Wild chimps are easy to hear but difficult to see unless they are habituated. The process is done gradually and takes up to 2 years and more before tourists will be allowed. The results are different from one location to another because the habituation process is an on going process and a community of chimps can have more than 40 members. It takes time to make them all comfortable with humans. Habituated chimp communities need also a continuous day-by-day focus . Problems can occur and the tracking experience can change with some ups and downs.
Kibale Forest NP is certainly the best place to have your chimp experience. The success rate is the highest in Kibale! The tracking experience is a very moving experience and Kibale Forest NP offers also opportunity to participate during one or more days in the habituation process. (only in the low season).
In Kyambura WR for example we missed them regularly. Visitors are disappointed but they understand that there is no guarantee with wildlife.
Budongo Forest, managed by the Forest Department has also two eco-tourist sites where habituated chimps can be viewed. The forest has the largest Mahogany forest in East Africa and probably also the largest chimpanzee population in Uganda. Research on chimps started there in 1960. There are two communities habituated for tourists and one for research. The Kanyo-Pabidi site is located in the Murchison Conservation area 29 km north of Masindi on the the Paara Road. It's also a very good place to see the Chimps. The other location, Busingiro is located in Budongo forest, 40 km from Masindi on the Bulisa road. Chimp viewing is less spectacular there.
Latest update: Jane Goodall Institute has been working on the habituation of the chimpanzee troops within Budongo Forest Reserve for eco-tourism activities with the goal to increase the revenue of the Reserve and to carry out its conservation activities. Jane Goodall Institute took also over the management of the two tourist sites in Budongo. The chimpanzee tracking will be at the Kaniyo Pabidi site while the Busingiro site will be mainly be for birdwatchers and education groups, no chimp viewing will take place at Busingiro.The extra habituation programme of the chimps has improved greatly in the past 3 months.
Ngamba Island located in Lake Victoria, 23 kms south east of Entebbe has a completely other experience. The Island provides an ideal environment (97 acres - 45 ha) for the chimps who are confiscated by authorities from poachers and animal dealers. There are more than 35 orphans. They are fed four times a day and this is a spectacular moment for visitors. Good photo opportunities as well.
Nyungwe Forest NP (Rwanda) offers also the chimp experience but it's not easy to see them. There are still habituation efforts to be made. Ask the Rangers first where the chimps are located before tracking them.