Chimpanzee trekking is done on foot as visitors search for chimpanzees in natural forests and this involves being critically involved in looking out for the signs of chimps like ponds left behind after feeding, listening out for loud calls, foot and knuckle prints left behind.
Chimpanzee trekking is one of East African park activities done by travelers with the guidance of the park ranger. The experience takes an hour in the presence of great apes but overall experience takes about 2 to 6 hours depending on their location. In east Africa, chimpanzee trekking is done in 4 countries and these are Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.
For one to qualify to acquire a chimpanzee trekking permit they need to be 16years and above. These chimp trekking permits are acquired from recognized tour agencies or authorized government organizations. Every country has its own price attached to the chimp trekking permits.
Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills and this is because of the different hills that surround the country. This country offers the best of primate trekking including chimpanzees, gorillas and golden monkeys. Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda is done in Nyungwe national park which is located in south-western part of this country. Nyungwe national park has one group of chimpanzees comprising of 60 individuals.
Chimpanzee permits in Rwanda go for 90 USD for foreign tourists and Rwandans pay only 60 USD. There are 3 reception centres where chimpanzee trekking starts and these are Uwinka, Kitabi, and Gisakura. They are meeting points for tourists and park rangers to receive a briefing and thereafter trekkers are driven to the starting point.
Chimp trekking differs from gorilla trekking in a way that chimpanzees normally swing from one tree to another whereas gorillas are always found on the ground playing, relaxing and eating.
Kenya is known to be a savannah country that offers great wildlife viewing but there are specific places occupied by forests hence attracting the presence of chimpanzees. In Kenya, chimpanzees can be found at Old Pejeta conservancy in the Sweetwater’s chimpanzee sanctuary. These chimpanzees have not been trekked yet but always observed. The area is home to chimpanzees brought in from Burundi after the 1993 civil war. At this point, seeing chimpanzees or visiting these places costs USD60 Adults and USD30 for children (3 to 11 years).
Tanzania is located along the coastline and known to have unique attractions like the annual migration of wildebeest and a host to the big five animals together with the big cats.
Chimpanzees in this country can be found in eastern based Mahale national park and Gombe national park. Mahale mountains national park is located at the shores of Lake Tanganyika which is the deepest lake in Africa. It protects thousands of chimpanzees. Chimp permits here go for USD150 per person, per trek.
Gombe stream national park is the smallest national park in Tanzania and covers an area of only 35square kilometres. This forest park is home to different wildlife including primates such as chimpanzees, red colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons among others. Other animals roam around the park such as bush pigs, leopards, hippos, snakes among others. Chimpanzee permits here go for USD100 for foreign non-residents.
East Africa has a favorable climate, which makes it easy to visit any time of the year. You can undertake chimpanzee trekking any time of the year but the truth remains that the best time will be dry season which is normally in June to September and December to February.
In this period, the trails in forests are generally dry making it possible to pass through compared to the wet season which takes place from March to May and October to November.