Chimpanzee tracking is another exciting and much loved activity among holidaymakers who visit Uganda on Safari. You will have a chance to trek through the verdant jungle as you search for these amazing great apes. It has been proved that chimpanzees’ share 98% of their DNA with man and are the closest living cousins to human beings. Similar to people, these chimpanzees stay in complex communities, resolve complicated problems, engage in detailed interactions with each other, make their own tools and use them and they communicate using different gestures and sounds, although their only difference with man is that they cannot speak. Uganda has one of the largest populations of chimpanzees on the planet with an estimated 5700 chimpanzees dwelling within its forests. Chimpanzees live in sizeable communities (groups) of about 100 individuals. Some of these communities have been habituated and are open for tourism activities. During the habituation process, the chimps are familiarized to human presence and this process takes about 3 years. After this process is completed the chimps can be visited during the adventurous Chimpanzee Tracking Safaris organized in different places.
Kibale Forest National Park is the best place to see Chimpanzees while on Safari in Uganda. It’s here that you will find the highest population of chimps in the country. It also has the highest number of habituated chimpanzees in the whole of East Africa. These chimps here can be visited all year round with guaranteed views. Budongo Forest (Kaniyo Pabidi) in Murchison Falls National Park is second on the list with the second largest number if chimpanzees (about 800 chimpanzees). It is found in the southern part of Murchison Falls National Park and has habituated chimpanzees open for tracking. Kyambura Gorge Forest in Queen Elizabeth National Park: has a tiny community of about 25 chimpanzees that has been well habituated for chimpanzee tracking. Because of their small number yet the forest covers a wider area, chance of seeing them here are 50%. Kalinzu Forest, located close to Queen Elizabeth National Park in southern Uganda, the forest has approximately 300 chimpanzees including a habituated community of 40. Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve: located along the western border with the D.R. Congo, it protects approximately 250 Chimps living in 3 communities. Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is found on a small forested island on Lake Victory close to Entebbe. The sanctuary which was established to protect orphaned and chimpanzees that have been rescued from poachers; it has 40 chimpanzees.
To participate in the chimpanzee tracking activity, you will need to have to be with a chimpanzee trekking permit. The prices for the permits in the different chimpanzee habitats are $150 and $100 for high and low seasons in Kibale Forest National Park respectively. $86 for Budongo forest, $50 for Kyambura Gorge and $35 for Kalinzu Forest.