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4 Best Places to see Chimpanzees in Uganda

Uganda, also known as “The Pearl of Africa,” has been recognized as the primate capital of Africa, boasting the highest number of primate species both within and outside the African continent, including the highest number of endangered mountain gorillas, which are only found in three countries worldwide, and chimpanzees, respectively. When it comes to chimpanzee trekking, you need to know the best places to see chimpanzees in Uganda, and below are some of them.

Best Places to see Chimpanzees in Uganda

1. Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is situated in western Uganda, covering an area of about 766 square kilometers. The park is the best place for chimpanzee tracking in Uganda and is home to habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primate species, such as L’Hoest monkeys, Ugandan Mangabeys, red colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, and bush babies, among others. The park is also home to approximately 325 bird species.

Kibale Forest National Park offers tourists the chance to join researchers and park rangers in their day-to-day activities of chimpanzee habituation. Chimpanzee habituation is the process of acclimating chimpanzees to human presence. This can be done during the low months of April, May, March, and November. Permits in Kibale Forest National Park cost $150 per person, which includes park entry and guide fees.

2. Budongo Forest

Budongo Forest is one of the best places for tracking chimpanzees in Uganda and boasts the highest number of these great apes. Budongo Forest is situated near Murchison Falls National Park in northwestern Uganda. Permits for tracking chimpanzees in Budongo Forest cost $80 per person per trek. The only lodge in the forest is Budongo Eco Lodge, but tourists can also stay in lodges at Murchison Falls National Park or in Masindi, the nearest town.

Budongo Forest is the second-best place for tracking chimpanzees in Uganda, and you can combine your chimpanzee trekking with wildlife game drives at Murchison Falls National Park.

3. Kyambura Gorge

Kyambura Gorge, also known as the “Valley of Apes,” is located in Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda. This one-hundred-meter gorge offers one of the most spectacular views in Uganda. While chimpanzee tracking can be done at the Kyambura Gorge, it’s not the best place for tracking. However, you will also encounter other primates like giant forest hogs, black and white colobus monkeys, and various bird species.

4. Kalinzu Forest

Kalinzu Forest is also located in the western part of Uganda, within Queen Elizabeth National Park, one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country. The forest is home to about 220 chimpanzees, 444 species of trees, 379 species of birds, 97 moths, and about 262 species of butterflies. There are over 70 habituated chimpanzees in the forest, making it a better option than Kyambura Gorge.

There is no accommodation at Kalinzu Forest except for a camping site, so visitors tracking chimpanzees from the forest can stay at the lodges in Queen Elizabeth National Park or camp. Kalinzu Forest also offers the best walking trail for nature walks within Queen Elizabeth National Park.

In conclusion, Kibale Forest National Park and Kalinzu Forest are the best places for tracking chimpanzees in Uganda. Tourists can also visit the orphaned chimpanzees at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

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