Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda gives you the opportunity to trek a forest and see up close chimpanzees in their natural home, without a barrier. This is a unique experience because chimps in many parts of the world are seen in zoos from a safe place behind a fence. So the idea of trekking the jungles to see wild chimps raises concerns as to whether it is safe?
Below I give some guide and assurance
The chimps are known to be wild and violent, won’t I be attacked during the chimpanzee tracking?
True, chimpanzees are some of the most violent creatures, no wander they are our closest relatives! They are also very powerful, that the strength of one grown chimp is said to be equal to the strength of five energetic human males. On the internet you can find many gruesome pictures of humans that have been attacked by chimps and these can worry you if you are planning to include chimpanzee tracking on your African safari.
However, you will be tracking habituated chimpanzees. Chimpanzee habituation is a long process taking several years where trained park personnel make frequent visits to the chimps till the time chimps realize these humans do not pose a threat to them and will stop running away or won’t attack them. The chimps see these park personnel as friendly since during the habituation they will carry some goodies such as bananas.
Make no mistake, the habituated chimps are still wild and can make an attack. However, as long as they see among the tourist group the park personnel who they regard as friends they will not become violent.
Once some tourists who didn’t want to pay for the chimpanzee tracking activity went into Budongo forest without the knowledge of the park authorities so they could track the chimps on their own. The tourists found the chimps but once the chimps didn’t see any familiar faces (park guides) among the tourists they became suspicious of the group, got agitated and started roughing up the tourists who fled for their lives while the chimps gave them a chase. It is was the park authorities that heard screaming tourists that run in to rescue them.
So, you will NOT be attacked by the chimps because you will be tracking a chimp community that has undergone habituation and you will be led by park guides who are known to the chimps and these park guides also know what to do in case the chimps become moody.
How about other dangerous animals in the forests?
Several other animals can be found in the forests, such as elephants, leopard, buffaloes, non-habituated chimps, etc… These are not habituated of course and can cause a danger if encountered at close quarter. However these are also quite shy and elusive and in most cases flee before you see them. However nothing is left to chance, so for each tourist group tracking the chimps there is an armed ranger who will shoot in the air to scare away any animal that may seem it could attack the group.