Chimpanzee Tracking in East African Countries- Primates
Planning to watch the primates in Africa- Enjoy visiting the various Chimpanzee Tracking destinations in East Africa with a Trusted Tour operator from Uganda, Rwanda or Burundi & Tanzania while on an Africa Safari Holiday.
Chimpanzee Tracking Safaris can be joined with Gorilla Trek Africa tours offered in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic republic of congo.
Ngamba Island Uganda
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary was founded as a haven to take care of the orphaned chimpanzees that were rescued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority from being poached and sold on the black-illegal market. The sanctuary began as a project in 1997 by the Chimpanzees Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) as well as the Born Free Foundation (UK). The island is enfolded by the beautiful waters of the vast Lake Victoria and inhabits about 49 chimpanzees that are got from all over Uganda. It is suitably located 23 km off shore from Entebbe and covers an area of 100 acres i.e 40 hectares close to the equator. The island also supports various wildlife species i.e 120 birds, Hippos, Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards as well as flora which provide food for the chimpanzees. There are day trips as well as overnight trips carried out on the island so as to observe and interact with the chimpanzees at a close distance. There are compost toilets, rain water collection, solar energy as well as proper waste management practices.
The policy of the Island is that when young chimpanzees are brought to the island, they are separately taken care of alone without mixing them with the adults. These should be protected from the adults for chimpanzees don’t just accept strangers in their communities. These are kept and cared for in cages and every day, some of the adult chimpanzees are brought in so that they get used to this new member. While at the island the visitors can easily observe and spot the rare species of chimpanzee enjoying their habitat for many were saved from a life of captivity. These are safe guarded in a fence where they are free to wander around in the forest and are fed twice a day from the viewing platforms. Forest walks and Day trips as well as overnight trips can be arranged on prior request.
Walking with the chimps is a very beautiful experience worth taking due to the fact that you will take on various activities like play biting, pulling your hair, etc. The accommodation provided at the island includes smart self-contained tents with beautiful views of Lake Victoria. There are boat cruises at the island that can be enjoyed by all travelers around the world so as to view the chimpanzees at a close range from an elevated piece of land during the day tour at either 11:00 am/ 2:00 pm when feeding. Other activities can be done at the island and these include Volley Ball, Badminton, Darts, Shopping at the Island shop, Sun Bathing, hammock relaxation, and reading.
Visiting the island is very relevant to the sanctuary in a way that the profit received is used to care for the orphaned Chimpanzees and other endangered species.
How to Get to Ngamba
Depending on one’s budget, there are numerous boats that can transfer you across Ngamba to the beautiful Island on the other side. These boats can be booked through the Ngamba Reservations office either through email or contact. The speed boat travel from the dock in Entebbe to Ngamba Island takes about 45-50 minutes where as an ordinary canoe will require about 90 minutes where as those that use air will take about 20 minutes from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Air strip. Independent operations also offer visits to the island. Book with Ngamba Island straight through the reservations office or through an authorized tour operator agency and pre-purchased entrance tickets must be shown upon arrival at the island.
Sweet waters Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Sanctuary
Sweet waters Wildlife Sanctuary is situated approximately 3 hours off Nairobi/ Nakuru and Nyeru where as Nanyuki is just half an hour from the Park. The sanctuary is a very prominent destination in Kenya. The sanctuary inhabits various wildlife animals but more specifically our close relatives the chimpanzees that are attained from various destinations around Africa. These are usually got from captivity by poachers and traffickers who some time get these and sell them on the black market.
The chimpanzees are noisy, curious, intelligent and social animals. They share 99% human DNA and our brains with behavioral traits that match ours. They make easy nests using broken stamps of wood and lined with soft leaves to rest/ sleep at night. They eat leaves of specific trees within the forests and use the tree branches and vines growing in these forests to play and swing from one tree to another with tough ropes of the wild.
They are fond of walking with their front fists closed while the rear foot is open and spread out for ample support. Their hind legs have the ability to grab and hold on to something just like their hand. The toes act like the opposite thumb on the hand making it easy for the chimpanzees to navigate through the thick forest.
There are two groups at Sweetwaters chimpanzee sanctuary and these are divided by a candid river and this has enabled easy identification as well as harmony since these primates are known to fear water. Other wildlife animals that live at the sanctuary can cross this river with ease. The places they inhabit here is very ideal with tall trees as well as open area where they are given food and water by the keepers. Sometimes when they want to cross the stream/ river, they make a bridge for themselves using broken trees and stumps of dead trees and in case they want to drink water, they chew on soft branches, make a sponge out of them then dip it into the pond and suck the water out of it.
Tanzania’s Mahale Mountains National Park
Situated in a distant area in Tanzania, the park acts as a chimpanzee sanctuary and occupies an area of about 1613sqkm inhabiting approximately 1700 chimpanzees. The most crucial point in this park is the 60-strong Mimikere, or ‘M’ group which has been prominently researched for over four decades and this is suitably habituated to be approachable to the humans. While transferring to this destination, we advise visitors to wear long trousers that are not jeans, strong boots, hat as well as surgical masks despite the fact that these can be provided by the park guides/ rangers.
You will spend about 2-3 days in the park and you will have a chance to spot these wandering around and the experience is very fascinating for as you look for these in their habitat a chimpanzee might brush past you along the trail. You will also have opportunities to spot some others in the tree tops and you will interact with them for a period of one hour just as recommended by the park.
It is hard and challenging to spot the chimpanzees during the wet season which happens from November to May and March through May since these are always occupying the tree tops and the trails are muddy hence difficult to walk on through the forest. However, when the dry season begins from the months of June-October the bushes are not so grown and the chimpanzees come down from the tree tops so easy to spot along the main lodge area as well as on ground. Getting here requires one to transfer through the closest main town of Kigoma which is approximately 130 km North of Mahale near the Lake shore.
Transfer to this destination using a scheduled charter flight over the rear edge of the Mahale Mountains from Arusha in a period of 4 hours with Zantas Air or from Dar es Salaam in a period of 6 hours with Safari Air link.
However, you can opt to use a speedboat from Kigoma in a period of 4-5 hours.