Wild Adventure: Trekking Chimpanzees and Gorillas In Uganda's Forests

By Jenna Jolie

Looking for an exciting wildlife adventure? Look no further than Uganda, where you can trek to see both mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in their natural habitats. While mountain gorillas may be the more well-known of the two, trekking to see endangered chimpanzees is an experience not to be missed. These intelligent primates are fascinating to observe in their natural environment, and the trek to find them is sure to be an unforgettable adventure addition to your travel itinerary. This article will give you the ultimate guide to Chimp and Gorillas Trekking in Uganda. Let's keep reading!

The Best Places For Chimpanzee and Gorilla Trekking In Uganda

Kibale national park

When it comes to Chimp trekking in Uganda, Kibale national park is the top place to appear in the minds of travelers. Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda is a top destination for chimpanzees trekking in their natural habitat. Chimpanzees are gregarious creatures that form groups consisting of 10 to 100 individuals. They are brilliant and have inherited specific skills and behaviors from their ancestors, including the use of rocks for cracking nuts and empty pods for gathering water. During the trek, you can witness their playful interactions and even witness quarrels and fights, which is more fascinating than watching lions sleeping on a safari.

The park, located about 310km west of Kampala, boasts an incredibly diverse rainforest terrain that is home to a wide variety of primates. It is also one of Africa's most varied and unique rainforests. Kibale Forest is the habitat for around 1,200 chimpanzees, including the endangered ones, as well as several primates like L'Hoest's and red colobus monkeys. Other species of primates can be found in the park, namely red-tailed monkeys (or red-tailed guenons), black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, blue (or diademed) monkeys, and grey-cheeked mangabeys, etc. 

And it's not just the primates that make Kibale so special. The park is home to over 120 mammal species, from playful baboons to majestic elephants and more than 370 species of birds. Besides Chimpanzee trekking, visitors to Kibale National Park can engage in various interesting activities, including hiking trails to explore the park's diverse flora and fauna or going on guided Uganda safari tours.

Kibale national park is the top place for Chimp trekking in Uganda

Kibale national park is the top place for Chimp trekking in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable national park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, situated in the southwest of the country, boasts an impressive biodiversity of more than 160 species of trees and over 100 species of ferns. The park is also known as the best place for a Uganda gorilla tour because it is home to an estimated 459 mountain gorillas, approximately half of the world's population. 

During a gorilla trekking tour, a group of trackers will be dispatched ahead to locate the gorilla family. They will then communicate the exact location to the lead guide via radio. These advanced trackers are familiar with the gorilla group's previous nesting locations and will navigate in that direction. Observing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, surrounded by lush forests, is awe-inspiring. The tranquil environment is often interrupted by the sounds of gorillas playing and wandering, while the calls, whistles, and whoops of thousands of other animals provide an enchanting soundtrack to this unforgettable experience.

The region's rich biodiversity also shelters many other wildlife species, including 120 mammals like primates (baboons and chimpanzees), elephants, and antelopes. Additionally, around 350 avian species, including 23 unique to the Albertine Rift, are preserved in this national park. 

Accessing Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is possible by air from Kajjansi/Entebbe or by road from Kampala, which takes approximately 8 hours. Alternatively, some travelers prefer arriving in Kigali, Rwanda, and taking a 4-hour drive to Bwindi. Once there, it is worth spending time to observe the gorillas' distinctive behaviors and personalities, capturing some unforgettable photos to cherish the memories.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best place for a Uganda gorilla tour

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best place for a Uganda gorilla tour 

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is located at the northern tip of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sprawling Bunyoro escarpment converges with expansive, palm-studded savanna. Originally established as a game reserve in 1926, it is now Uganda's oldest and most extensive protected area. Chimpanzee trekking is the primary activity for visitors to Budongo Forest, which is usually offered in combination with Murchison Falls National Park's safari experience. Budongo Forest is an exceptional natural habitat with diverse flora and fauna, including the forest's native animal species and vegetation. The forest houses the most significant number of chimpanzees in Uganda, with a population of 600-700, making it ideal for chimpanzee trekking. Other primates, such as red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, and nocturnal primates, can also be found in the area.

Not only famous for chimpanzee trekking, but Budongo Forest is also for its diverse wildlife. While elephants and buffaloes can occasionally be spotted down by the savannah, antelopes, waterbucks, and duikers are more commonly seen by the water. Bird enthusiasts will be delighted to discover 360 species of birds, including rare species like the yellow-footed flycatcher and the illadopsis puveli, which is exclusive to the region. 

Chimpanzee trekking is the primary activity for visitors to Budongo Forest

Chimpanzee trekking is the primary activity for visitors to Budongo Forest

What You Should Know Before Embarking on a Uganda Safari Tour

The best time to visit Uganda to trek Chimpanzees and Gorillas

While mountain gorillas can be tracked at any time of the year, the summer months between June and August are the best time to visit Uganda gorillas and chimps because of better road conditions and good visibility for game viewing. If visiting during summer is impossible, January or February is a good alternative. It's worth noting that gorilla trekking during the dry season, which falls between June and August, has advantages. Visitors can take clear photos of the countryside, its physical features, and the mountain gorillas because there are no obstructions like mist or overgrown vegetation. On the other hand, the rainy season between October and November is considered a low season, and the forests can get very muddy, making tracking mountain gorillas more challenging.

Uganda Gorilla trekking cost

The Uganda gorilla trekking cost is relatively high compared to other wildlife encounters. This is due to the high demand from tourists interested in observing wild mountain gorillas and the need for funds to protect these primates. The high cost of permits is mainly because just over 1,000 mountain gorillas are remaining in the wild, requiring constant research and monitoring to preserve their fragile existence.

Visitors will need to acquire a gorilla permit for gorilla trekking in Uganda, which costs $700. This permit is a requirement for tracking gorillas and includes interacting with them for one hour, park entrance fees, and ranger fees. While the cost may seem high, it is one of the most thrilling wildlife experiences on earth. During this adventure, tourists can stare into the eyes of a primate that is, in many ways, just like themselves but wild.

Chimp and gorilla trekking in Uganda is an incredible experience for wildlife enthusiasts interested in observing these primates in their natural habitats. The chance to interact with these gentle giants is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity visitors find worth the cost. Apply for a Uganda visa now and prepare for a memorable gorilla trekking trip in Uganda. Travel Insurance is also recommended to protect you in case of unexpected risks that may occur. 

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