Chimpanzee Safari in Uganda
Chimpanzees are intelligent, sociable and communicative primates and they share about 98% of the human DNA composition which make them the closest relatives to humans. The chimpanzees have very mesmerizing traits like their ability to crush nuts using stones, use of sticks to capture termites from their holes, and the use of empty pods for hollowing out water. These skills among the chimpanzees have been passed from generation to generation and researchers say each troop has specialized tasks, basing on their diet and habitat.
An adult male chimpanzee weighs between 35 to 70kgs and a height of about 3m while the adult female chimp weighs between 26 to 50kg and can grow up to 2 to 4m high. In the wild, chimpanzee can live up to 40 years and 60years in captivity.
Chimpanzees live in groups between 10 to 100 members. The group members can babysit young ones in the group, groom one another, hold each other’s hands and even kiss! At the age of 4years, the young ones become independent. Chimps are social but if disturbed, they can become unsociable and aggressive. Chimpanzees feed and make sleeping nests from in the trees, although they can also spend sometime on the ground. They feed mainly on fruits, flowers, leaves and seeds.
Chimpanzees in Uganda can be found in Kibale National park, Budongo Forest Reserve, Kyambura Gorge Reserve and Kalinzu Forest reserve respectively. But the best areas to spot chimpanzees are mainly Kibale national park and Budongo forest reserve.
This is a fascinating experience where visitors are allowed to spend enough time with the chimps and observe they as they forage and jump from tree to tree, from the time they leave their nests in the morning to the time they start to build new nests in the evening. The chimpanzees of Uganda are habituated and can freely enjoy their daily life even with human presence in their habitat. chimpanzee habituation in Uganda can be experienced in Kibale National Park mainly where over 1000 chimps lodge among other primates which count up to 13 species.
The most rewarding chimp trekking experience in Uganda is undertaken in Kibale National Park which a walk in the forest which starts from the Visitor center at Kanyanchu at 8am and lasts in the range of 3hours. Although chimpanzees are the most sought-after primates by visitors in Kibale National Park, there are other interesting primates like the black & white colobus, red tailed monkeys, among other primates of up to 13 species that visitors can see.
Endeavour to contact your tour agent for advance booking of the tracking permit especially during peak season since they are on a high demand.
Respect the chimpanzee tracking rules and regulations given to you by the park authorities like the 8meter rule where you are expected to observe chimps from a distance not lesser than 8meters away. The reason for these rules is to protect both you and they chimpanzees. People with airborne diseases from humans like flu are not allowed to visit the chimpanzees because they can also get affected by the same disease. Also, children under the age of 12 are not allowed top track chimpanzees.
Please do not provoke the chimpanzees once you enter the forest, they need maximum freedom. For example, do not use flash photography cameras. A group of only 6 people are allowed to track a particular group of chimpanzees.
What to carry along
We recommend shoes with good grip which can support you while climbing steep moist and muddy slopes.
Wear long sleeved clothes to protect you from pricking thickets as you traverse the verdant jungle.
Uganda`s weather especially in the rain forests is unpredictable, you should carry a rain gear.
A pair or binoculars, enough drinking water and snacks to bite on would be good for you.
Efforts to conserve and protect chimpanzees in Uganda are acknowledged and well supported. Every time a visitor undertakes chimpanzee tracking in Uganda, he or she contributes to the conservation efforts.