Uganda is globally referred to as the primate capital of the world because of the high number of primates in the country. Chimpanzees are one of the primates that can be seen in Uganda in large numbers within their natural habitat. However, before many make the great choice of trekking or visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, knowing the best time to go chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is important.
In Uganda, there are several national parks and reserves where chimpanzee trekking can be undertaken. These include Kibale National Park, Budongo Forest, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Kalinzu Forest. Chimpanzee trekking is such a lively activity as trekkers get to see the very playful chimpanzees go around with their daily activities, it is the second most popular primate tracking activity after Uganda gorilla trekking safaris. For visits to see chimpanzees rather than trekking, Ngamba Island on Lake Victoria is home to about 50 chimpanzees that were rescued from all over East Africa. Ngamba Island is in close proximity to Kampala-Uganda’s capital as well as Entebbe International Airport which makes it suitable for short tours chimpanzee tours to Ngamba.
Best Time to Go Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda – Chimpanzee trekking or tracking as referred by many is open to tourists on Uganda tours all year round but the best time is normally in the dry season. The best time to visit Kibale National Park for chimpanzee trekking is in the season of June to September and December to February when the forest trails are generally drier and therefore making trekking easier. In the other months between March to May and September to November the weather is characterized by heavy rainfall and therefore the forest trails, paths, and walkways become slippery and more challenging to trek through.
For other sites including Budongo forest, Kalinzu forest, and Kyambura Gorge, the best time to go chimpanzee trekking is during the months of December to March and also June to July when the rains are less and trekking is easier. These habitats have different forest cover and therefore the rainy seasons may vary slightly.
However, it is important to note that during the dry season, the chimpanzees also find it easier to move through the forest for longer hours and therefore trek a lot. Therefore, during the dry, it may require more strength to trek for longer hours since the chimpanzees also easily move to places deeper in the forest. In the rainy season, however, chimpanzees have a lot of food in the forest and therefore do not trek for longer distances searching for food which makes them easier to trek.
For avid birders who would want to combine chimpanzee trekking tours in Uganda with Uganda birding safaris, the rainy season is the best time to visit. Though many birds can be spotted, note that rain can make the trails challenging.
With over 5000 chimpanzees in the country, chimpanzee trekking is a great primate tracking option. In East Africa, chimpanzees can also be trekked in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park, Tanzania in Gombe Streams National Park and in Ol Pejeta Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Therefore chimpanzee trekking can be combined in any other trip during Uganda safaris, Rwanda tours, Tanzania Safaris or Kenya safaris.