Uganda has a population of close to 5000 chimpanzees distributed in the various forests and game parks; Kibale national park, Budongo forest in Murchison Falls national park, and Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth National park, however, Every now and then, you might come across a chimpanzee outside a national park-like in the Buniga forest, the Bigodi wetlands sanctuary, and the Bwindi forest. There are over 95% chimps within the Kibale Forest, hence making it the most perfect destination in the whole of East Africa for chimpanzee tracking. Surrounded by the peaceful waters of Lake Victoria, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is home to 49 orphaned chimpanzees rescued from across East Africa. Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (Chimpanzee Trust), an NGO, is responsible for all aspects of the sanctuary.
Chimpanzees are the closest relatives to humans sharing about 98% of their DNA composition. A chimpanzee’s life expectancy is at 40 years whereas that for those living in captivity can extend up to 60 years. The average weight of an adult well grown male chimpanzee is between 35 and 70 kilograms, with a height of approximately 3 meters whereas tan adult female chimpanzee weighs between 26 and 50 kilograms and a height between 2 and 4 feet. They are Sociable, intelligent as well as communicative and among their very fascinating traits is the ability to utilize tools like rocks for crushing nuts, empty pods for hollowing out water plus sticks for capturing termites from their holes. These skills are for long been passed on from generation to another and researchers say that different troops have specialist tasks, basing on their habitat as well as diet. Chimps stay in groups of 10 – 100 members. They babysit each other’s young, kiss, groom one another, copulate and even hold hands. The young chimps become independent at the age of 4 years. Nonetheless, chimps can be aggressive and unsociable, mainly if disturbed. Although they spend some time on the ground, they normally feed and do make their sleeping nests up in the trees. Their diet varies comprising of leaves, seeds, fruit plus flowers.
Chimp trekking in Rwanda is in Southern Rwanda in Nyungwe national park in the two areas of Cyamudongo and Uwinka. Nyungwe forest is home to over 500 chimpanzees residing in the forest. Your ranger will guide you to the expected trekking location and after a briefing, you can start the trek. Chimpanzee trekking begins early morning with visitors expected to arrive at the briefing point in Uwinka to start trekking at 5:00 am. You are allowed to stay 1 hour with the chimps after locating them with the help of your ranger guide.
Strict rules include;
Trackers with diseases such as diarrhea cough and flu may not be allowed to enter the park.
Keep a distance of about 8-12m between you and the Chimpanzees.
Flash photography is not allowed.
Children below the age of 12 are not allowed to enter the park.