Best places to see chimpanzees! – Chimpanzees are some of the must see primates in the ape family on an African safari since they are discontinuously widely spread all over Africa from the southern part of Senegal across to the Congo forests to the virunga mountains to the western part of Uganda and western Tanzania.
Chimpanzees are subdivided into subpopulations which include; the Nigeria-Cameroon chimps, the western chimps, central chimps and the eastern chimps. Chimpanzees are intelligent, curious, noisy, and social like humans since they are the closest apes to humans with the sharing of 98% genes, they are our relatives in the wild.
Chimpanzee bodies are covered by black coarse hair except for the face, fingers, toes, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. They have short legs, long arms that are 1.5 times their height. Chimpanzees typically have a standing height of 3.3-5.6 ft. with an adult male weighing up to 40-60kg and females weighing 27-50kg.
Chimpanzees are mainly omnivorous frugivorous and live in communities that range from 20 to more than 100 members that spend most of their time travelling in groups for food. These chimpanzees share a home that they protect from intruders and have learnt complex behavior that change according to circumstances. They have also been seen utilizing medicinal plants for a variety of ailments, make and use tools which skill and knowledge is passed on from generation to generation.
Indeed with these primates are so much fascinating no wander there is so much research being done on and many conservation campaigns running around the world since they are listed among the most endangered species.
Best places to see chimpanzees in Africa
There below we are going to talk about the most sought out places there you can find and get a chance to have a firsthand experience of these human like primates on your African safari.
Kibale National Park, Kanyanchu, Uganda
Located in the western park, kibale national park is world’s primate heaven and the busiest chimp tracking destination in Africa. Its home to the highest number of chimpanzees in the world with over 1500 chimpanzees living in an evergreen kibale rainforest that covers a total area of 296 M2.
Kibale national park is Best places to see chimpanzees on chimpanzee safari with two chimpanzee view package which include; the chimpanzee tracking experience that gives tourists in groups of 6 an hour of tracking, sighting the human like primates as they go about their daily activities and socialize with you and themselves.
However, if you wish to have a more understanding of these primates, you can choose to take on the chimpanzee habituation package that gives you a full day experience with these marvelous friendly primates. This type of safari gives you a chance to have an in-depth experience with the chimpanzees for a full day where by you will move around with trained forest guides, rangers and scientists who will give you the deep understanding of the social behavior of these chimpanzees.
If lucky, you will also get an opportunity to learn how chimpanzees are habituated so as they can become friendly to people and freely live near them without hurting them. It’s generally a wonderful experience. In addition to the chimpanzees, kibale is also home to other poplar primates and endemic birds that will make your safari worth it.
Mahale Mountains National Park, Western Tanzania
Covering a total area of 637 sq. Miles/ 1613 sq. Kms in the Kigoma region along the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. Mahale Mountains National Park is the largest accessible national park in the Rift valley region. Mahale mountain national park is the most important chimpanzee habitant in Tanzania since it has the highest chimpanzee population in Tanzania.
Mahale mountain national park is one of the most fascinating national park in Tanzania since its home to a rear combination of African lions peacefully living with chimpanzees in the world. Safaris in this park are carried out on foot and having a chance to see these apes is more likely since they are accustomed to seeing humans. In addition to the chimpanzee expedition, Lake Tanganyika’s boat cruise and the entertaining rangers will make the entire experience extreme memorable in Tanzania.
Murchison Falls National Park, Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda
Lying at the northern end of the great Albertine rift valley in the northwestern part of Uganda, Murchison falls national park houses Budongo forest reserve that is home to the great African chimpanzees. Budongo forest is a prime chimpanzee safari destination with over 600 habituated chimpanzees, you are rest assured of seeing these great primates all throughout the year.
A safari in this forest starts with a short briefing and it’s led by a ranger who guides you through the dense tropical forest on a fairly flat land scape. These safaris can take a full day with more hours with the habituated chimpanzee groups or half day that gives you an hour with the habituated families. Chimpanzee trekking safaris in Budongo are some of the best chimpanzee experiences since they are not so much tiring since the terrain is relatively flat compared to other destinations.
Gombe Stream National Park, Western Tanzania
Situated in the eastern edge of Lake Tanganyika with a total size of 13.5 sqaure miles in the kigoma region of Tanzania. Gombe stream national park was the first national park to be reserved for chimpanzees in Africa.
Although the park is mainly known for chimpanzee studies with ground breaking research done by Dr. Jane Goodall in the 1960s, a safari to Gombe Stream National Park is always worth it. It all starts with a breath taking boat ride to the park then a short briefing before you start the hike through the rugged terrain while sighting the great primates in the valleys, grasslands and tropical rainforests that will make your chimpanzee Africa safari memorable.
Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda
Located in the southwestern part of Rwanda, Nyungwe forest national park is prime destination for chimpanzee trekking and other primate viewing on a safari to Rwanda. However Nyungwe national park should not be considered as the best location for chimpanzee seeing since Nyungwe national park has a small number of Chimpanzee of about 60 chimpanzees that are habituated for tourism activities.
Composited of a good eco system of grassland, bamboo forest, swamp, and rainforest, Nyungwe national park gives you a chance to see additional other wild animals. Nyungwe forest national park has three park stations where the primate trekking can start from and they include; Kitabi, Gisakura, or Uwinka. Then you hike up the hilly areas of the rainforest to an altitude of over 2,000m above sea level where these fascinating human like wild primates live in so many beautiful bird species, butterflies and many other wild habitants that will make your safari worth it.
Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura Gorge, Uganda
Located in the southwestern part of Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National park is regarded as the home of wild cats in Uganda due to its diversified wild habitants. Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge is mainly carried out in forest filled Kyambura gorge area in the southern part of the park.
This safari will start with a short briefing by a Uganda Wildlife Authority guide who will lead you on a trek as you look out for these great primates in to the deep forest located at the beautiful riverside. Queen Elizabeth national park is also known for its big wild cats and other game drives like the Ishasha tree climbing lions in the Ishasha sector, game drives that are done in the Kasenyi plains, and bird watching in the forests.
Other Best places to see chimpanzees for chimpanzee trekking
There is the Tongo forest in DRC’s Virunga National park with a relatively high number of these great primates although its currently affected by the civil unrest in the area and the country is also infested with the Ebola outbreak that hinder tourism activities in the region.
Other destinations include Kibira national park in Burundi which is the rich in fruit and flowers extension of the Nyungwe national park. This fact makes it more favor for chimpanzee livelihood and hence becoming a permanent chimpanzee habitant in the future.
With our expert analysis of all these destination, we recommend Uganda as the Best places to see chimpanzees for anyone who would like to have chimpanzee safari in Africa since it has over 3 chimpanzee trekking destinations with kibale national park as the prime destination.
To have a successful safari in Africa, we recommend that you carry with you a trekking butts, heavy long clothes since the weather in most African countries is unpredictable i.e it can rain anytime and most wild habitants are always cold.