CHIMPANZEE TRACKING IN UGANDA
Chimpanzee tracking is one of the fascinating experience for primate lovers and Trekking chimpanzee in Uganda is one of the most liked activity that visitors would wish to do while on Africa Safari.
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda happens in many forest jungles and national parks which include Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park, Budongo forest reserve, Kalinzu forest reserve and Kibale national park. If you are looking for the best place where to see chimpanzee very well in Uganda, Kibale forest national park should be your number one choice.
Kibale forest national park is located in fort portal and shares boundaries with Kamwenge district in western Uganda. The park is approximately 290km from Kampala city and 32km from Fort portal town. Kibale national park is a tropical rainforest covering a surface area of 795 square kilometers and is well known as a primate haven of Africa, a home to about 13 primates species. These include chimpanzees, red colobus monkeys, Red tailed monkeys, Grey cheeked mangabey, black and white colobus monkey, poto, and other animals like Mangoose, leopard, bush bucks, bush elephants and bush pigs. Kibale forest also hosts approximately 351 bird species and is one of the best destinations for bird watching in Uganda.
Kibale forest national park is famous for primate walk at Kanyanchu of which chimpanzee tracking is the main activity to most visitors whereby chimp viewing is guaranteed 90% chances unlike other chimp tracking places in Uganda. Visiting chimpanzee in Uganda’s Kibale forest can be of different arrangements, there is chimpanzee tracking and chimpanzee habituation Experience (CHEX). Both activities can be done in Kibale forest.
The chimpanzee can be spotted by hearing their pant hooting noise and following their droppings and footsteps. Kibale national park has approximately 1500 chimpanzees, making it the best spot for chimpanzee tracking in the world. Chimpanzees are the closest relatives to human beings, sharing 98% of their DNA. They live in Communities of 100 individuals with each community having its own way of doing things and culture. A mature male Chimp weigh at least 35kg to 70kg and 20 to 50kg for females. Female chimpanzee take care of the young ones for at least 4 years and each community has a dominant male leader. Chimpanzee sleep in nests and each night they make fresh nests in trees.
Chimpanzee tracking in Uganda has different sessions, a morning chimp tracking session and an afternoon trekking. This is very different from mountain gorilla trekking that happens once in a day. In Kibale national park, tracking chimpanzee takes place in the Morning at 8:00 am, Mid-morning at 11 am and in the Afternoon at 2pm. Each session takes about 2-3 hours while chimpanzee habituation experience (CHEX) currently takes 6 hours. Visitors are briefed on the Do’s and Don’ts when tracking and while viewing chimps, what to expect on the tour, and the time for the activity. The briefing takes place at Kanyanchu Visitor’s center and it’s the spot from where the visitors head to the forest in search of chimpanzees.
On each trek, visitors are allowed one hour with the chimpanzees once they encounter them and each group of chimpanzee in a community is visited by only 6 people at a time. Only people aged 12 years and above are allowed to do the tracking. If you are interest in doing chimpanzee trekking, you will contact the tour operator to add it on your Safari itinerary. Chimpanzee tracking permit are issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to trusted tour agencies.
The price of these permits depends on the nationality of the visitor. if you are a Foreign non-resident, you pay USD 200 per person, foreign residents pay USD 150 and East African residents pay UGX: 150,000. Chimpanzee tracking can be done throughout the year but it’s more interesting if done during the dry season. Being a tropical rain forest, rain should be expected at any time. In addition to chimpanzee tracking.
Uganda Wildlife Authority and conservation organization in Uganda has some Chimpanzee tracking rules and regulations for your own safety and protection of the chimpanzee, you are required to follow them while tracking chimps.
- Chimpanzee share 98% of their DNA genes with human beings and therefore can catch your disease. You must not enter the forest to track them when you are sick.
- The minimum age for people interest to go chimp tracking is 12 years
- Sick tourists are not allowed to participate
- Do not litter in the forest. In other wards what you take there should be brought back with you at the end.
- Only 6 people are allowed in a group for tracking
- If you need to urinate or defecate, do so off the trail, bury your waste in the hole of 30 cm deep along with any toilet paper.
- Keep as quite as possible if you want to see more and enjoy all what the forest can offer to you.
- Stay at least 8 meters (25feet) from the chimpanzee at all times, always stay in a group and avoid leaving the group for safety.
- Do not mimic the chimpanzee vocalization, you may not do it the way their fellows does and it will not give you good experience.
- Make sure you do not eat near the chimpanzees
- Never chase the chimpanzee, you may get bad results as they remain wild though habituated.
- Do not use flush photography as this may scare away the chimpanzee.
- Listen to all what your guide has to say, you will enjoy a lot in the forest jungle.
While On chimpanzee trekking, you are advised to carry strong hiking shoes, good quality camera to capture memories/ sunglasses and Sun cream, packed snack, rain jacket, drinking water, and a pair of binoculars good for forest viewing.