The Best places to see the chimps & gorillas in Uganda & Rwanda.
Uganda is a Chimpanzee paradise and probably one of the best places to see them. Chimpanzees occupy a wide range of habitats, from dense primary rain forests to dry savannah woodlands and reverine forests. Uganda is one of the most biologically diverse nations on the African continent and hosts a wide chimpanzee population. The rapid deforestation in Africa is the most important threat for chimpanzees and Uganda is certainly not an exception. The Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s flagship national park and one of the best places to view Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
In the north of Uganda, on dramatically winding roads, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is biodiverse and at a lower altitude. It has four groups well-habituated for tourism, and two more are being habituated to cope with demand. The park has well-established lodges and camps such as Buhoma Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp and Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp. The thickly forested mountain slopes are traversed by guided safari groups strongly regulated by a certain number of permits per day. The aim is to get up close and personal on foot to semi-habituated family groups of Mountain Gorillas. Some taxonomists regard the Bwindi gorillas as a separate sub-species of eastern gorilla – the lack of hair on their brow easily distinguishes them from their shaggier Virunga cousins.
Kibale National Park
The Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda is certainly the best place to have your chimp experience as it is home to one of the highest population densities, and richest diversities of primates in Africa. The success rate is the highest in Kibale! The tracking experience is a very moving experience and Kibale Forest NP offers also opportunity to participate during one or more days in the habituation process. (only in the low season). Tracking the chimpanzees in the park is not particularly strenuous and there is at an 80 percent chance of spotting chimpanzees. The park is adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Semuliki National Park and Rwenzori National Park are a short distance away making it an ideal destination on any Ugandan safari. Accommodation options include Primate Lodge and Nyinabulitwa Safari Camp.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park is home to classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees, and over 600 species of birds. Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose lions regularly climb the fig trees.Accommodation is available at Ishasha Wilderness Camp. The park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music and more. The gazetting of the park has ensured the conservation of its ecosystems, which in turn benefits the surrounding communities.
Volcanoes National Park
Rwanda is about the size of Wales, with good main roads (making it quick to get around) and a relatively well-developed infrastructure. But it is the work of Diane Fossey, as dramatised in the film Gorillas in the Mist, that really makes Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park many people’s first choice for a mountain gorilla safari. Relaxed gorillas and relatively open habitat – montane vegetation, often with stunning views – greatly improve the chances of good gorilla watching. A well managed permit system allows few numbers of trekkers to hike out each day led by experienced guides in search of the foraging gorilla troops. There are a variety of accommodation options in and around the park where one recuperates from the strains of the days trekking.
Tours and Trips
Best of Uganda Tour is an incredible journey into central Africa – this eight-day safari includes return flights to Bwindi/Queen Elizabeth National Park, allowing maximum time to enjoy your safari.
The Classical Uganda Tour is a ten day safari consisting of thrilling encounters with the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda, chimpanzee tracking in both Kibale National Park and Kyambura Gorge, multiple game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park with its wide array of wildlife.
The 5 night Gorilla Express Safari provides ample time to trek gorillas twice, as well as spend a night in Queen Elizabeth National park – enjoying some game viewing – before heading back to Entebbe.
The Migration and Gorilla Trekking Tour combines the world-famous wildebeest migration (either calving or river crossings) with mountain gorilla tracking in the wild, and you get this iconic safari.