Chimpanzee Tracking Experiences and tours in Uganda & Rwanda

According to evolutionary science, chimpanzees are the closest animal relative to humans. Human and Chimpanzee DNA is more than 98% identical, and this is the start of what makes chimpanzees an interesting species to observe.

Unlike the zoo where chimpanz4ees are closely monitored and their life managed, the wild is where chimpanzees can best be seen and truly appreciated. Seeing chimpanzees in their natural habitat of thick rainforests is one of the top experiences to enjoy for anyone who loves observing nature in its purest form.

In both Uganda and Rwanda chimpanzee tracking is one of the top activities that tourists get to enjoy when visiting for an African safari holiday.

There are many places where you can see chimpanzees in the wild but the very best places are the forests of Kibale, Kyambura, and Nyungwe.

Top Places to see chimps in Uganda & Rwanda

Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park has become a top tourist destination in Uganda because it is the ultimate place to visit for chimpanzees, and is aptly called the primate capital of the world. Kibale boasts of 15 species of primates, and more than 350 birds, all thriving in healthy numbers.

With about 1450  chimpanzees, chimp tracking is the most common activity in this rainforest. The chimps are most active in the morning and evening hours so visitors can enjoy seeing chimps leave their nests as early as 6:30 am.

The Kanyanchu primate walk will get you to see many primate species including the chimpanzees. Kanyanchu’s chimps have been tracked since 1993 and the chances of locating them are excellent.

Guided primate tracking in Kibale start at 8:00 am in the morning and 2:00 pm in the afternoon and lasts an average of 3 hours depending on how fast you find the chimps. Alternatively, one can undertake a full-day chimpanzee habituation experience. Chimp habituation is where you spend time with the chimps that are not as yet used to seeing humans on a regular basis.

As you can guess, Kibale is an important research area for chimpanzees, and should your interest in conservation be deep, you will quite literally learn from the pros.

Chimpanzees in Queen Elizabeth National Park

While much of Queen Elizabeth National Park is a classic open savannah, the Kyambura gorge breaks the pattern to create a separate ecosystem of the rainforest. This rainforest ecosystem is suitable for chimpanzees and other primates as well as birds that you normally wouldn’t find in the hot savannah.

Facts About Chimpanzees

The Kyambura gorge doesn’t have as many primates and chimps as Kibale. However, it is a great option for tourists who want to explore Queen Elizabeth National Park, and yet adding a visit to Kibale for chimps wouldn’t fit with the travel plans.

In Kyambura you can track chimpanzees either in the morning or in the afternoon. Chimps sightings are not as good as in Kibale where numbers are more and the terrain is not a rift valley escarpment.

Primate Tracking in Nyungwe National Park

Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park boasts of a pristine montane natural rainforest with a rich biodiversity of both plants and animals. The forest is home to various primates and among them are chimpanzees.

Chimpanzee tracking is a popular activity enjoyed by guests to Nyungwe. It can be combined with birding, hiking, and a canopy walk to make the visit a full experience of nature. The guarantee of seeing chimps is lower due to fewer numbers.

Chimpanzee tracking in other parks

Chimpanzees are present in other national parks and wildlife reserves – especially the ones with natural forests. Most of such areas do have chimps but the chimpanzees are not habituated and the tourist activity of seeing chimpanzees is not well developed.

If seeing chimpanzees is a big part of your interest in the safari, mention that fact to us so that we can advise according to your travel itinerary.