Chimpanzee Habituation in Kibale

Kibale forest national park is one of the best safari destinations to see and enjoy chimpanzee trekking. The national park has the biggest number of chimpanzees in East Africa totaling up to 13 different primate species. 

The Kibale national park stands at 1590m above sea level dominated by trees that form tropical rain forest which acts as a habitat for these primates.  

This national park is found in the western part of Uganda about 348 km away from Kampala the capital city and approximately 26 km from fort portal town. This is one of the best undiscovered national parks that give visitors remarkable experiences and unforgettable lifetime memories. 

Kibale National Park can also be accessed through Queen Elizabeth national park due to its proximity in the southern part. 

Kibale forest national park is home to several different wildlife and primates. The most primates are the chimpanzees whose total is about 1450 making it the top place to see chimpanzees.

Other primates include L’hoest’s monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailored monkeys, red colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, bush babies, pottos, and grey-cheeked mangabey 

The national park is home to various wildlife like elephants, duikers, leopards, and bush pigs. Reptiles, amphibians and a good number of butterflies.

Chimpanzee Habituation in Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzee habituation is an activity enjoyed and done by visitors which involves making the chimpanzees get used to humans. 

This activity takes about 3 years and is more rewarding compared to chimpanzee trekking because you can spend much time with the primates. 

Chimpanzee habituation begins in the morning where you are divided into groups of four individuals and taken to chimpanzee nests. Habituation happens in the early morning hours of 6:00 to 6:30 AM. 

You can engage in other activities along the way like hunting, resting, breastfeeding, and patrolling and around 7 pm, you can see them build other nests to rest. This activity can cost you the whole day, however, you can spend much time with these primates as you learn so much more about them. 

During habituation, you can spot other different primates like blue monkeys, L’hoest monkeys, red-tailored monkeys, and black and white colobus monkeys, including animals like buffaloes, elephants, leopards, lions, and mongooses.

You are also able to spot different rare bird species like African grey parrot, western tinker birds, olive long-tailed cuckoo, and ground thrush.

How habituation is different from trekking

Trekking chimpanzees is a short activity that demands going through tropical rainforests searching for primates. This activity begins in the morning with a short briefing at the park headquarters. It lasts about 2 or 3 hours depending on where the chimpanzees will be found. 

Once you get to see them, you are given one hour to spend with them as you take note of every detail activity that they do like breastfeeding and fruit gathering. 

Chimpanzee habituation is a long activity done by visitors with the help of experienced guides that involve training chimpanzees to get familiar with or be used with humans. 

This activity can be done for about 2 to 3 years as these primates are being trained on how to be familiar with humans. Always note that only habituated chimpanzees can be trekked. Habituation is more rewarding because you can spend the whole day with the primates. 

Apart from chimpanzee trekking and habituation in Kibale national park, there are also various activities that you can engage in and enjoy. Some of these activities include nature walks in Kibale Park, guided walks to Bigodi Wetland sanctuary, bird watching, nocturnal forest walks where you can see different nocturnal animals like bush babies and Pottos, and butterfly seeing.

Best time to do chimpanzee habituation in Kibale forest national park

The best time to go on with chimpanzee habituation is during the rainy seasons, despite the mud and slippery trails. During this time, food is abundant and primates tend to live in the lowland places of the forest.

You can as well carry on the habituation during the dry season but it’s not advised since it demands fitness and flexibility to walk to the extreme ends searching for the primates who go there looking for what to eat. 

Rainy seasons are during April, February, November and September. 

The cost of chimpanzee habituation permits in Uganda

To habituate chimpanzees in the Kibale forest, one is required to get a permit. 

Non-foreign residents pay USD 220, foreign residents pay USD 150 and East African citizens pay USD70. You are advised to book your permit in advance to avoid inconveniences.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *