Chimpanzee tracking is a very interesting activity to include in one’s safari. This activity brings one into close range with mans closest relatives; the chimps. Uganda is blessed with more chimps than Rwanda, and this is explained by the numerous places one can visit to encounter these primates while on a Uganda safari. And what better place to start with than one of the biggest and gifted National parks in Uganda;
Queen Elizabeth National Park;
Situated just in the South western part of Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National park is a hub for Wildlife Safaris in Uganda. With a diverse Wildlife, it draws several Wildlife enthusiasts including those who are interested in an encounter with the chimps. Getting to Queen Elizabeth National park is easy and you can make it using any of the two below options.
- Either embark on a 7-8 hours’ drive from Kampala to the park. Travel via Kampala –Masaka – Mbarara highway
- Or board a scheduled or private charter from Entebbe International Airport to either Mweya or Kasese Airstrip.
Out of the four major areas that make up Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura gorge is the main habitat for the Chimpanzees. Apart from Chimps, this valley is inhabited by an abundant of different bird species, monkeys, baboons, reptiles and insects. The tracking in the gorge is usually offered in sessions including mornings and afternoons; therefore you are free to choose from any of these times depending on your itinerary.
From Queen Elizabeth National Park, we can look at the biggest chimps national park in Uganda; Kibale Forest National Park; this Park is second to none when it comes to chimps as it’s known as the asylum of Chimpanzee in Uganda. With a number of different primate species, this Park is actually named the primate capital of Uganda.
Located in the western part of Uganda next to Fort Portal town, this rain forest is always evergreen and also part of its area is occupied by the renowned Kibale forest National park, a home to multiple primates and other wildlife species. In addition to the chimps tracking experience, there are lots of things to keep you occupied including the visit to Bigodi wetland sanctuary, a home to different bird species including both indigenous and migratory birds.
In Uganda chimps are not only found in National Parks but also other protected areas, which include;
Ngamba Island Sanctuary, located in the middle of Lake Victoria. This sanctuary was created to protect endangered chimps species. The island can only be accessed by a boat to and from. Once on the island, one can either watch them feed as they also go through their daily routine. Or can also participate in the feeding of the chimps.
Kalinzu Forest Reserve; Located in southwestern Uganda on your way to Queen Elizabeth National Park, you will find Kalinzu forests reserve another destination to for a remarkable chimps tracking experience.
This reserve is blessed with huge numbers of both habituated and wild chimps. The habituated chimps are now open to public viewing after one acquires a chimps tracking permit. It is just a few kilometers to Queen Elizabeth National park, that is why it’s believed that most of the game that breathe life into the reserve’s lush habitats migrate from this nearby protected area.
A day spent in the reserve is very much worth it. After tracking the chimps, you can engage in bird watching, forest and nature walks.
Budongo Forest Reserve; Budongo is amongst the most prominent reserves in Uganda. It is a must see if you are after primate encounters, bird watching, forest and nature walks. Known for its beautiful Mahogany trees, Budongo reserve is part of the gigantic Murchison Falls Conservation area.
Considering the above chimpanzee protected areas in Uganda, Rwanda is not left behind as it gifted with the beautiful evergreen rain forest of known as Nyungwe Forest National Park. Occupied by a tropical rainforest, Nyungwe Forest National Park is the only place to go for Chimpanzees tracking while in Rwanda. It hides itself just in the South western region of the country. Getting there from Kigali takes about 6-7 hours by road, looking at the speed used and stopovers included. Besides Chimpanzees, Nyungwe’s luxuriant habitats are inhabited by a number of Wildlife species including different bird’s species, reptiles, insects and other primates.