Chimpanzee Tracking in Uganda

What is Chimpanzee Tracking?

Chimpanzee Tracking (trekking) is the activity where travellers with the help of a guide through the jungle follow the trail left by a habituated chimpanzee family and when they find them, spend sometime (usually an hour) with the chimps experiencing their cultures.

Chimpanzees are close cousins to man with almost 98% DNA; they live in huge communities of about 20-70 individuals with many family groups with one alpha male. The Alpha male is the highest-ranking male that controls the group and maintains order during arguments, in chimpanzee society male chimps normally stay within their communities were they are born while females frequently move to the neighboring communities after reaching adolescence, Chimpanzees consume a variety of foods like fruits and plants that man eats, and the fruit of fig trees.

A well grown male chimpanzee can weigh between 40-70 kg, while an adult female chimpanzee weighs between 25-50kg. Life expectancy of Chimpanzee is at 40-60 years.

In Uganda the best thrilling spots for Chimpanzee tracking are Kibale Forest National Park and Budongo Forest National Park.

Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest National Park

Uganda is the most well known destination for gorilla and chimpanzee trekking in Africa.

The Kibale Forest National Park, located in western Uganda, is known to be the home to the close relatives of humans, chimpanzees. It contains a diverse array of landscapes and Kibale is one of the last remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests. In eastern Africa, it sustains the last significant expanse of pre-montane forest.

 

Kibale National Park is an important eco-tourism and safari destination, popular for its population of habituated chimpanzees and 12 other species of primates. The park has one of the highest diversity and concentration of primates in Africa. The park protects several well-studied, habituated communities of common chimpanzee, as well as several species of central African monkey including the Uganda mangabey, the Ugandan red colobus and the L’Hoest’s monkey. Other primates that are found in the park include the black-and-white colobus and the blue monkey.

The full-day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) works with a chimp community which is undergoing habituation. Early visitors can watch chimps leaving their overnight nests between 6:00 – 6:30am before feeding, copulating, hunting, breastfeeding, resting, patrolling and displaying until it is time to build new nests around 7pm.

Chimpanzee Habituation experience cost $220 per personal for full day chimpanzee habituation guided by researchers and armed  rangers/guides from Uganda  Wildlife Authority all park entries are also included in the price,  while Uganda chimpanzee tracking cost $150 per person both activities habituation and tracking are done in Kibale Forest National Park

The park’s population of elephants travel between the park and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Other terrestrial mammals that are found within Kibale National Park include red and blue duikers, bushbucks, sitatungas, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, common warthogs, and African buffalo. The carnivores that are present include African leopards, African golden cats, servals, different mongooses and two species of otter. In addition, lions visit the park on occasion.

The park boasts many species of birds, including the olive long-tailed cuckoo, western tinkerbird, two species of pittas (African and green-breasted) and the African grey parrot.

Chimpanzee Trekking in Budongo Forest National Park

Budongo Forest reserve is located in Western part of Uganda approximately a 4 hours drive from the Uganda capital Kampala right before you enter the Murchison Falls National Park. Budongo Forest covers an area of 793 sq km, 53% is complete montane forest and the other area is grassland. This forest reserve is home to different wildlife species such as over 359 bird species, 465 species of trees, 9 primate species, 289 butterfly species, and 24 species of mammals as well as 130 species of moths. Budongo forest is also famous for mahogany trees and a big number of Chimpanzees approximately 600 to 700 chimpanzees.

The reserve has 6 groups of welcomes chimpanzee tracking travellers all year round boasting of 6 habituated chimp groups in the area. There’s always a high chance of seeing the primates in Budongo forest once you book a chimpanzee trekking permit. Trekking starts at 7:00 am as you are led by the ranger guides to look for these amazing primates that share a DNA of about 98% with the human beings. Chimpanzee trekking can take you 30 minutes or even a full day, how long it takes is mainly dependant on the location of these primates. The Budongo forest reserve is managed both by the Uganda wildlife Authority (UWA) and the Jane Good all Institute.

Chimpanzee Tracking Rules and Regulations

  • Trackers with diseases such as diarrhea, cough and flu may not be allowed to enter the park.
  • A distance of about 8-12m is important between you and the Chimpanzee.
  • Flash photography is not allowed.
  • Children below the age of 12 are not allowed to enter the park.
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