Chimpanzee tracking is one of most popular primate tracking activities among tourists, next to gorilla trekking in popularity. With a population of over 5000 chimpanzees in Uganda distributed in the various forests and game parks, this population is steadily increasing thanks to peace and stability, as well as conservation efforts.
Which are the best places to see chimpanzees?
Uganda is the best place in East Africa to track chimpanzees. With presence in various forests and national parks, there are many places to find these cheeky primates. You can either choose to go chimpanzee tracking, or a chimpanzee habituation experience. Some parks offer one options, some offer both.
Kibale forest national park, Budongo forest- Murchison Falls national park, and Kyambura gorge-Queen Elizabeth National park, Kalinzu forest reserve, are some of the most popular places where you can see chimpanzees in Uganda.
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.
For every chimpanzee tracking adventure in Uganda, you need a chimpanzee tracking permit, for each park you visit. Permit prices vary with each park.
The Chimpanzee experience in Kibale Forest
Kibale forest offers both chimpanzee tracking and habituation experiences. With chimpanzee tracking, 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.
The Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth Park is another very good place to track chimpanzees in Uganda. Kyambura Gorge is part of the Western Rift Valley and it provides such a unique setting and backdrop for chimpanzee tracking. Tracking chimpanzees in Kyambura gorge lasts up to 3 hours, and the chimpanzee permits are usually cheaper than those for Kibale 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. Budongo forest is only 4 hours from Kampala and is the nearest of the chimpanzee tracking destination.