Trekking The Chimps Will Make Your Hair Stand Up

Chimp climbing a tree, Khibale National Park, Uganda

Chimp climbing a tree, Khibale National Park, Uganda

One of the highlights of my trip was Chimpanzee Trekking. Uganda is home to over 5,000 chimpanzees – more than any other East African country.

We were lucky to get the trek that day as we had booked online but when we arrived at the gate they did not see our booking; this is when it is great to have a contact like Venex. Being an environmental reporter he was able to call his friend high up in the ministry and arrange the trip for both of us that day – otherwise I would not have been able to get the opportunity.

I had not adequately prepared with proper shoe wear (I had sandals that were great for trekking but fully covered hiking boots would have been better) but did ok climbing through vines, going up and down muddy hills and managed not to fall like the poor woman in front of me did. Thankfully she was not hurt but was covered in mud from the experience.

We were in the jungle trekking the chimps and could hear them calling to each other in the canopy of trees above but could not see them. I was losing heart when our guide, who was pregnant by the way yelled at us to stop talking, stand still and wait. All of a sudden a huge chimp came rushing by me so close that I could feel it’s breath. Scared the living crap out of me but I did what I was told. The chimp climbed the tree in front of me and I managed to get a quick shot as it scampered quickly to the top. Then another came bounding out of the treeline and stood still in the clearing waiting for us to follow – we and 5 other troupes of camera toting trekkers did as well so we were not only scrambling to keep up but also trying to get what shots we could.

All of a sudden we came upon a clearing and there were chimps hanging out everywhere; they were sitting and staring down at us, cleaning each other, sleeping and we even managed to see some young babies but they were mostly hidden from view by their mothers so it was hard to get a shot.

That day I could not get all the shots I wanted mostly because I did not have a long enough or fast enough lens but to hear them calling it sounds more like screeching and screaming that the hair stood up on my neck and arms. It was scary and exciting all at the same time.

On our photo tour you will get to see both the Gorillas in Bwindi National Forest and the Chimps in Kibale National Forest. It will be an experience to remember and hopefully you will feel the hair stand up on your neck too – in a good way of course :)

Check out the amazing tour filled with so many adventures as well as training of the girls at