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Africa’s Chimpanzee Trekking Destinations: A Journey into the Primates’ Realm


Chimpanzee trekking in Africa offers adventurers a unique opportunity to observe our closest living relatives in their natural habitat. Across the continent, from lush rainforests to remote mountains, several destinations provide unforgettable experiences through tailor made Africa itineraries where travelers can encounter chimpanzees in the wild. This article delves into ten of Africa’s top chimpanzee trekking destinations, highlighting the diversity of landscapes, conservation efforts, and the thrill of encountering these fascinating primates up close.

1. Kibale National Park, Uganda

Kibale National Park, located in western Uganda, is renowned as one of the best places in Africa for chimpanzee trekking. The park’s dense forests harbor an estimated 1,500 chimpanzees, along with other primates such as red colobus monkeys and L’Hoest’s monkeys. Guided chimpanzee trekking tours lead visitors through the forest in search of habituated chimpanzee groups, offering opportunities to observe their behavior, social interactions, and feeding habits. Kibale’s experienced guides and researchers provide insights into chimpanzee conservation and ecology, enhancing the educational aspect of the trekking experience.

2. Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda

Budongo Forest Reserve, situated within the larger Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda, is another excellent destination for chimpanzee trekking. The reserve is home to approximately 800 chimpanzees, making it one of the largest populations in Uganda. Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo offers a chance to explore the lush tropical rainforest and encounter habituated chimpanzee groups. The trekking experience may also include sightings of other primates and forest bird species, enriching the overall adventure in this biodiverse habitat.

3. Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania

Mahale Mountains National Park, located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania, is renowned for its population of wild chimpanzees. Trekking in Mahale Mountains offers a unique experience as visitors explore the park’s rugged terrain and dense forests to find habituated chimpanzee groups. The park is also known for its stunning scenery, with mist-covered mountains, pristine beaches along Lake Tanganyika, and opportunities for cultural interactions with the local communities of the Tongwe people.

4. Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania

Gombe Stream National Park, also in western Tanzania along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, is famous as the site of Jane Goodall’s pioneering research on chimpanzees. This small but iconic park offers intimate chimpanzee trekking experiences where visitors can follow habituated chimpanzee groups through the forest. Gombe is known for its chimpanzee behavioral studies, providing opportunities to witness complex social interactions, tool use, and feeding behaviors among the chimpanzees. The park’s serene setting and lakeshore views add to the allure of this historic chimpanzee trekking destination.

5. Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda

Nyungwe Forest National Park in southwestern Rwanda is a biodiverse haven known for its ancient montane rainforest and rich primate populations, including chimpanzees. Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe offers a chance to explore the park’s dense forests, lush vegetation, and scenic trails in search of habituated chimpanzee groups. The park is home to over 500 chimpanzees, along with other primates such as the L’Hoest’s monkey and Angola colobus monkey. Nyungwe’s canopy walkway, which offers breathtaking views of the forest from above, adds an adventurous element to the chimpanzee trekking experience.

6. Kyambura Gorge, Uganda

Kyambura Gorge, part of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, is a hidden gem for chimpanzee trekking enthusiasts. Also known as the “Valley of Apes,” Kyambura Gorge offers a unique habitat where chimpanzees live in a narrow gorge surrounded by savanna plains. Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge involves descending into the gorge’s forested slopes in search of habituated chimpanzee groups. The trekking experience with East Africa tour operator may also include sightings of other wildlife such as hippos, elephants, and various bird species that inhabit the park.

7. Kalinzu Forest Reserve, Uganda

Kalinzu Forest Reserve, near Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, offers a less crowded alternative for chimpanzee trekking with its pristine rainforest and diverse wildlife. The reserve is home to several habituated chimpanzee groups that visitors can track with experienced guides. Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu Forest also provides opportunities to see other primates such as black-and-white colobus monkeys and vervet monkeys, as well as colorful bird species endemic to the region. The reserve’s tranquil setting and off-the-beaten-path appeal make it a rewarding destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

8. Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire

Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its pristine tropical rainforest and diverse wildlife, including chimpanzees. The park’s chimpanzee population is one of the last remaining in West Africa, offering a unique opportunity for chimpanzee trekking in a lesser-explored destination. Trekking in Taï National Park involves navigating dense forests and rugged terrain to observe habituated chimpanzee groups and learn about their behavior and conservation status in this critical habitat.

9. Semliki National Park, Uganda

Semliki National Park, located in Uganda’s Albertine Rift Valley, is known for its unique combination of lowland tropical rainforest and Central African wildlife species, including chimpanzees. Chimpanzee trekking in Semliki offers a chance to explore the park’s diverse habitats and encounter habituated chimpanzee groups amidst lush vegetation and scenic landscapes. The park is also home to hot springs, birdwatching opportunities, and cultural encounters with the local Batwa pygmy communities, adding cultural and natural diversity to the chimpanzee trekking experience.

10. Lope National Park, Gabon

Lope National Park in Gabon, Central Africa, offers a pristine wilderness where visitors can experience chimpanzee trekking in a remote and biodiverse environment. The park’s rainforest habitats are home to chimpanzee populations, along with forest elephants, mandrills, and diverse bird species. Chimpanzee trekking in Lope National Park involves exploring forest trails and riverbanks to observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat. The park’s rugged terrain, ancient rock art sites, and scenic landscapes provide a captivating backdrop for wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.


Chimpanzee trekking in Africa offers travelers a chance to connect with nature and witness the incredible behaviors of these intelligent primates in their natural habitats. From the lush rainforests of Uganda and Rwanda to the remote mountains of Tanzania and Gabon, each destination provides a unique glimpse into the world of chimpanzees and their conservation. As travelers embark on these unforgettable journeys, they not only contribute to the preservation of chimpanzees and their habitats but also gain a deeper appreciation for Africa’s rich biodiversity and natural wonders. Whether seeking adventure, education, or simply a closer connection to nature, chimpanzee trekking in Africa promises experiences that will inspire, educate, and leave lasting impressions for generations to come.