Kibale’s most popular activity is the Kanyanchu Primate Walk. Thirteen species can be sought, and a good variety of diurnal monkeys invariably encountered, but the stars of this trail are the chimpanzees. Kanyanchu’s chimps have been tracked since 1993 and the chances of locating them are excellent. Guided walks start at 8am and 2pm and last an average of three hours, depending on various factors.
The full-day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) works with a chimp community which is undergoing habituation. Early visitors can watch chimps leaving their overnight nests between 6:00 – 6:30am before feeding, copulating, hunting, breastfeeding, resting, patrolling and displaying until it is time to build new nests around 7pm.
Chimpanzee Habituation is one of the top and unique Uganda safari experiences awaiting you in Kibale National Park- the primate capital of the world. Chimpanzee Habituation Experience allows nature lovers on Uganda tour to have a deep understanding about behaviors of chimpanzees and spend more quality time with them in their natural habitat.
Visitor experience during Chimpanzee Habituation revolves learning how they feed, copulate, their social structure, how they sleep and taking photos. Unlike the standard chimpanzee tracking, habituation experience gives tourists 4 hours to spend in the presence of chimpanzees.
Chimpanzee Habituation in Kibale can be conducted for half day or full day. A group of trackers, scientists, environmentalists, conservationists etc often engage in Chimpanzee Habituation. An armed park ranger or guard is allocated to accompany visitors during habituation experience and expect to spend long hours of trekking as you search for chimpanzee communities- follow them, while taking note of their behaviors, taking pictures, etc.
What is Chimpanzee Habituation?
Chimpanzee Habituation has no exact definition, but it is entirely the process of training or making the wild chimpanzee communities to get familiar to human presence. It is the first stage of preparing them before they are opened for actual chimpanzee trekking. The process often lasts for 2-3 hours but it can take less time depending on how quick the chimpanzees can be initiated.
During Chimpanzee Habituation Experience tour, visitors engage in half or full day search for semi-habituated chimp community and a pack of food, plenty of drinking water are needed. Visitors are led by a group of researchers or trackers/guided fully trained and experience from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
What is the day of Chimpanzee Habituation in Kibale like?
Chimpanzee Habituation begins with briefing early in the morning and the team of researchers/trackers lead you through Kibale Forest to look for the semi-habituated chimp community for full day or half day. Unlike habituated chimp communities, during habituation experience, you will notice that some chimpanzees can easily get scared and they don’t spend longer time with humans.
The trackers/park rangers and a group of visitors will have a long day following chimpanzees and explanations about different behaviors of these apes will be done by the tracker/ranger guides. Once chimp community is found, you have about 4 hours viewing, exploring how chimpanzees behave, watch them grooming each other, etc.
Chimpanzee Habituation permits
As of 2022-2024, Chimpanzee Habituation permits cost USD250 per person for Foreign non-residents, the Foreign residents pay USD200 and UGX200,000 for all East Africa citizens. The Chimpanzee Habituation permit prices cover guide fees and park entrance fees for 6 hours.
When is the best time to travel for Chimpanzee Habituation?
Chimpanzee Habituation in Kibale is available all-year-round. However, favorable conditions are experienced during the dry season when there is less or completely no rains making it easier to move through the forest while searching for chimpanzee communities in their habitat. This is during the extended dry season often runs from June to September and the short dry spell from December to February.
The wet season- extended (March-May) and short (October-November) also offer incredible Chimpanzee Habituation Experience of their own. This is the period Kibale is rich in plant life hence abundant forage for chimpanzees to depend on and this means, short hours of search for chimpanzees as they don’t move deep into the forest to look for what to eat like it is during the dry season.
What to pack for Kibale Chimpanzee Habituation?
Essentials to consider packing for Kibale Chimpanzee Habituation include valid chimpanzee habituation permits, long sleeved shirt, a camera free of flashlight, waterproof daypack, hiking boots, first aid kit, insect repellents, sweater, plenty of drinking water, pack of snacks or lunch, socks, long trousers, sun hat, rain jacket or raincoat, etc.