Gorilla Trekking Vs. Chimpanzee Trekking : Which One Offers The Best African Safari Experience? Two of the most amazing safari excursions in tropical Africa are chimpanzee and gorilla trekking. The top spot on the list of must-do jungle experiences in Africa is easily held by excursions into the African rainforests to observe gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild. It is unquestionably unlike any other wildlife encounter in Africa to come face to face with these intelligent, reflective, and closely related primate.
However, if you’re trying to decide which of the two excursions should be added to your next summer African Safari travel wish list and are curious about how the gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking experiences compare, we wholeheartedly endorse both. Both of them have thrilling experiences that are worth the money and time.
Crowds of people flock to the central African jungles expecting to get a glimpse of these clever apes since gorillas and chimpanzees are both primates, a biological order of creatures that also includes humans. It is more similar than different to embark on a trek through the hazy, mucky, dense African jungle in order to spend one to four hours with gorillas or chimpanzees. Nevertheless, I’ll tell you the facts so you can decide for yourself.
COMPARISON FACTS ABOUT GORILLAS AND CHIMPANZEES TREKKING SAFARI EXPERIENCE
The gorilla’s membership in the community of Gorillini and the genus Gorilla is the primary distinction between it and a chimpanzee in terms of scientific categorization. The chimpanzee, in comparison, is a member of the genus Pan and the group Hominini. Both primates are great apes, though.
The gorilla and chimpanzee are big ape primates that are related to bonobos, humans, and orangutans in the Hominidae (hominids) family. They both possess huge brains relative to their body weight, muscular limbs, and oppositely long, gripping fingers and toes. They are both short and stocky.
Chimpanzees and gorillas, which share more than 98% of human DNA, are the most cognitive primates and have the greatest brains relative to their bodies after humans. But since chimpanzees have bigger brains and are smarter than gorillas, they are more closely linked to humans. Because of the unique behaviors that are sparked by intelligence in both of these primates, it is enthralling to observe them, which is why chimpanzee and gorilla trekking is such a well-liked Africa safari excursion.
The gorilla is an herbivorous ape that only eats plant-based foods, particularly bark. The chimpanzee is an omnivore ape that only eats meat from duikers and monkeys, as well as additional fruit species.
Although gorillas are the biggest living primates, don’t be fooled by their size. The “gentle giants” moniker for these apes refers to their characteristically laid-back behavior. They forage in small, patriarchal groups under the control of powerful “silverback” males and live quietly. A mature gorilla can reach heights of 1.8 m (6 ft.) and weights of up to 220 kg (485 pounds), though the silverback is almost twice as large as a mature female.
It’s not much different for chimpanzees. They are extremely sociable and live in patriarchal groups of a few dozen animals that are headed by an alpha male and his male friends. Chimpanzees can stand as tall as 1.6 meters (5.5 feet). Males can weigh up to 154 pounds, compared to 110 pounds for females.
Chimpanzees, on the other hand, naturally exhibit aggressive and violent behavior, unlike their peace-loving ape relatives. In fact, male chimpanzees are known to frequently fight among themselves over territory. According to research, chimpanzee-on-chimpanzee fighting is rather widespread, and chimpanzees may have a murderous inclination.
Both apes are classified as threatened by extinction by the IUCN. Both great apes are unique to Africa’s lush rainforests. However, the mountain gorilla, a gorilla subspecies, inhabits the highlands of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in east and central Africa.
WHERE TO SEE GORILLAS AND CHIMPS
Several well-maintained national parks in Equatorial Africa allow visitors to see gorillas and chimpanzees. Only two gorilla species still exist today, and both are found in Equatorial Africa. The equatorial woods of Nigeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Angola, and the DRC are home to the western gorilla, which is frequently housed in cages in zoos. The eastern gorillas, the other species that attracts the most interest in the wild, are found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda, and Rwanda.
Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic (CAR) are the finest countries to see gorillas in the wild. Unquestionably, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the southwest of Uganda’s highlands and Volcanoes National Park in the northwest of Rwanda’s Virunga Mountains slopes are two of the best spots to see gorillas in Africa.
These two locations offer the best gorilla trekking Safari experiences, sustainable programs, and infrastructure, as well as some of the best forest lodges, for an unforgettable holiday in Africa’s most isolated regions.
The finest places to track and see chimpanzees in the wild remain, however, is in the rainforests of East and Central Africa. Large tracts of the forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the more accessible locations of Uganda’s Kibale Forest, Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest, and Tanzania’s Mahale Mountains/Gombe National Parks, are home to chimpanzee groups that have been habituated to humans for close to ten hours each day.
Every nature traveler should take an expedition into the African rainforest to observe gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild at least once in their lifetime. It is unquestionably unlike any other wildlife encounter in Africa to come face to face with an intelligent, reflective, and closely related primate.
WHAT ARE GORILLA TREKKING AND CHIMPANZEE TREKKING?
Government officials and conservation organizations launched excursions that let tourists take guided tours into the protected forest parks to identify and spend a limited amount of time with these primates in an effort to raise money for the protection of gorillas and chimpanzees in Africa. These excursions are also referred to as chimpanzee or gorilla trekking.
In order for the adventures to take place, a few carefully chosen chimpanzee and gorilla groups (troops) had to go through a habituation process that gradually exposed them to people’s presence without changing their habitat or social structures. The habituation process typically lasts between two and five years, and its goal is not to tame the apes but rather to at least make them accept humans up to about 10 meters away.
In order to identify a family of habituated gorillas and spend a limited amount of time with them, rangers and a local expert tracker lead a defined number of guests on a guided trip through the tropical forests of Africa. Typically, officials permit approaching no closer than 10 meters (32 feet), and the contact with the calm gorillas might continue anywhere between one and four hours.
Trekking with chimpanzees is not very different. Chimpanzees are far more energetic than gorillas, which are typically quiet, passive, and vegetarian. Trekking with chimpanzees is frequently both a taxing and exhilarating experience, especially when they are engaged in a hunt and need the trekker to go quickly on foot while they swing easily across the forest canopy.
DIFFERENCES/SIMILARITIES BETWEEN GORILLA TREKKING AND CHIMPANZEE TREKKING
The first factor that might influence your decision is the significant price difference between the two trekking permits. Compared to gorilla permits, chimpanzee trekking permits are significantly less expensive. For instance, a chimpanzee ticket in the lower tropical rainforests costs $50 to $200 per person, whereas a half-day gorilla permit in Uganda’s mountain forests costs $700 per person per hike. The same gorilla ticket in Rwanda’s volcanoes costs $1500 per person, whereas chimpanzee permits in Nyungwe Forest cost $90 each.
The cost of a full-day habituation experience permit is the same. A gorilla habituation permit in Uganda costs $1,500 per person, which is six times more expensive than a chimpanzee habituation permit, which costs $250 per person.
The second factor is how many people can trek with a single troop of primates. A human-hugged gorilla or chimpanzee family may only have a small number of tourists see them for a brief period of time at a controlled distance of 10 meters (32 feet). This is due to the fact that the great apes can contract human diseases as a result of our close genetic kinship and, in part, to avoid unpleasant surprises from overstaying our welcome.
Nevertheless, chimpanzee trekking permits more visitors to travel to a colony that has become accustomed to humans than gorilla trekking. A randomly chosen group of no more than eight tourists, accompanied by two rangers and guided by one skilled tracker guide, is allowed to go on a gorilla trek in Uganda and Rwanda. Each chimpanzee group can accommodate 10–12 visitors. Although the number of trekkers is kept under control, some porters occasionally accompany tourists to assist with carrying their loads and negotiating steep hikes.
At the briefing location early in the morning before the hiking starts, people are randomly assigned to one of the excursion groups. Trekkers typically congregate at the trailhead by 7:30 AM for the briefing. On the basis of your level of physical fitness, the warden selects which gorilla or chimpanzee group you can trek after reading and explaining the regulations and procedures of trekking.
Thirdly, chimpanzee and gorilla trekking regulations are somewhat similar because primates exhibit many of the same characteristics. Before you enter the jungle, a park warden will brief the trekking party on ground rules, including not feeding the primates around, refraining from mimicking their calls, avoiding staring straight into the alpha male’s eyes, attempting to maintain 10 meters away, and occasionally avoiding direct contact. These are straightforward guidelines that everyone can learn, but the trip to see the gorillas or chimpanzees is what can make or break the entire trekking experience.
Within the fortified national park, gorillas and chimpanzees have unfettered access to large territorial territories. Mountain gorillas typically roam within a range of 500 m (0.31 mi) or less per day, and their home areas extend from 3 to 15 km2 (1.2 to 5.8 sq mi). Every night, they create new nests for sleeping; thus, they forage in a different area each day. Trackers direct visitors to a different location each morning, and it may take anywhere between 30 and 4 hours before you discover the chimpanzee or gorilla troop. Occasionally, it takes longer than expected, particularly during the dry season when there is less food available and the primates must search further into the forest for nourishment.
Comparatively speaking, tracking the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is significantly more difficult than tracking chimpanzees. Mountain gorillas dwell in the upper slopes of the Virunga Mountains and the rift valley forested rugged highlands in southwest Uganda, where the elevation ranges from 2,200 to 4,300 meters (7,200 to 14,100 feet).
It takes courage to hike that far up on rocky terrain through the dense, muddy, and unforgiving jungle. Although one must be psychologically and physically prepared, the encounter with untamed nature in Africa will leave one with some of the most treasured memories.
The chimpanzee experience is typically on a lower, more flat rainforest floor than mountain gorilla trekking, and it’s much simpler to find the chimpanzee troop because of their boisterous personalities. Once you locate the troop, maintaining contact with them will exhaust you.
Chimpanzees are hyperactive while out foraging, unlike their larger cousins, and they won’t stay long enough for you to unwind. The Kibale National Park in western Uganda offers the finest opportunity to observe chimpanzees in the wild without exerting too much physical effort. It often takes less than two hours to locate the chimpanzees because the forest is quite flat and has passable forest growth.
GORILLA AND CHIMPANZEE TREKKING SAFARIS
East Africa, especially the woods of Rwanda and Uganda, offers excellent bucket-list chimpanzee and gorilla trekking adventure vacations. Within a few feet of your wild cousins, a weeklong adventure trip in Uganda or Rwanda will test your veins with adrenaline excitement and strengthen your bond with the natural world.
Visit Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda if you want to view chimpanzees and mountain gorillas in their natural habitats; the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the best place to observe solely gorillas (both lowland and mountain gorillas). These nations have the best trekking infrastructure and ape conservation initiatives to ensure their continued existence.
Numerous trekkers embark on these must-do vacations with Focus East Africa Tours, a local pioneer in East Africa Safari tours for many years now. Gorilla and chimp tracking Safari excursions with Focus East Africa Tours are totally private, tailored to the traveler’s preferences, and offer you unique ground management to let your wild spirits run free. We arrange for you to stay in the best forest resorts and handle all of your transportation needs, food, and activities throughout the trip, allowing you to focus on getting to know your simple relatives.