Primate watching is one of the wildlife experiences that you can enjoy in Africa. Uganda is the best destination for primate safaris given its rich and impressive diversity of wildlife. There are several locations where you can see chimpanzees in Uganda. Here are the best 5 locations where you can have a fascination chimpanzee watching adventure;
- Kibale Forest is the leading Chimpanzee destination in East Africa. The jungle rainforest is a home to about 30% of the Chimpanzee population in Uganda. In addition to Chimpanzees, there are also twelve other different species of primates. You can not only see primates while tracking chimpanzees but also other various mammal species including forest elephants, forest buffaloes, both local and exotic birds, several butterfly species. While tracking Chimpanzees, you can see at least 5 of the 13 primate species in Kibale Forest. If you want to spend more time with Chimpanzees, you are advised to do Chimpanzee habituation experience. This means that you can be with Chimpanzees for the whole day.
- Budongo Forest Reserve is located in Northwestern part of Uganda. It is located in a moist, semi-deciduous tropical rain forest at the top of the Albertine Rift. The forest is part of the largest wildlife conservation area in Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park. The area has incredible biodiversity that includes several primate species like Chimpanzees, Blue monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and Olive baboons. The chimpanzee tracking done in an area called kaniyo Pabidi is a two to four hour tracking but you will have one hour in their company.
- Kyambura Gorge found in Queen Elizabeth National Park is a gold-tinted savannah grassland, with beautiful forests in some parts. The Chimpanzee tracking can be done in the beautiful gorge which is about 100m-deep. One may refer to Kyambura Gorge as the hidden jewels of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The gorge is part of the great Albertine Rift, having thick forest at the bottom commonly known as the underground forest. You can combine chimpanzee tracking with other wildlife and birds of the Park. It should also be noted that the area is pretty close Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. In this way, you can do both Chimpanzee and gorilla trekking in one visit to Uganda. Chimpanzee tracking is a three to four-hour experience, but you will only spend one hour with them.
- Kalinzu forest, also located in Southwestern Uganda is a typical African forest you have to explore. Many researchers have labelled Kalinzu forest as the forest with the greatest Chimpanzee population density. You can access Kalinzu forest from Queen Elizabeth Park in a 2-hour’s drive. You can do Chimpanzee tracking, nature walk and birding in Kalinzu forest. The chimpanzees in Kalinzu have been habituated by Japanese Researchers. There are two groups of habituated chimpanzee, one for tourism and the other for research.
- Toro – Semliki Wildlife Reserve is another great spot for Chimpanzee tracking in Uganda. Wildlife reserve is along with the greater Semliki National Park. Snug against the DRC border, the diverse Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve offers quieter, and less certain, chimp encounters than nearby Kibale, Kyambura gorge and Kalinzu forest. These chimpanzees have been habituated and studied for many years by Indiana University researchers. The Chimpanzees here frequently venture out into open savannah, where they are more likely to walk upright (not that common, but if you are lucky enough, you will observe). Because of its proximity to other Chimpanzee sites, one can easily track Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest – Toro – Wildlife Reserve, Kyambura Gorge and finally Kalinzu Forest in just a few days.
BONUS: The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is part of the greater Koome group of islands in Lake Victoria, located 23 km South-East of Entebbe. The island is approximately 100 acres, 98 acres of it is forested with a trail system. It is home to 48 orphaned chimps rescued from various places in Uganda. The Island also provides an excellent secondary forest habitat for other wildlife species, including Egyptian fruit bats, African fish eagle, Nile monitor lizards, among others.
Also the Uganda Wildlife Education Center is also a genuine wilderness encounter as Ngamba Island. Uganda Wildlife Education Centre formally known as Entebbe Zoo, is in Entebbe. The centre was founded in the 1952 to accommodate and care for the confiscated, injured and orphaned wildlife in Uganda. Currently, it is a centre where wildlife education is combined with leisure. A number of both captive and free ranging primates are found here. There are about 40 captive chimpanzees.