Kibale National Park
Uganda is the best country in East Africa for observing primates in the world. Though it is most known for hosting travelers looking for gorilla safaris, Uganda is the best known destination for visiting our closest relatives the chimpanzee – with just less than 5,000 Chimpanzees in various forests and National Park. Kibale Forest national park still remains the best chimpanzee home and primate capital in Uganda – you can either partake in;
- Chimpanzee Trekking–where you view chimpanzees for one hour
- Chimpanzee Habituation Experience where you spend the whole day with a guide in forest with Chimps
- Getting involved in habituation process with researchers which take about two years
The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience can be done in Kibale Forest national park all year long and during off-season months at Budongo Forest which is a part of Murchison Falls National Park conservation area.
Poaching in Uganda has been the main hindrance to multiplication of Chimpanzees in the wild and several reports in the media have emerged that these human-like creatures are being hunted by Ugandans for food, something learned from people migrating or fleeing the Democratic Republic of the Congo since in Uganda chimpanzees were never hunted for food. Baby Chimpanzees are also hunted to be sold in the pet trade and in the process other chimpanzees also are harmed – hunting chimpanzees for the pet trade mostly takes place in Congo. Chimpanzees are also often caught in traps and snares meant for other animals such as antelopes. There used to be 10s of thousands of chimpanzees in Uganda – today there just less than 5000 chimpanzees remaining in Uganda’s protected areas.
Only 21 countries in Africa have chimpanzees in the wild and Uganda is the best place in East Africa for chimpanzee tracking in the rain forests of Kibale national park, Budongo game reserve and Kalinju forest reserve where chimps have been extensively habituated however human encroachment on chimpanzee habitats, hunting chimpanzees for meat in West and Central Africa will most likely cut the number of countries in Africa that have chimpanzees in the wild.
Track chimpanzees in Kibale Forest national park–5 hours drive from Kampala which makes it an affordable possibility for two days chimpanzee tracking tour. Enjoy Chimpanzee Tracking, a Forest Walk or Birding Walk at Bigodi swamp sanctuary, Lunch with 2 sodas or one beer and still be back in Kampala after tracking.
Get involved in the most electrifying activities at Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary where feeding and viewing of beautiful chimps can be done concurrently or even make a stop over at Entebbe Zoo for chimpanzee great experiences. Whether you are interested in chimpanzees in captivity or in their natural habitat, Uganda does it all but there is nothing thrilling like tracking chimpanzees in the wild—You have a chance to see them foraging, building nests, attending to their young ones—an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere. Take a chimpanzee Safari to Kibale/Budongo/Kalinju – if you can add a few of your friends or your family to your group – the safari becomes most affordable.
Here is what is involved in a typical chimpanzee Safari to Kibale Forest;
- Depart Kampala–your lodging at 7:00 am
- Arrive at park headquarters before midday
- Lunch at primate Lodge – bottled water in vehicle during drive times
- Guided Nature or Birding Walk with a Guide.
- Morning Chimpanzee Tracking with a small group of Participants and Guides 2 – 4 hours
- Return to Kampala
- Arrive in Kampala during early evening hours
Uganda wildlife Conservation Education Center (Chimp Close Up)
UWEC is one of the easiest places to access being only a 15 minutes drive from Entebbe airport. The center is home to rehabilitated chimps that are rescued from individuals who keep them without licensing from the government as well as those who hunt them for food. This makes UWEC a place where these chimps are treated in case of any injuries, then rehabilitated to be released in the wild. The other category of chimps found in this place is of them that are born and raised from the center for instance Shaka the son to the Late Zakayo who was born and raised from the center.
Everyone that visits the center has an opportunity to see these chimps at the Budongo Exhibit, they are located on an artificial island, with the surrounding water sprayed with algae to prevent the chimps from noticing how shallow the water is.
chimps are hydrophobic, thus the center uses the water as a barrier to stop them from crossing to the view point. Though it is a wonderful experience to view the chimps from their exhibit, the center has a special program well known as chimp close-up. Prior to reservation, you are required to present medical clearance to avoid infecting the chimps with any diseases
Chimp close up gives you the opportunity to see the chimps have their breakfast before they move to their exhibit, this also gives you the opportunity to carry the little chimps and pose for photos with them. The chimp close up experience is like no other since it grants you the opportunity to spend the whole day with the chimps beginning with their breakfast, tubers and fruits until the last meal of the day.
Ngamba Island is located 23 kilometers away from Entebbe, it is a home to 49 chimpanzees which are part of the 200,000 total population of chimps found on the African continent. The Island is a haven to rescued chimps from circus, poachers, homes keeping them as pets while others are simply orphans.
Chimpanzees have 98.7% human DNA, thus there is a lot to learn about their adoption to the new environment after the rescue. Each chimp has its own story, some were found abandoned after their mothers were killed by poachers, some were found chained in people’s homes.
There are always two journeys to the Island daily for individuals interested in one day trips. The morning tour that starts at around 9:00am and the afternoon tour starting at around 12:45pm. Depending on the means of transport used, that is either a speed boat or a motorized canoe. The journey takes around 45 minutes on a speed boat and Around 90 minutes on a motorized canoe.
Besides the chimps, there a lot more flora and fauna to explore at the Island, from butterflies, to several bird species.
Enjoy the best chimpanzee safari in Uganda with Africa adventure safaris!