chimpanzee tracking Kibale Forest National Park is situated in southern part of Uganda, near fort portal and Kamwenge towns. Protecting the most ever green tropical rain forest. And it encompasses a diverse array of landscape and primates. It has an elevation of between 1100 to 1600 meters. Kibale Forest National Park is the home to our close relatives the Chimpanzees although there are other National Parks that have Chimpanzees such as Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu Forest Reserve, Budongo Forest National Park and Ngamba island sanctuary where the orphaned and rescued Chimps are kept. Kibale forest National Park is the best safari destination for chimpanzee viewing in the whole of Africa as it has the highest population of these endemic primates.
Chimpanzees are always tracked after undergoing through a habituation process whereby researchers follow them for close to five years making them get used to the people. Chimpanzees leave in big communities and always have one dominant male and they are also territorial with boundaries. Some of the time these Chimpanzees tend to split into small group most especially when they are feeding and then after they come together afterwards and most times groom each other. It is not possible on every trekking to see the whole community because they split, you sometimes see between five to seven members and you are allowed to stay with the Chimpanzees for one hour. The researchers always name each Chimpanzee and they all have names individually.
On the day of your Chimpanzee trekking, you wake up in the morning, and have your breakfast. Then you meet your guide and transfer to Kanyanchu visitor’s center, the park offices to join other visitors for a general briefing about the do and the don’ts while on your Chimpanzee walk. After the briefing you will be put in small groups of six people and they allocate you a ranger guide and then start your walk. Sometimes we drive to the starting point, and other times walk depending on where the Chimpanzees are. The ranger is always armed with a rifle for your safety while in the forest because we have wild Chimpanzees which are not used to people and other animals like elephants and much more. Once you find the Chimpanzees you are only allowed to stay with them for one hour and then walk back to the Park offices or drive back to your lodge. Chimpanzee tracking is done twice a day which means there is a morning shift (AM) and an afternoon shift (PM). The time of tracking is usually indicated on the visitor’s permit.
Apart from the one hour Chimpanzee trekking we also have the Habituation experience where you stay with the Chimpanzees for the whole day. This starts very early in the morning at around 6:30AM where you start following them as they wake up. Habituation experience gives you more time to learn about the Chimpanzee behaviors and their day activities. You will follow them for the whole day not until they start nesting for their overnight. Note; Chimpanzee tracking is fairly strenuous therefore a minimum level of fitness is required.
To track the chimpanzees in the natural habitat, one needs to be above the age of 15 years, a minimum level of physical fitness and physical exercising before coming to track the chimps is paramount, clothing like a hat/cape, sun glasses, long sleeved shirts, long pants and long stockings, rainy gear or poncho, hiking shoes/boots, insect repellants, hand gloves, visitor’s presence, on top of these all is the Chimpanzee tracking permits at USD150.00 per person per trek and Chimpanzee habituation permit at USD200.00 per person per trek. It is also advisable to a small rack sack which you will use to carry your drinking water and packed lunch which your lodge provides on the tracking day.
A permit is a pass/ document issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority that allows you enter the National park to track the chimps. Chimpanzee tracking permit costs USD150.00 per person per trek and Chimpanzee Habituation permit costs USD200.00 per person per trek, the costs includes perk entry fees, game ranger and the racking activity, extra USD20.00 is charged for a porter. Most of the times we would advise you take a porter to help you carry a backpackers and offer you a pull or push where need be.
Great Adventure safaris book chimpanzee permits for clients, and For you to secure/book the chimpanzee tracking/habituation permits you will need to provide us with the following details, visitor’s full names, passport number, date of birth and nationality. Uganda Wild life authority uses this information to issue the Chimpanzee tracking/habituation permit which is an electric card that is presented at the national park briefing point/offices on the day of your chimpanzee tracking. The card is valid for that particular day/date you have agreed to track the chimps. Extra activities can be done after tracking on the same day/date such as nature/community walks, birding and night walks at an affordable cost.
Both Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest and habituation permits are only issued by the government body in charge of Uganda National parks called the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Once you set your tracking date we at Great Adventures Uganda Limited check availability and once we find it you send through your details as mentioned above so that we go ahead and pre-book your Chimpanzee tracking/habituation permit.
Great Adventures Uganda limited is the best ground handler/tour operator who will help you book a chimp permit from UWA. Once you have the dates you would like to visit the chimps sorted, contact us for more information and inquiries. Great Adventure safaris arrange gorilla trekking tours in Uganda.