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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.

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Quick facts about Chimpanzee

Scientific name: Pan troglodytes Habitat: Tropical forest & wooded savanna
IUCN status: Endangered Adult weight: 28–70kg

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

8 months

gestation period


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.

Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for chimpanzee

% of travellers who saw chimpanzee

Top 10 camps for chimpanzee

% of travellers who saw chimpanzee

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

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Golden Monkey Safari

12 days • 5 locations

Combine four key areas of Rwanda on this excellent-value trip, for a true wildlife and cultural experience. The perfect itinerary for those who want to see all the highlights of Rwanda.

US$9,710 - US$11,270 per person

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Mona Monkey Safari

9 days • 3 locations

This example of a luxury holiday explores the wildlife of Nyungwe Forest, the scenic shores of Lake Kivu and the mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park, all accompanied by a private guide and vehicle.

US$12,160 - US$17,600 per person

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Chimpanzee Fly-in Safari

8 days • 3 locations

Combining two of the remotest parks in Tanzania, this safari can deliver extraordinary wildlife viewing in Katavi, and East Africa's best chimp treks, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

US$12,730 - US$14,920 per person

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L'Hoest's Monkey Safari

7 days • 3 locations

Meet three iconic primates – gorillas, chimps and golden monkeys – and explore Rwanda's fascinating culture on this excellent value privately guided adventure.

US$5,570 - US$6,320 per person

View all holidays to Africa

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.

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