Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda can be done in the early morning, mid-morning or in the afternoon. The trek itself can take anywhere between one hour and four hours depending on where the chimpanzees nested the previous night. A chimpanzee trekking group can only have a maximum of 8 tourists. In Kibale Forest, the trek begins at Kayanchu Gate. A set of Uganda Wildlife Authority ( UWA ) Rangers set off earlier than the trekking party to track the Chimpanzees. These rangers send word back to the trekking groups who themselves are guided through the forest by UWA guides. Once the chimpanzees are located you are only allowed one hour within their company, this ensures that the chimpanzees don’t get too accustomed to human contact. Chimpanzees live in troupes which can grow up to 100 strong, but they don’t always move around in troupes of that size. Remember Chimpanzees are not monkeys, they are apes which means that 98% of their DNA is the same as humans. Because of this genetic closeness Chimpanzees also share a similar physiology to humans and can catch similar diseases to us, but they haven’t built up the same immunity to them as we have and therefore a simple cold has a huge effect on them. They are omnivores as they eat both plants and animals and only have two major predators, Leopards and Humans!
Travellers come from all over the world to do Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda as it has the highest concentration of Chimpanzees in the world and they are not just limited to one area. The most common place to see them in Kibale Forest National Park which is known as the primate capital of the world as there are around 1,000 chimpanzees in the park as well as 13 primate species! The other areas where chimpanzee trekking can be done are Budongo Forest which is within the Murchison Falls National Park Conservation Area, Kyambura Gorge within Queen Elizabeth National Park and the lesser known Kalinzu Forest. Uganda is fortunate to have the Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary a place where orphaned chimpanzees are cared for and can live with other chimpanzees.
The park has a population of Elephants that travel to and from Queen Elizabeth National Park, other mammals include, Duikers, Bushbucks, Sitatungas, Forest Hogs and Buffalo. Also present are Leopards, African Golden Cats, Servals and mongooses. There are also around 325 species of birds in the park some of which cannot be found anywhere else in Uganda.
Kibale Forest National Park was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1932 and acquired National Park status in 1993. Today, it ranks among Africa’s foremost research sites. Kibale Forest National Park t is located in Southwestern Uganda stretches over 795sq. km of magnificent tropical rainforest interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp. The park adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180km-long migration corridor for wildlife between Ishasha in the remote southern corner of Queen Elizabeth National Park and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale.