Uganda has been dubbed the primate capital of the world with over 13 primate species distributed all over the country including half population of the world endangered mountain gorillas. Chimpanzees in Uganda can be found in Kibale forest national park, Budungo forest in Murchison falls national park, Kalinzu forest and Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park.
The eastern chimpanzee
The eastern chimpanzee is one of the sub species of the common chimpanzee found in Uganda, this species can also be found in Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Democratic republic of Congo.
Chimpanzees spend most of their time on trees and on land but build their nests every evening before dark on the tree tops daily, the infants sleep together with their mothers until a certain age when they sleep in their own nests though not far from the mothers nest until they are mature enough.
Eastern chimpanzees are omnivore’s animals though their diet is mainly composed of vegetables like fruits, leaves, shoot, stems, seeds, bark and sometimes supplement their diet with insects, termites, ants, small antelopes and small monkeys.
Chimpanzees have also been seen hunting together as a group for example killing small red colobus monkeys, they participate in hunting by others blocking the prey while some are chasing and when the hunt is successful they all share the meat. The greatest predator to eastern chimpanzees is leopard and humans that encroach in chimpanzee habitat; they involve in poaching for bush meat and pet trade and diseases like Ebola is also the biggest threat to chimpanzees.
Eastern chimpanzee bodies are covered with black hair except the hands, nose, ears, toes, fingers and the face. The adults can weigh between 40-60 kilograms in the wilderness with an average height of 63 inches for males and 51 inches for females.
The southern chimpanzee
The north populations and the southern populations have been urged to be different sub species by Colins Groves of Australian National University instead of one species.
Best time to visit chimpanzees in Uganda
Chimpanzees in Uganda can be visited all year round but the best time is in the dry season of June to September and December to February when the forest vegetation is not dense and slippery while the roads leading to the national parks are easily accessible, the trekking trails are also not muddy and slippery during this time. The wet season of March to April and October to November are also good because chimpanzees can easily be found as the food is abundant in this season and some lodges give discount rates which is an advantage for budget travellers.
What to carry for chimpanzee trekking
Chimpanzees in Uganda leave in rainforests that sometimes receive rainfall even in the dry season therefore its better to come prepared with water proof hiking boots, rain coats, warm and long clothes, energy snacks, plenty of drinking water and insect repellents.
Chimpanzee trekking permits
Chimpanzee trekking permits in Uganda can be accessed from Uganda wildlife authority or a trusted tour operator, children under the age of 15 years and adults with infections like flu will not be allowed to trek gorillas. The permits cost $150 in Kibale forest national park, $110 in Kalinzu forest, $80 in Budongo forest and $5à in Kyambura gorge.
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