Kalinzu forest reserve
Uganda primate safaris-Primate safaris in Uganda
Kalinzu forest reserve is located in the southwestern part of Uganda. The forest is close to Queen Elizabeth national park and Maramagambo forest. The forest reserve is home to a variety of wildlife but is famous for its primates. Kalinzu forest reserve is home to 6 primate species namely; chimpanzees, baboons, blue monkeys, L’hoest’s monkeys, red tailed monkeys, vervet monkey and white and black colobus monkeys. The reserve is also home to 379 bird species and over 260 butterfly species.
Chimpanzees in Kalinzu forest reserve
Although the forest reserve is home to 6 primate species, chimpanzees are the main tourist attraction. Chimpanzees share 98% of their DNA with humans. They look, behave and act like humans do. These primates live in communities and care for their families as a unit. They are very intelligent and use tools to eat fruits and bait insects. Sadly, the chimpanzee population worldwide is dwindling due to loss of habitat. However, the Uganda wildlife authority is doing their level best to preserve and protect these primates.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Kalinzu Forest
Kalinzu forest reserve is home to one of the largest communities of chimpanzees in Uganda. The forest reserve is only second to Kibale national park when it comes to chimpanzee trekking. With over 320 chimpanzees in the forest, over 50 of these primates are habituated and ready for tourism. On your Uganda Wildlife safari, you can trek these chimpanzees after a visit to Queen Elizabeth national park. Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest is less strenuous than gorilla trekking because of the terrain. However, you should fit enough to endure a 3-4 hours nature walk in the forest. The chimpanzees live in a more flat terrain than the mountain gorillas. On your Uganda primate safari, you should be prepared to follow them a higher speeds.
Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest reserve is done in 2 shifts, the morning trek and the afternoon trek. The morning trek starts at 8:00 am and the afternoon trek at 3:00pm. These chimpanzee trek are led by a guide and a ranger. These were involved in the habituation process and have full knowledge of these chimpanzees. The chimps are more active in the morning while they relax in the afternoon and evening. Both trek offer you different but amazing experiences of these chimps. After a briefing at the park headquarters, you will be divided into groups depending on the level of fitness.
You will then head into the forest in search of the primates. As you trek through the forest, you will have amazing encounters of other primate species like the L’hoest’s monkeys, Blue monkeys, baboons and the red tailed monkeys. You will be able to see more wildlife like birds and butterflies on your Primate safari. The trackers will communicate with the guide and ranger who will lead you to the chimpanzee families. The hour trek through the forest will be worth it when you make contact with these chimpanzees. You are allowed 1 hour to observe the chimpanzees. You will be able to take pictures, videos, see them grooming, playing, mating and eating. Others may be just chilling around the trees.
There is a 95% chance of seeing these primates and the cost is just $50, a lot cheaper compared to the $150 in Kibale national park. You can complement your primate safari with other safari activities and destinations like Queen Elizabeth for wildlife viewing and boat cruise and Bwindi national park for gorilla trekking.