Chimpanzee trekking to view one of mans closest relatives is a fascinating experience like no other.
Unlike the Gorillas, chimpanzees are far more active, constantly moving, often at a high pace through their forest habitats. Often it is a harder task to find chimps, but once you do, it is always an entertaining, fun and fascinating experience. There are several locations in Africa to view chimpanzees and to experience chimpanzee trekking.
In Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest is home to around 500 chimpanzees and is a superb place to trek within one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine mountain rainforests and is also one of the oldest on the entire continent.
In Uganda, there are three areas from where you can track Chimpanzees: Kibale Forest, Kyambura Gorge (near Queen Elizabeth National Park) and Budongo Forest (in Murchison Falls National Park). Kibale is by far the most popular and chances of a sighting is high. In Budongo and Kyambura, sighting chances are just slightly fewer, although it is not as busy in these locations and one feels a greater sense of achievement when you finally track down the chimpanzees from their knuckle-tracks and calls in the forest.
In Tanzania, the stand out location is Mahale Mountains National Park. It is one of the most remote and beautiful parks in Africa, and home to around 700 chimps. Combined with beautiful mountains, lush forest, mind-blowing beaches on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, this park is sensational. Also, in the west of the country lying on the shores of Lake Tanganyika is the better-known Gombe National Park, where Jane Goodall performed her ground-breaking studies. The park is smaller than it's sister park to the south and home to around 100 chimps.
Chimpanzees are very active and often very vocal. You can be treated to a range of behaviours from eating to mating, fighting, playing and grooming. A troop of chimpanzees hooting in the forest and/or drumming on tree buttresses is a sight and sound to behold!
Chimpanzee Trekking FAQs
What are the best countries to go Chimpanzee trekking?
One of the best locations for Chimpanzee trekking is most certainly Mahale Mountains National Park in Tazania. With well over 700 chimpanzees you will feel like you have stepped right into a Tarzan movie. This is closely followed by Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda with around 500 chimps. Nyungwe is one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine mountain rainforests and is also one of the oldest on the African continent. Finally Uganda has three locations: Kibale Forest, Kyambura Gorge and Budongo Forest. Kibale is the most popular and chances of a sighting is high.
How much does a Chimpanzee trek cost?
The cost of a chimpanzee trek differs from country to country, as well as the areas within a country. In general you are looking at around USD50 - USD200 per person per trek. This excludes accommodation and travel expenses. There are, of course, quite a number of things to consider when going on a chimp trek. We can help guide you through this planning phase to make sure you get the most out of your time in Tanzania, Rwand or Uganda.
Can I combine Gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking?
The best country to combine Gorilla trekking and Chimpanzee trekking is Rwanda. Combining Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park and Chimps in Nyungwe National Park make for the ultimate primate safari (also if you include Colobus and Red-tailed Monkeys) and helps save valuable safari time as they are located in the same country. The accommodation in both areas are superb which make for a well-rounded luxurious experience. Something to also keep in mind is the ease with which a primate safari can be combined with a Big 5 safari in Akagera National Park, Rwanda. This is why Rwanda is such a big favourite at Tailormade Africa.
When is the best time of year to go Chimp trekking?
December to February tend to be the best for Chimpanzee trekking as it is a little less busy and falls just outside the Gorilla trekking and rainy season in Rwanda and Uganda. June to September is the high season for Gorilla trekking and it is also the driest months, so this time could be good for a primate combo. It is best to avoid March to May and October and November as these are the rainy seasons and makes the terrain very slippery and trekking conditions are not favourable.