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Chimpanzee Tracking

Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda

Chimpanzee trekking is one of the most sought after adventurous safari activity to many tourist who come to Uganda to enjoy.

Like mountain gorilla trekking, this activity involves trekking through the forest in the search of our closest relatives deep into the forest.


Chimps are fabulous fun to watch as they play in fruitful trees or tree blanches. The time to meet the chimps is unpredictable it can go from 1-6 hours depending on where they last spent their night from.

ounce they are met, you are strictly allowed only one hour with them learning their behaviors, in every chimp group eight members are allowed to visit the gorillas.

Uganda has very many chimpanzee destinations and in each destination there is a group which is habituated to human standard and it can be tracked without any harm caused to human.

in Uganda the most though after destination for chimpanzee trekking is the kibale forest national park which is located in the south western part of Uganda 6 hours drive from the capital city Kampala.

Other destinations where you can go for the chimpanzee trek include the Budongo forest which is found in the Murchison Falls National park, Kyambura gorge in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Semuliki wildlife reserve, and Kalinzu forest found in Busenyi all these destination provide fantastic chimpanzee trekking experience.

The activity begins very early in the morning after reporting to the park headquarters to receive short briefings about the dos and don’ts while with the chimps.

During the process of trekking, you will be able to see other forest dwellers including the red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, civet monkey, baboons and a variety of bird species among others.

Chimpanzee trekking permit

No one is allowed to trek the chimpanzee without a trekking permit which is legal document that will give you access to the chimpanzee. Chimpanzee trekking permits are only issued at the Uganda Wildlife Authority Authority, which is located in Kamwokya in Kampala even after the permits are issued, they still remain the property of the Republic of Uganda.

Like gorilla trekking permits, chimpanzee trekking permits are only valid for the date that they have been printed. Few permits are printed per day, the reason behind this is avoid stressing the chimps in their presence, only 8 members are allowed to per chimp family in order to conserve them. Chimps can easily get affect by cough and flue and that’s why interaction is limited.

Chimp trekkers are advised to book a chimp permit in advance at least 2-3 month prior to chimp trekking, permits are booked on first come first serve basis, the earlier you book the better to avoid last minute booking which is sometimes disappointing.

The proper way of booking a chimp permit is through a trusted tour operator as they have easy access to chimpanzee permit booking.

Local tour operators know more about the process of booking and other related costs so it is better to let them take up the planning process.

Once the payment is done, the tour operator will book the permit for you at the Uganda wildlife Authority.

To confirm your payment, a scanned copy of your permit will be sent to you indicating your names, passport details, and a unique serial number that makes it unique from the rest. Once a permits is paid its un refunded, you can just reschedule it for another date.

Cost of the chimpanzee trekking permit

No one is allowed to trek the chimpanzee without a trekking permit, chimp permits costs $200 per person in kibale forest national park and $90 in Budongo goes and in the Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park, chimpanzee permits goes for $50. All permits are sold at the Uganda wildlife authority on first come first serve basis

Chimpanzee trekking destinations

Kibale forest National Park

This is the most known chimp trekking destination, the park is Located in the south western part of the country, and its considered for having a quite large number of chimpanzees over 1500 chimpanzees 120 of which are habituated and they are ready to receive visitors daily.

Because chimpanzees concentrates here in large number sighting is a guarantee and the trekking can be done twice a day that is in the morning and in the afternoon.

A chimpanzee trek permit in Kibaale national park goes for $200 in both seasons during the peak season and the low season.

Chimp habituation is also done in kibale forest national park, Chimpanzee habituation is the process of making chimps becoming familiar to human presence and the activity gives visitors a chance to spend more hours with the chimpanzees in their presence as they learn their behaviors and to remove the shyness from them.

Visitors get to spend more time with the primates for example 6 hours or the whole day in the jungle.

If you are looking for the best chimpanzee trekking destination in Uganda and not only chimpanzee but also a variety of many other primate species, kibale is on the number one list.

Other primates including the different types of monkeys like the colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, civet monkeys, baboons, grey checked magbay etc plus a variety of bird species over (400) are recorded in the park and other wildlife.

There are several places where you can stay when you go for chimpanzee tracking in the Kibale National Park and these include the Primate Lodge, the Kyaninga lodge,

The most done activity in the park is the Chimpanzee tracking. The activity Starts from Kanyanchu Visitor Center at exactly 08.00 & ends at 10-11.00 and lasts 2-3 hours. And the chimp trekking activity is guided by well experienced ranger guides. This walk is for 6 individuals per tour group. Advance booking is all-important during Peak Sea:

Chimpanzee trekking in the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

This great sanctuary for chimpanzee protection is located along Lake Victoria and easily accessed by a speedboat from Entebbe. Ngamba Island is one of the places where you can enjoy chimpanzee trekking while in Uganda.

The place was set up by Goodall to protect and also to conserve the primates. The sanctuary is fenced off in order to allow the chimps to roam freely without causing damage to the neighbors or to be threatened.

The speedboat that goes to Ngamba has two shifts with a half trip starting in the morning and a full one starting at 5pm.

The bigger the group, the less the charges and vice versa. Children from 5 to 15 years always pay half the price before gaining entry to the sanctuary.
The sanctuary begins with 13 chimpanzees that were rescued by a few locals and Dr. Jane Goodall however, the number has raised to 50 chimpanzees that have either been saved or orphaned.

You get to see the chimpanzees at different stages, get in close contact with them and also carry out other activities like fishing, swimming, exploring the villages, and birding.

Chimpanzee trekking in the Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is another Uganda park where chimps can be trekked in their natural habitat in Budongo Forest, the Kaniyo Pabidi and the Rabongo forest where the chimpanzee trekking takes place. The forest has over 600 chimpanzees hence making it one of the best chimpanzee trekking destination in Uganda.

Not only primates, but the park is a home to over 500 bird species, wildlife. The park is one of the most visited parks in Uganda attracting a huge number of tourists.

Chimpanzee trekking in Murchison is done twice a day with the first one in the morning and the other in the afternoon

• The Rabongo forest, this is one of the forest where in Murchison falls where chimps can be trekked. The forest doesn’t inhabit many chimpanzees like Budongo forest, but still offers a big chance of trekking. The routes are not but with the help of a tour guide, you will be able to set out within the forest in search of the chimpanzees which when found, you will get an hour with them.

• Budongo forest, this is the perfect place in Murchison for viewing the chimpanzee. Budongo forest is a top destination for chimpanzee trekking and has a large number of primates. Chimp trekking in budongo is easy as the routes leading to the chimp trekking is very clear and with a help of a tour guide, trekking will be easy. Other primates can also be been in the forest like monkeys, the olive baboons, and red-tailed monkeys, and do birding among other activities.

• Kaniyo Pabidi forest, the forest house many primate species and birds as well as insects and other primates, the forest is one of the few in the country that has remained in its natural state without any tampering from humans.

Accommodation in Murchison falls National Park is divided into three sections that is the Para and Victoria Nile, Albert Nile and the Kaniyo Pabidi. There are Luxurious, Mid-range, and Budget accommodation facilities and you can choose from these with your tour operator to see what works for you best.

Chimpanzee trekking in the Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National park is one of the best National Parks that is sought after by many tourists with about 17 chimpanzees available. Chimpanzee trekking here is done in the Kyambura game reserve also known as the Kyambura gorge.

The activity is best done in the mornings and it takes about 1 to 2 hours. You will be escorted by experienced tour guides and after the trek, you can as well enjoy a game drive around the National Park.

Some of the lodges that you can check out while in Kyambura include the Kyambura gorge safari lodge, KingFisher camp, Mweya safari lodge, jacana lodge and Katara lodge among others.

What to pack for a chimp trek in Uganda.

There are very many vital things to park when going for a safari because this can make it hard for you to enjoy the safari with the extra luggage being carried around. You need to make sure that you carry what is considered essential when it comes to chimpanzee trekking and these include the following:
• Insect repellent
• Waterproof hiking boots
• Bottled drinking water
• Long-sleeved shirts and trousers to avoid scratches on your body.
• A walking stick to ease trekking
• Camera and binoculars
• A small backpack to carry a few essentials like cameras and extra batteries while trekking.
• A sun hat and sunscreen.

Trekking rules and regulations

There are rules and guidelines that you need to follow in order to have a good chimp trekking experience. These were set up by the Uganda wildlife Authority to protect both the primates and the visitors. Some of the regulations that you must follow include the following:
• You are not allowed to trek in case you feel sick, especially with flu and cough
• You are to keep a distance of 8 meters between you and the chimps
• You should always follow all the guidelines that are given to you by the tour guides
• No one is allowed to feed the chimps
• Visitors are not allowed to eat or drink near the chimpanzees.
• Do not urinate and poop in the park as this might cause the animals to fall sick. In case you want to poop, you must dig a hole of about 30cm deep and after that bury everything including the toilet paper.
• The minimum age for chimp trekking in Uganda is 15 years.
• The only people who can help you gain access to the Park for trekking are the tour guides
• Make sure that the camera you are using does not have a flashlight
• Do not make noise while trekking because this irritates the chimps and they end up migrating to another place.

Chimpanzee habituation
Chimpanzee habituation involves spending a few hours with the chimpanzees in close range.

Chimp habituation refers to the process in which the chimps are trained so that they are used to human presence at all times even during tracking. Chimpanzee habituation takes quite a long time before it is actualized which is about 2 to 3 years and in Uganda, this has been achieved in the Kibaale National Park.

After 3 years of training, the habituated chimps are let out so that they can start interacting with the humans.
Chimpanzee habituation has a special permit which costs about $150 for foreign residents, $70 for East African citizens and $220 for non-foreign residents.

The permits need to be booked in advance so that you get to enjoy your habituation experience.

Chimp trekking VS Gorilla trekking

Chimpanzee trekking is on the rise and a favorite for tourists. Carried out in different destinations that is the Kibaale National park, Budongo and Queen Elizabeth National Park, tracking chimpanzees is one activity that you will want to try out while in Uganda.

A chimpanzee trekking permit goes for $150 and during the low season it can go to as low as $100 per person per day. While trekking, you get to spend an hour with the primates observing them as they play, swing from tree to the next and go about their daily activities.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is carried out in the Bwindi Impenetrable national park and the Mgahinga National Park. Gorilla trekking has its own rules and regulations that you must follow like keeping a distance from the primates, no feeding them and no using cameras with flashlights just to mention but a few.

You also get to spend an hour with the gorillas and this is done with the help of the tour guides.

A gorilla permit is on the high end as compared to the chimpanzee trek permit going for $700 per person per day.

Chimpanzee trekking Vs. Chimpanzee habituation

During Chimpanzee habituation tourists get to spend more time with the primates as they are given about 6 hours to spend with the primates and some get to spend the whole day with the chimps.

Uganda is known to be a good place to enjoy chimp habituation and tracking at the same time. As you compare chimp trekking and habituation, the first thing that you should put into consideration is the amount of time spent with the chimpanzees.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee tour
Chimp trekking normally involves trekking around the National Park until you get to see the chimpanzees and this can take 2 to 3 hours. Each group gets to spend at least an hour with the chimps after trekking.

However, during chimpanzee habituation, tourists get to spend at least 6 hours and sometimes the whole day with the chimpanzees. While chimpanzee trekking permits cost $200, chimpanzee habituation permits cost $250.
Find below literariness for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and Rwanda , as we as combined literariness with gorillas and wildlife. mixing the love of chimps with gorillas is regarded as long life time memory any one should not love to miss.