KALINZU FOREST RESERVE-Chimpanzee tracking and more
KALINZU FOREST RESERVE
Sitting on 147 square kilometers of land Kalinzu Forest Reserve is a natural forest near Maramagambo forest and Queen Elizabeth National Park in South Western Uganda, Rubirizi district. The forest lies at an altitude of 1400m (average) and is known for its 414 tree species, 6 primate species that include Chimpanzees, Baboons, and Monkeys, 378 bird species, 97 moth and 262 butterflies, flowers, and reptiles. And being near Queen Elizabeth National park the forest at the time gives refuge to some savanna species like wild pigs, waterbucks, duikers among others.
The forest can be accessed from Queen Elizabeth National Park and it can offer chimpanzee trekking better than Kyambura Gorge and for 45 minutes driving to the forest, you can make an all-day and hit the trails hike, track and do birding in the forest from any of the four hiking trails and after you can even drive back to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The forest offers several activities forest walks, birding, butterfly identification, camping, and Chimpanzee tracking being the main and all these will give you an ideal encounter while on a safari in Uganda.
To see the chimpanzees in the wild is a rare and special treat you have to trek the jungle and yes the Jungle is wet, slippery, and hot so you have to go prepared. Wear long pants, socks over your pants to avoid the ants, carry water binoculars, and be ready to hike the trails, through the bushes, over logs as the trackers keep in contact with the guides informing them which way to get the chimps. Without them, the chances of getting these creatures are slim, and trying to do it on your own without a guide might not be successful and the chimps know the trackers and vice versa. The guides make it easy but it is not to find them alone.
Tracking is done by guided groups of visitors and it is amazing to be so near to the human’s closest creatures in the wild. Kalinzu forest will also give you a four-hour experience of these creatures and the Japanese researchers studied these chimps and are used to human beings (habituated). Talking of Chimpanzee tracking, Kalinzu forest is the second-best choice for tracking chimpanzees after Kibale Forest National Park.
With a population of over 300 individuals and of which 70 are habituated and divided into 2 groups creating a 95% chance of seeing these creatures and it can be a nice experience to add up to a wildlife safari in Queen Elizabeth and together with gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
This is an 11km trail taking between 4-5 hours in the jungle over hilly, in parts and wet terrain leading you to the magnificent “Kilyantama” waterfalls “THE SHEEP EATER” as you discover the backcloth figs used by handcrafters and the tree that baboons cannot climb.
This is the shortest of all the trails about 2 and a half kilometers circular trail to River Kajojo “Elephant River” called so because elephants used to bathe here.
The 5km circular trail taking you to discover fascinating forest trees like the “flame tree” with large red tulip-like flames and stories about it are told by the local guides.
The Valley Trail
The 3km trail offers spectacular and magnificent views of the valley for photographers trekking along a ridge past several interesting forest features.
Get a humbling experience to see these animals in their natural habitat and not only them but also other species like blue monkeys, Vervet monkeys olive baboon, black and white colobus monkey, and the L’Hoest plus other small mammals that the forest has to offer from its rich diversity. It is a hidden gem and a budget option for chimpanzee tracking and also birders can jump on this too.
Depending on your need you can engage in Birding, nature walks, chimpanzee tracking as well as camping at the forest for a real wild and forest experience that is different from what everyone has had by visiting the less visited Kalinzu Forest Reserve.