Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale National Park
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park is an adventurous and exciting activity where visitors move on foot in the tropical forests in search of the chimpanzees in their habitat. Kibale National Park has the largest number of chimpanzees in Uganda and is therefore known as the primate capital. Kibale National Park is situated in western Uganda in Fort Portal district. Kibale national park is a home of 13 primate species including over 1,500 chimpanzees and other primates like Red Colobus Monkeys, Red Tailed Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Black and White Colobus Monkeys, L-Hoest Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Pottos, Grey Cheeked Mangabey, bush babies among others. Kibale national park is also a home of 70 mammal species such as Forest Elephants, Giant Forest Hogs, Antelopes, Bush pigs, Buffaloes, Duikers, Otters and over 350 bird species such as the Great Blue Turaco, Green Breasted Pitta, Blue-Headed Sunbird, Purple Breasted Sunbird, Black Bee-eater, Red-Faced Woodland Warbler among others.
Chimpanzee trekking is mostly done in Kibale national park because it offers the best chimpanzee trekking experience and also harbors the largest number of chimpanzees than other destinations in Uganda such as Budongo Forest Reserve in Murchison falls national park, Kalinzu Forest near Queen Elizabeth national park, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park and Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve.
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park can either be done in the morning which is the best time for trekking because you will be able to view the chimpanzees de-nesting, hunting for food among others and can also be done in the afternoon where you will be able to view the chimpanzees making nests for the night. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park starts with a briefing at 7 am at Kanyachu Visitor’s Center and later trekking at 8 am in the morning or 2 pm in the afternoon and takes about 2 to 5 hours trekking depending on where the chimpanzees are located.
Chimpanzee trekking activity in Kibale national park allows a number of six individuals to visit each chimpanzee family and once the chimpanzee family has been located the visitors will be allowed to spend one hour in the presence of the chimpanzees in their natural environment taking photos, learning more about chimpanzee habits, behaviors and capturing the moments of the chimpanzees playing, de-nesting, hunting, mating, socializing, making new beds for the night among others which give visitors the best experience on their safari in Uganda. Kibale national park also offers chimpanzee habituation experience which allows a maximum of four people per chimpanzee group and you will be able to spend four hours with the chimpanzees because of the habituation process takes a full day with the researchers, guides, rangers among others hence giving you lifetime memories.
How to get to Kibale national park
Kibale national park can be accessed by either road or air transport means. By Road you can use a private car from Kampala City via Mubende, fort portal then Kibale national park which takes 5 to 6 hours drive on a tarmac road or from Kampala via Mbarara, Kamwenge then Kibale national park and by Air you can book a chartered flight from Entebbe International Airport to Kasese Airfield and then connect by road via Fort Portal- Mpondwe road to Kibale national park which takes about 2 to 3 hours drive or fly from Entebbe airport to fort portal.
When to go for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park can be done any time throughout the year and the best time is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February when the grass is short and gives clear viewing of the chimpanzees and the grounds are not so muddy and slippery though it can rain any time because Kibale is a tropical forest. Chimpanzees can, however, be visited in the wet season also known as the low season in the months of March to May and October to November when the park receives a lot of rainfall which makes chimpanzee trekking difficult due to muddy and slippery grounds and tall grass which make chimpanzee viewing difficult. There is less congestion for Chimpanzee trekking during the wet season and a great time for bird watching in that there will be a lot of fruits in the forest trees which act as food for the birds.
Cost of a chimpanzee trekking permit in Kibale national park
Chimpanzee trekking permits in Kibale national park cost $150 for Foreign Non-Residents, $100 for Foreign Residents and UGX 100,000 for East African citizens while a chimpanzee habituation permit costs $200 for Foreign Non-Residents, $200 for Foreign Residents and UGX 150,000 for East African citizens. Chimpanzee trekking permits can be obtained directly through Uganda Wildlife Authority head offices in Kampala or through a trusted tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris which can purchase a chimpanzee trekking for you and also plan other safari activities which you can engage in while in Uganda. However, Chimpanzee trekking permits should be purchased in advance before the trekking date because they can be competitive and get sold out especially during the peak in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January, and February. The chimpanzee trekking permit allows you to spend one hour with the chimpanzees in their natural habitat taking photos and learning more about the chimpanzees compared to chimpanzee habituation experience which allows you to spend four hours with the chimpanzees and the permit is valid for one day.
What to wear and pack for chimpanzee trekking activity in Kibale National Park
- Chimpanzee trekking permit, this is the most important item to carry when going for chimpanzee trekking activity in Kibale national park because it’s the key to trekking chimps and without the valid chimpanzee trekking permit you won’t be able to trek chimpanzees.
- Hiking boots, the boots should be comfortable for easy movement in the muddy and slippery rain forest hence the boots will protect your ankles and feet from mud.
- Long sleeved shirt and trousers, the long sleeved shirt and trousers will protect your body from thorny bushes and also give you warmth since the forest can be cold during morning and evening hours.
- Garden gloves, the garden gloves will protect your hands from prinking thickets, thorny tress in the forest since you can sometimes touch the plants and they can also protect your hands from germs.
- Insect repellent, this protects your body from insects since chimpanzee trekking is done in the forest full of insects such as tsetse flies and safari ants.
- Drinking water, when going for chimpanzee trekking activity its recommended to carry at least 2 liters drinking water since trekking takes a lot of time in the tropical rain forest and water will give you the energy to continue trekking.
- Hat and sunglasses, the hat will protect your head from direct sunshine and rain while trekking in the tropical rain forest.
- Camera, this is also an important item to carry when going for chimpanzee trekking in that it’s used to take photos during the one hour with the chimpanzees and also capture the moments on your safari in Uganda.
- Waterproof backpack is a bag that is used to carry you chimpanzee trekking items such as insect repellent, drinking water among others.
- Binoculars, Kibale national park is a great destination for bird watching hence the binoculars will be used to view the bird species as well as chimpanzee trekking hence giving you great experiences in Kibale national park.
Chimpanzee trekking Rules and Regulations in Kibale National Park
- Visitors under the age of 15 years are not allowed to trek chimpanzees
- Visitors should keep a distance of 8 meters away from the chimpanzees in their presence
- Visitors who have flu, cold or diarrhea are advised to cancel trekking because chimpanzees can catch human diseases.
- Do not should not litter while in the forests
- Do not eat while in the presence of the chimpanzees
- Do not use flash cameras while taking photos of the chimpanzees during the one hour with the chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
- If you want to ease yourself, you can do that off the chimpanzee trails and bury your waste 30cm deep to prevent the chimps from getting near the waste.
- Keep your voices low while in the forest
- You are allowed to spend one hour in the presence of the chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
- Chimpanzee trekking activity allows a maximum of 6 people to trek each chimpanzee family.
- Do not leave your group when trekking in the forest because it’s not safe alone.
- Follow the guide’s instructions while trekking in the forest.
Accommodation in Kibale
Kibale national park has a wide range of luxury, mid-range and budget accommodations facilities where visitors on a chimpanzee trekking safari in Uganda can stay including Kyaninga Lodge, Ndali Lodge, Crater Safari Lodge, Papaya Lake Lodge, Chimpanzee Forest Guest House, Primate Lodge, Kibale Guest Camp, Mountains of the Moon Hotel, Chimp Nest Lodge, Rwenzori View Guest House, Kibale Safari Lodge among others. The lodges offer great scenic views of the Crater lakes, Kibale forest, Rwenzori Mountains, offer comfortable beds, prepare delicious international and local dishes, offer free Wi-Fi, swimming pool, massage, cool environment for relaxation after chimpanzee trekking activity among others hence making the safari exciting.
Chimpanzee trekking is a must-do activity in Kibale national park in that it offers a lifetime experience where you get to spend time with the chimpanzee families in the wild while on your safari tour in Uganda.