Poaching in Uganda has been the main hindrance to multiplication of Chimpanzees in the wild and several reports in the media have emerged that these human-like creatures are being hunted by Ugandans for food, something learned from people migrating or fleeing the Democratic Republic of the Congo since in Uganda chimpanzees were never hunted for food. Baby Chimpanzees are also hunted to be sold in the pet trade and in the process other chimpanzees also are harmed – hunting chimpanzees for the pet trade mostly takes place in Congo. Chimpanzees are also often caught in traps and snares meant for other animals such as antelopes. There used to be 10s of thousands of chimpanzees in Uganda – today there just less than 5000 chimpanzees remaining in Uganda’s protected areas.
Only 21 countries in Africa have chimpanzees in the wild and Uganda is the best place in East Africa for chimpanzee tracking in the rain forests of Kibale national park, Budongo Forest Reserve and Kalinzu Forest Reserve where chimps have been extensively habituated however human encroachment on chimpanzee habitats, hunting chimpanzees for meat in West and Central Africa will most likely cut the number of countries in Africa that have chimpanzees in the wild.
Uganda is the best country in East Africa for observing primates in the world. Though it is most known for hosting travelers looking for gorilla safaris, Uganda is the best known destination for visiting our closest relatives the chimpanzee – with just less than 5,000 Chimpanzees in various forests and National Park.
Kibale Forest national park still remains the best chimpanzee home and primate capital in Uganda – you can either partake in;
- Chimpanzee Trekking – where you view chimpanzees for one hour
- Chimpanzee Habituation Experience where you spend the whole day with a guide in forest with Chimps
- Getting involved in habituation process with researchers which take about two years
The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience can be done in Kibale Forest national park all year long and during off-season months at Budongo Forest which is a part of Murchison Falls National Park conservation area.
Where to Go Chimpanzee Tracking
Across Lake George to the north east of Queen Elizabeth National Park in the west of Uganda is the Kibale Forest National Park. Although these forests are connected and chimpanzees are found in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, we recommend seeing our closest relatives in the Kibale area as it’s a little easier to find the chimpanzees. In fact, the Kibale Forest is recommended as the best place in the whole of East Africa for seeing chimpanzees.
Track chimpanzees in Kibale Forest national park–5 hours drive from Kampala which makes it an affordable possibility for two days chimpanzee tracking tour. Enjoy Chimpanzee Tracking, a Forest Walk or Birding Walk at Bigodi swamp sanctuary, Lunch with 2 sodas or one beer and still be back in Kampala after tracking.
The most popular trail in the park is the walk from the Kanyanchu Visitor Center, which lasts about three hours to visit the chimps and to see a diversity of wildlife enroute. When you encounter the chimpanzee groups, you are allowed to spend a maximum of one hour observing the fascinating animals, as they play, feed and relax in their group.
In addition to the chimpanzees in Kibale, you will also encounter some of the other primates inhabiting the area, such as blue & red-tailed monkeys, red-colobus mangabeys, and the grey-cheeked mangabeys swinging in the forest’s canopy. Another of the favorite trails is the Kanyanchu Primate Walk to see some of the park’s thirteen species of primate.
As with the gorilla treks, to visit the chimpanzees you are recommended to book your chimpanzee permit and tour in advance as the visits per day are tightly controlled for the chimpanzees’ welfare and they can get quickly booked up.
Get involved in the most electrifying activities at Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary where feeding and viewing of beautiful chimps can be done concurrently or even make a stop over at Entebbe Zoo for chimpanzee great experiences. Whether you are interested in chimpanzees in captivity or in their natural habitat, Uganda does it all but there is nothing thrilling like tracking chimpanzees in the wild—You have a chance to see them foraging, building nests, attending to their young ones—an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere.
Take a chimpanzee Safari to Kibale/Budongo/Kalinju – if you can add a few of your friends or your family to your group – the safari becomes most affordable.
Here is what is involved in a typical chimpanzee Safari to Kibale Forest;
- Depart Kampala–your lodging at 7:00 am
- Arrive at park headquarters before midday
- Lunch at primate Lodge – bottled water in vehicle during drive times
- Guided Nature or Birding Walk with a Guide.
- Morning Chimpanzee Tracking with a small group of Participants and Guides 2 – 4 hours
- Return to Kampala
- Arrive in Kampala during early evening hours
Enjoy the best chimpanzee safari in Uganda with one of the local tour operators listed on this website!