Chimpanzees share 98% of human genes thus being man's closest living relatives. In Uganda, chimpanzee trekking is done in Kibale Forest National Park, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu Forest - a section of the Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area, Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park and Semiliki National Park. However, Kibale Forest National Park is the best place to see the chimpanzees in Uganda with nearly 95% chance. Kibale Forest NP is in fact one of Africa's best safari destinations for chimpanzee tracking. Kibale Forest boosts of 1500 chimps and 12 other primates (with a rare species called L'Hoest monkey) in their natural setting. Observing our relatives dive from tree to tree or even running across on the ground just in front of you is such an amiable, memorable and adventurous experience that everyone ought to do! The minimum age for chimp tracking as allowed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is 12 years.
Chimpanzee tracking starts with registration and pre-briefing at the Visitor Information Centre at the park headquarters. During the pre-briefing, visitors will be taken through the dos and don'ts of the excursion. Thereafter you will be split into groups of 6pax each, allocated an UWA ranger guide and henceforth, head out into the jungle to track the chimpanzees. While possession of a chimpanzee permit is a guarantee of tracking and sighting the chimps, the quality of the chimpanzee tracking cannot be guaranteed. On average, the experience takes 3-4 hours but the maximum time allowed with the chimpanzees will NOT exceed ONE hour. At times, the walk could start right from the park offices or you may be required to drive to a different starting point depending on where your guide anticipates the chimpanzees to be.
What you need for the chimpanzee tracking activity:
- Rain coat as the chances of rain are high
- A waterproof bag for your cameras if it rains
- Waterproof boots with good grip as sometimes it could be muddy, swampy and steep
- Long pants and long sleeved shirts are recommended. Being a jungle, this helps from stings and scratches
- Long stockings as this will help you tack your pants in to avoid safari and black ants from biting and entering into you.
- Drinking water and a snack
- Bug spray / insect repellent
- Still Cameras and Camcorders
- Walking stick