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Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda Kibale Safari

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Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda Kibale Safari

Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda Kibale Safari

Jane Goodall turned her childhood dream to live among African wildlife into a reality. She also turned her passion for animals into an epic adventure, produced ground breaking scientific discoveries, and changed the way the world understands our closest living relative, the chimpanzee.

Chimpanzees share about 98.7% of their DNA with humans, making them the closest primates to humans other than the Mountain gorillas. There are over 1800 Chimpanzees spread across Uganda in areas such as Kibale Forest National Park, Budongo Forest Reserve, Kalinzu Forest Reserve, Semliki National park, and the Kyambura Gorge within Queen Elizabeth National park for tourists who wish to track them in their natural habitats. There are also some Chimpanzees within the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC in Entebbe) and within Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Besides the popular chimpanzee tracking where tourists spend only one hour with these Primates, another riveting activity exists in Budongo Forest Reserve and Kibale Forest National Park-called the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience where tourists spend the 4 hours with Researchers to study the Chimpanzees as they undergo Habituation (to make them used to the presence of humans).

The biggest threat to chimpanzees in Africa is the loss of habitat by deforestation. Chimpanzees are also killed for their food among the peoples of the Congo or offered as pets to illicit animal dealers. In the last century, Uganda lost thousands of chimps owing to snares and other traps set up for other species, such as antelopes.

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Uganda chimpanzee trekking destinations

Kibale forest national park

Kibale Forest National Park is one of Uganda’s most spectacular tropical rainforest parks; best known as the primate capital of the world. Founded in 1993, the Kibale forest features over 13 primate species including over 1500 wild chimpanzees, When it comes to chimpanzee tracking Kibale Forest National Park features on the top list as one of the most exceptional and sought after tourist destinations by primate lovers. Besides chimpanzees, there are also other Apes that help to boost primate walks in the park some of which include the localized Red colobus, endemic Uganda Mangabey, the rare L’Hoests monkey, olive baboons, pottos, bush baby, Red-tailed monkey, Black and white colobus monkey, blue monkey among others.

Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park

The Kyambura Gorge experience is more than discovering chimpanzees in their natural environment: it teaches visitors about the ecosystems of Kyambura Gorge’s atmospheric “underground” rain forest, including vegetation types; bird identification, and behaviour; and chimp and monkey ecology.

Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, visitors stand a pretty good chance of hearing and seeing our distant cousins as they are habituated.

Budongo forest reserve in Murchison falls national park

Budongo forest is situated approximately 3 hours’ drive northwest of the capital city Kampala on the way to the prominent Murchison falls national park National Park. This is the biggest Mahogany forest found in the whole of East Africa as well as habitat to the largest number of chimpanzees throughout Uganda. The major tourist sites within this forest are the Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site, Busingiro Ecotourism site, and Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site which is located at boundaries to Murchison Falls National Park and dominated by Mahogany and Iron-wood trees.

The 115-kilometer expanse is a remote chunk of the Budongo forest. Its isolation once in a while offers a safe haven for the Lions, Leopards as well as Buffaloes. Early in the morning is the ideal time to set out touring because then you will have an opportunity to find a number of the forest inhabitants licking salt by the forest glades? River Waiga offers refreshment to the various wildlife species within this forest.

Kalinzu forest reserve Near Queen Elizabeth national park

Kalinzu Central forest reserve is situated near prominent Queen Elizabeth national park and at a close proximate to Maramagambo forest. Kalinzu forest reserve harbours a number of animal species and over 379 species of birds exist in the forest with over 200 butterflies. There are six species of primates living in Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve in Uganda they include chimpanzee which is famously visited by the travelers in the park for chimpanzee trekking, the forest reserve is the second-best for chimp trekking after the Kibale forest which is a home for the chimpanzee.

There also other animals are seen roaming in the forest such as baboons, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, L’Hoests monkeys, Vervet monkeys, black and white Colobus monkeys. The forest also harbours nocturnal animals like bush babies, Pottos, and Galagos. The forest reserve has 414 species of trees, 98 moths, flowers, and reptiles.

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Our protected areas to see Chimpanzees in Uganda

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

This Island is a small forested Island located in Lake Victoria the largest freshwater lake in Africa. This Chimpanzee sanctuary is where all rescued Chimpanzees are being taken care of. Chimpanzees live in communities in most forests of Uganda-Africa. Many animal traffickers do target primates including Chimpanzees, because of this; they are endangered and need our protection and care. Due to the fact that you can never tell where a given Chimp came from after rescue, they cannot be taken back to their natural habitat but to Ngamba Island. Cruise with our Ngamba Island Boat excursion to the Island and study; appreciate how to conserve our closed cousins the Chimpanzees.

Uganda wildlife education center

Popularly known as “Entebbe Zoo”, UWEC was opened in 1952, by the Colonial Government in Uganda, as a reception center for wild animals that were found as casualties.

It’s beyond seeing and learning about animals. Participate in; corporate events, behind-the-scenes experiences, dine at our restaurant, have your children enjoy the play facilities and much more throughout the year!

Chimpanzees that are undergoing rehabilitation are available for people touring the zoo to see.

What to carry on chimpanzee trekking Adventure

You will need light-weighted hiking shoes that will help you while climbing on the steep and slippery slopes in the park; a long-sleeved shirt/T-shirt to protect you from the prinking thickets, a chimpanzee tracking permit, rain jacket since the weather is not easy to be predicted, a bottle of water and some snakes, a pair of binoculars since chimpanzee safaris are not only for viewing chimpanzees but also some forest bird species, a good camera with a quick film of about 400 to 800 ASA and don’t forget to carry extra batteries in case the one in the camera runs short of power.

See our long Uganda safaris featuring chimpanzee trekking

Characteristics of chimpanzees

An adult chimpanzee male weighs between 35 and 70 kilograms with a height of about 3 meters and an adult female weighs around 26 and 50 kilograms with a height of 2 and 4 feet. Their life expectancy is at 40 years and those in captivity go up to 60 years. Like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees are among our closest cousins, sharing at least 98% of their DNA with humans. They are sociable, intelligent, communicative and they can use tools especially rocks for crushing nuts, empty pods for hollowing out water as well as sticks for catching termites from their hole; these features position them among the most incredible primate species in the wilderness. They live in communities of about 10 to 100 individuals. They are able to babysit each other’s young, kiss, groom one another, and hold hands. The young ones can start living individually at 4 years. They are also aggressive and unsociable especially when irritated just like any wild species. Despite the fact that they spend most of their time on the ground, they usually feed and make their nests up in the trees. Their diet differs from composting of leaves, fruits, seeds, and flowers.

When to go to Kibale National Park for chimpanzee tracking

Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park is an all-year-round adventure however the best time to visit the park is in the dry season that starts from the months of June to September and December to February. March, April, May, and November mark the low/wet season and at times it is hard to track these primates but it is ideal for bird watchers.

How to reach Kibale National Park

By road:

You can take the Northern route-it is shorter and you can connect very fast. It covers almost 300 kilometers from Kampala to Fort Portal and then 36 kilometers to the Kanyanchu visitor center. As well, you can go through Kampala-Fort portal-Sebitoli or Fort Portal-Kamwenge-Kanyanchu.

Lodges in Kibale National Park

The notable lodges range from luxury to mid-range/budget;
Luxury lodges include; Ndali lodge, Crater Safari Lodge, Kyaninga Lodge, Papaya Lake lodge, primate lodge just near Kanyanchu visitor center. The mid-range lodges include the Chimpanzee forest guest house, Kibale forest camp, Mountains of the Moon Hotel in Fort Portal town-26 kilometers up to the park, and many more.

In conclusion, chimpanzee tracking is the most fascinating primate adventure that is worth including while in Uganda safaris. Kibale National Park has the largest number of chimpanzees that offer primate enthusiasts a chance to catch a glimpse of these magnificent species while in the wild. With your permit at hand, you get a 95% chance to view these amazing apes in the jungles of Kibale.


Nature walks in Kibale forest
Night Walks in Kibale forest
Birding tours in Kibale forest
Visit Bigodi wetland sanctuary
Bigodi village walks
Visit the explosive craters
Volunteering in Kibale forest and Bigodi


Kyaninga Lodge
Ndali Lodge
Primate Lodge
Papaya Lodge
Turaco Tree Tops
Kibale Forest Camp
Chimpanzee Forest Guest House
Kluges Guest Farm


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