Travel Guide: My Chimpanzee Trekking Experience in Uganda
I was invited to Uganda by the Uganda Tourism Board for the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo #POATE2020, (CLICK HERE to see more). However, before the conference, we had 7 days to explore Uganda, and that began on the 28th of January 2020. My first stop was Kidepo Valley National Park (CLICK HERE to read my experience), after which we went to Murchison falls National Park.
Upon landing at Murchison falls National Park with a 1 and a half hours flight from Kidepo, we had another 1 hour drive to the falls. After the magical experience at Murchison falls we headed straight for lunch at Budongo forest (I have a different article on the falls, CLICK HERE to read).
Budongo Central Forest Reserve: Chimpanzee Trekking
If you do decide to come Chimpanzee Trekking at Budongo , you would be given a little briefing before the trek starts. We were told we had a slim chance of seeing the Chimpanzee, basically telling us not to keep our hopes too high. I took off my shoes and got some free boots from the Chimp station at Budongo to protect myself from ants, muddy ground and anything sharp on the floor. After this, we began our 2 hours trek into the wild in search of chimpanzees.
It took us thirty minutes before we spotted the first chimpanzee on the tree. We found a few mating, others grooming each other, while others were making different noises to communicate. At this moment I felt like I was in the “George of the jungle movie”, or better still “Tarzan”.
So yes, I did get my camera ready to get good content for my YouTube, however, when we saw a Chimpanzee land on the fall, everyone wanted to get a good picture of the Chimp and it kept on walking fast like it was running away from us until it disappeared into the bushes.
Seeing a Chimpanzee that close is what you call “victory”, it is rare to see one on a trek, yet alone see one up close. It was a mission accomplished for me, and now I can tell the whole world I saw a Chimpanzee up close. It took us another 30 minutes to leave the bush and arrive at our destination.
Budongo National Park is 50 square kilometers large and we only covered 1.5 meters on our trek. The Park has 80 – 100 chimps
If you plan to do this trek, here are the things that you should know;
- The trek starts by 7AM, and closes by 6PM.
- No trek can be start beyond 5PM
- No smoking in the forest
- Carry enough drinking water
- We humans share most of the common diseases with the Chimpanzees, so you are advised to stay away from them for 7 meters so we do not contact any diseases.
- Wear long trousers socks, boots, long sleeves, to avoid insects and anything in the bush from biting you.
- Chimpanzees do not drag things from humans like some monkeys do
- The forest where I did my trekking is a tropical rain-forest, so the weather can change anytime, come prepared.
- Be ready for long road trips within Murchison falls National Park because all the parks are quite far away from each other.
Fun facts to note about the Chimps:
- Chimpanzees live in a community while gorillas live in families
- Female Chimpanzees starts mating when they are 9 years old
- When female chimps are on heat, they have sex 50 times a day with 14 different male chimps (you would be told the rest when you go on a trek, or when you watch on of my YouTube videos)
Chimpanzee Trekking Price in Uganda:
- High season: $110 -$120 per day
- Low season: $80
Other things to do at Budongo:
- If eating in the forest is a thing on your checklist then Budongo got has got you covered. They do sell and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Watch monkeys play.
- Have a photo-shoot with animals.
- And any of your wildest forest aspirations 🙂
Click Here to book this experience.