Can I trek chimpanzees twice in Kaniyo Pabidi?
Can I trek chimpanzees twice in Kaniyo Pabidi in Budongo? Yes, it is possible to trek chimpanzees twice in Kaniyo Pabidi, which is found in the Budongo forest in Murchison Falls National Park, with one session in the morning and the second session in the afternoon hours. Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest is carried out in two shifts: one in the morning starting as early as 7:00 am and the second shit in the late afternoon hours starting around 3:00 pm per day. Each session takes about three hours, and the noisy chirping sound made by the gorillas makes it easy for the chimpanzees to be found in the Kaniyo Pabidi eco forest. When you get to meet the chimpanzees, each group of trekkers gets to spend an hour with them, analyzing their habits and taking photos and videos.
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Only people are allowed to trek the chimpanzees per session, and this means that 16 permits are printed per day, so if you want to go chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo Pabidi, you will have to book in advance because the permits are always in high demand. Chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo Pabidi is under the management of the Jane Goodall Institute Research. Besides chimpanzee trekking, chimpanzee habituation can also be carried out in Kaniyo Pabidi.
Chimp trekking at Kaniyo Pabidi starts with a briefing at the headquarters about the rules to follow, what should be done with the chimpanzees, and what to expect. After the briefing, you will be divided into groups, and each group will be assigned a guide who will take you on your chimp hike. Note that sometimes it will be easy to find the chimps, whereas it will be hard sometimes, and the hike can take between 1 to 4 hours depending on the location of the allocated chimp family. Once the family has been located, each group of tourists gets to spend an hour with the chimps, learning more about their characters.
Kaniyo Pabidi forest is dominated by a variety of vegetation species ranging from large mahogany trees that dominate Budongo forest as well, as deciduous camera celtis trees, swan forest trees, and cyanometer trees which act as home to the diverse wildlife. There are no wildlife animals within Kaniyo Pabidi; however, on occasion, there are animals that cross from Murchison. It is best known for the high number of birdlife that can be seen during the wet season, but there are also other activities that tourists can engage in while in Kaniyo Pabidi, making it one of the tourist attractions in the country that every tourist should check out.
Other activities carried out in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest
Besides chimp trekking, other activities are carried out in Kaniyo Pabidi, and these include:
Chimpanzee habituation experience: Unlike the one hour spent with the chimpanzees during normal trekking, you get to spend the whole day with the chimps when participating in the chimpanzee habituation experience. Chimpanzee habituation takes longer, sometimes taking over 5 years to habituate a chimpanzee community. The process in Kaniyo Pabidi started in 1992, and the main aim was to get the primates used to human presence. And like chimpanzee trekking, chimpanzee habituation starts with a briefing from the guides and rangers about what to expect, and after the briefing, the trek starts following the assigned community. Since it is going to be a full day in the forest, we advise that you pack lunch and enough drinking water. The chimpanzee habituation process in Kaniyo Pabidi costs $230 per person and is valid for a day.
Bird watching: Kaniyo Pabidi forest has over 360 recorded bird species with endemic and birds worldwide, including west and central Africa. Birding in the forest can be carried out all year round, but the best time is during the wet season when the migratory birds fly into the country. Some of the bird species that you should look out for include the Puvel’s Illadopsis and yellow-footed flycatchers which are endemic to the Kaniyo Pabidi forest, African shrike flycatcher, chestnut wattle eye, Narina Trogon, Grey Apalis, white-thighed hornbill, Dwarf kingfisher, chocolate backed kingfisher, little Greenbul, pygmy kingfisher and Great blue Turaco among others. The cost of bird watching in Kaniyo Pabidi depends on the visitor category, with East African citizens paying 20,000UGX, $30 for foreign non-residents, and $25 for foreign residents.
Nature walks: Guided nature walks are carried out daily within the forest and with the guidance of a tour guide. Some rules need to be followed while taking nature walks: to keep in a straight line and not wander off, be silent or talk in low tones so as not to scare the wildlife, and properly pack for the hike. While on the nature walks, you get to see the different wildlife in Kaniyo Pabidi, including red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, Galagos, L’Hoest’s monkeys, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, and pottos, among others. It is also a good time to spot the different bird species in the forest.
Chimpanzee trekking rules and regulations
Several rules and regulations were set up for chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo Pabidi. Every tourist is supposed to follow them if they are to have a successful and exciting chimp experience in the eco forest, and these include the following:
- No eating and drinking when near the chimpanzees.
- Chimpanzee trekking minimum age in Uganda is 12 years.
- Every group gets to spend an hour with the chimpanzees.
- Make sure you leave the forest the way you found it by not destroying the vegetation just so you have a good view of the chimpanzees.
- All tourists who are sick with flu, cough, and other infectious diseases should not participate in the trek.
- Everyone is to keep a distance of 7 meters from the chimpanzees.
- The minimum age for chimp trekking is 12 years, and there is no maximum age as long as you are still physically fit.
- Smoking is not allowed when close to the chimpanzees.
- Do not put on sunglasses.
- Avoid touching and feeding the chimpanzees.
Chimpanzee trek permit purchase guidelines.
When purchasing chimpanzee trekking permits in Kaniyo Pabidi and other chimpanzee trekking destinations, there are guidelines that need to be followed the Uganda Wildlife Authority recently introduced new guidelines for purchasing the permits, and these include:
- Bookings will not be made if the tourists do not pay 100% of the total cost of the permit 90 days before the travel date.
- You have to pay 50% of the total permit cost permit and the balance 90 days before the travel/trek date.
- A 25% surcharge will be added to the original permit cost if you make more than one reschedule.
- No exchanges will be allowed if you purchase a normal chimpanzee trekking permit with a habituation trek permit.
- The minimum trek age is now 12 years from 15 years.
- Reschedules are to be done within a year from the first trek date.
- Special requests for children to participate in chimpanzee trekking will no longer be allowed.
Other chimpanzee trekking destinations in Uganda
Kaniyo Pabidi is one of the many chimpanzee trekking destinations in Uganda and these include:
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park: Kibale National Park, located in southwestern Uganda, is the main chimpanzee trekking destination in Uganda, with a population of over 1500 chimpanzees. Chimpanzee habituation is also carried out in Kibale National Park, and you will also need to get a permit to trek chimps in Kibale. Just like in Kaniyo Pabidi, the permits are always in high demand during the peak season, and you will need to book in advance. The cost of the chimpanzee trekking permit in Kibale is 150, 000 UGX for East African citizens, $200 for foreign non-residents, and $150 for foreign residents. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale is open throughout the year. However, the best time is during the dry season when the chimps can easily be trekked, running from June to September and December to February.
Kalinzu Forest: Kalinzu Forest is one of the chimpanzee trekking destinations in Uganda, located near Queen Elizabeth National Park. This is the 2nd best chimp trek destination after Kibale National Park, with over 320 recorded chimpanzees. Chimp trekking here is not as difficult as in Kibale, and you can easily locate the primates with a percentage of 90. The Kalinzu forest is under the management of the National Forest Authority. Therefore, the NFA gives permission to trek in Kalinzu at the forest’s head office in the Rubilizi district. Kalinzu has over 40 habituated chimps, and the entrance fee to the forest is 2,500 UGX for East African citizens, $5 for foreign residents, and $10 for foreign non-residents.
Kyambura Gorge: Kyambura Gorge, known as the Valley of Apes by many, is located on the east side of Queen Elizabeth National Park and is a chimp trek destination. Although it is referred to as the Valley of Apes, there are about sixteen chimpanzees found in the valley. The trek permit cost in Kyambura is 30,000UGX for East African citizens and $50 for foreign and non-foreign residents. The cost of the permit does not include entrance fees to the national park.
Packing list for chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo Pabidi
Tourists need to have packed right for one to enjoy a hike and safari around the Kaniyo Pabidi forest. We have listed a few essential things that you might need to pack to have an enjoyable safari these are a sunhat and sunscreen for protection from the sun, insect repellent to protect yourself from insect bites while hiking through the forest, comfortable hiking boots, these should at least be waterproof and ankle length, thick socks, gaiters mostly used during the wet season, long-sleeved shirts and trousers (avoid brightly colored clothes, camouflage clothes that are associated with the army but get some neutral colored clothes like green or brown to blend in with the forest easily), sunglasses, but note that these need to be removed when in the presence of chimpanzees, a good camera with focal length of at least 400mm or 600mm, extra lens and batteries for the camera, binoculars, a rain jacket and warm sweater, flashlight, wet wipes, biodegradable tissue, refillable water bottle and a day backpack to carry your daily essentials.
What is the best time to go for chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo Pabidi?
Kaniyo Pabidi is an all-year-round destination experiencing two seasons: the dry and wet seasons. Each season has activities that are best carried out in them for example, birding is best carried out in the wet season, whereas nature walks and trekking are best carried out in the dry season. The best time for chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo is during the dry season when the trek routes are not slippery or muddy, and the chimps can easily be spotted due to the thinning of the vegetation.
How to get to Kaniyo Pabidi
There are two ways in which you can get to Kaniyo Pabidi, and this is either by air or road transport. It is 249 kilometers from Kampala through Masindi and 29 kilometers from Murchison Falls National Park. Kaniyo Pabidi can be accessed through different gates like the Wankwar gate in the north part of Murchison, the Bugugu gate in the south, and the Tangi gate. However, the main gate to Kaniyo is the Kichumbanyobo gate. Using the north part of Murchison, you can also access the forest by ferry.
In conclusion, after exploring Kaniyo Pabidi, you can still organize a safari to the Murchison Falls National Park and enjoy game drives, the big five, birding, boat rides, and many other activities. Kaniyo Pabidi is a good way to relax, and if you are planning on chimp trekking here, you must book in advance so that everything is set for the travel date.
Trekking Chimpanzees twice in Kaniyo Pabidi in Budongo is very possible. Contact us for more information, and let us organize your chimpanzee trekking safari. Kindly check out our trip advisor review as well.