Uganda gorilla tracking chimpanzee Tour - Bwindi Gorilla & Kibale Chimp Trek - 4 Days
The 4 days Uganda gorilla tracking chimpanzee tour is specifically focusing on the two main primates of Uganda, the mountain gorillas in Bwindi and the chimps in Kibale National Park. Our aim in designing this gorilla tour for you is that in case you have very limited time, we can still have you enjoy the lifetime primates experience, tracking the chimps and gorillas in Bwindi. The tour can start/end in Entebbe or Kigali (Rwanda) on any day with a minimum of 1 person. We start at 8 am from your hotel or the airport. You will trek the gorillas and then after the chimps in Kibale, or the other way round, depending on the available gorilla permits. The transfers for the trip are by a 4x4 safari land-cruiser and are private but on the treks into the forest, you could be joined by other tourists to the gorillas or chimps.
Mountain gorillas trekking can only be done more affordably in Uganda's Bwindi National Park and the permit fee is USD700 per person. The gorilla trekking permit fees and chimps tracking fees are all included in this gorilla tour cost. The gorilla safari can depart on any day so long as gorilla permits are available. You could also opt to start the tour from Kigal and end in Uganda's Kampala or Entebbe. You could also opt to add on this primates' tour an extension safari to Kenya or Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Brief for the Uganda 4 days Uganda Gorilla Tracking Chimpanzee Tour
The 4 days tour starts with a panoramic drive to Bwindi for gorilla trekking and then driving through Queen Elizabeth National Park to Kibale (of you trek the gorillas in North Bwindi), Africa’s greatest tropical rain forests for Chimpanzee trekking. Combine this with Gorilla trekking in Bwindi the home of the rare mountain Gorillas as you graduate with 2 degrees in primate trekking both undertaken in Uganda’s best-ranked natural and virgin jungles in the world.
- Day 1: Meet the tour guide/ driver at your hotel in Entebbe or Kampala at 7 am to start the Uganda gorilla tracking chimpanzee, and drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, stop at the Equator, pass interesting landscapes scenery
- Day 2: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Day 3: Transfer to Kibale National Park
- Day 4: Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale plus 11 other primates, Departure from Entebbe Airport.
INSIGHTS OF HAVING A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE FROM YOUR UGANDA 4 DAYS UGANDA GORILLA TRACKING CHIMPANZEE TOUR
Secure the gorilla and chimpanzee trekking permits early
Chimpanzees and mountain gorillas are some of the rarest primates on earth. Mountain gorillas themselves are in fact considered to be critically endangered by the IUCN and they can only survive in their wild homes in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. Only a few groups of gorillas and chimpanzees have been habituated for human viewing. To view the gorillas and chimps, you must have a permit (which costs USD700 and USD200 respectively). There are only a handful of these gorilla permits and chimps tracking permits available on a single day for tourists in Bwindi and Mgahinga. Therefore, you have to book and pay your permit in advance to guarantee your spot among those few lucky ones to track the gorillas.
For the months of March, April, May, October, and November, you might be luckier and get permits on short notice (normally even within a week to the gorilla tracking day). However, for the rest of the months, it is quite busier and you are safer booking your permit not less than 3 months in advance.
Prepare your physical fitness levels
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the home of mountain gorillas in Uganda is located in the Virunga mountain ranges, with several steep and gentler slopes and valleys. Besides that, it is an Afromontane tropical forest with no marked rainy or dry seasons. The chances of rain are high on any day. Trekking through the forested slopes and valleys as you track the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in Kibale can therefore be physically challenging to many people. Walking to the gorillas itself (gorilla trekking) could on average be 2-4 hours. Sometimes though, it can just be an hour of walking but some guests go for 6 hours while searching for the gorillas.
For a less stressing gorilla and chimps trek, we suggest ramping up your physical fitness levels with daily walks with increasing durations for 4 weeks. Start off with 30 minutes of walking daily then increase it to 1 hour and then more if you can.
Of course, the Bwindi and Kibale parks’ rangers allow several breaks along the trek. These 5-15 minutes’ breaks are meant for you to catch you breathe and allow for the whole group of 8 to proceed as one.
There is also a window for those who are in advanced ages or really physically challenged and blind to access the gorillas by hiring a group of 4 porters to carry them to the gorillas and back. This special arrangement costs not less than USD400 but can only be arranged for weeks in advance.
Carefully consider what you pack for your gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking Here are vitals when packing:
- Waterproof clothing for yourself in case it rains while you are in the forest
- packed lunch provided by the lodge/camp (or any other higher energy snack for the day)
- Plenty of water – at least 2 liters per person
- Spare batteries for videos and cameras
- Gloves (the gardening type are good)
- Waterproof bag to protect photographic equipment
- A hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and band-aids might be useful
- A lightweight waterproof jacket/poncho
- Walking sticks are made available at the start of the trek for some of the steeper and more slippery tracks and may prove to be very handy.
Plan to hire a local personal helper (porter) for the gorilla tracking chimpanzee trek
Managing the longer physically challenging trekking while carrying backpacks of packed lunch, rainproofing, camera, and other things will be less of a stress if you have extra help. It is for this reason that we recommend sourcing a helper from the local community (a porter). Every other day the porters will be available at the park offices during briefing time and the standard fee is 15 USD per each for the whole day (although you can pay more if you prefer). The porters will help carry your back and even give you a hand in case you slide along the slippery slopes. It is also another way of giving back to the local community.
If you need a porter, your Uganda tour guide/ driver can help you book one (or even two!) so that you can track without having to carry the few essential items listed below in a day pack which you should bring with you.
Because your porter will not be having a permit for tracking the gorillas, when you reach their (gorillas) presence, the porter will not be allowed to get close. So you will have to be ready carry your essential belongings for that short while until when you depart from the gorillas.
Uganda 4 Days Gorillas Trek and Chimp Tracking Tour -Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Kibale Chimp Trek - (Gorillas, Chimps Trek)
Day 1: Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (flight option available)
We shall commence the 4 days Uganda gorillas tracking chimpanzee trek tour with your designated tour guide meeting with you at your hotel in Entebbe or Kampala at 08:00 AM. He shall be briefing you through the program before setting off on the ±7 hours drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Along the drive, expect to meet up and interact with a few communities, stops at traditional village farms, fruit markets, and crafts and artifacts shops, as well as the equator crossing point for photography.
We shall have lunch at a nice restaurant in Mbarara city before we traverse mountains, tropical rainforests and bamboo forest on our way to Bwindi. We expect to be in Bwindi at about 4 pm. Dinner shall be at the overnight lodge/ camp.
Bwindi Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market: Mahogany Lodge or Buhoma Lodge or Bwindi Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge
Moderate: Engagi Lodge or Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge or Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
Low Budget: Gorillas Conservation Camp or Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp or Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge
Day 2: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
After breakfast, proceed for the morning briefing before enjoying the highlight of the trip - gorilla trekking, which may last the entire day.
We trek through the rainforest and bamboo-covered slopes, accompanied by a guide and trackers, in search of a mountain gorilla family. The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. When sighted, visitors will be guided to within 6 metres from the gorillas, sit around them for a whole hour while gazing into their big round eyes.
Gorilla trekking is unpredictable. It's difficult to foresee how many hours you will hike. The gorilla excursion can take from 2 up to 8 hours. Expect to walk a long distance in steep and muddy conditions, sometimes with rain overhead, before you encounter any gorillas. A good physical condition is recommended. For conservation purposes, time spent with the gorillas is limited to one hour. A ranger will brief you on how to behave with the gorillas.
Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market: Mahogany Lodge or Buhoma Lodge or Bwindi Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge
Moderate: Engagi Lodge or Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge or Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
Low Budget: Gorillas Conservation Camp or Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp or Buhoma Community Campground or Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge
Day 3: Drive from Bwindi to Kibale National Park for the chimpanzee trek
Early morning after breakfast we continue driving through the undulating highlands of southwestern Uganda on our way to the greener and beautiful Fort Portal area. Traveling on both asphalt and unpaved roads, you pass through traditional Ugandan Villages where you see people at work tending their traditional crops of millet, sorghum, beans and maize. The lush rolling hills of this region provide good "photo opportunities".
As you approach Fort Portal in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, you enter Uganda's famous tea plantation region. A carpet of green spreads before you, as far as the eye can see, and seems an unusual contrast to the countryside through which you have just passed.
If your gorilla trekking was done from the Buhoma or Ruhija sectors of Bwindi, you could actually program a short game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park for tree-climbing lions and other wildlife in the park. You would, however, need to pay the entrance fees for yourself and the vehicle.
Kibale Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market: Kyaninga Lodge or Ndali Lodge or Crater Safari Lodge
Moderate: Isunga Lodge or Turaco Treetops Lodge or Kibale Forest Camp (in rooms) or Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse
Low Budget: Kibale Forest Camp (in tents) | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (in the main house with shared bathroom) or Rweteera Safari Camp
Day 4: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park & Depart back to Entebbe
Unlike the gorilla tracking in Bwindi, Kibale chimpanzee trekking is rather softer and less physically demanding. The forest landscape is generally a gentle slope, so you won't be hiking a lot. There are two chimpanzee tracking sessions, at 8 am and 11 am and we plan to be on the former so that we have enough time to drive to Kampala/ Entebbe afterward. Typically, we locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, then hustle to the area from which they are calling. We get to observe them as they feed in fruiting trees, lounge, and socialize with each other, or even, occasionally hunt.
Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale is set to reward you more compared to other African forests because of the richer biodiversity in the park. It is inhabited by three large communities of chimps, each numbering more than 100 individuals. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against incursions by male outsiders; the females usually wander in small family groups.
If all goes well, you can as well expect more than 11 other primates species encounters in Kibale black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, bushbabies, and pottos. Also, the many bird species like the yellow-spotted nicator, rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, green breasted pitta, the crowned eagle, black bee-eater keep the forest lively as you go about the chimpanzee trekking. Be keen on this walk for unexpected encounters with the other species of mammals like elephants in the jungle.
We shall end the Uganda gorilla tracking chimpanzee trek tour with our return drive to Entebbe Airport or Kampala city if you are not planning on flying out today. This route travels through breathtaking scenery and delightfully rolling plantations, some of the best in Uganda, arriving in Kampala in the early evening.
The drive should be about ±5 hours and we expect to be in Entebbe at about 6:30pm.
Essential Chimps and Gorilla Trekking information
Chimpanzee tracking takes place in Kibale while Gorilla Trekking takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda at altitudes of about 2000 Meters above sea level. Both places experience a modified equatorial climate, which is kind of moist and often cooler. The grounds are usually wet and the paths are full of stinging plants-nettles. Besides, the rains are random. In this regard, all prospective trackers are asked to bring the following
- Long trousers/ pants- to avoid stinging nettles please do not wear short parks when tracking gorillas. The trousers must be strong enough to withstand occasional pulls from thorns.
- Long-sleeved shirts/ t-shirts. To avoid stinging nettles
- Gloves- not such a big necessity but you may need them to avoid injury to your hands. Remember the grounds are wet and slippery. To avoid injury from thorny bushes and objects on ground.
- Hiking boots- Please bring average waterproof sturdy walking boots reaching ankle level not mountain climbing boots. Something light and hardy will do.
- Warm cardigan- the hills can get extremely cold. A warm cardigan is required to keep off cold.
- Long-sleeved Rain Coat or anorak -it can rain anytime in Volcanoes National Park even on hot days. The downpours are heavy and extremely cold.
- Waterproof container for your cameras. Yes I know there are waterproof cameras but even them to be sure just put them in a waterproof container. When you are slipping and falling in muddy grounds you do not want your precious photos damaged or do you?
- If you desire headgear (hats), a baseball cap is recommended as gorillas are familiar to them.
- Enough water- minimum of 2 litres of drinking water to avoid dehydration. Carry four just in case the hike proofs longer than expected. Sometimes it can be 8 hours.
- A camera
- If you are interested in birds, you can bring Field guide to birds of East Africa by Fanshawe and a pair of binoculars.
Uganda and Rwanda Introductory Travel Tips
Our guide(s) is a thorough English speaking professional guide and navigates all through.
Most of the breakfast served in Ugandan Hotels is English breakfast. Lunch and Dinner in some hotels are based on set menu but most hotels meals are on Ale carte. All hotels included in the Itinerary offer traditional/cultural music shows on request.
We have talked about all the hotels used and their description in the Itinerary: However, not all hotels have Bathtub but you will find clean warm shower facilities Ensuite. Some lodges offer Air-conditioned rooms while other haven’t. However Uganda climate is renowned for moderate temperatures which range between 18 to 28 degrees centigrade throughout the year.
You are on Fullboard(FB)/ Half board(HB) however this doesn’t stop you from buying anything of your interest.
The question of when and when not to tip can be difficult in a foreign country. In Uganda and Rwanda, it is customary to tip your driver/guide at the end of a safari or hike, as well as a cook or porter that accompanies you. A figure if roughly $5 per day would be a fair benchmark, though check this with your safari company in advance. I see no reason why you shouldn’t give a bigger or smaller tip based on the quality of service. It is not essential to tip the guides who take you around in national parks and other reserves, but it is recommended, and the money will be greatly appreciated by the recipient.
The thing to remember is that whoever you tip in USD will not get the sum of money you intend to give. The exchange of USD is not an exact science, the rate given depends on both the age of the note and the size of the note. The newest and biggest denomination note will attract the best rate. A $1 bill will attract an absolute rubbish rate no matter how many you have. A Rwandan / Ugandan will be happy to receive a tip in whatever currency you want to use but for day to day living they prefer their local currency. If you tip them with dollars the first thing they do is go to the forex to negotiate the best rate available, either that or try and sell them to back to you.
So at the end of the day if all you have is USD or GBP or Euro then use that currency but the best option for the recipient is the local currency (Uganda Shilling or Rwandan franc).
But please please please don't do what some people do, tip using foreign coins, particularly one pound or one euro coins as they have no value at all and yes some people do it.
It is customary to tip for service in local bars and restaurants, though you may sometimes want to leave a tip (in fact, given the difficulty of finding change in Uganda), you may particularly be forced into doing this in some circumstances. A tip of 5% would be very acceptable and 10% generous. Generally any restaurant that caters primarily for tourists and to wealthy Ugandans/ Rwandese residents will automatically add a service charge to the bill, but since there’s no telling where that service charge ends up, it would be reasonable to reward good service with a cash tip.
The following is a guide to tips:
Local guides/porters in the Hotel/ parks US$ 05-10/porter,
Gorilla guides in the park US$ 20-50
Chimpanzee guide in the park US$ 10-30
Game drive guide in the park US$ 10-30
Drivers or Tour Guide US$ 25 per day
Foreign currency exchange, Using credit cards, Bargaining/ Shopping in Uganda
2021 Tour Prices for the 4 Days Uganda Gorilla tracking chimpanzee Safari
Solo travelers are welcome, they only pay the cost of 1 person. All the other tour prices are based on 2 or 3 people sharing a room. You can pay the extra single room supplement if you prefer not to share a room.
If you are traveling in March, April, May, October, or November, please mention it to access special season offers.
Single Room Supplement
Included in the cost for the 4 Day Uganda Chimps and Gorilla Trekking Tour
- Accommodation for the 3 nights of your Uganda gorilla tracking chimpanzee as indicated on the programme
- All meals (except breakfast on Day 1)
- 1 Uganda gorilla tracking permit per person
- Kibale Chimpanzee tracking permit
- Sightseeing as noted in the trip itinerary
- Park fees
- Entry fees
- Ground transportation by a private 4WD vehicles with services of a good English speaking tour guide
- Additional guides where appropriate
- Flight tickets and departure taxes
- Travel documentation (visas)
- Travel and medical insurance
- Optional excursions
- Excess baggage charges
- Tips and gratuities for your guides and accommodation staff
- Beverages other than mineral water in the vehicle and at meal times with meals
- Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls, postage fees and so on.
(Upgrade to Gorilla Forest Camp or Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge)
Midrange (Moderate) accommodation:
Lower Budget accommodation:
Night 3: Tents at Kibale Forest Camp or Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse
Talk to Our Uganda Primates Tour Specialist
Enquire about this Gorillas and Primate safari and tour prices.
Talk to our Uganda Primates' Trek Specialist to start planning a memorable primates' experience.
IS THE 4 DAYS GORILLAS & CHIMPANZEE TOUR FOR ME?
TRAVEL STYLE: GWS JOURNEYS
The gorilla and chimps trek tour includes road drives of ±7 hours, ±5 hours, and ±4 hours on both surfaced and dust roads. A comfortable 4x4 vehicle customized with comfortable seats, pop-up roofs, A/c, charging ports is planned for this gorilla tour.
SERVICE LEVEL: UPGRADABLE
We have taken great care out of years of experience to offer quality accommodations for the Uganda gorilla tracking chimpanzee tour. We are however open to upgrading you to any alternative preferred accommodation near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Kibale National Park that you will suggest. Please let us know!
PHYSICAL RATING: 3 – MODERATE DIFFICULT
Involves instances of long walks, and hiking suitable for moderate fitness levels. During the gorilla trek, you mostly rest after every 30 minutes of walking. The slowest walker gives the group pace. Physically challenged clients are allocated relatively softer gorilla trek groups.
TRIP TYPE: PRIVATE/SMALL GROUP
Small group experience; Max 6, Avg 2. The tour can as well go with only one person. We can start on any day you want. Short notice (48 hrs at least) are also acceptable.
AGE REQUIREMENT: 15+
Travelers bellow the age of 15 will not be allowed to trek gorillas but can be left at the lodge to tour the villages with a guide. A minimum age of 12 years applies for chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park.
Past Clients' testimonials about Uganda gorilla tracking chimpanzee Trek Tours
After a moderate trek hour long trek into the forest, we encountered a large group of gorillas of varying ages. The guides did an excellent job of getting us in... read more
1st December 2021
We initially booked our trip in 2019 for late 2020, and due to Covid, we obviously couldn't then make that trip. Ivan contacted us as the world prepared to... read more
1st November 2021
This past August, my husband and I were finally able to make our trip to Uganda. We had originally booked with Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris for August 2020 but like... read more
4th September 2021
My husband and I originally scheduled our 13 day tour with Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris for September 2020, but due to Covid-19 we had to reschedule twice. Ivan’s customer service... read more
1st September 2021
We were a group of 5 people that did the 7night/8 day Gorilla and Wildlife Safari and it was AMAZING. The trip started and ended in Entebbe, although that... read more
1st September 2021
We decided to visit Uganda as a group of 3 women. I contacted several companies but Ivan was the most responsive so we went with Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris.... read more
1st September 2021
We had a really great guide named Francis. He was genuinely nice and helpful. He took us to a local restaurant and treated us to their local cuisine called "rolex".... read more
1st September 2021
What an experience! Such a memorable four days. Our guide was Ahmed. He is passionate about animals and extremely knowledgeable of the area. I also felt he prepared us very... read more
29th August 2021
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More Information about your Uganda Gorillas Trek and Chimp Tracking Tour/ Safari
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The park is located in southwestern Uganda, covering parts of Rukungiri, Kisoro, and Kabale Districts. It is situated in a hilly country-side that, together with some remnant lowland forest outside the boundary constitutes an important water catchment area for many rivers, supplying the agricultural land of the surrounding region.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a true equatorial jungle, inhabited by four gorilla groups. Amongst the dense vegetation the columbus monkey jumps from branch to branch, chattering its warning to its fellows hidden by the foliage. Chimpanzees, in families of 20 or 30, make the rounds, searching for fruit and edible plants.
It is situated in a hilly country-side that, together with some remnant lowland forest outside the boundary constitutes an important water catchments area for many rivers, supplying the agricultural land of the surrounding region.
The best time to visit Uganda is late December to late February, and from June to September, as the weather at this time of year is generally dry, and warm. Temperatures average at around 25 degrees Celsius.
Kibale National Park
Once this tropical rainforest provided a (very substantial) dinner, bed and breakfast for large herds of migrating forest elephants and, even now, the park contain the largest population of these subspecies in Uganda. Although they're rarely seen, and dangerous, the signs of these elephants' presence are abundant.
However, Kibale's claim to fame is its enormous variety of primates and its families of habituated chimpanzees - it's home to an astonishing 12 species of primate and provides one of the highest primate densities in the world. Here, on a daytime or evening guided forest walk, you may find families of chimpanzees and red colobus monkeys chattering and swinging through the ancient forest trees.
The sightings of birds in the forest are no less impressive - there are at least 325 species, many of which are found nowhere else. In addition, there are over 144 species of butterflies.
Chimps Tracking in Kibale Forest N.P.
Chimpanzee tracking experiences are excellent thanks to several well maintained walking trails and a large number of resident chimp families in the forest. There is also a wonderfully diverse concentration of other primates (more than any other forest in East Africa, in fact), including red colobus, red-tailed guenon, white-nosed monkey, gray-cheeked mangabey, blue monkey, L'Hoest's monkey, and the black and white colobus monkey. In addition, you may see olive baboons, bush babies and nocturnal pottos.
Chimps trekking in Kibale starts at 7:00 am and 11 am from the park headquarters. Your driver will lead you to the office for registration and briefing. After this, you are allocated to a group with whom you will be tracking the chimps. Each group will usually have 6 persons but these groups could intersect in the forest as you track the chimps. The trek then goes on for between half an hour to 6 hours. The chimps are normally located by following from the previous day's location first. From there, the trackers will be following signs of their movements like broken tree branches, dung and other things. You also participate in this by keenly listening through the dense forest for any chimps' noises and songs. When you finally locate them, you are going to be rewarded with at least one hour in their presence. You watch the chimps as they play, mate, feed, make nests, fight and make friends among other activities. The chimps trek rangers are always available for answering any questions you might have about chimpanzees and other primates in the forest. Photography and video recording is allowed but the use of flash isn't during the chimps trekking.
Chimpanzee Tracking Rules and Regulations
- Trackers with diseases such as diarrhea, cough and flu may not be allowed to enter the park.
- A distance of about 8-12m is important between you and the Chimpanzee.
- Flash photography is not allowed.
- Children below the age of 12 are not allowed to enter the park.