Kibale National Park is amazingly one of the best places in East Africa where tourists can enjoy a close encounter with chimpanzees while in the wild. It is one of the 5 favorite spots in Uganda where chimpanzee trekking is done and others include Budongo Forest, Kyambura Gorge, Kalinzu Forest and Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve. Kibale forest national park inhabits the biggest portion of wild chimpanzees compare to other national parks in East Africa and this makes it the ultimate place for chimpanzee tracking in the world.
Kibale National Park currently supports over 1500 chimpanzees with about 5 habituated chimpanzee communities all available for trekking. At Kibale N/Park, there are 2 sessions for chimpanzee trekking- first session always begins in the morning and the second one in the afternoon. Before any trekking to see chimpanzees, briefing is done at Kanyanchu Tourist Center.
During the briefing, tourists are allocated to a chimpanzee community, park guide and before setting off to the forest, visitors are divided into 6 people per group and each group is led by park guide. Actual chimp trek starts at 8:00am, and lasts for 2-4 hours and upon locating a chimp community, you will enjoy absolute one hour face to face with chimpanzees. The beauty about chimpanzee tracking in Kibale is that, it is possible for you book a 3 days chimpanzee trekking safari.
While in the Forest
In the forest, chimpanzees can be heard before they are sighted due to their scream pant hoots and barks that aid the ranger guides in locating chimpanzees in the jungle. During chimpanzee tracking, the travelers are only given one hour of face to face encounter with the adorable primates.
Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale is done twice a day in the morning and afternoons, so it is up to the travelers’ interest and availability to determine the best tracking time. Kibale forest also presents opportunities for chimpanzee habituation where unlike tracking, visitors are given a full day of staying with chimpanzees in the jungles to learn their behavior, sign languages, eating habits and their social life, but most importantly to allow chimpanzees get acquainted to human presence.
Kibale forest national park has 4 chimpanzee groups, known as troops of which some are for research purposes. Two chimpanzee troops for research are found in Kanyawara and Sebitoli, each has between 50-60 individuals. Other two troops for tracking are in the center of the park and in Kanyanchu sector respectively, each comprising of more than 200 members.
Every traveler on a chimpanzee tracking tour in Kibale forest national park should keep a distance of 8 meters away from the chimpanzees, because chimpanzee are susceptible to human infectious diseases. Chimpanzee share 98% of their DNA with humans, therefore guests with flue or any other air born disease many not be allowed to track the chimpanzee.
Only 6 people in a group are allowed to track and adults above 12 years of age are permitted to track these primates. Chimpanzees need maximum freedom, and hence do not want to be irritated once guests are in their midst.
Chimpanzee tracking in Uganda is an experience of life time which every traveler on a Uganda safari has to engage in. The tour begins at Kanyanchu visitors’ center, at 7am in the morning with a briefing by the park officials and the adventure later commences at 8am where travelers enter the forest to meet the unique primates.
Chimpanzee tracking process starts at 7:30am east African standard time at Kanyanchu starting point where trackers are first briefed through the tracking etiquettes. Then the armed park ranger leads tracker into the jungle to find the one of the tracked family, the tracking can last for 1 to 6 hours to encounter these apes. Finding them in the dense Jungle may be so challenging and tiresome but encountering the apes you forget the hardness, it’s one of the wonderful encounters in the world watching the infants and juveniles entertaining overpass in the tree branches, or watching the mature one enjoying buds.
When encountered the primates have an hour in their presence maintaining watching distance of 7m, no eating or drinking in their presence, talking volume is lowered to avoid interacting their daily life but the enjoyments continues to overlap your face.
The whole experience takes about 2 to 3 hours, including the 1 hour of direct encounter with chimpanzees and strictly only 6 travelers are allowed in each group. This is a highly restricted activity and anyone wishing to track chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park should book in advance to secure their tracking permits.
The most captivating primate adventure that is worth including while on a Uganda safari is chimpanzee tracking in Kibale because this forest accommodates a large number of chimpanzees that offer primate enthusiasts a chance to catch a glimpse of these critically endangered species, as well as other mammals, birds and flourishing vegetation.
You expect to see the chimps coming out of their nests in the morning. Or you can be part of the habituation team that goes in the morning or in the evening to study the behaviors of these intelligent chimps and to make them get used to people. Spending one hour with these grate apes, watching their behaviors and their daily activities like feeding, mother feeding their young ones, playing up close in the forest among other activities is regarded as the most attractive and breathtaking experience one should not love to miss. So mixing the love of chimps with gorillas is looking a blessing, we advice you to book with us you will never regret.
When you are in forest follow the following procedure
- You must be accompanied by our tour guides
- Smoking is not allowed while with the chimpanzee
- While with the chimps you must follow the guide’s instruction to avoid messing up
- Don’t eat or drink in front of the chimps as they might turn against you
- While with the chimpanzee don’t use your flash when taking a photo as it scares the chimps
- You are allowed to spend only one hour while with the chimps for conservation
- You must be at least 10 meters away from the chimpanzees
if you are sick you are not permitted to visit the chimpanzees as you put them at risk of getting ill to.
- Only people who are above 15 years are the only one allowed to view the chimps those
- Below 15 years are not allowed to track the chimps.
- Group sizes for chimp tracking are limited to 8 people.
The cost of tracking permit
Currently chimpanzee tracking permits continues at US$200 per permit for the regular tracking activities and habituation permit cost US$250.