Uganda chimpanzee trekking – Uganda’s strategic location on the western arm of the east African rift valley and with perfect weather has supported a huge growth of rain forest which is arguably the best habitat for chimpanzees in Africa.
Best time to Visit
While it is possible track chimpanzees throughout the year, the best time to see them is during the wet season. While the rain tends to make the hike less pleasant, the abundance of water and food also means that the chimpanzees have to range much less to find sufficient food.
For this reason, the rainy seasons is the best time to track chimpanzees. Depending on which country you’re in, the rainy season may vary. Uganda: The wet seasons are March – May and September – November.
Fitness & Health
It is not possible to predict ahead of time just how long you’ll be hiking before you encounter a chimpanzee family. Some people spend as little as 40 minutes hiking before they come across gorillas, while others can spend up to seven hours hiking.
For this reason, it is recommended that all trekkers be in good physical and mental condition.
Chimpanzees are also susceptible to many of the viruses that affect humans, so you will not be permitted to go on a chimpanzee trek if you are sick.
Rules and regulations
While they may look and act like humans sometimes, chimpanzees are still wild animals. It is essential that chimpanzee trekkers follow the below rules to ensure not only their safety, but the safety of the animals.
-At all times, you must obey all instructions given by your guide. Your guide knows the gorillas very well, and will direct you as to where it is safe to stand.
-It is important to keep a distance of at least 8 meters between you and the chimpanzees.
-Do not eat around the chimpanzees.
-Flash photography is prohibited.
-No more than an hour is allowed with a chimpanzee group.
-Chimpanzees require a great deal of freedom to move about. Do not corner them.
-Children under the age of twelve are not permitted to go on a chimpanzee trek.
As these are wild animals, we cannot guarantee that you will see them. While most groups do encounter a family group, we cannot give refunds if you do not spot the animals. The fee charged goes to the park for the ongoing conservation efforts.
The hike through the rainforest to reach the chimpanzees can be strenuous, so it is important to dress appropriately and comfortably for the trek.
Due to the rugged nature of the land you’ll be passing through, it is advisable that you wear a long sleeved shirt, trousers, and a good pair of lightweight hiking boots to protect against scratches. You may also wish to wear protective gloves, although these are not necessary.
As temperatures can vary greatly during the day, it is also advisable to bring along a light jumper and a light, breathable rain jacket or poncho.
You’ll also wish to bring along a small backpack in which to store your extra clothing, water, lunch, and your photography equipment.
While on your trek, you should wear neutral colored clothing that is comfortable.
In addition to the aforementioned warm clothing and rain protection, there are a number of other handy things we recommend you bring along with you on your gorilla safari.
The below packing list is much the same as what you would bring along for a traditional game drive safari.
-A warm sweater or light fleece;
– A windbreaker or waterproof jacket;
-Walking shoes or boots;
-A long sleeve dress shirt and trousers;
-Sunscreen and lip balm;
– Insect repellant;
– Batteries and/or charger for your camera;
-A flashlight or headlamp;
– Phone and charger.
Kibale forest national park
Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip, which stands 1,590m above sea level. The lowest point is 1,100m on the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley to the south.
351 tree species have been recorded in the park, some rise to over 55m and are over 200 years old.
Kibale’s varied altitude supports different types of habitat, ranging from wet tropical forest on the Fort Portal plateau to woodland and savanna on the rift valley floor.
Kibale is one of Africa’s foremost research sites. While many researchers focus on the chimpanzee, others are investigating Kibale’s ecosystems, wild pigs and fish species, among other topics.
Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau.
Kibale is famously known for chimpanzee tracking
The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee It also contains over 375 species of birds
KYAMBURA GORGE CHIMPANZEE
The Kyambura Gorge experience is more than discovering chimpanzees in their natural environment: it teaches visitors about the ecosystems of Kyambura Gorge’s atmospheric “underground” rainforest, including vegetation types; bird identification and behavior; and chimp and monkey ecology.
Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, visitors stand a pretty good chance of hearing and seeing our distant cousins as they are habituated. Tours last between one and three hours and start at 8am and 2pm daily.
BUDONGO FOREST CHIMPANZEE
Budongo Forest is situated approximately 3 hours’ drive northwest of the capital city Kampala on the way to the prominent Murchison Falls National Park. This is the biggest Mahogany forest found in the whole of East Africa as well as habitat to the largest number of chimpanzees throughout Uganda. The major tourist sites within this forest are: the Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site, Busingiro Ecotourism site and Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site which are located at boundaries to Murchison Falls National Park and dominated by Mahogany and Iron-wood trees.
The 115 kilometer expanse is a remote chunk of the Budongo forest. Its isolation once in a while offers a safe haven for the Lions, Leopards as well as Buffaloes. Early in the morning is the ideal time to set out touring because then you will have an opportunity to find a number of the forest inhabitants licking salt by the forest glades? River Waiga offers refreshment to the various wildlife species within this forest.
KALINZU FOREST RESERVE
Kalinzu Central forest reserve is situated near Queen Elizabeth National Park and also closer to Maramagambo forest. Kalinzu forest reserve harbors number of animal species and over 379 species of birds exist in the forest with over 200 butterflies. There are six species of primates which living in Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve in Uganda they include chimpanzee which is famously visited by the travelers in the park for chimpanzee trekking, the forest reserve is the second best for chimp trekking after the Kibale forest which is a home for the chimpanzee.
There also other animals seen roaming in the forest such as baboons, blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Vervet monkeys, black and white Colobus monkeys. The forest also harbors nocturnal animals like bush babies, Pottos and Galago’s. The forest reserve has 414 species of trees, 98 of moths, flowers and reptiles. The close proximity to two major wildlife conservation area, has helped draw large species of animals living in the park such as like Lions, wild pigs, antelopes, leopards and buffaloes and other, when you visit the park you will have an opportunity to view several animal species at a close range during the game drives.
NGAMBA ISLAND CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY
Surrounded by the peaceful waters of Lake Victoria, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is home to 49 orphaned chimpanzees rescued from across East Africa. Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (Chimpanzee Trust), an NGO, is responsible for all aspects of the sanctuary. Deeply committed to and involved in both field conservation and community education, we work
Depending on which location you choose to trek the chimpanzees in as of the updated prices kibale forest treks cost 200$ ,Budongo forest and Kyambura gorge cost $90 and Kalinzu costs about $60
However it is advisable to contact this tour operator before booking a tour for accurate rates as this prices change time and again.
Most Ugandan rain forests can be accessed by air from the main airport in Entebbe, this 1HR-1.5HR flights can be scheduled or charted flights however client’s stills need to arrange a transfer to the lodge and the chimpanzee briefing center
Contact Great Adventure Safaris for more information
Ugandan is accessible by road however due to the unpredicted weather conditions clients are advised to book four wheel drive (4X4) safari cars as it can be slippery during the rain season
This is particularly for Ngamba island Chimpanzee Island its location 23KMS south of Entebbe definitely means its accessible by boat, however travelers can choose between a speed boat or a traditional canoe boat.
No tour operator is mandated by the government to sell any chimpanzee permits in Uganda.
Registered tour operators like Great Adventure Safaris can help clients book the permits through Uganda wildlife authority and national forestry authority.
Chimpanzee trekking is relatively easy as most of the rain forests where chimpanzees live are located in lower altitude areas
However individual level of fitness is required as this are wild animals that might move a lot some times