Chimpanzee habituation experience, is mainly done in two sectors that is in Kibale forest national park being the prime destination for primate safaris in east Africa, the other location where you can do chimpanzee habituation is in Budongo forest situated in Murchison falls national park. when we look at gorilla habituation, it’s a bit different from gorilla trekking, gorilla habituation is an activity where by travellers spend the whole day with the chimpanzees under habituation in their natural habitat, this activity is a process done to make the chimpanzee get used to the presence of humans , these process, is mainly done to prepare the chimps before they are opened to chimpanzee trekking activity for the travellers taking part in the activity. Kibale forest is one of the top tourist destination for primate safaris, the park harbours approximately 1500 chimpanzee roaming around the forest, with 4950 recorded chimpanzee in Uganda and others are distributes to other national parks like in Budongo forest of Murchison falls national park, kalinzu and Kyambura gorge in queen Elizabeth national park, Kibale is still recommended as the top chimpanzee destination in east Africa. Not only that, the park is also a home to over 11 other primate species that can be spotted around during your chimpanzee habituation process in the forest.
Gorilla habituation process is the same as gorilla habituation in Bwindi, habituation is done on new gorilla families and the exercise can last for about 2-3 years is when the chimpanzees or gorillas are ready and opened for trekking. During this time, the researchers, ranger guides, scientists and the visitors on chimpanzee habituation visit a particular gorilla family frequently until when they are used to humans. The activity normally starts in the morning with briefing at the park headquarters, therefore, visitors are advised to rise up early for morning coffee/ tea and the lodge will give you packed lunch and enough drinking water then driver guide will transfer you to the park headquarters to join others for briefing there after you will be lead by the guide in to the forest for the start of the activity. Chimpanzee habituation, is whole day experience as you will participate in the habituation process in activities like naming of the chimpanzee, making calls, studying their behaviours and others and you will get enough time to ah all the questions you need and you will get answers since there is an experienced staff to give you all the information. Chimpanzee habituation is an activity introduced by Uganda wildlife authority a body responsible of all national parks in Uganda.
Chimpanzee habituation is an adventurous experience that will give memories of your life time and any one in Uganda would not like to miss during his/ her visit in Kibale forest national park. a maximum of four people is allowed per day in each of the chimpanzee families under habituation. Clients will spend four hours with the gorillas in their natural habitat as you will get to study their characters, ways, and behaviours among themselves and you will have enough time to take pictures and make videos for your memorise, compared to the normal chimp trekking which is only lasts for one hour. Note that the time is counted from the time you meet the chimps but the normal trek can last for 30 min or half hours of the day depending on the location of the chimps on that day.
Chimpanzee habituation, is basically practised at Kanyanchu information centre in Kibale forest national park, the park harbours more than 200 chimpanzee with over 45 chimpanzee groups. During chimpanzee habituation, visitors will also have an opportunity to sight other primates roaming in the forest including; black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, large species of birds, butterflies and also some mammals like the forest elephants, buffalos, bush pigs, Duikers, and many others. This will offer you a lot of fun and excitement when you view these animals at close range.
Chimpanzee habituation permit
For any person to participate in chimpanzee habituation, the permit price goes for $220 per person for non- foreign residence, $150 per person for foreign residence and $70 per person for east African citizens. Chimp habituation is done all throughout the year but the best month is from march, April and November, by this time, the park is free and weather is a bit favoring but there is no guarantee that there will be no rain. For any person having interest in this activity is advised to book the permits early in advance before they are sold out.so you need to secure your permit three month in advance
How to Get There?
Kibale forest national park, can be accessed by road from Kampala/ Entebbe airport depending on the time of your arrival, the drive time takes a bout six hours on a good road and about 2 hours drive via kasese to Kibale national park.
Equipment’s Required for Chimpanzee Habituation
These equipment’s are the essentials recommended for all travellers taking part in chimpanzee habituation to carry along with when travelling to Uganda for your chimp habituation experience. You are required to pack all the necessary equipment’s but park light for easy caring and transportation. travellers on chimp habituation, will be required to park the following; Hiking boots in order to hike n steep slopes and in case of the rain, they help keep your feet dry, water proof jacket/poncho, long pair of trousers and long sleeved shirt/ blouse to protect you from insect bites that could be harmful, garden gloves, pair of thick socks, so that you can tack your trouser inside the sock to prevent the insects from getting inside through the trouser, hat , sunglasses, insect repellent, packed lunch and enough drinking water this will be offered by the lodge, energy giving snacks, cameras , binoculars and others that you will require for the safari.
Things to Consider During the Gorilla Habituation Experience a among other
- When you’re with the gorillas, you are not allowed to eat In front of the chimps as they may get provoked and grab the food from you
- Smoking In front of the chimps is prohibited
- Chimpanzee are vulnerable to human disease, in case you have got cold or flu, do not go in to the forest you will be arranged another day for your chimp habituation
- When taking photos, do not use flash camera lights as the chimps may feel disturbed and will be forced to attack you.
Activities in Kibale National Park
Not only does the park offer chimp habituation experience, the park is diverse and has various activities for visitors visiting Kibale forest national park. including;
Chimpanzee trekking, this is the highly done activity by may clients in Kibale forest, chimp trekking has become the prime safari activity in Kibale forest national park and other sectors like Kyambura gorge, kalinzu forest in queen Elizabeth, Budongo forest in Murchison falls national park. but Kibale remains the top-notch national park in East Africa best known for harbouring large number of chimpanzees. Chimp trekking in Kibale forest, has got two sessions the first session starts in the morning and the second in the afternoon with the briefing at the park headquarters before the start of the activity and there after you will be lead by the guide in to the forest to begin the search for chimpanzee habituated families and when you have located them , you will be given one hour with the chimps. This time you are free to take photos, study their behaviour, the chimps are known to be have the same DNA has humans which makes the them our closest relatives. watching them comes with a lot of excitement and an interesting experience.
Bird watching; Kibale forest national park, harbours over 350 recorded bird species that you will spot around kanyanchu information centre located with in the parks premises, bird watching experience starts at 7:30am , during this time, you will be able to spot birds like white hornbill, African pitta, papyrus gonolek, white winged warbler, great blue turaco
Nocturnal forest walks; Nocturnal forest walks in Kibale forest is an activity that takes place at night after dinner in your lodge, you will be guided by arranger who carries a spotlight for easy viewing of the animals like; push babies, Pottos, and some forest birds among others. During these hours, the forest is so quiet and the animals have retired to their sleeping nests, it’s so easy to spot the animals.
Bigodi wetland sanctuary; this activity is managed the community surrounding the park and the community are the beneficiaries of this activity the activity is normally lasts for 3 hours and it’s a good location for birding experience. Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary is a tropical jungle within the forest, filled with natural wonders with amazing sounds of the forest, birds singing, during his trek, you will be able to view primates including chimpanzees in the afternoon, birds including the large Blue Turaco , black capped apalis purple-breasted sunbird dusky crimson wing, collared apalis and many others. There are also incredible plants, trees, palms, Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary has become a must visit place to all travellers taking part in chimpanzee trekking and chimp habituation in Kibale Forest.
Birding –Kibale National park; this activity is done at kanyanchu around Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located just outside the park. This wetland harbours up to about 138 recorded bird species which can be seen along the swamps and the walkways which are the viewing platforms, the birds such as white breasted Negrofinch, Black bishop, Western Nicator and the grey-winged Robin-cat. The activity begins at 7: ooam at kanyanchu.
Bushcraft Children Activities; the minimum age required for chimp trekking is 15 years and any person below the age is a child and will not be allowed to trek chimpanzees but there are plenty of Things for the children to do and see while the parents are on chimpanzee trekking. The rangers will guide the children through the wonders of the forest showing them wildlife, plants, trees, birds, and monkeys.
Kibale Forest is among the few places where children can take Bushcraft classes and activities where the children will explore the Forest and have the time while in Kibale forest national time, the activities are full of fun and memories of life time. We also make sure that your children have a good and kid friendly driver with them to make sure that they feel comfortable and have the best time during their activities in the forest. For travellers who would like to visit Uganda together with their children, will be advised to book this activity in advance so early preparations.
Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru; Visit this amazing cave for its beauty, cultural beliefs, the cave is located not too far from Kibale Forest national park and it’s also one of the places visited by many travellers, The Amabere caves is just a short drive from Kibale the driver will be telling you the old stories and nature you will hear the stories of old and see nature at work as you are guided on the hike to the caves and the waterfall. The hike /nature-walk lasts for about two-three hours in length and you will be led by local guide provided by the owner of the property. Form this place, you will also discover the three nearby crater lakes that can be visited on a hike. This property is a privately-owned site and there is a fee charged for visiting the Cave.
Accommodation facilities in Kibale forest national park
Kibale forest has got several accommodation facilities for travellers visiting the park, chimpanzee trekking and chimp habituation, is not one days activity, travellers visiting Kibale will advanced to find accommodation nearer to the park so an early morning rise for start of the activity, chimp habituation is a whole day activity with the chimps in their natural habitat. The park offers a variety of accommodation to choose from to enable you have the best of your primate safari in Kibale forest national park. lodges include; chimpanzee forest guest house, Kibale forest camp, primate lodge, Crater safari lodge and many others, these accommodations range from luxury, mid-range and budget accommodation to meet the interest of the clients.