Kibale National Park in Uganda also known as the “Primate capital of the world” is home to large numbers of chimpanzees plus other 12 primates. Located in Western Uganda, at least a 6 hour drive from Kampala, chimpanzee tracking and habituation experiences are the top of the list of activities that can be done in Kibale.
A chimpanzee trekking or habituation tour is never just that; but it incorporates in other activities like spotting other primates (so many monkey species here), plant and bird identifications and a lot more, all this done under the guidance of our very knowledgeable guides and park rangers.
Approximately 5,000 chimpanzees live in the wild in Uganda. In Kibale forest, which is an extension of the great rainforests of central Africa, you will find one of the largest populations of chimpanzees in Africa – about 1450 individuals. Three large “communities” of chimps, each with over 120 individuals inhabit Kibale Forest.
The number one activity that visitors to Kibale National Park do is Chimpanzee tracking on the popular Kanyanchu Primate Walk.
Chimpanzee tracking as an activity is done with the guidance of park rangers and gives one an opportunity to see these amazing animals in their natural habitat. Chimpanzees live in communities. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against other male intruders; the females usually wander in small family groups. Rangers also keep following the trail left by habituated chimp families. They listen to chimps pant-hooting calls and follow their eating trails. Once seen then you are allowed one hour of viewing them; as you learn about their feeding habits, social interactions etc. This is a chance to observe them as they feed in fruiting trees, and socialize with each other. On a lucky day people have witnessed chimpanzees hunting.
To go for chimpanzee tracking, you will need a permit. Each chimpanzee tracking permit costs $200 USD for foreign non residents. Foreign residents pay $150 while East African Citizens pay 150,000 UGX. This gives you 1 hour of viewing, group size of 6 people.
It is advisable however to do advance booking to avoid last minute disappointments. Depending on permit availability, this activity can be done either in the morning starting at 8am or afternoon beginning at 2pm.
A recognized tour operator in Uganda can advise you accordingly and help you reserve your chimpanzee tracking permit in advance.
The chimpanzee habituation experience is a different activity from chimpanzee tracking. Instead of the one hour spent with the chimps in tracking, here visitors get to spend more time with the chimpanzees, usually from the time they wake up ( 6:00 am) till dusk (7:00pm) when they are ready to make their nests for the night.
Chimpanzee Habituation enables the visitors to move with researchers and rangers into the forest. The chimps being followed here are not yet accustomed to human presence. This means following and viewing them can be a bit challenging but very exciting; as you get a raw encounter with the chimpanzees.
As mentioned before, Chimpanzee habituation experience is an all day activity and an early start ensures that you get to watch chimps leave their overnight nests, you get to follow them as they feed, and hunt, breastfeed, rest, copulate and patrol until it is time to build new nests.
A chimpanzee Habituation experience permit costs $250 USD. But like with chimpanzee tracking, advance booking of permits is always advised.
Contact a recognized tour operator in Uganda for advice and booking of the same.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need assistance in booking your chimpanzee tracking / habituation tour in Kibale National Park