Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary : The natural home range of chimpanzees extends from Senegal on the coast of West Africa to the central African wooded belt to Uganda. Although they are not native to Kenya, Ol Pejeta opened its doors in 1993 after a rescue centre in Burundi had to close owing to the onset of a civil war. The only place in Kenya where visitors can explore and view chimpanzees is Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, which is situated in the northern Kenyan county of Laikipia in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Chimpanzee sightings are offered to Kenya safari tours tourists at this location. The sanctuary houses physically and psychologically damaged orphaned and abused chimpanzees and assists them in readjusting to life as chimpanzees in a stress-free environment.
The primary goal of the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, which was founded in Kenya, is to give long-term refuge to abused and orphaned chimpanzees from West and Central Africa. This goal was achieved through an agreement between the Ol Pejeta’s Conservancy, Kenya Wildlife Services, and the Jane Goodall Institute.
The majority of chimpanzees transported to Sweetwaters Chimpanzee refuge receive additional care and stimulation during their quarantine. Once at the refuge, the chimps can be fully nursed back to normal health before being reintroduced into the sanctuary.The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the Jane Goodall Institute, and the Ol Pejeta Conservancy came to an agreement to create the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The goal is to give abused and orphaned chimpanzees from West and Central Africa a permanent home. Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary has been forced to continue taking in chimpanzees rescued from stressful circumstances for the past ten years, increasing the sanctuary’s total population of 35 chimpanzees. Many arrive with horrifying injuries from abuse at the hands of others, and many are taken from constrained and abnormal living arrangements. They have a fresh start here at Sweetwaters.
Many of the sanctuary’s animal species, particularly the chimpanzees, were taken from their claustrophobic and unnatural living conditions. To a greater extent, the majority of them arrive at the sanctuary with horrifying injuries from human abuse. The sanctuary provides a rewarding start to life for the animals, which boosts Kenya’s tourism industry by drawing more safari tour visitors. This explains why the majority of visitors to the sanctuary come to witness the chimpanzees in the Sweetwaters, which brings in the greatest number of visitors to the nation.
Chimpanzees, being closely related to humans, contribute significantly to the environment in all settings. They do this by preserving the diversity of the area, as evidenced by the large seeds they eat and scatter, which are larger than those of most other animals. Additionally, chimpanzees in Kenya preserve a great deal of the surrounding environment by primarily ensuring that other animal species remain undisturbed and unharmed.
A stimulating quarantine cage and round-the-clock veterinary care ensure that newly arrived chimpanzees at the Sanctuary receive the delicate nursing care they need to recover. When they are prepared, they are placed in one of the Sanctuary’s two sizable groups, which reside in expansive natural enclosures divided by the Ewaso Nyiro River. Aside from their nightly return to their indoor enclosures and predetermined food schedules, the chimps spend their days exploring, climbing, interacting with one another, and relearning what it is to be a chimpanzee.
The best time to visit
The greatest time to watch the chimpanzees at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary is anytime you feel like going on a Kenya safari, which runs from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and again from 14:00 pm to 16:30 pm daily.
Humans and chimpanzees have 98.6% genetic similarity. There are numerous startling similarities between humans and the chimpanzees at Sweetwaters when you observe their interactions and behaviour. Chimpanzees, like humans, are known to utilise tools; they are known to use long, thin sticks to fish for termites and pebbles to split hard nuts. They are the only primates that have reached such a high degree of tool use development.
The large ape family includes bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees. Male adults weigh between 35 and 70 kg and are over a metre tall. In order to climb, chimpanzees need long arms, and their hands and feet are dexterous, having opposable thumbs for gripping branches and other objects. Being omnivores, they mostly consume ripe fruit, immature leaves, and seeds, but they also occasionally hunt small mammals and consume insects, eggs, and nestlings.
Chimpanzees live in intricate communities of 15 to 100 individuals and are incredibly gregarious animals. The groupings are headed by a dominating male, known as the “alpha” male, who creates a hierarchy according to IQ, age, and physical prowess. Similar to human politics, the establishment of chimpanzee hierarchy also heavily relies on one’s social standing and network. Grooming is a crucial part of friendship and familial ties, as well as a gesture of devotion, obedience, and love that chimpanzees express for hours on end. Wild chimpanzees create nests between six and twenty-five metres above the ground at night time by shredding branches to create a comfortable bed.
In the wild, chimpanzees live 40–50 years on average, whereas in captivity, they live 60 years or longer. In captivity, female chimpanzees reach sexual maturity between the ages of 8 and 9. Chimpanzees in the wild often give birth to their first offspring between the ages of 11 and 12. In the wild, males reach fertile age at around age 10, while in captivity, this age is reached earlier. A chimpanzee’s labour typically lasts only forty minutes, and the gestation period is between seven and eight months. There are usually three to five years between babies. Offspring and their mother are in constant communication throughout the first six months of life. During the initial four months of life, the young animals will nurse around every three hours. Weaning and independent travel happen about age five. Consumption of solid food begins between four and six months of age and rises as nursing decreases.
Accommodations at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary
The most amazing, appropriate, and comfortable lodging options are available to tourists visiting the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary because it is part of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. These options include budget, midrange, and luxury accommodations, such as the Pelican House, The Stables, Sweetwaters Serena camp, Ol Pejeta house, Ol Pejeta bush camp, Porini Rhino camp, Kicheche Laikipia camp, Jambo Mutara Tented camp, Ol Pejeta safari cottages, and many more.