What is the best place for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda? Kibale forest or Budongo forest?

You can do the chimpanzee trekking in a number of places in Uganda, but, the most popular has been the Kibale National Park which has previously been known to provide the best chances of seeing the chimps. It has therefore been the prime destination for chimp trekking in Uganda. However other destinations have improved the chances of seeing the chimps that they can provide good (or even better?) alternatives to the Kibale National Park, and one such place is the Budongo Forest Reserve.

In the past, no other place could be compared to Kibale National Park, however it is not the case anymore, and in this article, I want to answer the question; what is(are) currently the best place(s) for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda – is it Kibale National Park or Budongo forest? Or there are more alternatives?

Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park has for long had the bragging rights of being Uganda’s number one chimp destination. It has Uganda’s biggest population of chimps and was the first destination opened up for the chimpanzee trekking adventure.

It has been the place to consider if you had at least two days and wanted to see chimps in the wild, and so the quick 2-day Kibale chimps tour from Kampala or Entebbe is one of the short Uganda chimp trips to do. The journey to the park is not very long, taking about 5 – 6 hours drive. So, if you leave Kampala or Entebbe by 7am, you will get there in time for lunch and have the rest of the afternoon free and you can enjoy some adventures such as taking a nature walk in Bigodi wetlands, take a crater lakes tour with a hike to a view point, community cultural tour etc… Actually, you can also do the chimp trek this very afternoon as there is an afternoon chimpanzee trekking session starting at 2pm.

Kibale National Park is also well situated on the popular Uganda safari circuit, between the Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, two of Uganda major safari parks. If you are planning a vacation in Uganda, the journey between Murchison Falls Park and Queen Elizabeth is best broken down with the chimp trek at Kibale National Park.

The cons

Expensive chimp permit/ticket – Kibale has the most expensive permit costing $200 for international tourists

Sporadic chimp sightings (poor sightings) – of late sightings of chimps in Kibale National Park have been very sporadic and thus disappointing. Some tourists have reported sighting just one chimp from the whole community, other times just a few individuals high up in the tree canopy, while some tourists have even missed them entirely.

Budongo Forest

Budongo forest is the largest forest in East Africa and is home to Uganda’s second largest population of chimpanzees. The forest has a large habituated chimpanzee group at Kaniyo Pabidi which is located within the boundary of Murchison Falls National Park – Uganda’s most popular park for big game watching. The big game safari in the park has largely overshadowed the chimpanzee trek as most tourists think of Murchison Falls National Park for safaris, and therefore opting to do most treks in Kibale National Park.

The chimp trekking in Budongo has recently proved to provide the best encounter with the chimps in the jungle. Due to the large habituated community you get to see many individuals and observe their activities.

The Budongo chimp trekking permit is also cheaper costing $130

Budongo forest is about 4 – 5 hours drive from the capital Kampala or Entebbe hence it is closer than Kibale National Park. Therefore the 2 day Budongo chimps tour should be the trip to book if you have just 2 days.

Another advantage that Budongo forest presents is that you can easily combine the chimp trek with a big five safari experience in as few as 3 days. Four of the big five, i.e. Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, Elephant are found in Murchison Falls National Park. While the rhino is found in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary that is along the way to Murchison Falls National Park.


The Chimpanzee trek is done within the Murchison Falls Park and therefore you have to pay an extra $45 – $55 for person and car.

In the past the chimpanzee group would during some seasons venture farther from its territory (at Kaniyo Pabidi) after depleting the food there and when this would happen the chances of finding the chimps reduced. But of late the authority has improved on tracking the chimps and the sightings have been consistent throughout the seasons.

Notable mentions – these places are great for chimps

Kalinzu Forest

Kalinzu Forest is an undiscovered good chimpanzee trekking destination. The forest has a sizeable population of chimps and the habituated group is always seen. Kalinzu is located in the west of Uganda near Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is therefore easy to combine the chimp trek with a big game safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

If you are planning a trip to track the gorillas in Bwindi National Park and want to include the chimpanzee trek as well, Kalinzu forest is the best situated place for the chimp trek.

Kalinzu is also the cheapest chimpanzee trekking destination in Uganda, costing about $50


It is a long 7 hour drive from Kampala or Entebbe to Kalinzu forest, so it is not an ideal place for a quick 2 day trip. It is best done as addition to the itinerary.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is a located on small island measuring about 100 acres on Lake Victoria. The sanctuary is home to about 50 chimps. The sanctuary does not offer your typical chimpanzee trek in the forest, but offers the opportunity to observe the chimps up-close and learn so much about their social structures and individual characters.

The sanctuary is accessed by a 40 minutes boat trip from Entebbe.

If you are want to see and learn about the chimps but cannot go for the trek, I highly recommend visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary. The sanctuary would also be a good place to start from before going for the trek in the forest.

Does Uganda have the best weather in the world?

Uganda is praised by many travelers as having the best weather in the world! But how true is this? Well, to put it into perspective, you can have your shirt off all day and stay shirtless in the night without feeling any serious discomfort. Where in the world can you have this luxury?

Located in the tropics, Uganda is blessed to have amazing weather that is simply warm during day and cool at night.

If therefore you are planning a trip to Uganda, weather should not be a big concern but rather the good weather should be one of the reasons to visit for a safari in Murchison Falls, gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking.

What is Uganda’s weather really like?

Uganda is located along the equator receiving direct sunshine throughout the year. One would think with the direct sunshine Uganda would be a hot country with burning temperatures, but the suitably tagged “Pearl of Africa” enjoys some of the most pleasant temperatures throughout the year, the average temperature being about 27oC (81oF) during the day and dropping to about 23oC (73oF) in the night.

As you plan to travel to Uganda however, note there will be not-so-significant variations in weather and temperatures through the different regions of Uganda.

Central Uganda – average warm weather

You can experience the best weather in Uganda in the central region, especially around Lake Victoria. The cool breeze of the lake soothing away the intensity of the sun’s rays kissing your skin, and maintaining a warmth under the direct sun while a coolness under shade.

If you luck the melanin you have to apply the sunscreen.

The temperature averages 26 – 27oC (81oF). However, some months are a little hot with temperature rising to 28 – 29oC (84oF). Check here for Uganda’s weather seasons.

The more than warm Northern and Eastern Uganda

As you head farther to the north and north east, the temperatures increase gradually as the altitude drops. The far north east is basically semi-arid with relatively higher temperatures. This (northeast) is the hottest part of Uganda with temperatures rising up as high as to 30oC (86oF) during March which is the hottest month.

The north and north east are Uganda’s prime safari regions hosting two safari parks (Murchison Falls National Park & Kidepo Valley National Park). Therefore, you should expect warmer temperatures if you are visiting Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park during the dry seasons (summer).

The chilly and cold West & Southern Uganda

Farther south and western, the temperatures drop gradually due to the increase in the elevation near the Rwenzori mountains and Virunga mountains. The southwestern region has a landscape of rolling highlands. The temperatures are cooler during day and chilly in the evening and morning. Average day temperatures here are 23oC (73oF) and can drop to 16oC (61oF) from evening to early morning.

The chilly southwest is home to the mountains in Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. If you plan on doing the famous gorilla trek, expect cool and chilly temperatures. You should carry a sweater for the chilly evenings and mornings.

Ebola kicked out of Uganda – January 2023 Uganda declares there is no Ebola

Today the 11th of January 2023, Uganda has been declared free from Ebola. For emphasis, THERE IS NO EBOLA IN UGANDA (January 2023). There could not have been better news to usher Ugandans into the new year than this declaration. What relief for the country!

Uganda has been a champion in fighting epidemics and this has been another war well won.

To declare Uganda free from Ebola it has taken the required two phases of 21 days of surveillance that should elapse without a new case since the last Ebola case. This is because, 21 days is the maximum incubation period of the virus that causes the Ebola disease. The last positive case of Ebola was recorded on November 29, 2022. That means no new Ebola case has been recorded in Uganda for the last 42 days.

The 2022 Ebola outbreak in Uganda

Uganda confirmed the outbreak of Ebola on 20th of September 2022, and the first affected districts were  Mubende, Kasanda and Kyegegwa.

The government declared the districts of Mubende and Kasanda the epicenter of the outbreak and promptly put the two districts under quarantine. There were breakthrough cases from these districts, spreading the outbreak to a few more districts including Kampala.

The rigorous contact tracing by a dedicated team from the Ministry of Health paid off. The breakthrough cases and their contacts were found and put under quarantine.

By the end of the 2022 Ebola outbreak, Uganda recorded 142 positive cases and 87 recovered while 55 died.

It is safe to visit Uganda, there is no Ebola (January 2023)

With Ebola now eliminated and the covid pandemic is almost no more, you can now go ahead with your plans of visit Uganda for your gorilla trekking trip or safari without any worry.

CNN Travel ranks Uganda among the destinations to visit in 2023

Uganda is on the CNN Travel’s list of the best destinations to visit in the year 2023. It is one of the only four African destinations on the list of 23 destinations in the world, which also includes Rwanda, that CNN Travel highly recommends as the ideal vacation places to go to as the world recovers from the trauma of the covid pandemic. Places to heal and enjoy.

Uganda, the “Pearl of Africa” is perhaps one of the most underrated destinations in Africa, receiving so few travelers and yet has so much to see and do. With a unique location at the center of sub-Sahara Africa, Uganda is an intersection of Africa’s different landscapes, peoples, wildlife, weather, and scenery. Little wonder Uganda is at times referred to as “mini-Africa” because it has almost everything you will find in the different regions of Africa.

Here are a few of the many reasons why you should visit Uganda in 2023

More than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas

The gorilla trekking is one of the best wildlife adventures in the world, a unique experience that brings you face to face with real life “King Kong” deep in the African jungle. The mountain gorilla recently added to the new big five is found in just three countries in the world and Uganda is fortunate have more than half of the population.

How about combining the wildebeest migration safari in Kenya with the gorilla trek in Uganda for your next vacation?

All the African big five can be found in Uganda

Uganda does not have the fame of a big five destination like neighboring Kenya and Tanzania, and yet you stand a good chance to see all the famed big five in Uganda. The big five are; Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant, and Rhino. The Big Five trip to Murchison Falls National Park and Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary can be done in just 3 days and you will tick off all the five animals.

Travelers that travel to Uganda exclusively to see the gorillas can plan to see the big five here as well without having to travel to the more popular and yet congested destinations.

Best year-round weather

Uganda by far has the best weather in the world with moderate temperatures averaging  23oC – 25oC (68oF – 77oF). Only in Uganda can you keep your shirt off and not feel cold or too hot. The country is located along the equator receiving direct sun, but has lots of water bodies, greenery and highlands that keep the weather warm/cool.

Surreal scenery

What Uganda may luck in having lots of animals makes up with scenery. Traveling across the country you witness different landscapes and scenery in almost every region of the country. From the northern rugged hills and semi-arid plains, to the western lush hills and crater lakes in the rift valley, to the southern dramatic highlands and volcanic mountains home to the gorillas, to the pristine jungles and wetlands along Lake Victoria. Your scenery will change dramatically every few hours of the drive.

Most diverse cultures and friendly people

Uganda has one of the most diverse people in the world, having cultural groups speaking more than thirty languages. Your travel in Uganda will take you through communities speaking different languages and having different cultures and traditions. If you want to see Africa up close and experience her people’s cultures Uganda is the best place to visit. Her unique location at the center allows her share many cultures of different African regions.

The common dominator of all these groups is their friendly nature. Wherever you travel to in Uganda you shall be welcomed and treated well.

Amazing local cuisine – Fresh Food

Uganda’s fertile soils and great weather have made Uganda the food basket of the East African region. The fruits in Uganda such as pineapples, oranges, mangoes, and pawpaws have been hailed as the sweetest by many travelers that have tasted them. If cuisine travel is your thing and want to try out tasty organic food in Africa then Uganda is your next destination this year.

Africa’s biggest lake with sandy beaches

Uganda is landlocked, meaning she has no coastline, but she shares a big part of Lake Victoria – Africa’s biggest lake and the world’s second largest fresh water lake. The lake has several wetlands that are home to lots of birds including the pre-historic looking Shoebill. The lake’s shoreline and many islands have beautiful sandy beaches ideal for relaxation after a safari adventure in the country. After visiting the gorillas or hiking in the mountains you do not need to fly to the famous coastal beaches of East Africa, Lake Victoria has you sorted.

Source of the Nile and amazing adventures on the Nile

Uganda is the proud home to the source of the longest river in the world – the River Nile. The Nile starts its journey at Lake Victoria in Jinja where it creates a series of rapids that have given rise to thrilling adventure such as the white water rafting, kayaking, tubing, etc…

Adventure junkies need not look hard to find know where to go for their next adventure, Uganda is here for you.

The best night life in the region

Ugandans have gained a world reputation being some of the happiest people on the planet that love to party. This can be seen by the vibrant night light that cannot be compared to any in the region. The cities, especially the capital Kampala, never go to sleep at night as there are many clubs and bars and a festival taking place every weekend.

If you would like to have a good time then do not look any farther, Uganda is the place to go this year 2023.

No crowds!!

The icing on the cake is that there are no tourist crowds in Uganda. If you wish to go on safari and not having to compete for a sighting, then visit Uganda.

Is Rwanda the easiest country to visit in Africa?

Rwanda is setting the pace in Africa, doing things differently from most African countries.

While other African countries come up with new restrictions every other day for travelers, Rwanda is instead positioning herself as one of the easiest countries to visit and travel in.

Below are reasons why Rwanda may be the easiest country to visit

Open door policy

Rwanda has adopted an open door policy that allows all people in the world to visit Rwanda without getting a visa in advance. Every person from any country can travel to Rwanda and get his or her visa on arrival at the border or the airport.

The open door policy is perhaps one the strongest reasons that make Rwanda the easiest country to visit. If you decide to travel to Rwanda today, you just need to get onto the plane, arrive at the Kigali International Airport where your visa is promptly issued and you are in Kigali City – Rwanda’s capital.

Rwanda has built a reliable national airline (Rwanda Air)

Rwanda’s national airline, Rwanda Air is making traveling to Rwanda easier. Rwanda Air currently has direct flights outside Africa to/from four major world cities. The airline flies to/from London (UK), Dubai (UAE), Guangzhou (China), and Mumbai (India). Meanwhile, more routes to other cities and continents are in the offing.

If therefore you are traveling from any of these continents, you just have to visit the Rwanda Airline website and book your seat (https://www.rwandair.com/)

Safest (and most organized) country in Africa

Rwanda is an oasis of peace and security in the heart of a volatile central Africa. The country is located near the Congo, a hotbed of insurgencies, and given Rwanda’s tragic past the country has built one of the most formidable security and intelligence systems which has combated any threat to peace and safety in Rwanda.

Only in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, can you walk in any area at any time, while using your phone without constantly looking over your shoulder in fear of losing it to thieves.

Nothing makes traveling in country easier than the feeling of being safe wherever you go.

Superb transport system and organized country

Public transport is one of the biggest challenges to travel within the chaotic African cities. Taking a passenger bus in most African cities comes with a risk of getting lost, arriving late, getting an accident or being robbed.

Rwanda has one of the most organized public transport system in Africa. There are public buses in the city that are cashless and require just a tap-and-go card which is also easy to get. The buses are also fitted with speed governors to avoid over speeding that would leads to accidents. The roads are well paved and traffic is well managed, with everyone adhering to the traffic laws.

Those who do not want to travel cheaply in public buses, there are ride-hailing apps for both cars and motorcycles.

Excellent infrastructure

The organized transport is made possible by excellent roads that are well marked and have walkways for pedestrians, and pedestrian crossings are respected by motorists (unachievable in sub-Sahara Africa).

Certain streets in the city have been turned into car-free-zones accessible only by pedestrians.

Amazing people with Great hospitality

Rwandans are amazingly friendly people who will go out of their help strangers. Everyone is eager to help you if they realize you are a visitor, unlike in other countries where many people are eager to take advantage of visitors.

In places where one needs to queue up for a service, a stranger will taken to the front so that she or he is served immediately!! Where in the world do you find this??!!!

A small country that is easy to explore

Rwanda is a small country with a size of about twenty six thousand squre kilometers. The small size and excellent road network and safety make visiting and exploring easy.

Popular destinations such as Volcanoes National Park where gorilla trekking takes place is just about two hours drive from the capital Kigali. The country’s big five safari destination, Akagera National Park, is also just about 2 hour drive from Kigali.

English and French languages widely spoken

Two international languages, English and French, are widely spoken making Rwanda more accommodating to speakers of these two widely spoken languages.