Fairend Safaris

Chimpanzee tracking in Murchison Falls National Park

Chimpanzee tracking in Murchison Falls National Park is one of the great activities to do when visiting this park. There are 3 forests situated within the park where this activity can be done. These include Budongo forest, Kaniyo pabidi forest, and Rabongo forest. Among the three areas, Budongo is the most common and well-known destination for chimpanzee tracking in Murchison Falls National Park.

Budongo Forest is one of the largest and most important chimpanzee habitats in East Africa. It has an estimated population of around 600 to 700 chimpanzees. Chimpanzees in Murchison Falls National Park and Budongo Forest are protected under conservation efforts to preserve their habitat and ensure their long-term survival. These efforts include habitat conservation, anti-poaching patrols, research, and monitoring programs. Additionally, there are community engagement initiatives to reduce human-wildlife conflict and promote coexistence.

What a typical day of chimpanzee tracking entails

Chimpanzee tracking usually begins early in the morning, so travelers need to wake up early and prepare for the day ahead. They are to ensure they have all the necessary gear, including sturdy walking shoes, long pants, insect repellent, sunscreen, water, and a camera.

Before heading into the forest, trackers receive a briefing from the park’s guide or ranger. This briefing covers important information about the chimpanzee tracking experience, safety guidelines, and what to expect during the trek.

Once in the forest, you’ll begin your trek in search of the chimpanzees. The trek can 1 to 4 hours depending on the location of the chimpanzee groups and the terrain. The guide or ranger leads the way, following trails and listening for vocalizations or signs of chimpanzee activity.

When the chimpanzee group is located, you’ll have the opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat for an hour. During this time, you’ll have the opportunity to take photos and ask questions about the chimpanzees and their behavior. After the chimpanzee encounter, you’ll begin the trek back to the starting point or your camp.

The cost of chimpanzee trekking permits

Travelers interested in chimpanzee trekking must first obtain a permit before engaging in the activity. A chimpanzee trekking permit is $130 for foreign nonresidents $ 120 for foreign residents and $ 85 for East African citizens. Permits are issued or obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Only travelers above 13 years are allowed to participate in chimpanzee trekking, a permit can be obtained from the Budongo forest offices or through a trusted operator like Fairend.

The best time to go for chimpanzee tracking in Murchison Falls National Park

The best time to go for chimpanzee tracking in Murchison Falls National Park is during the dry season from December to February and from June to September. The weather is generally dry and sunny during these periods, making forest trails easier to navigate.

 The dry season is generally considered the best time for chimpanzee tracking in Murchison Falls National Park. However, the activity is available year-round.  During the wet season (March to May and October to November), forest trails may be muddy and slippery, and sightings may be less frequent due to dense vegetation.