. As the communities you track are wilder, you shouldn’t get too closes. Wild chimps are more skittish, and sighting chances are lower. It’s a long day, too – some people bail out in the afternoon to go and get a beer.
This activity is recommended for primate nuts, but if you want to see chimps on an easier escapade, choose the chimpanzee trekking excursion that occurs in the morning or afternoon.
BEST TIME FOR CHIMPANZEE TREKKING IN UGANDA
Although chimpanzee safaris are available year-round, the best time for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is during the region’s two dry seasons: January and February and June to September.
There are fewer rains during the dry season, the trails are more comfortable to navigate, and you’re sure your itinerary will not be interrupted by a downpour. You should also note that during this time, everyone else will be thinking of traveling to see chimpanzees, which makes accommodation expensive, and privacy hard to secure.
The wet seasons from September to November and March to May usually pull in fewer crowds, accommodation is cheaper, and it’s easier to process both a chimp permit and gorilla trekking permit.
But chimpanzee trekking during the wet season would mean you endure the unfriendly experience of torrential rains, impassable trails, and difficult photography. Some travelers choose the wet season for the experience and price tag on safaris.
Game viewing in Uganda’s savannah parks is best at the end of the dry seasons – February and March and September/early October – when wildlife is concentrated around water sources. Bird watching is fantastic all year round but is at its peak between November and April when migrant species are present.
Even when considered the rainy season, April and May are great times to visit Uganda and the Gorillas. The views are stunning, and it rains mostly in the afternoon for 1 hr and not tempering with activities.
WHERE TO STAY
Great accommodation choices are available for chimpanzee trekking safaris in Uganda. Take a look!
CUSTOM UGANDA CHIMPANZEE TREKKING SAFARIS
Nkuringo Safaris employs a team of local safari experts who can help you put together a chimpanzee trekking safari package that matches your expectation. We take care of all the planning and ground handling so you can have a great experience when you come. Take a look at some of the customizable chimp safari holidays that our previous guests have enjoyed.
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Would you mind making sure you have your facemask when you go chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and avoid direct contact with animals, especially the endangered creatures? Without a negative PCR Covid Test, you’ll not be allowed into the country irrespective of the vaccine. You’ll spend most of your time in open spaces away from human crowds; with that, there are minimal to no infections of the COVID virus in the wilderness.
Flexible booking terms
Your chimpanzee trekking safari experience booking can be extended up to 12 months ahead with no extra fees in case of any emergency (based on accommodation availability). Reservations are accepted after receiving a 30% deposit on the chimp safari trip, and the full payment for gorilla trekking and chimp tracking permits for each tour participant. For more details on our booking terms, please read our Terms and Conditions.