Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Uganda: Kibale and Budongo Forest Chimps Tour
The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience provides chances of spending the whole day with semi-habituated chimpanzees, from the time of locating them very early in the morning by their pant hoots to watching them make their nests at night.
Where the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is undertaken in Uganda?
While standard chimpanzee treks are conducted in over 5 destinations of Uganda (Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve, Budongo Forest, Kyambura Gorge, Kibale Forest National Park and Kalinzu Forest) but this Habituation Experience is only undertaken in two locations (Budongo Forest and Kibale Forest National Park).
How Typical Chimpanzee Habituation Experience day takes place
A typical day of enjoying the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Uganda begins as early as 5:30am with breakfast at the Eco-lodge then by 6:00am converge at the briefing point. Make sure to carry along enough drinking water, lunch box and appropriate trekking gear. Set off for the adventure early enough to catch up with these Great Apes before they leave their nests and watch them go about their daily routine.
As hours of walking through the jungle, you will reach the site where these interesting creatures spent the previous night and this gives a clue of getting close to them. On finding them, the whole day of interacting with Chimpanzee begins there and then. If lucky, you will see them leaving their nests in addition to nursing babies, munching on vegetation, copulating, resting, grooming each other and patrolling their territory. Learn about their interesting features, individual characteristics by behavior, markings and sometimes scars. This experience is conducted for semi-habituated chimpanzees and visitors are advised to follow guidelines issued by the Rangers such as standing 8 meters away from the Great Apes, no making noise and your exciting day will be stress-free but rather full of vigor and excitement. Since it’s a whole day with the chimpanzees, don’t forget your camera and make sure that you have extra batteries and enough memory space.
What else to expect during the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
While spending the whole day with our closest cousins is the main focus during the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, other residents of the Forest especially forest birds, other primates and butterfly species must also be expected. Kibale Forest National Park is haven to over 13 species of primates which among others include L’Hoests monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, pottos, in addition to over 375 species of birds including the sought-after Green breasted pitta.
Best time of the year to undertake the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Uganda is conducted anytime throughout the year much as the most unforgettable experiences are attained during the wet season-March, April, May, October and November because it is a low season whereby the destinations for this adventure are less crowded, and given the abundance of food, chimpanzees are also easier to locate/find during these months than in the drier months when they move deeper into the forest to find food.
Permits for the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Uganda
Permits for the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience are only issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority and cost only $250 per person for foreign residents and non-residents, Shs.150, 000 for East African Community residents. These fees include Park entrance fees, armed ranger and guide. These fees are only applicable for Kibale Forest National Park.
Guidelines to be followed during the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
The guidelines to be followed during the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience are similar to the ones during standard chimpanzee treks and they include;
- Maintain a minimum distance of 8 meters away from the chimpanzees.
- Avoid making noise when trekking the chimpanzees because it might scare them.
- Do not cough directly to the Chimpanzees, hence cover your mouth with a handkerchief and turn away when coughing or sneezing.
- The Minimum age for the Experience is 12 years old.
- Littering of the forest is totally prohibited.
- Flash photography should be avoided at all cost.
- Avoid mimicking the different Chimpanzee calls and vocalizations.
- Chasing of these Great Apes is not allowed.
What to pack/carry for the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
What you pack for the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Uganda is what you pack for all other primate treks in the country and therefore don’t forget the essentials such as long sleeved shirts, khaki safari pants, gardening gloves, non-flash camera, hat, hiking boots with ample ankle support, warm clothing for the cold mornings and evenings, rain jacket, rainproof backpack, energy-giving snacks, re-usable water bottle, snacks, sunglasses and sunscreen and many others.
Where to stay during Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Uganda
Where you stay during the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience depends on the chosen destination and if Kibale Forest National Park is what you chose, you can stay at Crater Safari Lodge, Kanyanchu River Camp, Primate Lodge, Papaya Lake Lodge, Kyaninga Lodge, Kibale Forest Lodge, Chimps Nest, Mountain of the Moon Hotel and Ndali Kasenda Lodge among others.
If you are undertaking this experience from Budongo Forest, you can stay at the Budongo Ecolodge although visitors sometimes stay in the nearby accommodation facilities such as Murchison Backpackers Hostel, Kabalega Resort and Masindi Hotel among others.