Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda vs Rwanda- Chimpanzees are great apes found in Uganda and Rwanda, and they are man’s closest relatives with 98% human DNA. They are very social and live in communities with other animals. We have both male and female chimps living with the female chimps. We always see chimpanzees walking on all four legs, knuckle-walking, but surprisingly, they can stand upright and walk on only two legs. They have a tendency to climb trees and swing from branch to branch with the help of their long arms, hands, and figures.

Chimpanzee trekking is one of the most popular activities carried out in Uganda and Rwanda. It involves walking into the tropical rainforest to find these chimps. On the trekking day in Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda or Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda, wake up to an early breakfast at 6.30 and transfer to the park offices for a briefing. By 8 am, you trek into the jungle to find the chimps and sight a lot of wildlife. You will spend one hour with the chimpanzee to see how they interact as you take photos.

Where is chimpanzee trekking carried out in Uganda and Rwanda?

Uganda has a lot of places where chimpanzee tracking is done compared to Rwanda. Below are the places where chimpanzees are tracked in Uganda.

Kibale Forest National Park: Kibale Forest National Park is located in the western part of Uganda in the Kabalore district near Fortportal and is covered with tropical rainforest. It’s home to a large number of endangered chimpanzees, as well as the red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey. The forest has been ranked as the best place in East Africa where visitors can track chimpanzees.

Budongo Central Forest Reserve: Budongo Central Forest Reserve is found in Uganda as you head to Murchison Falls National Park (actually it is a part of Murchison Falls Conservation Area). The forest has several attractions, including mahogany trees, and it is home to several species of primates, most notably chimps, which are closely related to humans. In Budongo, tourists can engage in chimpanzee tracking experiences, which are done twice a day in the morning and afternoon hours.

Bugoma Central Forest Reserve: It is a protected tropical forest located in the southwestern part of the Hoima district and northeast of Kyenjojo. It was gazeted in the 1930s. The forest shelters chimpanzees, which were habituated in January 2016.

Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park: The Kyambura gorge is about 100 meters deep and covered with beautiful vegetation. The gorge is found in Queen Elizabeth National Park and it is highly correlated with the primate community by major chimpanzees.

Kalinzu forest reserve near Queen Elizabeth National Park: Kalinzu forest reserve is also famous for chimpanzee tracking. It has a total of 300 chimpanzees, giving visitors a high chance of seeing these great apes whenever possible. The Chimpanzee permits for Kalinzu are very cheap compared to other places, also giving an opportunity for budget travelers to enjoy these great apes.

Ngamba Island: Ngamba Island is part of the Ssese islands surrounded by Lake Victoria, Uganda’s biggest fresh water lake. It’s the home of 49 orphaned chimpanzees rescued from across East Africa. The island was gazetted in 1998 to shelter chimpanzees that were rescued from the illegal pet and bush meat trade. The advantage with Ngamba Island is that chimps are not searched for, but they are all found in one place and one gets a chance to feed them.

Entebbe Zoo, Uganda Wildlife Education Center: The Uganda Wildlife Education Center, formally known as Entebbe Zoo, is surrounded by Lake Victoria, Uganda’s biggest fresh water lake. It was established in 1952 by the colonial government to take care of wild animals that were found on causalities. It also shelters a number of chimpanzees, which can be trekked by many people.

Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda vs Rwanda

Below are the places where chimpanzees are tracked in Rwanda.

Nyungwe Forest National Park: Close to Rwanda’s borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi is the Nyungwe Forest National Park, which is in the western part of Rwanda. It was recently introduced in 2004 to protect and conserve several primates that are found within the park. The park is one of the finest and best parks in Rwanda that spans 270 square kilometers. The park represents the largest forest in the whole of Africa since the last age. The forest of Nyungwe is mostly full of mountains that were either formed as a result of volcanicity or faulting. When you reach the top of these great mountain peaks and hills within the forest, you will be able to get clear views of Lake Kivu and, when the weather is clear, you will also get proper views of the Virunga Volcanoes.

Chimpanzee tracking is the most popular activity that is done in Nyungwe Forest National Park. About 400 chimpanzees dwell in the Nyungwe forest, divided into clans. Only two groups have developed a habit. Chimpanzee monitoring is a year-round activity in Nyungwe Forest. Every morning at 4:00 a.m., groups of tourists depart with expert guides in search of one of the two habituated clans found in the Uwinka and Cyamudongo portions of the park. One must be prepared for the physically taxing task of following very mobile primates who do not always follow the major pathways and may stray off into the thick, undisturbed forest. Visitors can see the primates sitting on top of the trees, feeding and grooming, once they have calmed down.

Gishwati-Mukura National Park: Human activity has resulted in the extinction of the majority of chimps in these forests.But with government support to improve the efforts, the chimpanzees have been consistently improving and the population has started improving. The habituation process guarantees that they are no longer fearful of humans, allowing them to live among them. Gishwati-Mukura is quickly establishing itself as a popular place for chimp trekking in Rwanda. Like all park events, chimp tracking begins with a briefing from the park headquarters on the activity, expectations, and what to bring. Visitors are almost expected to come across other forest species such as wild cats, duikers, and forest birds while tracking the primates.

Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda vs Rwanda: Why should I choose the Uganda chimpanzee trek over Rwanda?

Both countries offer the best destinations for chimpanzee trekking. However, in Uganda, it can be noticed that there are more chimpanzee trekking destinations than in Rwanda, with Uganda having more than 5 destinations where you can go and have the best chimpanzee trekking safari. Visitors will have to find the chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park, Kalizu forest, Budongo Forest, Uganda Wildlife Education Center, Kyambura Gorge, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Ngamba Island, and all these are destinations with chimpanzees. You can track chimpanzees here and in Rwanda, where the most popular chimpanzee trekking destination is Nyungwe Forest National Park. Thus, Uganda offers better chimpanzee gorilla trekking experiences as compared to its Rwanda counterpart.

The best time to see chimps in both Uganda and Rwanda is during the rainy season.

Visiting chimpanzees is possible all year round, though the best time is during the dry season, from June to September and December to February. In this dry season, the trails are drier and chimpanzee trekking is easier.