Chimpanzee Trekking in Murchison Falls National Park

Chimpanzee Trekking in Murchison Falls National Park

Chimpanzee Trekking in Murchison Falls National Park : Murchison Falls National Park is one of the great safari destinations in Uganda for chimpanzee trekking which is done in the Budongo forest, the forest is part of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area and is home to the largest number of chimpanzees in Uganda. Budongo Forest is also home to over 360 species of birds, 450 species of trees including mahogany and 24 species of mammals.

Chimpanzee Trekking in Murchison Falls National Park

Rabongo Forest is an island covered by tropical river forest where you find chimpanzees and other primates such as baboons, black and white colobus monkeys and red – tailed monkeys. Chimpanzee trekking is less common in Rabongo Forest than in Budongo as there are fewer chimpanzee families here. 

What does a typical day of trekking entail?

Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo Forest (Murchison Falls National Park) is done twice a day, once at 7 am and again at 3 pm. You will need to arrive at the Kaniyo Pabidi eco-site where you will have a briefing about your trek.

From here, you will head into the forest following trails with a Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) guide, the trek can take up to three hours and includes an hour of observing the chimpanzees.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

For visitors who want to spend a little longer with the chimpanzees, you can do the chimpanzee habituation experience. The day starts with an early breakfast before you head out to meet your guide at 6 am.

From there, you will find where the chimpanzees built their nests the night before. You will spend the day with chimpanzees, watching them in their natural habitat, from the moment they wake up (around 6/6.30 am). To the moment they build their new nests for the night.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is designed to help the chimpanzees become habituated and comfortable with human presence, Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park and Kibale National Park are the only two places that offer the chimpanzee habituation experience in Uganda.

Chimpanzee Trekking in Murchison Falls National Park

When’s the best time to go?

The best time to go chimpanzee trekking in Murchison Falls National Park is between October and January, during these months the trails are dry and the grass is short and the fruits re ripening. However, the chimpanzees may move deeper into the forest as food and water are scarcer, so spotting them may take longer.

In June and July, there is high competition for both accommodation and permits as the temperature is cooler and there is less rainfall. Therefore, if you would like to visit during this time, make sure you book several months in advance.

How much does it cost?

To take part in chimpanzee trekking you need to purchase a permit, you can get them from the UWA offices and they cost 85$ each at the time of writing. Only 16 permits for chimpanzee trekking are sold per day and you need to be above 15 years old to buy one.

The permits cost $ 220 at the time of writing.

What do I need to bring?

Here is a quick list of things to bring on a chimpanzee trekking safari in Budongo Forest of Murchison Falls National Park.

  • Lightweight waterproof trousers
  • A quick-dry long-sleeved T-shirt
  • A lightweight waterproof jacket
  • A hat
  • Thick socks
  • A sturdy pair of hiking boots
  • Sunglasses
  • Gloves
  • Rucksack
  • Bottled water
  • Sun cream
  • Insect repellent
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Camera/Phone

Where can I stay?

There are several accommodation options in Murchison Falls National Park, these are split between three the Albert Nile, Paraa and the Victoria Nile and Kaniyo Pabidi and the Masindi road.

These accommodations range from budget, midrange to luxury, these include

  • Paraa Safari Lodge
  • Baker’s Lodge
  • Budongo Ecolodge
  • Twiga Safari Lodge
  • Murchison River Lodge
  • Nile Safari Lodge
  • Chobe Safari Lodge


What else can I do at Murchison Falls?

Murchison Falls National Park is the best safari destination in Uganda, the park’s diversity of habitats, wildlife densities and natural landscapes make it one of the most exciting wilderness areas on the Uganda Western Safari Circuit.

Murchison Falls National Park is the largest safari park in Uganda with over 76 species of mammals and 451 species of birds.

Other amazing activities you can do in Murchison Falls National Park include

Game Viewing: game drives in Murchison Falls National Park offer excellent wildlife sightings, the park is home to four of the Big Five that is lions, buffaloes, elephants and leopards.

Boat safari on the Nile River: this is one of the best ways to experience Murchison Falls allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the wildlife that congregates around the river banks and ends with an amazing sight of the Murchison Falls from the bottom.

Hiking to the top of Murchison Falls: this a perfect activity for the adventurous traveler, the hike takes about 1 to 1.5 hour and offers stunning views of the falls and the surrounding landscape. The climb is not really tough but be prepared to climb 165 stairs on the 2.5 kilometers trail to the top, because the temperatures are high, you might get exhausted but the views are definitely worth the climb. The tail takes you to the Top of the Falls and down to the falls is called the Baker’s Trail with various panoramic viewing points of the two falls.

Bird watching: with over 450 bird species, Murchison Falls National Park is a birdwatcher’s Paradise and one of the Uganda’s best birding areas. If you are a birder, the park is a favorite spot to be and some of the birds to look out for include Kingfishers, Crested Crane (Uganda’s National Bird), Weaver birds, Giant Heron, Shoebill, Ground Hornbills, Black-bellied Bustard, Blue-naped Mousebirds, Silver birds, the Fish Eagle and various other birds of prey.

Combing your Uganda safari to Murchison Falls National Park with chimpanzee trekking in Budongo Forest, you will get an action – packed 3 days Murchison Falls Safari.

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