Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National Park
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 Reserve 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.
How Chimpanzees are grouped for tracking?
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.
Chimpanzee Trekking in kibale forest
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. Read more about why you should trek chimps in Uganda
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.