Chimpanzees in Africa
The chimpanzee is our closest living relative. This highly intelligent great ape is a forest animal with a sophisticated social life. Any encounter in the wild is a memorable experience.
Quick facts about Chimpanzee
|Tropical forest & wooded savanna
Chimpanzees are large, powerful primates, with hairless hands, feet and faces. Though smaller than gorillas, they tend to be livelier, noisier and generally more arboreal. Communities may number 15 to 150 members. They observe complex patriarchal social structures, in which individuals switch between smaller groups according to political allegiances.
Predominantly herbivores, eating fruit and other plant matter, chimps will co-operate to collect a wide variety of other food –sometimes hunting monkeys and other small mammals.
Youngsters are highly dependent upon their mothers, and not weaned for three years. Studies of chimps, both wild and captive, have revealed impressive cognitive skills, including tool-use and language, and advanced levels of emotion and self-awareness.
DNA shared by chimpanzees & humans
number values that chimps recognise
Fruit as proportion of diet
Africa's top camps for seeing chimpanzees
Based on 28 reports by our travellers since Jun 2018, the camps below have the best chances of sighting chimpanzees. Simply follow the key below.
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Where to see chimpanzees in Africa
Chimpanzees occur in tropical forests across central and western Africa. Today populations are in decline. Your best opportunity to observe them up close comes with habituated troops, notably in Tanzania and Rwanda.
Top tips for viewing chimpanzees
A close encounter with wild chimps can be a thrilling experience. Realistically, this is only possible where researchers have habituated troops to human observers, including in Tanzania (Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream national parks) and Rwanda (Nyungwe Forest).
Your guide will explain the protocol, allowing you to track the apes on foot to their feeding quarters and, if you’re lucky, sit quietly in the forest while they pursue their enthralling and often boisterous social interactions around you. Listen for the drumbeat summons on a buttress root with which a dominant individual calls the troop together.
Other places to see wild chimpanzees include Uganda (Kibale, Budongo Forest and Queen Elizabeth national parks, Guinea (Bossou) and Cote d’Ivoire (Tai National Park).
Holiday ideas to see chimpanzees
Based on our travellers experiences, these are the holidays which will give you the best chances of good chimpanzee sightings
Our top destinations for chimpanzees
Click below for detailed information about chimpanzees in these countries, including our latest sightings data from the camps and lodges there.