Where to Go for Chimpanzee Habituation in Uganda

Uganda being a Wildlife & Apes Destination in Africa, Chimpanzee Tracking is among the top Safari activity to be enjoyed by travelers visiting Africa for a Uganda Safari. Primate Safaris Rwanda has designed the Complete destination guide for Chimpanzee Tracking adventures. Book a Uganda primate Safari with us to visit top Destinations in Uganda for Chimpanzee Habituation.

Habituation refers to the process of teaching and training the wild chimpanzees in the forests to be approachable by humans through various interactions like feeding, non verbal communication in which you will get to know about their ways and behavior etc. This takes place in various destinations around Africa especially in the East African countries of Uganda with many destinations i.e like Kibale Forest National Park, Ngamba Island, Kalinzu Forest, Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park, and Kyambura Gorge at Queen Elizabeth national Park etc. Visit any of these destinations for a very exciting habituation experience.

Kibale Forest National Park

Travel to the beautiful Kibale Forest National Park to experience full-day Chimpanzee Habituation Experiences (CHEX) where you will be provided with an opportunity to spot these primates embrace their habitat/ forest through feeding, playing, hunting as well as resting in the branches. However, those that track the chimpanzee early in the morning will see the primates leave their nests from 6:00 to 6:30 am before hunting, conjugating, feeding, resting, breastfeeding, leading etc. These are always in groups with the dominant males leading the group called Alpha males followed by females who take care of the young ones. They are herbivores for they feed on leaves, roots, shoots, ants etc. Don’t miss out on this exciting unique experience and encounter for it is worthwhile for all that take part during holiday safari vacation in Uganda.

Kalinzu Forest

Kalinzu Forest is found in the western part of Uganda near the magnificent Queen Elizabeth National Park. Tracking the rare species of Chimpanzee is availed through the Mweya area of Queen Elizabeth National Park and only requires one 2 hours to drive to this place. Children of 12 and above years old are accepted to track these primates. Chimpanzee tracking in Kalinzu Forest is better than that of the Kyambura Gorge due to the fact that spotting chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge is a 50-50 chance and requires being extremely fit to track them. One can take on a full day tracking these primates in the forest through hiking/ following various trails from one point to another in search for the primates. In order for one to track successfully with out any inconveniences, they should pack and carry their food for lunch especially those engaging in the whole day package.

Ngamba Island

Being one of the Koome group of Islands i.e Nsazi, Kiimi, Koome, Bulago & Damba islands in the magnificent Lake Victoria, Ngamba Island is situated in about 23 km south east of Entebbe occupying an area of about 100 acres of which 95% is forested and detached from the human camp with an electric fence. There biggest portion of the island is forested with gaps of grassland occupying about 10% of the island and there is an acre reserved as camp quarters for staff and researchers maintaining the space between the forest and the out looking podium for feeding the chimpanzees during day. The Island also inhabits other wildlife species like the fish eagles, otters, spiders, fruit bats as well as monitor lizards. The Island and chimpanzee sanctuary are managed by the Chimpanzee trust which is a non-profit organization ready to manage its activities without necessarily depending on donations from individuals/ sponsors worldwide. Today, the number of chimpanzees has increased from 42-49 which has increased management and development costs. Most of the chimpanzees were victims poaching for bush meat and illegal trade on the black market to countries abroad. However, due to the existence of Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary, many have got refuge and a home to survive till 60 years of age.

How to Get to Ngamba

When traveling to Ngamba Island, one should consider their budget so as to get appropriate transportation from the shores into the lake. There are various transportation means that can be booked according to your specific budget for example, if you travel by air, you will take about 20 minutes to reach, customary motorized canoe about 90 minutes and a speed boat 45-50 minutes. Reservations and bookings are done through Ngamba Island Reservations Office or an authorized tour operator agency that will ensure you travel safely. However, one can prepare their own transport to travel.

Budongo Forest

Budongo Forest occupies an area of 793 sq kms and is found in the tremendous Murchison Falls National Park. 53% of the reserve is covered with forests and the rest grassland. The forest is filled with mahogany trees that inhabit extraordinary biodiversity including 24 different species of candid animals of which 9 are primates, 130 are species of moths, 289 species of butterflies and 359 bird species. Due to the exceptional features it has, two eco tourism sites have been established and reserved for tourism activities and these include Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro sites. These include habituated chimpanzees that are nurtured on how to interact with humans and whoever gets to see them should expect an encounter that is exceptional. Seeing these primates is not 100% due to the constantly changing seasons of the year i.e there is a 90% to spot them in the months of May, June, July & August where as in the months of February, March, April & September the % decreases to 70 and in October, November, December and January it is only 50% that lead to their continuous movement from one place to another. About 6 chimpanzee groups that are habituated in the Kaniyo Pabidi site although tracking them is more appropriate in the Busingiro site due to existence of a grid trail in which a 200m grid system enhances easy navigation through the thick forest. The tracking process starts at 7:00 am in groups of 6 people and children of 7 years and above are accepted to track the primates.

Kyambura Gorge Queen Elizabeth

Kyambura (or Chambura) Gorge alternatively referred to as the “Valley of Apes” is filled by River Kayambura and is about 1 km diagonal at its expansive point and 100 meters deep. The Gorge is situated in the remote corner of the magnificent Queen Elizabeth National Park in the south western part of Uganda with very exceptional wildlife biodiversity consisting of primates, wildlife as well as birds of the air. According to the records, about 16 chimpanzees are found in the valley today. Hiking or searching for these primates is quite challenging due to the fact that it requires some physical fitness so as to spot the chimpanzees. It is no guarantee that one will spot the rare species in their habitat but in case they meet them, the experience and encounter is very exciting. While searching for the chimps, you will have opportunities to spot some other wildlife species like the monkeys, olive baboons as well as the birds of the air.

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