Adventure, Africa, Destination, Featured Adventure, Uganda

Trekking Chimpanzees in Uganda’s Kibale National Park

Chimps, Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

A community of wild chimpanzees surrounded me in Uganda’s Kibale National Park. The leader, an elderly looking male, had one eye and silvery, grey hair on his back. Don’t mistake that for weakness though. He was powerful and the rest of the community respected him and protected him when they sensed danger.

Another community of chimpanzees was close by and the members were on high alert. Screaming and movement were a part of the full hour that I was able to spend with these magnificent apes in Kibale National Park. It was the most wild travel adventure of my life. Africa Adventure Safaris planned the adventure of a lifetime in Uganda’s Kibale National Park and this was only day two.

I embarked on my chimpanzee experience from the Kanyanchu Visitor Center in Kibale National Park at 3 PM. It’s the rainy season so tourists weren’t as plentiful and I entered the forest with only one other person – the guide. He was armed with a rifle and a radio and dressed in camouflage. We were heading deep into the forest to trek chimpanzees. Millions of thoughts ran thought my head.

What if something happens to this man while we’re in the forest? If we get lost? What if the chimpanzees are aggressive and attack us? What if….

I made small talk to get out of my head as we walked deeper and deeper into the forest. It didn’t take long for me to be completely lost, but this was second nature to the guide. He knew the paths like I know the streets in my neighborhood.

Chimps in Kibale National Park, Uganda

It wasn’t long before we heard their screams and howls and then we were among them. There were about twenty in the community and they were mostly on the ground while a few were swinging in the trees.

I saw three babies riding on the backs of their moms. Their faces and hands were lighter and their ears were far too big for their bodies. Adults and children sat and moved around me. I took several photos and videos and watched in awe.

One male looked at me and it was uncanny how much I felt like I was looking at a human. It wasn’t a blank look; he was studying me. Honestly, it made me a little freaked out. Chimpanzees are the closest relatives to humans and we share over 98 percent of their DNA.  They are sociable, intelligent, and communicative, but they are wild animals and I was in their home.

Chimps in Uganda

Baby Chimp on Mom in KibaleKibale Chimpanzees

Although I tried to maintain the required distance of 5-8m, I could have reached out and touched them. I guess they weren’t given the 5-8m guidelines. They looked at me, cleaned each other, scratched, and walked on two legs. They were like watching children who spoke a different language.

We spent an entire hour with them. They moved around but they weren’t trying to get away from us. It was the most unbelievable wildlife encounter of my life. I didn’t want to leave yet I didn’t want to overstay my welcome.

Selfie with a Chimpanzee in Uganda

I have had some amazing travel experiences in my life but trekking chimpanzees in Kibale National Park was the wildest moment of my travels.

When I was a child, I imagined having wild African adventures like this but I didn’t believe they were actually possible. Africa Adventure Safaris makes your wildest dreams a reality.

Related Posts

41 thoughts on “Trekking Chimpanzees in Uganda’s Kibale National Park

  1. Beth says:

    A once in a lifetime for sure. Amazing!

    1. Lesley says:

      Is it on your list? A few years ago, I wouldn’t have even thought to put it on my list. It seemed impossible. I love how traveling and exploring the world has changed my idea of limits. 🙂

  2. Lesley, this is amazing and what fabulous photos!

    1. Lesley says:

      Thanks Violet. I tried to find a balance between taking photos and just enjoying the experience. It can be difficult sometimes, but I don’t want my adventures to be solely through a lens. There needs to be time to put the camera away and see for myself 🙂

  3. Lesley, this is amazing and what fabulous photos!

    1. Lesley says:

      Thanks Violet. I tried to find a balance between taking photos and just enjoying the experience. It can be difficult sometimes, but I don’t want my adventures to be solely through a lens. There needs to be time to put the camera away and see for myself 🙂

  4. Paula says:

    That is really amazing! I wanted to do it when I was in Uganda, but it was a bit to expensive so I passed. It will be something I regret for life. Hopefully I will return someday and actually do it.

    Paula

    1. Lesley says:

      You should plan to go back. No regrets 🙂 It will happen again if you really desire it.

  5. Paula says:

    That is really amazing! I wanted to do it when I was in Uganda, but it was a bit to expensive so I passed. It will be something I regret for life. Hopefully I will return someday and actually do it.

    Paula

    1. Lesley says:

      You should plan to go back. No regrets 🙂 It will happen again if you really desire it.

  6. Lorenzo says:

    This is going on the top of my list. I will make it happen this year no matter what.

    Thanks for the inspiration,

    Lorenzo

    1. Lesley says:

      Have you been to Africa before? Uganda? It was one of my favorite wild travel adventures of my life. There was so much wildlife and so many unique opportunities. I’d love to go back with my family.

  7. Lorenzo says:

    This is going on the top of my list. I will make it happen this year no matter what.

    Thanks for the inspiration,

    Lorenzo

    1. Lesley says:

      Have you been to Africa before? Uganda? It was one of my favorite wild travel adventures of my life. There was so much wildlife and so many unique opportunities. I’d love to go back with my family.

  8. David says:

    OMG that is so amazing! Who knew it was possible?

    1. Lesley says:

      I said the same thing just last year. I never imagined I would see it for myself. Have you been to Uganda before?

  9. David says:

    OMG that is so amazing! Who knew it was possible?

    1. Lesley says:

      I said the same thing just last year. I never imagined I would see it for myself. Have you been to Uganda before?

  10. Wow, what an amazing experience, definitely one to add to the list.

    1. Lesley says:

      It’s possible with kids as well, Marianne. I just posted an example schedule here – https://www.bucketlistpublications.com/2015/05/18/gorilla-trekking-in-uganda-with-your-family/. I never imagined that I could bring my daughter but the guide and the tour company said that families visit all the time.

      Have you been to Uganda before?

      Lesley

  11. Wow, what an amazing experience, definitely one to add to the list.

    1. Lesley says:

      It’s possible with kids as well, Marianne. I just posted an example schedule here – https://www.bucketlistpublications.com/2015/05/18/gorilla-trekking-in-uganda-with-your-family/. I never imagined that I could bring my daughter but the guide and the tour company said that families visit all the time.

      Have you been to Uganda before?

      Lesley

  12. Absolutely adorable photos, you included. One day….one day…

  13. Absolutely adorable photos, you included. One day….one day…

  14. Wow! This is really beautiful and looks like an extraordinary experience! I hope I can get there soon! Thanks for sharing

  15. Wow! This is really beautiful and looks like an extraordinary experience! I hope I can get there soon! Thanks for sharing

  16. Renee says:

    Divine, divine. Jaw-dropping profile photos of our ancestors. Oh, if we really truly knew what they are thinking. I’m so appreciative to read this and have you sharing your images in a place so far away, it is another world for me.

    1. Lesley says:

      This month, I visited Israel, Uganda, and home in North America. It reminds me that the world is so vast, but every place has something similar and makes it feel like home. I’ve never truly felt completely alienated. That is the most beautiful part of traveling 🙂

  17. Renee says:

    Divine, divine. Jaw-dropping profile photos of our ancestors. Oh, if we really truly knew what they are thinking. I’m so appreciative to read this and have you sharing your images in a place so far away, it is another world for me.

    1. Lesley says:

      This month, I visited Israel, Uganda, and home in North America. It reminds me that the world is so vast, but every place has something similar and makes it feel like home. I’ve never truly felt completely alienated. That is the most beautiful part of traveling 🙂

  18. Beautiful shots Leslie! Seeing Chimpanzees in the wild is one of my childhood dreams as well. So cool that you could make yours happen. I’ll be coming back to this post when we make it to Uganda. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  19. Beautiful shots Leslie! Seeing Chimpanzees in the wild is one of my childhood dreams as well. So cool that you could make yours happen. I’ll be coming back to this post when we make it to Uganda. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  20. Grace Blake says:

    What an incredible experience! Oh how I love Africa!! AustralianAbroad.com

  21. Grace Blake says:

    What an incredible experience! Oh how I love Africa!! AustralianAbroad.com

  22. Jhon Lingkon says:

    You are brave enough Leslie, some times monkeys can be more dangerous. These wild are not safe

  23. Jhon Lingkon says:

    You are brave enough Leslie, some times monkeys can be more dangerous. These wild are not safe

  24. Debbie says:

    WOW! Trekking chimpanzees is something I would absolutely love to do. That looks like an absolutely incredible experience.

  25. Debbie says:

    WOW! Trekking chimpanzees is something I would absolutely love to do. That looks like an absolutely incredible experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.