Chimpanzee Tracking: Where to Go – Uganda Vs Rwanda

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Chimpanzees are one of the unique primate species that are found in Rwanda and Uganda. However, these primates live in the shadows of the mountains gorillas that make them not to receive the attention they deserve. These primates are the closer relatives to human kind than the mountain gorillas. The Chimpanzees are 98.7% related to mankind yet the mountain gorillas share about 98.2% of their DNA with humans? So, among these two primate species, which ones are closely related to humans? But as the saying, some animals are equal but others are more equal, and some are born lucky. But it would be interesting when you take your time to visit these Unique Chimpanzees on your safari in Uganda or Rwanda.

Most times, tourists get confused on where to go for chimpanzee trekking between Uganda and Rwanda. All the two countries can be visited for gorilla trekking, but are slightly different in some aspects. This article provides you with information on the difference between chimpanzee tracking in Uganda and Rwanda.

Most forests in Uganda have the chimpanzees and the exceptional areas with habituated chimpanzee groups include Kibale Forest National Park (the Primate Capital of the world with 1,500 chimpanzees out of the 5000 chimpanzees in Uganda). Budongo Forest within the Murchison falls National Park in North Uganda, Kalinzu forest, Semliki-Toro Forest Reserve and the Kyambura gorge in the Queen Elizabeth National Park.    Other places (not in the wild) where these primates can be found include Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) in Entebbe.  For Rwanda, Chimpanzees can be only be found in Nyungwe Forest National park with over 400 individuals and Cyamudongo Forest, and there are only two semi habituated chimpanzee groups, one in Nyungwe and the other in Cyamudongo.

Besides chimpanzee tracking, Uganda offers a more interesting opportunity for tourists to spend up to 4 hours with these riveting primates during the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (dubbed as CHEX) in Kibale Forest National Park and Budongo Forest.  This activity usually takes a full day because tourists together with researchers have to observe these primates from the time they wake up in the wee hours of the morning, time they feed, mate and nest in the evening. However, the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience doesn’t take place in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park.

The price of the Chimpanzee tracking permits in Uganda depend on the place where you are tracking from, with chimpanzee tracking permits for Kibale forest National park being $150 per person, permits for chimpanzee tracking in Budongo forest are at $80,  permits for Kyambura gorge at at $50 and chimpanzee tracking permits for Kalinzu Forest cost $30 per person. For UWEC, you just pay entrance fees (Shs 20,000) and get the opportunity to see most of the animals including the chimpanzees.  Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe forest National Park costs $100 per person.

Because national parks in Rwanda are nearer to each other and not far from Kigali city, is easier to participate in gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park on that same day transfer for chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest National Park which is not p0ossible in Uganda because the Parks are far from each other, hence will need another day to transfer from Kibale national park to Bwindi national Park.

The roads leading to Nyungwe forest are smooth and it is about 3 hours drive from Kigali to Nyungwe Forest, while for Uganda, most of the roads are in poor condition and it takes long (at least 4-6 hours) to reach the places that the chimpanzees are tracked from. With Nyungwe Forest National park, there are luxury but few accommodation facilities and the lodging options are also very distant from the Chimpanzee trekking trailhead.  For Uganda, there are many lodging options for chimpanzee trekking and range from Low budget to luxury options. These faculties are also not far from the trailheads.

In conclusion, based on the comparison between Chimpanzee tracking in Uganda and Rwanda, you can choose which destination to choose from based on your desires, budget of the safari or time you have to have a memorable chimpanzee tracking experience.

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