Best spots in Uganda to see chimpanzees
What are the best spots in Uganda to see chimpanzees? Uganda located in the eastern part of Africa is with no doubt the best destination to watch primates in the whole world. The country has several places where primates are found with the famous primates being mountain gorillas found in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park, chimpanzees in Kibale forest national park and other places as we shall explain in the article below, golden monkeys in Mgahinga national park and other different monkeys in most of the national parks.
Some of the chimpanzees in Uganda have been habituated and have been successfully made used to human presence. The chimpanzees are human closest relatives after mountain gorillas sharing about 98% human DNA and are mostly omnivores animals which means they feed on all sorts of vegetation and also animals and some of what chimpanzees eat include figs, fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves, insects, honey, meat, eggs, palm wine, medicinal plants, and milk.
There are so many places in Uganda where one can find chimpanzees but the best places are Kibale forest national park which is the most visited, Budongo forest national park, Kyambura gorge, Kalinzu forest, Toro Semuliki game reserve, Kaniyo Pabidi forest, and Ngamba island sanctuary. All the places mentioned above offer the same trekking experiences just that Kibale forest national park offers both gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation.
Chimpanzee trekking starts in the morning at 8 am with a briefing at the quarters and other places do the briefing afternoon after which the trekkers are led by the armed ranger guides into the jungles in search of mountain gorillas. After several hours of searching and locating chimpanzees, the trekkers are given a maximum of 1 hour to be around them as they watch them do their daily activities, learn their behaviors and also take photos.
Some of the best spots in Uganda to see chimpanzees
The following are the best spots to see chimpanzees in Uganda;
Kibale forest national park
Kibale forest national park is one of the best spots to see chimpanzees in Uganda; Located in the western part of the country. Kibale forest national park is the most visited park when it comes to chimpanzee trekking. The Park was established in 1993 to protect the remaining forest and animals by that time. The Park is a home to chimpanzees and over 13 primates such as red colobus monkeys, patas monkeys, vervet monkeys, pottos, black and white colobus monkeys, l’hoests monkeys, blue monkeys, Uganda mangabeys, olive baboons, Uganda red colobus, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and the Demidoff galago.
Chimpanzee trekking is the most done activity in Kibale forest national park with tourists having choices of doing either a full-day chimpanzee habituation experience or half-day trekking the already habituated families. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park is done in 2 sessions with the first one beginning early in the morning at 8 am and the second one at 2 pm. Both the trekking session begins with a briefing at the park headquarters where trekkers are taught about the rules and regulations of the chimpanzee trekking activity. After chimpanzee trekking briefing, the trekkers are led into the jungles by the ranger guides to search for these gentle primates. After several hours of searching, they locate a chimpanzee family assigned and the trekkers are maximum of 1 hour to be around them as they learn about their behaviors and take photos.
Price of chimpanzee trekking permit in Kibale forest national park
To trek chimpanzees in Kibale forest national park, you must have 12 years and above and you must also have valid trekking which you can book directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority or any trusted tour operator. The chimpanzee trekking permit for Kibale forest national park costs $200 foreign non-residents, $150 foreign residents, and UGX150,000 East African Citizens. The chimpanzee trekking permits allow an individual to trek mountain gorillas and be around them for a maximum of 1 hour as they learn about their habitat and take photos.
Apart from chimpanzee trekking, Kibale forest national park offers chimpanzee habituation that enables tourists to spend a whole day with chimpanzees in the wild. the chimpanzee habituation permit is issued out by the Uganda wildlife authority at a fee of $250 for both foreign non-residents and foreign residents while East African pay UGX150,000.
Where to stay in Kibale forest national park during your chimpanzee trekking safari
Kibale forest national park has several accommodation facilities where travelers can stay in Kibale forest national park depending on a traveler’s travel budget and the number of days on your safari. Kibale forest national park has the budget, mid-range, and luxury accommodation facilities that are spread in and out of Kibale forest national park. Some of the accommodation facilities in Kibale forest national park include Primate Lodge Kibale, Amaraga Rift Valley Lodge, Kyaninga Lodge, Chimpundu Lodge, Ndali Kasenda Lodge, Kanyanchu River Camp Kibale Forest Camp, Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse, Nyinabulitwa Country Resort, Toraco Tree Tops, Chimps’ Nest, Mountains of the moon Hotel, Ndali Lodge, Papaya Lake Lodge, Isunga Lodge, Safari Hotel Bigodi, Kibale Safari Lodge, Crater Safari Lodge among others.
Kyambura gorge is part of Queen Elizabeth national park one of the most visited national parks in the country located in the western part of Uganda. Tourists to queen Elizabeth national park can take time and take a visit to Kyambura gorge also called the valley of apes to have a good time with chimpanzees. Kyambura gorge is home to only one chimpanzee habituated family but it’s interesting being around it. Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge is done in 2 sessions with the first one starting in the morning at 8 am and the second at 2 pm. Both the morning and evening session starts with a briefing at the visitors’ center. After the briefing, the trekkers are led by a ranger guide into the forest to begin searching for the chimpanzees.
On locating the chimpanzees, the trekkers are given 1 hour to be around these primates as they learn about their behaviors, watch them do daily activities, and also take photos. To take part in the trekking you need to be ages 12 and above and must possess a valid chimpanzee trekking permit which is got from Mweya at a fee of $50 both foreign non-residents and foreign residents while East Africans pay UGX30,000. Kyambura gorge has 16 permits every day with 8 in the morning and the other 8 in the evening.
Where to stay on a safari to Kyambura gorge
People to Kymabura gorge can stay in any of the lodges in Queen Elizabeth national park. the accommodation facilities range from budget to mid-range to luxury options such as Kyambura gorge lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge, Kyangabi Crater Resort, Katara lodge, Enganzi Game Lodge, Park View Safari Lodge, Twin Lakes Safari, and so many others.
Budongo forest reserve
Budongo forest reserve is located in the southern part of Murchison falls national park protecting over 24 species of mammals, 39 bird species, 280 butterflies, and 9 species of primates among which include chimpanzees. Budongo forest reserve is home to 600-700 chimpanzees with some families that have been habituated families for trekking at any time of the year. Chimpanzee trekking is the most done activity in Budongo forest and it begins with a briefing at the information center at Budongo eco-lodge where trekkers are taught about the rules and regulations of the trekking activity. After the briefing, the trekkers are led by the guide into the forest to search for these gentle primates and after locating them they are given a maximum of 1 hour to be around them as they watch them do daily activities, learn their habits and take photos.
Where to stay on a chimpanzee trekking safari in Budongo forest?
Budongo forest being near Murchison falls national park means that you can sleep in any of the lodges that are in the park and near the forest. Where to stay depends on your budget because there are accommodation facilities ranging from luxury to mid-range to budget options. The accommodation facilities include Budongo Eco-Lodge, Saltek Forest Cottages, Masindi Hotel, Kabalega Resort Hotel, and New Court View Hotel among others.
Located in the southwestern part of Uganda near Maramagambo forest and Queen Elizabeth national park, Kalinzu forest is a home to chimpanzees and other primates such as blue monkeys, l’hoest’s monkeys, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, colobus monkeys, and vervet monkeys. Chimpanzee trekking is the most done activity in Kalinzu forest with over 320 chimpanzee individuals of which more than 50 are habituated and open for trekking.
Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest begins with a briefing where trekkers are taught about the rules and regulations of the activity after which rangers lead the trekkers into the forest to search for these peaceful primates. After hours of searching, once the chimpanzees have been located, the trekkers are given an hour to be around the primates as they watch them do daily activities, learn their habits and take photos.
Accommodation at Kalinzu forest
There are no accommodation facilities at Kalinzu forest but you don’t have to worry about where to stay because the forest is near Queen Elizabeth national park which means you can use the accommodation facilities of the park. Depending on one’s budget the accommodation facilities here range from budget to mid-range to luxury options such as Tembo Safari Lodge, Mweya Hostel and Cottages, Valley in Hotel, Kyalimanya Guest House, Park House Hotel, Katara Lodge, Engiri Game Lodge, Hot Springs Hotel Limited, and Jacana lodge.
Ngamba island sanctuary
This is also one of the best spots in Uganda to see chimpanzees and located on one of the islands of Lake Victoria 23km away from Entebbe, Ngamba sanctuary is a home of over 50 orphanage chimpanzees that were rescued from poachers and meat traders across East Africa. Visitors who take a visit to Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary get an opportunity to have a closer encounter with chimpanzees most especially in the caregiving experience or the chimpanzee forest walk, feed the chimpanzees, lay their nesting, and do other care activities.
Best time to see chimpanzees?
Uganda can be visited at any time of the year for chimpanzee trekking but the best time to visit the chimpanzee places is the dry season. The dry season occurs from June to September and December to February. These months are characterized by little or no rainfall, the vegetation thin with clear views of chimpanzees, the trekking trails less muddy or slippery and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Trekking chimpanzees can also be done in the rainy season (October to November and March to May) favoring the budget travelers because the accommodations in and around the parks give out huge discounts and some of the trekking permits reduce the price.
What to book with Africa Adventure Vacations?
Africa adventure vacations is a tour company based in Uganda licensed by Uganda Tourism Board and a member of Association of Uganda Tour Operators. Booking with Africa adventure vacations provides you safety and confidence during your safari courtesy of well-trained safari driver guides who are well conversant with all routes and tourism destinations in Africa. You can book with us any of the activities you want to do in Africa such as mountain gorilla trekking, mountain gorilla habituation, birding, game drives, hiking, nature walks and community tours among others. Booking to see chimpanzees in Uganda can be done at any time of the year. You can extend your Uganda trip to other places such as lake Bunyonyi, Mgahinga and Kidepo valley national park.