Uganda’s vast forested lands are a habitat to several primate species and arguably the highest primate population density in the world. Among the most prominent of these are the Chimpanzees. These primates can be found in Kibale Forest National Park, Budongo tropical forest, Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forest in Murchison Falls National Park, Kyambura River Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Due to deforestation and other human activities in these parks that almost threatened their existence, sanctuaries have been set up to protect them. One of these places is Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary near Entebbe and another in Queen Elizabeth National Park has been set up.
Since chimpanzees are naturally non-tolerant to human presence, efforts have been made to habituate them. Chimpanzee habituation is a delicate process done by trained professions to try and get them used to human presence and interaction. During this process they copy a lot of human actions which you will notice during your chimp tracking. The chimpanzee habituation process may take as long as six months.
Groups of chimpanzees that have been habituated and are available to visitors for chimp tracking are found in Kibaale National Park, Kaniyo Pabidi in Murchison Falls National Park, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Kalinzu Forest Reserve near Queen Elizabeth National Park.
You have a chance to get close and appreciate these delightful chimps. You can feed them and babysit the young ones as well but under the guidance and supervision of a game ranger/guide.
Through this encounter you will come to appreciate why they are called man’s closest cousins as they have so many similarities with humans. For example Chimpanzees have opposable thumbs which allow them to grasp objects and use tools when they are eating small items like insects just as humans use forks. Young chimpanzees love to play and imitate other chimpanzee actions just as with young ones in humans. You will witness this and much more in your chimp tracking safari.