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6 Mar

Trekking Experience with Gorillas in Uganda

What are the best places for tourists to go gorilla trekking?

Bwindi Forest is so dense that you can’t see the person walking less than a meter in front of you, the ground is as slippery as ice, and you’re walking at a minimum angle of 30 degrees — it’s the moment of truth. Your guide pulls you into the clearing softly after a long, exhausting scramble. The second leg of our Uganda mountain gorilla hiking expedition had begun!

It was just as unforgettable the second time around as it was the first. Something about peering into the eyes of such a human creature and seeing recognition and acknowledgment makes it impossible to leave without having a profoundly different outlook about all our fellow earthlings.

At first, we hiked from Buhoma in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda) in 2018, but this time we trekked from Rushaga on the opposite side of Bwindi.

I’ve read articles debating whether it’s better to go on a gorilla tour in Uganda or other gorilla destinations but often, they overlook that not all gorilla trekking experiences are created equal in each nation.

I don’t know much about gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Congo because I’ve not visited either nation. However, having encountered gorillas twice in Uganda, in two distinct areas, I can confirm that each encounter was unique.

However, luck plays a big role in your experience. The gorilla families do not live in a zoo, but rather move freely in a vast region of dense forest, and many variables, such as the duration of your trip or the openness of the area you encounter the gorillas in, cannot be predicted. There are, however, a few things you can prepare for.

On your gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda, assess your fitness levels:

At Buhoma, you walk for almost 3 hours to get to the forest, while the starting point at Rushaga is right in the jungle. The longer journey isn’t necessarily a problem; it’s just something to consider. Our longer trek in 2018 allowed us to experience the village of Buhoma in a completely different way.

We wandered through the tea plantations and hiked higher and higher. Finally, we enjoyed breathtaking views of endless bright green mountains quilted with even greener forests just before we entered the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest itself.

So, take an honest look at your physical health and priorities, and then pick a location that best suits your talents and desires. Porters are on hand to help with luggage and in an emergency. However, this additional assistance will come at a cost. But don’t worry, you’ll have good time gorilla trekking!

Make a list of what you want to see:

If you do research, you may also plan for the gorilla families themselves. These families are similar to ours in that they are made up of people with diverse personalities who are always expanding and changing, occasionally losing members due to old age but also acquiring members through births. Researching the exact status of each family, when births are expected, the size of each family, and the behavioral patterns of each family will guarantee you know what to expect.

We got the opportunity to see a gorilla family in Buhoma that had recently added a new member. This impish member was suckled by his mother while she rubbed his face lovingly. I swear this is a moment that will stay with me forever. On the other hand, we went to Rushaga to see another gorilla family with a pregnant member.

This black back has a voracious appetite. She husked a bush right next to us! Their silverback performed, and I thought to myself, “This guy is a master show-off.” Both gorilla regions have left an indelible impression on me. In your trekking adventure, you will undoubtedly find pleasure!

Carefully plan your time:

Another factor to consider, according to some, is what else you’d like to do besides gorilla trekking. It does not apply, though, if you have short vacation time. You can also perform several other things in these areas.

The roads here are improving rapidly, implying that you can easily travel to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We didn’t hire a driver for the duration of our family vacation.

From one end of Uganda to the other, we’ve traveled the length and breadth of the country. Self-Tailored tours have become even better thanks to this excellent infrastructure!

When is the ideal time to visit Uganda and go gorilla trekking?

It is undeniable that all Ugandan national parks experience a spike in sales from June to August and December to February. As a result, if you want to book gorilla permits, do so three months in advance of one of these designated dates.

We get torrential rains in March, April, May, October, and November. Certain lodges and camps close down in high rainfall areas; roads and forest paths can be in poor condition). As a result, June-July and January-February have nice weather. Come in large groups to have some of the best experiences of your life!

In Uganda, how much does a gorilla trekking permit cost?

A single gorilla permit costs roughly US$600-700 per person in Uganda. Gorilla permits vary in price depending on the country. Trekking permits in Rwanda are the most expensive, costing US$1,500, while in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the cheapest, costing US$400. Additionally, a gorilla habituation experience permit costs $1,500 per person in Uganda. We are very excited to see you here, so please come!

28 Feb

Chimp Tracking Adventure Experience in Uganda

What exactly is this hotly contested Chimp Trekking Adventure Experience?  

Seeing chimps in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Chimpanzees, unlike majestic mountain gorillas, squabble and socialize, climb up and down trees, feed, fight, and generally keep you engaged. This chimp tracking page covers all you need to know about monitoring chimps in Uganda, from permission fees to packing recommendations. The purpose of this article is to provide information regarding your most treasured adventure.

The most famous chimp tracking region in Uganda is Kibale National Park. This park alone is home to around 1500 chimps, and it is conveniently located in Uganda’s southwest region. Tourists will have little trouble getting into the park. The overall wild population of chimpanzees is estimated to be between 150,000 and 250,000, with roughly 5,000 individuals living in Uganda. Tourists can also track chimps in a variety of locations in Uganda. The majority of our Uganda vacations, are focused on Kibale National Park, which has a significant chance of seeing chimps (90%).

As previously said, chimp tracking is extremely entertaining; nevertheless, why is this so? Imagine chasing down a large ape as it swings from one limb to the next on this side of the forest. Consider the satisfaction of finally finding a family while they are being fed. They interact and have a good time right in front of your eyes. It’s incredible, completely out of this world! A chimp tracking adventure is all about doing just that. As the adventure comes to a close, your bouquet of delights emerges after a long trip through a deep jungle.

It’s more like people with chimps. They live in neighborhoods, you might see a bunch of youngsters, then two of them would go, another eight will emerge, making it more lively. Gorillas are sedentary, spending most of their time eating and farting. There’s always a conflict about who the prime male is among chimps. Besides, there’s more movement up and down the trees. It’s a lot of fun, people!

All chimp groups tracked during the chimp tracking adventure have become acclimated. They are less afraid of people. Thanks, attributed to the presence of long-term research teams who investigate their behavior and other results. As a result, your visit will not jeopardize or disrupt their daily relationships. You can get to the primates in minutes or hours if you walk. When you go to them, stay cool and keep a safe distance of about 8 to 10 meters between you and the chimp. This is a good habit to get into to protect you both against disease transmission through the air. Now you have one hour to spend marveling at their perplexing interactions.

You will not be permitted to trek if you are sick, such as with a cold or an upset stomach. You must not eat near the chimps, and you must observe them calmly and respectfully – no yelling or pointing is permitted. Remember to put your camera down for a bit and avoid using flash photography. You’ve come to love every moment of their interactions, yet it’s easy to overlook the highlights.

Chimpanzees are a focal species for the WWF, as they are one of the most environmentally, commercially, and culturally relevant species on the globe. Wild chimp populations across Africa get threatened by habitat loss and degradation, the bushmeat trade, and even the spread of human illnesses. Responsible tourism contributes significantly to the chimp’s survival while also providing cash to locals who might otherwise have had to rely on poaching for a living. The wildlife tourism model of “worth more alive than dead” offers a financially feasible alternative to the harmful practices that endanger chimps.

What should you think about before going on a chimp tracking adventure tour in Uganda?

The chimp trekking permits for Kibale Forest are the most expensive, at US$150. This money supports vital conservation and anti-poaching efforts, as well as paying the salaries of rangers and park workers.

Chimp tracking goes for both private and small group vacations. Customized vacations cost a little extra, making group tours generally less expensive. So, invite your family and friends! Tailor-made excursions include a private guide and more optional activities such as hikes. You’ll also be transported in a dedicated 4×4 vehicle.

Small group tours are frequently limited to a maximum of six participants. All meals, chimp tracking permits, and park admission fees are included in the price of both types of trips. All activities and guides are also open to everyone. Solo travelers are welcome and generally do not have to pay a supplement for the usage of a single room. In Uganda, the minimum age for chimp and gorilla trekking is 15.

At low altitudes, chimp habitats are often flat or undulating. Second, porters are not required for chimp hiking expeditions. Even if the chimps don’t always hang out near the pathways, you must walk them. Prepare to do some bushwhacking through the inescapable deep undergrowth and possibly even pushing through thorny bushes on this excursion.

To protect yourself from wild insect bites and prickly foliage, bring long-sleeved clothing and long trousers made of a pretty robust material. Mornings in Kibale can be chilly, but after a few hours of hiking, you’ll be warmer. It is necessary to wear a waterproof jacket. Additionally, good-grip walking boots/shoes that are adequate for ascending steep and slippery hills are required. You might also want to bring hiking poles.

Because hiking experiences are physically demanding, you should be aware of your fitness level. As you climb, small things like camera equipment add up. Before booking these tours, you are informed of the following facts.

Where else in Uganda can you go chimp tracking?

Kibale Forest National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park are the three main chimp trekking sites in Uganda.

Budongo Forest Reserve:

Uganda’s best safari destination is Murchison Falls National Park. The large range of gaming experiences here is astounding. Game drives, boat cruises, chimp trekking, hikes to epic waterfalls and landscapes, and sundowners at boutique lodges overlooking the savannah can all be included in a single trip.

The Budongo Forest Reserve, located in the wooded south of the gorgeous park, is a good place for chimpanzee tracking. Budongo has an 80 percent encounter rate, which is higher than Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park. While sightings are more likely at Kibale, the experience is more personal due to the lower visitor numbers.

The National Forestry Authority will help you get a tracking permission. A typical tracking trip lasts three hours, with contact often lasting only an hour. Budongo’s guidance is outstanding, with up to six guided groups of three people tracking the chimps each morning or afternoon. For travelers looking for a lengthy encounter with the chimps, a full-day habituation experience is also available.

Kyambura Gorge:

Kyambura Gorge, a pleasantly hidden canyon in the generally flat savannah bordering Queen Elizabeth National Park, is Uganda’s third most popular chimp trekking site. Kyambura Gorge, in the Queen Elizabeth National Park’s far east, is known as the “Valley of the Apes.” The lush forest covering the gorge walls is a prime home for chimps and is attributed to decades of erosion by the Kyambura River. You will feel like you have entered another world when you walk through this secret jungle.

Semiliki Wildlife Reserve:

The Semliki Valley, in Uganda’s western tip, is home to a tiny population of chimps. The chimps in Semliki are scarcely locatable. Because of the dry and scarce woodland habitat, they must travel far and wide to find enough food. The research program here is cutting-edge, as researchers try to figure out the link between chimps walking on two legs and our own species’ evolution.

Ngamba Island Sanctuary

This small but densely forested island is harbored on Lake Victoria. Recently, the island was gazette as a chimp sanctuary for rescued chimps from across the country. On the island, around 50 chimps thrive. Originally, Ngamba Island was not for traditional chimp tracking. These days, visitors and their families come to watch the chimps feeding thrice daily from a secure raised platform.

When is the ideal time to visit Uganda for chimp trekking?

The various degrees of rainfall in Uganda distinguish the seasons. For example, the long rainy season is from March to May, whereas the short rainy season is from October to November. The rains have, however, made tracking more difficult. The benefit of this is that tracking permits are less expensive and easier to obtain. Book with us today for a blissful memory, such as you will only find here.

 

25 Feb

Kibale’s Chimp Habituation Adventure Experience

What are our thoughts on the chimp’s habituation experience?

Those who desire more than a fleeting contact with Uganda’s chimps might join the habituation team and travel deeper into the Kibale Forest in search of groups of chimps less acclimated to human presence. This Chimpanzee Habituation Experience gives you the best chance to spend a half-day or a full day in Kibale Forest with the chimps. Habituation is the gradual exposure of chimps to humans to become accustomed to their presence.

These chimp groups are eventually tracked as part of a routine chimp trek adventure. The habituation procedure also allows the rangers to gain a better understanding of the chimp’s behavior. Furthermore, this procedure takes three years to complete. Joining the habituation team is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn a lot more about the chimps than you would on a typical expedition, but it does need patience.

Kibale National Park is the only place to visit for the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience. Non-habituated groups reside far in the forest, away from the marked pathways, and migrate more quickly to new areas, making the walk more tiresome than a regular chimp expedition.

The full-day experience begins at 6 a.m. when the chimps awaken and ends at 7 p.m. when they build fresh nests and retire for the night. Throughout the day, you observe them going about their daily activities. These include feeding, hunting, patrolling the area, resting, and caring for their young.

The best approach to getting amazing chimp photos is to have a habituation experience. For one thing, you get close enough and recognize individuals based on their unique marks and characteristics. You also understand more about their group dynamics.

Kibale Forest is home to a diverse range of flora and wildlife, including elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, and birds. Spending a full day in the park allows you to view much of this, including elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, and birds.

Does chimp habituation serve any other distinct roles?

By participating in a Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, you support the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s conservation efforts. Researchers must acclimate the chimps to the presence of humans to learn more about them in their natural habitat without affecting their behavior. We will be better able to conserve these magnificent primates as we understand more about them.

The funds raised by chimp trekking in Kibale are critical to the chimps’ and the forest’s continued conservation and protection efforts. At the time of writing, the trip costs $250, which is just slightly more than a typical chimp trekking tour, which costs $200.