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Gorillas and Chimp Trekking Uganda

Where to see gorillas and chimps in Uganda

Gorillas and chimp trekking Uganda

Uganda offers the best of gorillas and chimpanzee trekking in Africa. Mountain gorillas are found in Bwindi impenetrable and Mgahinga gorilla national parks located in the south west corner near the border with Rwanda. Chimpanzees are habituated in 5 different locations which include Kibale forest national park, Kyambura gorge (Valley of Apes), Kalinzu, and Budongo central forest reserves and Toro-Semliki wildlife reserve. These are found in the western region along with other savanna protected areas so that you can do primate trekking as well as game drives and boat safaris as part of your gorillas and chimp trekking Uganda itinerary in either Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth or Murchison falls national parks.

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park

When you visit gorillas in Bwindi, you get a free offer to climbing Mt. Elgon. This is one of the new travel offers available for booking through Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala capital city or a tour operator.

Bwindi is a UNESCO world heritage site famous for harboring 459 gorillas which is almost half of 1,063 world’s mountain gorilla population. At least 22 gorilla families have been habituated for tourism of which 2 are for research and habituation experience. Read more about the cost of gorilla permits. The groups are located at four different sectors of the park which include Rushaga with 9, Buhoma (the park headquarters) 6, Ruhija 4, and Nkuringo 3. Bwindi is one of Africa’s oldest tropical rain forests with high elevation between 1,100 m – 2,500 meters above sea level. So prepare yourself for hiking in search of gorillas can be challenging due to the nature of terrain. The rangers will often cut a path with machetes through the dense afromontane forest.

Gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga is the Ugandan part of the Virunga mountains and protects about 33.7 sq.km encompassing Mt. Gahinga, Muhabura, and Sabinyo volcano where Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo meet. The whole park of Mgahinga has only one habituated gorilla family that you can count on to see the Silverbacks as you would do in Bwindi impenetrable national park. The UWA rangers keep track of it. The altitude of Mgahinga between 3,474 at Mt. Gahinga and 4,127 m at the summit of Muhabura is higher than that of Bwindi. However, the better part about trekking in Mgahinga is that of a relatively open forest ecosystem due to different vegetation zones which include woodland, bamboo, hagenia-hypericum, and Afro-alpine. Its somewhat easier to hike through and watch the gorillas. You could be lucky to trek in a smaller group of no less than 8 people. Mgahinga’s varied habitats are rich in biodiversity including golden monkeys, blue monkeys, 39 mammal species, and 79 birds. In addition to gorillas, the park offers golden monkey tracking and golden monkey habituation as well as a cultural tour of the original Batwa pygmies and hike any of the volcanoes.

Chimp Trekking in Uganda

Uganda is home to the eastern chimpanzees (pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). The pioneering scientific studies on the primates in the country started at Budongo forest reserve and Kibale forest national park in the 1960s. Today, there are 7 active chimpanzee conservation research initiatives across the country.

The Wildlife Conservation Society of Uganda estimates that there are over 5,000 chimpanzees across the country. Several chimpanzee communities have been well habituated for tourism which offers opportunities to visit them in the wild. Through undertaking a chimpanzee trekking safari or the chimp habituation experience, it is certain that you will see the primates. Besides that, some chimps are undergoing research. Special chimpanzee monitoring programs are available for those intending to part take in the field study of the behavior, ecology, and physiology of wild chimpanzees. Volunteering to work with people who take care of orphaned chimps and animals can be found at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (Entebbe Zoo).

Chimps are man’s closest relative and display human-like habitats that will fascinate you. They spend most time in the treetops but also walk on ground on four legs. They can move for over 4 km per day and so trekking to search for them can be challenging but full of fun.

Kibale National Park

Kibale national park is 278 km (5-hour drive) west of Kampala capital city, 140 km east of Rwenzori mountains, and 106 km (2-hour drive) north of Queen Elizabeth national park. Kibale consists moist evergreen semi- deciduous forest and swamps such as Kihingami wetlands. The park covers 795 sq.km situated between altitudes of 1,100– 1,590m meters above sea level.

alone is famous for harboring 13 primate species including over 1,400 chimpanzees, blue monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, red colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, L’hoest monkeys, olive baboons among other nocturnal primates like Demidoff’s bush baby. At Kibale you can choose do to either chimpanzee trekking or chimpanzee habituation.

Chimpanzee trekking

This offers 1 hour to spend with the primates that have been accustomed to human presence for over 3 years. The trackers usually go to locate the chimps earlier and you will be following them. The clock starts to tick once the chimps have been found.

Chimpanzee habituation experience

For the habituaion experience, visitors are accompanied by a team of habituators and researchers to do the work of locating the chimps when they’re still in their nests. This means going into forest early in the morning before 6:30 am or so. It is an opportunity to observe how the primates start their day and what it takes to habituate them. This may give you 4 to 6 hours of closely following chimps.

Budongo forest reserve offers an opportunity to explore interactions between people and chimpanzees and other primates in the rainforest to improve human–primate relationships.

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