The chimpanzee is one of the most exciting primates to see on Uganda Safaris. Next to gorillas these are the most popular primate species among tourists. Uganda has a population of close to 5000 chimpanzees distributed in the various forests and game parks. The chimpanzee population in Uganda used to be much higher than it is today. It used to number in tens of thousands but poaching and an unstable political environment led to the continual decline in population. Chimpanzees were even hunted for food or sold as pets. You can do Chimpanzee Trekking In Uganda in various parts of the country. The country is home to over 5000 chimpanzees in protected and unprotected areas.
There are only 21 countries in Africa where you can find chimpanzees in the wild. Uganda is one of those countries. It is actually the best place in East Africa to see chimpanzees. In the west and central Africa, there is a lot of human encroachment on chimpanzee habitats, and hunting of chimpanzees for meat, which will eventually bring down the number of countries that have chimpanzees in the wild if those activities are not controlled.
Where Can You Find Chimpanzees In Uganda?
Uganda has various forests and national parks in which chimpanzees can be found. You can either choose to go to Chimpanzee Tracking Uganda or a chimpanzee habituation experience. Some Uganda National Parks offer one option, and some offer both.
Here are some of the national parks and forests you can visit if you want to see chimpanzees in Uganda.
Kibale Forest National Park, Budongo Forest- Murchison Falls National Park, and Kyambura Gorge-Queen Elizabeth National Park, are some of the places where you can see Chimpanzees in Uganda.
The best place to have a chimpanzee tracking experience or a habituation experience is in Kibale Forest National Park. Habituated chimpanzees are accustomed to human presence and will not run off when they sense or see you approach, but will stay put and you can see them and take pictures, from a distance of course.
To go on any chimpanzee adventure in Uganda, you need a chimpanzee permit, for each park you visit. Permit prices vary with each park.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale forest offers both chimpanzee tracking and habituation experiences. With chimpanzee trekking, you track the chimpanzees up to where they have settled in the forest. The trek itself is fun and in Kibale forest, you get to see a few other animals and some other primates along the way. Kibale forest is home to about 12 other primates. When you finally find the chimps, you have one hour of viewing before you head back.
The chimpanzee habituation experience, on the other hand, is where you get to experience a day with researchers who are involved in the chimpanzee habituation process. Habituation is a two-year-long process, so you get to spend the day watching the researchers go about habituating some chimpanzees.
A habituation experience is an available option in Kibale forest all year round, but in Budongo forest it is during the off-season months.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Kyambura Gorge
The Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth Park is another very good place to track chimpanzees in Uganda. This scenic gorge has been called the lost Valley by BBC and the Valley of the Apes by others. Kyambura Gorge is part of the Western Rift Valley and it provides a unique setting and backdrop for chimpanzee tracking. The terrain can be a bit on the rough side, it means crossing creeks and rivers all part of the excitement of being with the chimpanzees of Kyambura Gorge. Tracking chimpanzees in the Kyambura gorge is 3 hours well spent, and the chimpanzee permits here are usually cheaper than those for Kibale forest.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Budongo Forest
Budongo Forest in Murchison falls national park is another place to go chimpanzee tracking on your safari in Uganda. You can even do a one-day chimpanzee tracking safari here. Budongo forest is only 4 hours from Kampala and is the nearest chimpanzee tracking destination. So while a one-day gorilla trekking safari is almost impossible, a one-day chimpanzee trekking experience is possible in Budongo forest. You just have to leave Kampala at about 6 am, and you will probably be back in your room by 7 pm. Although you can instead choose to make it a two, three, or a four-day trip. This gives you time to explore the rest of the park, perhaps visit the rhino sanctuary and go rhino tracking too.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Ngamba Island
Taking a chimpanzee tracking adventure to see them as well as admiring the numerous bird species found in Ngamba islands. The Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) on Lake Victoria’s island is formed for the conservation of chimpanzees, and also you will see monitor lizards plus a great array of bird types and other tourist attractions on the island such as community tourism and sport fishing.
Ngamba Island has rescued chimpanzees got from areas in which they were in danger of extinction. Most of the chimp mothers were killed so they managed to rescue the babies. A number of them were brought in from Europe after they were traced back here to Uganda.
Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary gets about 4,000 foreign tourists each year.
This is a destination that is promoting Uganda because tourists include a lot of other wildlife destinations. Ngamba Island was also established to test any negative radical effect of this chopper on the chimpanzees, and fortunately, there aren’t any negative effects that were exhibited.
Chimpanzee Tracking In Uganda
Uganda Safari Tours provides the greatest opportunities for tracking Chimpanzees in the East African region. You can do chimpanzee tracking in various parts of the country. The country is home to over 5000 chimpanzees in protected and unprotected areas. The Chimpanzee tracking areas described here are habituated, meaning that they are used to humans and will go about their days while you are near them. Meanwhile, you can see chimpanzees in zoos or sanctuaries, there is nothing like seeing the chimpanzees in their natural habitat in the wild. There are also chimpanzees in Bwindi (not habituated) and other degraded forest fragments on private land across western Uganda. The increasing demand for tourism and research is leading to more groups of chimpanzees being habituated. The table below gives a basic guideline for Research and tourism sites with habituated chimpanzees in the Albertine Rift, Western Uganda (Please note that chimpanzees habituated for research only are meant for research, not tourism. You can’t see this as a tourist).
|SITE||NUMBER OF CHIMPANZEES||PURPOSE OF HABITUATION|
|Sonso (Budongo forest)||80||Research|
|Waibira (Budongo forest)||78||Research|
|Kaniyo-Pabidi (Budongo forest)||100||Tourism|
|Kasokwa (Budongo forest)||16||Research|
|Kanyawara (Kibale forest)||50||Research|
|Kanyanchu (Kibale forest)||120||Tourism|
|Ngogo (Kibale forest)||150||Research|
|Sebitoli (Kibale forest)||80-100||Research/tourism|
|Toro-Semuliki (Toro-Semuliki WLR)||60||Research/tourism|
|Kalinzu S-Group (Kibale forest)||25||Tourism|
|Kalinzu M-group (Kibale forest)||70-80||Research|
|Kyambura Gorge (QENP)||19||Tourism|
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You need a visa to enter Uganda. You can either get a visa on arrival at the airport, or before you travel. You can apply for single entry and transit visas on the evisas website. You can also apply for these, and other types of visa, at the Uganda High Commission in London.
The charge for the visa on arrival is US$50 in cash while the charge for processing the E-visa application yourself via the correct Uganda government website (http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html) is US$52.53 including credit card fee.
Single Entry Visa is allowed to USA,UK and other European countries travellers who wish to stay in Uganda for a short period. … Foreigners who travel to a Uganda for tourism purpose or business purpose or medical purpose. The applicant needs to mention the purpose of his visit. Uganda tourist visa and Uganda work visa are the single-entry visas.
The official processing duration for a Ugandan visa as per the official Ugandan Consulates’ site is 14 business days. However, this duration does vary between 2 and 15 days depending on the Embassy to be contacted.