When it comes to safaris to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park what comes to the minds of many is tracking mountain gorillas but the fact is that there is a lot more for you to explore. Chimpanzees in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are some of the most incredible primates visitors on Uganda safari should expect to see in addition to the endangered mountain gorillas. They are rated as the 2nd biggest primate species on planet earth just after mountain gorillas. Chimpanzees share about 98.7 percent of their DNA with humans hence making them our closest relatives. They come in 2 groups, the common chimpanzees and the bonobos species.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park hosts mostly the common/Eastern chimpanzee species (Pan Troglodytes schweinfurthii) and presently, about 400 individuals of the 5050 chimpanzees in Uganda are all confined within this primate park alone. This distinguishes Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as the only gorilla park with both mountain gorillas and chimpanzees sharing the same habitat.
In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, chimpanzees can be sighted in Buhoma region which is in north and Nkuringo sector in the south. These are also exceptional gorilla trekking regions within this premier gorilla park. Compared to other chimpanzees in other destinations, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park’s chimpanzees have not yet undergone habituation. This is because of numerous chimpanzee tracking sites which are better than Bwindi National Park for instance Kibale Forest National Park with over 1500 chimpanzees, Budongo Forest, Maramagambo Forest to mention but a few.
Chimpanzees in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park range in highland rain-forest and in Kibale Forest National Park they are in a lowland area. In Bwindi, these primates roam from one point to another which poses a challenge tracking them in the wild compared to habituated ones in Kibale Forest National Park, Kyambura Gorge, Kalinzu Forest or Budongo Forest.
What you need to know about chimpanzees
- An adult male chimpanzee weighs between 40 and 60kgs then a height of 1.6m. The mature female on the other hand weighs from 32 to 47kgs and has a height of 1.3m.
- At mature age, these creatures grow a coarse black hair apart from the palms, face, toes, fingers and soles of their feet.
- Chimpanzees have firm grip given their rare thumbs and big toes. The toes face opposite to each other.
- Chimpanzees live in communities of between 20 and 80 individuals with each community led by an adult silverback male also famously called the alpha male.
- The alpha male is the strongest male and he is also responsible for defending the rest of the members from danger, intruders and also leads them to places with plenty of forage for them to feed in the course of the day.
- Chimpanzees reach their puberty stage from 10 to 12 years and females give birth to 4-6 babies.
- Chimpanzees make new nests each day for them to retire after the long day of foraging, playing. They use twigs, leaves and tree branches. Usually, nests are what the guides use to help locate chimpanzees.
- They have lifespan of about 40 years in the wild and 50 years in captivity.
- The gestation period of these apes is about 8 months just like humans.
More primates to expect to view in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Aside from chimpanzees, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park also hosts over 459 mountain gorillas out of 1063 which today still live on planet earth. It is also possible for you to come across olive baboons, L’Hoest monkeys, red tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys.
Would you like to go on a primate safari in Bwindi Forest