Chimp tracking - a highlight among excursions
“When you meet chimps you meet individual personalities. When a baby chimp looks at you it is just like a human baby. We have responsiblity for them. ” … “It was because the chimps are so eye-catching, so like us and teach us so much that my work was recognized worldwide”– Jane Goodall
Apart from the famous mountain gorillas, other primates, such as the chimpanzees, can be visited. The chimpanzee lives in different regions, and can best be observed in Kibale Forest National Park. If you are lucky, you can approach them within a few meters distance. With this park, Uganda has one of the highest densities worldwide of primates and monkeys with over thirteen species, such as the black-and-white colobus, the red-tailed monnkey and the baboons.
Which National Parks should you visit to see the Chimps?
Kibale Forest (NP), Queen Elizabeth (NP), Muchison Falls (NP), Semliki (NP) and Ngamba Island
Kibale Forest (NP)is the park with the highest densitywith the higghest chance of seeing chimpanzees. Here is also a research centre where you can participate behind the scenes, for one day, on request.
THe Kyambura Gorge (pronounced in the local language as: Tsjiambura) is a deep gap in the rainforest, at the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Chances of actually seeing chimpanzees here is smaller (40%), but more spectacular due to the habitat. Here dwells one big chimpanzee family, spread over the gorge of 16 km. A big river flows through the gorge. In rainy weather there is a high chance that you see hippos in the forest.
Some 800 chimpanzees live in the woods of Kaniyo Pabidi and Budongo in Murchison Falls National Park. These are researched by researchers of Indiana University (USA) and the Jane Goodall Institute. These chimps tend to roam over large distances. Therefore it is advisable to first inform at the research centre if the chimpanzees are in the neighbourhood.
Semliki National Park in the South-West is less known. But this park also harbers a smal chimpanzee population.
Ngamba Island, an Island in Lake Victoria, near Entebbe, represents the heritage of chimpanzee preservationist and researcher Jane Goodall. This is not a wild life park but aso-called sanctuary where about 50 orphaned or traumatised chimpanzees are taken care of. If they are ready, they are prepared to return to their natural habitat.
The costs vary between 50 to 150 US dollars (depending on the park) per person per tracking. For chimpanzee tracking the same rules apply as for gorilla tracking: a maximum of 8 persons per group of visitors, supervised by specially trained rangers. Also, chimpanzees are wild animals that are difficult to program. So, chances of seeing them are not easy to predict.
One of our closest relatives in the animal kingdon: the chimpanzee