Besides Kibale National Park Uganda the “Primate capital of the world”; Rwanda is another stunning destination prominent for being home to the funniest primates in the world; chimpanzees. Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda happens in Nyungwe National Park and its annexe Cyamudongo Forest, in southwestern Rwanda. It is a very interesting activity for you will enjoy time in the forest as you watch man’s closest cousin mimicking you, giggling, jumping from branch to branch and many more. They are more active during morning hours than in the afternoon. Nyungwe Forest, Africa’s largest Afro-montane Forest is home to about 500 Chimpanzees and close to 100 that are habituated and used to Humans near them. The forest is the perfect supplement to a Gorilla Safari in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. There are two groups of habituated Chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest, the larger one has about 60 chimpanzees while the smaller group of 30 is tracked in Cyamudongo Forest area of the Park.
The Rwanda chimpanzee trekking safari experience is different from the Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris as you will watch the chimps are running around in the tree canopies, and so there may be running after to catch up and sightings are a bit more irregular and rushed. Long before you see the Chimpanzees, you can hear their almost deafening screams, their hoots, and cackles. Unlike with the Mountain Gorillas who are quite calm as you visit them on your Rwanda gorilla safari, the chimpanzees are on the move both on the ground and in the Trees. An amazing sight for the Trekkers who come to visit on that day. You get one hour with the chimpanzees in Nyungwe, one hour that is quite memorable. While you are in search of your Chimpanzee Groups you will most likely see other primates that are residents of the forest such as the large groups of Colobus Monkeys as well as Wild Orchids, and plants and trees that make up this vast Rainforest.
The chimp trekking activity in Nyungwe Forest National Park sets off from three reception centres; Kitabi, Uwinka (main) and Gisakura where tourists can meet the park ranger guides. The tourists are expected to be at the reception centre as early as 4.30 am and at 5 am drive to the starting point of the trek into the forest. Because the chimps nest somewhere new every night, there are trackers who go ahead of the trekking group to find them and communicate with the ranger guides. Tourists spend only one hour with the chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park and get to observe them closely going about their lives and see the human-like features and behaviour that make them our closest relatives with 98.7% DNA. Every now and then the chimps communicate by way of deafening screams, loud pant hoots and thunderous hitting (slapping) of the tree barks and buttresses. It is such a hair-raising moment like no other, and quite memorable! The cost of the permit for chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda is USD 90 for foreign non-residents and USD 60 for foreign residents of Rwanda and East Africa (Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Burundi).
Chimpanzees are classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were more than 1 million chimpanzees in the wild. Today, it’s estimated that there are less than 300,000. Their numbers are decreasing because of habitat loss and fragmentation, commercial bushmeat hunting and the illegal wildlife trade.
Besides undertaking a Rwanda tour, other travellers plan their Africa wildlife safari passing through many countries. A Uganda safari is an opportunity for you to enjoy a gorilla trekking safari Uganda/ gorilla trek safari Uganda/ Uganda gorilla safari or a Uganda wildlife safari, short Uganda wildlife safari, Long Uganda wildlife safari, Uganda birding safari, Uganda chimpanzee trekking safari, Uganda golden monkey trekking safari, Kampala city tour, Jinja city tour/ Jinja day trip/ Jinja day excursion and many more. As part of your adventure on your short safari Uganda, you will experience various gorilla behaviours and it will also give you an opportunity to see other wild animals like monkeys, birds and also visit various tourism sites in Uganda.
Chimpanzee safaris in Uganda
Chimpanzee trekking & chimpanzee habituation safaris tours in Uganda might not be as popular as Uganda gorilla safari tours but it is very exciting. If people spend an hour with them and come back excited, imagine spending more than one hour with them. It’s on record that many travellers safari Uganda for mountain gorilla tours in Uganda in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park than for chimpanzee trekking safaris in Kibale National Park despite it being cheaper than the gorilla trekking safaris Uganda.
About chimpanzees in Kibale National Park
This 795 Square Km Kibale National Park in Western Uganda is part of the wider Kibale Conservation Area which consists of then Semuliki National Park Uganda, the Toro Semuliki Wildlife Reserve and Katonga Wildlife Reserve. Kibale National Park is situated 24 Km east of the Rwenzori Mountains Foothills and 20 Km south-east of Fort Portal town in Western Uganda. Also referred to as the Primate Capital of the world is home to red colobus monkeys in what is probably their last viable population in Uganda.
There are 4950 chimpanzees within Uganda; Kibale Forest alone has the most with almost 1500 Chimpanzees. Kibale Forest National Park also provides a rich and unique habitat for more than 250 species of animal and over 300 types of birds. The animal species include 11 primates, including black and white colobus monkeys and chimpanzees. Monkeys can often be spotted from the road to the forest and during the viewing of chimpanzees in their natural environment is the main tourist attraction. The Park to has a unique biophysical environment with varied scenery including beautiful crater lakes and hills. This, together with the forest, swamps, primates, birds and butterflies, provide important prospects for ecotourism.
This park offers both habituation and trekking safaris although not everyone knows that they have two options. Most travellers are aware of gorilla trekking safari tours Uganda and the gorilla habituation tours in Uganda but do not know that they could even spend more time with the chimpanzees in a habituation experience. In most cases, during your Uganda safari tour booking process, your Uganda safari tour operator makes you realize that you have a choice between a Uganda chimpanzee trekking tour and a Chimpanzee habituation safari Uganda experience.
Kanyanchu’s chimps in Kibale National Park have been tracked since 1993 and the chances of locating them during your Uganda safari tour are excellent. Kanyanchu is the name of the main headquarters in Kibale National Park. These guided walks start at 8am and 2pm and last an average of three hours, depending on various factors. This walk provides chance to observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat. The chimpanzees tracked at Kanyanchu are accustomed to human presence however, the group size is limited to six visitors and the participants must be aged 12 and over. Advance booking is essential.
The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
Chimpanzee habituation experience is for people or travelers interested in learning more about the behavior of chimpanzees and subsequently spend more time in their presence during your chimpanzee trekking tour in Uganda. A Uganda chimpanzee habituation safari is in other wards a scientific experience of getting chimps ‘used’ to humans. Therefore, a Chimpanzee habituation safari in Uganda experience (CHEX) enables visitors to accompany researchers and habituators into the forest. The chimpanzee groups involved are less accustomed to human presence than those visited during the primate walk or Uganda chimpanzee trekking safari. Therefore, viewing them is both exciting and challenging.
Uganda’s chimpanzee habituation experience initially was done for a full day however; the Uganda Wildlife Authority has now changed it to only 4 hours. During the full day habituation experience, early visitors have chance to watch chimps leaving their overnight nests between 6:00 – 6:30am before feeding, copulating, hunting, breastfeeding, resting, patrolling and displaying until it is time to build new nests around 7pm. It is simply amazing all you need to keep your eyes wide open so you do not miss anything.
Habituation of chimpanzees is a process that takes up to two years and on this day during your chimpanzee habituation safari tour in Uganda/ safari Uganda/ safari in Uganda , you will be part of this precious process in the forest. Years ago, tourists’ visiting Kibale Park had only 20% chances of seeing chimpanzees in the wild, and today because of the habituation process by different researchers, chances increased to over 90%. Your day will be interesting and memorable as you watch an episode in a whole season of habituation for the chimpanzee group you are visiting. You will get very nice camera shots of chimpanzees doing various things as the day goes on, identify the unique features and differences that set each one apart, and learn how to identify the different chimpanzees as individuals.
As part of your adventure, you will get to learn to identify them as individuals by their markings, sometimes scars and other unique features that make them stand apart from rest. The habituation day used to end as the chimpanzees climb into their newly built nests for the evening and you head back to your lodging for the evening. This is not the case now; it has been changed to only 4 hours for the purposes of conservation.
Best time to track chimpanzees
The habituation experience is best throughout the year. However, during Uganda’s low season in the months of March, April, May and November, there is always less tourist congestion making your experience really amazing. However, the dry season too is equally amazing as it gives you chances of seeing chimpanzees without weather disturbances although it can rain any time.
You eventful day finally comes to a close and you head back to your lodge with good memories, and the satisfaction of a day well spent.
After your adventurous chimpanzee habituation tour, you can engage in a wildlife safari in Uganda/Uganda wildlife safari in any of the National Parks including Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Semuliki Valley National Park, Mount Elgon National Park and Mount Rwenzori National Park or go for a Uganda bird watching safari tour. If you are time-limited, you can enjoy a Kampala city tour, Kampala day excursion, 1 Day Jinja city tour or just a 1 Day Jinja day trip.
In conclusion, if you have time, you can combine your gorilla safari in Congo in Virunga National Park with a Rwanda safari. Rwanda gorilla trekking safari, Uganda safaris, short Uganda wildlife safaris, Uganda gorilla safaris, Uganda chimpanzee safaris, Uganda adrenaline adventures, Kampala city tours, Jinja city tours and many more.
Rwanda chimpanzee safari packages
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5 Days Rwanda Gorilla & wildlife safari
6 Days Rwanda gorilla safari tour
8 Days Uganda Rwanda gorilla trekking safari
9 days Uganda Rwanda gorilla, chimps & wildlife safari
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