What is this safari about?
Uganda is considered to be the best country in the world to track and view wild Chimpanzee’s in their natural habitat. Chimps are among our closes living relatives as we share over 98% of our DNA and spending time with chimps in the forest is an incredibly moving experience.
The most popular area for chimp trekking in Uganda is in the Kibale Forest National Park in Western Uganda. It is also possible to see chimps in Murchison Falls National Park and in Kyambura Gorge.
Chimp trekking can be a strenuous activity depending on where the chimps are at the time. It can take you on a real wild adventure through the forest so prepare for at least a 4-5 hour trek. There are normally two treks taking place in a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This differs from Mountain Gorilla trekking which is only a morning activity. The morning is regarded as the better time to view the chimps as the chances for rain are slightly less than the afternoon, however you will be trekking in a rainforest, so it can rain at any time of day and throughout all seasons!
Group sizes are normally restricted to 6 individuals however they are slightly flexible and can take up to a maximum of 8 if you are in one large group. Although viewing chimps is not guaranteed, there is more than a 90% success rate.
Aside from the Chimps Kibale has one of the highest diversities and concentrations of primates in Africa and it is very likely that you will see some during the chimp trek.
Things you need to know
It is important you book these chimp permits far in advance to avoid disappointment as it is a very popular experience with many tourists taking part. Once having found the Chimps, each group spends about 1 hour with the group. Unlike the gorillas, this is less strict and controlled. It also lacks the exclusivity of the gorillas and groups often overlap at sightings.
It is also crucial that you are not ill and carrying a contagious disease as chimps are very susceptible. If this is the case, you will not be permitted to enter the park.
Who can go?
- Children over the age of 12 are permitted.
- 8 people maximum per group, but normally 6.
- Persons who are showing no signs of illness from contagious diseases.
- You must be fit enough for this as it can be very strenuous.
Where is this?
In Uganda it is possible to view wild Chimpanzee’s in Kibale Forest National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and Kyambura Gorge. Kible being regarded as the prime location.
If you are combining Kibale with Bwindi, it’s a great idea to plan in a night at Kyambura Gorge and track the Chimps again! Its much cheaper at Kyambura gorge and gives you the chance to see another family of chimps in the same trip. It could also work as a good insurance should you be unfortunate and miss out in Kibale.
What should I expect to pay?
Chimp permits in Kibale Forest National Park are USD$150 per person per trek. In Kyambura Gorge they are USD$50 per person per trek.
What Extensions do you recommend?
Chimp trekking combines perfectly with Gorilla trekking in Bwindi and other safaris in Uganda. Alternatively combine chimps, gorillas and do the major safari part in Tanzania or Kenya for a well-rounded experience.
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