Chimpanzee tracking in Uganda

Uganda is arguably the best destination on the continent of Africa for chimpanzee tracking safaris, Uganda is recognized for being home to one of the largest chimpanzee populations found in various sites dominated by thick forests.  Chimpanzee tracking activity is an adventurous African safari activity on which travelers get an opportunity to meet chimpanzees in their natural habitat. 

About chimpanzees

Chimpanzee tracking activity
Chimpanzee tracking activity

Chimpanzees are primates belonging to the great Ape family together with gorillas and orangutans and they are close cousins to human beings, chimpanzees share 98% of their DNA composition with human beings. Chimpanzees are social beings, intelligent, and have fascinating communicating traits.

 Chimpanzees are very playful primates growing to the average weight of between 35 and 75 kilograms and approximately 3 meters of height to a male adult. A female chimpanzee grows to weigh about 26 – 50 kilograms and a height of between 2 and 4 feet. Chimpanzees have a life expectancy of 40 years for chimpanzees living fee in the wilderness and 60 years for those in captivity.  

Chimpanzees live in groups of 10 – 100 members, these groups consist of male, females chimpanzees and their young ones, young chimpanzees are groomed by any member of the group and when they grow to 4 years they leave their parent group to become independent. Though chimpanzees are social beings, they get really aggressive and harmful when disturbed. 

Chimpanzees feed on leaves, seeds, fruits, and fruits. 

Chimpanzee tracking experience 

Chimpanzee tracking experience in various chimpanzee tracking destinations in Uganda starts as early as 08:00 am with a briefing about chimpanzee tracking experience at the headquarters, after the briefing you trek into the forests in search of chimpanzees with the guidance of a safari guide. A group of 6 people is allowed to participate in each chimpanzee adventure which takes about 2-3 hours, as you look for chimpanzees expect to spot other primates and birds in the forests. 

While in the presence of chimpanzees you are allowed to stay only for one full hour of enjoying and observing chimpanzees swinging on trees, feed each other, and play. 

Where to do chimpanzee tracking in Uganda 

There are a number of forests and protected areas where chimpanzees are found on a chimpanzee tracking safari, these areas are under the administration and protection of the Uganda Wildlife Authority and they include 

  • Kibale forests (Kibale national park)

Kibale forest protected by Kibale national park is a famed primate habitat in Uganda and Africa at large located in western Uganda, the forest is one of the remaining forest tracts comprising of both montane and lowland forests. The forests of Kibale are home to over 1500 chimpanzees making 30% of the chimpanzee population in Uganda, among the chimpanzees in Kibale there are 3 habituated chimpanzees communities open for chimpanzee tracking safaris.

Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park

Apart from chimpanzees, Kibale forests and Kibale national park at a large host of other 12 primate species such as L’Hoests monkey, Red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, mangabeys, bush babies, olive baboons, and many more.

There are also a variety of bird species residing in Kibale forests, these birds are recorded to over 340 species and they include African Pitta, Green-breasted Pitta, Afep Pigeon, White-naped Pigeon, Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, Black Bee-eater, Western Nicator, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Little Greenbul, Brown-chested Alethe, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, African Grey Parrot, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Brown Illadopsis, Black-capped Apalis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Yellow Spotted Nicator, Little Green Bul, Black-eared Ground Thrush, and the Abyssinian Ground-thrush.

  • Kalinzu Forest  

Kalinzu forest is the second-best destination for chimpanzee tracking safaris in Uganda with higher chances of spotting the chimpanzees, the forest is situated outside Queen Elizabeth national park. Kalinzu Forest is home to about 290 chimpanzee individuals with over 70 habituated chimpanzees which are tracked on chimpanzee tracking experience, the chimpanzees in Kalinzu Forest have been under research and studied by a group of Japanese scientists for the last two decades. 

Apart from Chimpanzees, Kalinzu Forest is home to a variety of forest creatures such as butterflies, moths, reptiles, primates such as black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoests, red-tailed colobus monkeys, galagos, bushbabies, pottos among others, and over 410 bird species. Bird species in Kalinzu forest include Great Blue Turaco, black and white casket, and many more.

  • Kyambura Gorge (Queen Elizabeth national park)

Kyambura Gorge also pronounced as Chambura is a magnificent Ape Valley located in Queen Elizabeth national park, the gorge is a feature of 16 kilometers long and 100 meters deep with a thick underground forest.

Kyambura Gorge is home to over 30 chimpanzee individuals who are trekked on chimpanzee tracking experience, there are other species of primates in Kyambura Gorge such as baboons, red-tailed monkeys, and vervet monkeys. Kyambura Gorge is a great habitat for birds such as blue-headed bee-eater, falcons, Africa fin foot, and many more. 

  • Budongo Forest 

Budongo forest protected by Budongo Forest reserve is located in Western Uganda right adjust to Murchison Falls national park, Budongo forest covers an area of 793 square kilometers comprising of mahogany trees. The forest is the 3rd best chimpanzee tracking destination in Uganda and home to over 700 chimpanzees which are found while on chimpanzee tracking safari, apart from chimpanzee the forest is home to other forest creatures such as 8 other species of primates, 130 species of moths, butterflies and 24 species of mammals. 

Among the chimpanzees in Budongo Forest, there are 100 habituated chimpanzees.

  • Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve 

Toro-Semuliki wildlife reserve is another great chimpanzee tracking destination located along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the reserve is home to about 260 chimpanzees living in 3 communities. Chimpanzee in Toro- Semuliki wildlife reserve is being studied by scientists from Indiana University and has been noticed to have a unique habit of moving upright as they leave the forests on they were the way to feed in the savannah.

  • Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary 

Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary is a forested island located on Lake Victoria, the sanctuary is a rehabilitation center for rescued and orphaned chimpanzees from various areas of Uganda and it hosts over 40 chimpanzees.

  • The Uganda Wildlife Education Center 

Uganda Wildlife Education Center is located in Entebbe and was officially called Entebbe Zoo, the establishment is an education center with numerous species of animals kept in caged enclosures including chimpanzees. The Uganda wildlife education center is home to about 40 chimpanzees which are easily seen when you visit the center. 

Chimpanzee tracking in Uganda is an extremely adventurous and memorable activity you ought to do while on an African safari in Uganda

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