Chimpanzee Tracking in Uganda is a fantastic adventure to consider taking on while exploring the Pearl of Africa. Uganda is the best country in the world to offer such a thrilling experience in several destinations. Chimpanzees are known to be humans’ closest relatives sharing almost 98% of human DNA.
Additionally, they possess many human traits, including; openness, extraversion and agreeableness. It is interesting to note that chimpanzees have empathy (capable of feeling various emotions), respect their elders just like we do and even love fun and play! Tracking chimpanzees is like a search for lost relatives.
Also, these primates are unique wild species which live in communities (troops) of about 20-70 individuals. Each community is led by a dominant male responsible for controlling all the activities and arguments among individuals. This also portrays that chimpanzees are very much social mammals. Another interesting fact about them is that when a male is born in the family, he always remains in that same family. However, this is different for the females because they usually move to neighbouring communities.
Did you know chimps are shy creatures and can hide from seeing humans? Before they are ready for tracking, they first undergo the habituation process. The process is simply about making the species used to human presence. It can last for up to two years. Fortunately, trackers in Uganda can get a chance to take part in the habituation process (spending almost a full day with the chimpanzees).
All about Chimpanzee Habituation.
Chimpanzee habituation starts as a follow-up for the new wild chimpanzee community. It proceeds from where the community has been sighted. The process is done by researchers and a ranger who monitor the species, studying their daily behaviours and individual characters. This also involves naming the family and individuals according to the prevailing atmosphere.
In Uganda, Chimpanzee habituation is open for trackers to spend more hours with the great primates. Here, a limited number of 4 trackers, including researchers and a ranger, embark on their adventure into the forest. They start searching for the species from where they had their previous night. When trackers find them, they are given ample time to watch the chimpanzees wake up, feed, rest, care for their young ones, protect their territory, etc.
The opportunity for chimpanzee habituation is only in Uganda and Tanzania (in East Africa). Also, Kibale National Park is the only destination for this exceptional experience.
Where to see chimpanzees in Uganda
In the world, there are about 170,000 to 300,000 chimpanzees left. Uganda hosts about 5,000 chimpanzees in various locations, with Kibale Forest National Park being the best. What is more, there are other destinations for watching chimpanzees. These include Ngamba Island at Entebbe, Budongo Forest, Kyambura Gorge and Uganda Wildlife Education Center (a popular spot for family adventures). However, tracking chimpanzees in the wild is for only people aged 15 years and above.
Kibale Forest National Park
This is the world’s primate hatching grounds (primate capital) with over 13 species. Kibale Forest National Park has offered the best chimpanzee tracking experience for decades. The park suggests the most accessible offers in Africa to see chimpanzees. Also, this park is home to over 1,500 chimpanzees, with about 12 habituated groups available for tracking.
This incredible rainforest is located in Western Uganda. It hosts diverse wildlife species, including chimpanzees, monkeys, and other mammals such as bushbucks, giant forest hogs, African buffalo, red and blue duikers, etc. Thus taking a guided walk through the forest will reward you with a fantastic view of the variety of wildlife inhabiting the forest.
About 1500 habituated chimpanzees are in the forest, and two communities are still in the habituation process. Tracking here starts earlier at 8 am by groups of only eight trackers led by an armed ranger guide. Before heading into the forest, they attend a briefing session to get guidelines and safety precautions. Afterwards, they embark into the woods to search for the primates. When the trackers find the chimps, they are given only 1 hour in their presence. For tracking at Kibale Forest, a permit costs US$150 per person per day and for habituation experience, US$250.
The forest is located in the North Western part of Uganda and extends the more extensive Murchison Falls National Park (on the Southern wing). It is another outstanding destination to track chimpanzees in Uganda besides Kibale Forest National Park, Kyambura Gorge, UWEC and Ngamba Island. Meanwhile, Budongo forest is thought to accommodate about 650 chimpanzees and offers a guaranteed opportunity to see the chimpanzees. It hosts six habituated chimpanzee families that have been tracked for years, and for monitoring here, a permit costs US$100.
This is a thrilling escapement in the far Eastern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. It has unique tropics which favour the presence of the chimpanzees. It is said that about 19 chimps here are trained to offer a special welcome to trackers in the forest. Meanwhile, a trip to Kyambura accompanies the famous wildlife safari of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Book your safari with us today and encounter man’s closest cousins at close range. You can watch them in their natural environment, take some photographs for memories and learn much more about these extraordinary primates.