Primate Safaris - Chimpanzees
Our closest relatives, chimpanzees, are highly intelligent, immensely powerful, inquisitive and social animals, living in complex hierarchical groups numbering from 10 to over 100 individuals which are dominated by an alpha male.
Their main habitat is rain forest and wet savannah and chimpanzees are distributed across several countries in central Africa. Their numbers are threatened due to pressure on their habitat, the bush meat trade, and their capture for medical research. As the human's closest relative the chimp is vulnerable to many of the same diseases we suffer.
Chimps are vocal and noisy, and use a complicated system of sounds and a large vocabulary to communicate with each other. They hoot, scream, grunt and drum on hollow trees with the flat of their hands. They use tools such as sticks to collect ants and termites from their nests and rocks to smash open nuts, and are able to rationalise and solve problems.
Chimpanzees are generally active during the day, and spend much of their time on the forest floor foraging for food and looking for trees with ripe fruit. They can move fast through thick forest, and are aggressive and highly organised hunters as well as fruit and insect eaters.
Tracking these astonishing athletes through the forest is a thrilling experience, and can be one of the most adrenaline charged of all wildlife encounters. You are likely to spend several hours moving swiftly with your guide trying to spot and catch up with a chimp family, and to observe their behaviour without disturbing them. It can take several hours to find then since they move so quickly and fluently through their home environment. It is not always easy but it is immensely rewarding.
We recommend that clients have at least two opportunities to track these wonderful animals, and we arrange trips to see chimpanzees at Ngamba Island, Kyambura Gorge, Semliki Wildlife Reserve and Kibale Forest in Uganda, Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda, and Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream in Tanzania.