Chimpanzee tracking is the practice of strolling through woods in order to obtain a sight of the intriguing primates that swing about the forest trees.
The thick subterranean rain forest in Kyambura gorge to the wetlands along Kazinga river are among the five important habitats in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The stunning Kyambura gorge is located in Queen Elizabeth National Park, 30 kilometers from the loge. It is also known as the Valley of the Apes and is located in the eastern section of the well-known Queen Elizabeth National Park. If you visit the Gorge, you will experience a different world; it is drained by the Kyambura River and features a rainforest close to the equator. Just enough sunshine reaches the tops of the trees. The subsurface vegetation is vibrant and lush. And if you come to see this gorge, you will not return home the same, but with something to write and discuss.
The environment at Kyambura Gorge is similar to that of the famed chimps; it is distinguished by towering, dense trees and subterranean rainforest vegetation. Seasonally, the trees bear fruit. Because of the presence of their main meal (fruits), the chimps have a pleasant stay.
Kyambura Gorge contains a mobile chimp group that is more mobile than chimps in other national parks like as Kibale. Uganda’s wildlife department named more than 24 chimps in July 2013. When a visitor pays a visit, they have an 80% probability of seeing habituated chimps.
There’s something special about the chimps located at Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Almost all of them are habituated chimps in Queen Elizabeth National Park, which means they are comfortable with humans and can carry out their behaviors in their presence. Chimpanzees can also be found in places such as Kibale National Park. However, it is only by chance that a tourist would see one habituated chimp in Kibale National Park since they are so numerous and mobile in the jungle.
Aside from being tall and prolific throughout the seasons, the trees’ branches are readily twisted. This makes the task of constructing nests by these chimps simple. Chimpanzees build nests on tree branches by bending them together and then lining them with twigs to make the nests sturdy.
As if that weren’t enough, the gorge is home to numerous habituated chimps that you may observe. They swing in the tree branches, during the morning hours, to come and look for their food. There are other places in the kalinzu forest which is found in bushenyi, kibale national park, but queen is spectacular for this activity since it has a wide range of wild life, which supplements the chimpanzees to give you a memorable experience.
What can make you a right person to participate in chimpanzee tracking activity?
The fee for chimp tracking in Kyambura Gorge is US$ 30 and USHs30,000 (for the East African community). However, chimp tracking should be done in conjunction with a competent tour guide. As a result, a fee of US$20 is given to the expert tour guide to assist you with chimp habituation in Kyambura gorge.
of wet seasons, the nature of the roads of not just Queen Elizabeth National Park, but also other national parks, may not be ideal for any type of vehicle. A four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicle is suitable for monitoring chimps in the national park.
Chimpanzee tracking is best done in the early morning hours. During the early hours, particularly around 8 a.m., most animals are out to hunt or from night movements, such as hippos, while others, such as pythons in Nyanzibiri Cave in Maramagambo Forest, come out to enjoy some sun light.
Chimpanzee tracking at Queen Elizabeth National Park is similarly best done in the morning, starting at 8 a.m. and lasting 2-4 hours, with the game drive taking place in the afternoon, about 2 p.m.
The national park is a place for a lot of wildlife, both fauna and flora. This fact makes the activity of chimpanzee tracking not so cool for children below the age of 15 years and they are not permitted to do this activity.
Behaviour of chimpanzees?
Chimpanzees live in groups known as troops, which comprise of roughly 30-80 individuals. The huge groups are made together of tiny, highly pliable, or easily led groups of fewer chimps, possibly females or males, and occasionally mixed sex.
Chimpanzees nibble on leaves. They eat them and then utilize them like a sponge. They soak the leaves in water and suck the moisture out. During the boat ride, they may be spotted along the Kazinga Channel.
Chimpanzees use twigs and sticks as tools to prepare their food ready to consume, much as humans do. The twigs were placed in anthills. This is to attract termites to the twigs, unaware that they are a morning meal for the chimps. Termites are a tasty treat for these chimps in the Kyambura Gorge. They also utilize the sticks to drive attackers away from their nests.
Chimpanzees also look for nuts under tree roots. The chimps use the stones to crack the nuts. Chimpanzees consume their fruits using their lips. They debranch them from the stems and consume them with their mouths.
Chimpanzees depart from above ground, among tree branches. During the day, they are also terrestrial. They spend the night climbing up in the trees, where they relax after a long day.
They walk on the ground with all of their limbs, making them quadrupeds. To sustain their massive weight, they walk with their fingers half-flexed. They also walk upright, but only for a short time. They use their rear limbs, or legs, to move short distances.
They are quick on their feet. They fasten themselves to the trees using their palms and lengthy toes. As a result, they are the first climbers. They fly up into the trees, where they construct nests out of twigs.
Chimpanzees do not have a specific mating season. Every four to five years, the female gives birth.
What do chimpanzees feed on?
Chimpanzees are diurnal (live throughout the day). They begin looking for food at morning. The chimps’ diet consists of over 80 different plant items. In the morning, the chimps eat fruits. The fruits are the primary source of nutrition for the chimp group. The chimps, on the other hand, are picky about the fruits they consume; they only eat the ripest fruits from the trees in the Kyambura gorge region.
During the rainy season, they also graze on the leaves, buds, seeds, flowers, and blooming. These creatures are more like humans, except they consume fresh flesh. Meat is a side dish to the main meal, which is fruits. They have been observed killing smaller monkeys as well as flamingo birds around the Nyamunuka Crater Lake. They also search for prey, such as juvenile antelopes and goats from neighboring populations.
What should you know before embarking on chimpanzee tracking?
- No entering the forest when you are sick. For the love of nature and conservation of wildlife, you should not do this activity while sick. Chimpanzees are easy to get human diseases.
- Do not leave the litter in the park. The chimpanzees might eat on the polythene bags and get complications which can lead to their deaths. So, it’s good to be careful not to litter in the park, for nature conservation.
- Do not urinate in the park as this might put a change on a particular eco system. And if it is defecating, move away from the trail. After, burry your waste under the ground about 30cm deep along with the toilet paper.
- Remember to keep quiet in the forest. The noise can scare away animals like chimpanzees. Keep this in mind that, “make noise and see no more”, it will help you remember to keep quiet.
- Don’t mimic the chimpanzees; you may not know what their sign language mean and it can get you in real trouble.
- You should not eat close to the chimpanzees. They can attack you for your fruit or any other food. Do not try to even feed wild animals according to the park rules.
- It’s not good to use flashy photography. The light and noise from the camera shatter, can scare away the chimpanzees. They can also think that you are an enemy and attack you.
Other primates found in Queen Elizabeth national park
Kyambura canyon is known as the dramatic gorge because it is home to many primates, including red-tailed monkeys, who are entertaining to watch as they move quickly through the trees.
Baboons, black and white colubus monkeys, and vervet monkeys are among the animals found at Kyambura Gorge. Because of these amusing and unique monkey populations, it is appropriate for its nick titles such as Valley of the Apes and Dramatic Valley, among others.