Chimpanzee trekking mistakes to avoid in Uganda and Rwanda – Chimpanzee trekking travel tips – Chimpanzee permits booking in advance
Chimpanzee trekking mistakes to avoid in Uganda and Rwanda – Having a chimpanzee trekking experience is one of the most undoubtedly awesome safari activities to do in Uganda or Rwanda and most of the time there are some common mistakes carried out when on such vacations and holidays, therefore Great Adventure Safaris found it important to let you know about these common mistakes to avoid on a chimpanzee trekking safari in Uganda and Rwanda. Preparing for a chimp trekking safari is one of the most challenging things, especially for those who are trekking for the first time. Right from the task of booking, several mistakes can be done hence making one’s experience super terrible.
But in this article, Great Adventure Safaris brings you some of the most common mistakes to avoid in this kind of situation as you spend quality time with your family and friends in Uganda and Rwanda.
Choosing the wrong tour operator or Safari Company
Booking your chimpanzee trekking safari with the wrong company is a common mistake with first-time visitors. Avoid booking your chimpanzee trekking safari with unlisted companies operating out of briefcases. They may book you in some of the worst accommodations or fail to show up when you need them the most. Choosing the best company for a chimpanzee trekking safari from hundreds of available local operators is challenging for a first-time traveler. You can find the best recommendations from the people you know or from reviews from travelers who’ve had the experience before. The internet is a good source of blogs and travel guides about chimpanzee trekking safaris in Uganda and Rwanda. You will find a person or company you can trust to plan your safari.
Great Adventure Safaris’ consultants give knowledgeable advice on planning your chimpanzee trekking safari. Contact us via email, and we’ll be glad to help you avoid the chimp trekking safari mistakes most travelers make.
Not putting into consideration the chimpanzee trekking guidelines or rules and regulations
Chimps are an endangered species, which means that they are protected by conservation laws that govern chimpanzee trekking safari experiences. It is a huge mistake not to know the guidelines which could put you or the primates in danger. Besides, the safari takes place in a natural wild environment, where the primates’ behaviors cannot be controlled. The regulations will help you and the park authority manage the dangers involved.
The most important of all regulations is to stay away if you feel sick. Chimps carry 98% of our DNA and are easily exposed to human diseases. To keep the chimps safe from infectious diseases, you will not be allowed in the park if you show signs of sickness. If you are allowed to trek, you will have to wear a facemask when you are close to the chimps to protect yourself and the chimps from unexpected infections. You will be asked to stay at least seven meters away from the apes and avoid touching them by all means. No eating, drinking, smoking, or shifting near the chimps for obvious reasons. Stay close to the trekking group and don’t intimidate the primates.
Other rules are communicated during the briefing at the entry point, ensure you give an open ear and apply the rules while trekking.
Choosing the wrong primate park
It is a common mistake for travelers to choose the wrong primate park for the chimpanzee trekking experience and spoil their entire journey because they couldn’t find the chimpanzees. With more than four places to watch chimps in Uganda and one in Rwanda, you must know which location is convenient and suits your budget. The best place for chimp trekking in Uganda is Kibale National Park. The 296-square-meter rainforest park protects the biggest population of chimpanzees and the highest concentration of primates in the region. The park has the most entertaining troops of habituated chimps, with daily chimp trekking excursions happening twice every day that is to say in the morning and the afternoon.
You can join the trekking teams in Kibale National Park for USD200 for a permit per person. The closest alternative to Kibale chimps is Kanyiyo Padibi in Budongo Forest, and a permit costs USD120 per person. Kyambura Gorge, a sunken forest in Queen Elizabeth National Park, was closed but is currently open for chimpanzee trekking. So feel free to book your safari in the park and expect a good chimpanzee trekking experience in Kyambura.
It is easy to transfer from the International Airport in Entebbe to Kibale, which is a 5 – 6-hour drive west of Kampala. Accommodation is readily available outside the park with easy access to the visitor center at Kanyanchu.
Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda’s south is a top choice for the chimpanzee experience, especially for travelers tracking mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Usually, travelers watch gorillas in Volcanoes NP and add chimp trekking to their trip.
Not being fit and healthy for hiking and chimpanzee trekking
Do not make the common mistake of overestimating your fitness levels and diving into an activity that could break you physically. The chimpanzee trekking safari requires moderate physical ability. It involves walking for undetermined hours, tracking the chimps, and following them around. Expert trackers lead a group of tourists into the jungle, looking for clues about the chimp’s presence. There is no telling how long the tracking can take, and there are no used paths to follow. You will walk through the woods until you find the chimps and then stay with them for at least an hour.
Chimps are very active primates. They can’t stay in a single place for more than 5 minutes unless they’re occupied in social grooming or napping. You stay on your feet for close to an hour, an activity that will require you to be active on your feet.
Not knowing the best season to travel for chimpanzee trekking
There are two seasons for a chimpanzee trekking safari in Uganda and Rwanda, based on the weather patterns. The wet season with regular rainfall and the dry season. Most travelers avoid the wet season months and choose to go during the dry season, making the dry months the peak travel months in the region. Do not make the mistake of planning your chimpanzee trekking safari to occur during the rains when walking on muddy trails and under heavy rains will break your experience.
Book your safari for June to September and December to February which are the best times for the chimpanzee experience. The trekking trails and roads during that time are dry enough for a comfortable hike. However, most travelers choose to travel during that time, but availability will be quite challenging for a self-planner. If you’re planning to travel during the peak season, start planning your chimpanzee trip a year in advance so that your travel dates can synchronize with the availability of hotel rooms and trekking permits. The wet season is from March to May, October, and November, and there are fewer travelers during that time that can deal with the rains or muddy paths. Also, service providers offer discounts during the wet season and added value for budget travelers.
However, accessing the chimps in the rainy season can be a hustle. You may have to hire 4×4 trucks in places like Nyungwe, traveling from your lodge to the trailhead. Many travelers prefer such challenging hiking experiences to the sweet luxuries of the dry months. Be sure to avoid the mistake of traveling in the wrong month.
Chimpanzee trekking mistakes to avoid – Choosing the wrong accommodation
Booking the wrong accommodation facilities may make you miss the scheduled chimpanzee trekking safari excursion because your lodging is far away from the park entrance gate and headquarters. Avoid the common mistake of booking a random lodge and make sure your accommodation is close to the park. All chimpanzee trekking places have accommodation just outside the entrance, your challenge will be to find a suitable choice. Booking through a local operator can guarantee you a better option.
Kibale National Park in Uganda gives more accommodation choices than any other chimpanzee trekking park in the region. Just outside Kanyachu, you’ll find midrange to high-end priced lodges. Around the Kasekende region (crater lakes region) and as far as Fort Portal town, you’ll find all ranges from low to budget to luxury hotels.
Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda has Nyungwe House and Nyungwe Forest Lodge for a luxury choice with premium amenities. Nyungwe Top View Hill and Gisakura Guesthouse give the mid-range price. You have to drive a little out to the nearest town for the lower end of the budget, which means waking up early to make it in time for the excursion.