Is It possible to do multiple chimpanzee treks in Kibale National Park?
Yes, doing multiple chimpanzee treks in Kibale National Park is possible. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park has two sessions: early morning, starting at 0800 hours, and afternoon, starting at 1500 hours. You can book both sessions or another day for chimpanzee trekking for about 2 to 3 hours. The main headquarters of Kibale National Park is at the Kanyanchu visitor center, and Sebitoli is the secondary center where briefing before the chimpanzee treks in Kibale National Park is done.
Most Popular Safaris
It would be best if you secured your chimpanzee trekking permits for Kibale National Park in advance as they sell out fast, especially in the high season: June, July, August, September, December, and January. Each chimpanzee troop is allowed a maximum of 6 permits per trek per day. Currently, Kibale National Park has about 15 fully habituated chimpanzee communities.
Kibale National Park lies in the western part of Uganda and currently hosts over 1500 chimpanzees according to a recent population census out of about 5000 chimpanzees that Uganda hosts. This park covers approximately 795 square kilometers of land surrounded by mainly tropical rainforest.
Other than chimpanzee trekking, you can do chimpanzee habituation in Kibale National Park. The Chimpanzee habituation experience is an adventure where tourists escort a team of researchers and trackers to follow a semi-habituated chimpanzee community and have four hours with them. During this adventure, you may be required to observe the chimpanzees as you note, collect some samples and so much more. Taking a primate walk in Kibale National Park will never disappoint, as there are over 13 primate species in this park. Four hours are allowed with the chimpanzees during the chimpanzee habituation experience.
Some of these primates include black and white colobus, Red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, blue monkeys, olive baboons and others. Birding in Kibale National Park is incredible as the park hosts over 325 bird species, including about 6 Albertine rift endemics. Some birds you may spot include black-eared ground thrush, Abyssinian ground thrush, African pitta, Yellow-spotted Nicator, and others.
How Can I Book Chimpanzee Trekking Permits For Kibale National Park
Choose dates when you hope to do chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park and the number of people you wish to trek with.
Check for Kibale chimpanzee trekking permit availability from Uganda Wildlife Authority or use the service of an accredited tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris. When you enquire from us about your chimpanzee trekking adventure, we check for availability from the Uganda Wildlife Authority permit list to which we have access.
Note that booking for the chimpanzee trekking permits saves you from last-minute panic as you try to find availability. Securing the chimpanzee trekking permits in advance at least 6 months to a year upfront is the best option, especially during the high season: June, July, August, September, December, and January.
Upon finding chimpanzee permit availability, you need to secure your permits as soon as possible because they sell out fast on a first-come, first-served basis. Demand for these chimpanzee permits gets high in the peak season, yet supply is restricted for conservation reasons as mass tourism affects the survival of these forest dwellers and their habitats.
What Is The Cost Of Chimpanzee Trekking Permits For Kibale National Park
Currently, chimpanzee trekking permits for Kibale National Park are $200 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $ 1,500 for foreign residents, and 150000hshs for East African residents.
The cost of chimpanzee trekking permits for Kibale National Park includes:
- Park entrance face.
- Ranger guide services.
- Chimpanzee conservation.
- Local community support.
- One hour with the chimpanzees.
The chimpanzee permit cost excludes transport, accommodation, snacks and any other items of personal nature.
How To Get To Kibale National Park
From Kampala or Entebbe, you take the Mubende Mityana Road to Fort Portal, then Kibale National Park, 26 kilometers southeast of Fort Portal Town. This is the Northern route, about 300 kilometers of tarmac then travel 36 kilometers on Murram to Kanyanchu.
The southern route is Kampala to Mbarara to Kamwenge to Kibale National Park.
You can make a circuit drive by using one route on arrival to Kibale National Park and Depart with another route to enjoy the beauties of this Uganda countryside.
You can get to Sebitoli forest camp, the secondary tourism center for Kibale National Park, as it’s easier to reach along the Kampala road, 16 kilometers before Fort Portal.
Daily domestic flights depart Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Kasese airstrip. You need a transfer vehicle to your lodge in Kibale National Park.
Charter flights are available too at Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe Airport to Kasese airstrip.
Which accommodation to Book For chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park has various accommodation options, but you need to reserve them as soon as possible. They are categorized into luxury, mid-range, and budget accommodations.
Kibale Accommodations: Primates Lodge, Ndali Lodge, Kyaninga Lodge, C.V.K, Chimps Nest, Chimpanzee Guest House, Kibale Safari Lodge.
How Long Is Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park may be estimated to take 2 hours to three hours, depending on the location of the chimpanzees. When the chimpanzees feed closer to the trek’s starting point, they are easier to trace; however, when they move into the deep forest, the trek is prolonged. When tragedy occurs in the chimpanzee community, and they lose a Very Important Chimpanzee ( VIC) like the alpha male chimpanzee, dominant female, they mourn just like humans, their cousins. This may delay the chimpanzee trek.
When the weather prevailing in the day is wet, the chimpanzees tend to stay in the trees, making the trek challenging. Hence, it would be best if you had binoculars for clearer visibility.
Upon locating the chimpanzees, only one hour is allowed with them so that they are left to fend for themselves. The biggest portion of chimpanzee’s diet is foliage that has to support its body through the day and night. Even human presence disrupts the running of the daily life of the chimpanzees like grooming, procreation cannot happen with human presence.
Are Chimpanzees Aggressive During Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park?
Chimpanzees are first habituated for some time before being opened to the public to visit. The chimpanzee community undergoes the habituation process, which gets a wild chimpanzee used to the presence of humans without altering their nature.
When the chimpanzee community is finally ready for chimpanzee trekking booking, this community is first taken through mocks until proven ready for the public to visit. This process helps the chimpanzees get accustomed to human presence but for a restricted time to minimize the effects of overstaying.
Before chimpanzee trekking, tourists are taken through the rules and regulations of chimpanzee trekking before entering the forest to search for them. Every tourist is urged to follow the rules of chimpanzee trekking so as not to agitate these primates.
When angry, chimpanzees hoot, boo, beat the tree trunks to warn others, through fruits at visitors and so much drama. To avoid causing such fracas, every person must follow the rules of chimpanzee trekking.
What Is The Age Limit For Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park?
Persons beyond 12 years are the only ones allowed to do chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park. This is because chimpanzee trekking is in the wilderness, which may appear spooky to children below this age. Chimpanzees get to notice your presence in the forest before you do, so anything you do may agitate them or cause them to go into hiding, prolonging the trek. Children below this age may act in a way that may cause visitors to look suspicious before the chimpanzees and make them flee.
Kibale National Park allows children below 12 years to enjoy the ecosystem while parents go chimpanzee trekking. The children’s ranger guide leads them into the wilderness for a forest walk to learn about the ecosystems and its inhabitants and participate in games and creative activities like pond dipping, cyanotype, photographing, batik making and so much more.
What else can one do in Kibale National Park?
Birding in Kibale National Park
Kibale forest is home to a number of rainforest birds, and at the moment, about 325 bird species are noted as residents of this forest. The best birding spot for Kibale National Park is along the Kanyanchu Visitor Center to the bridge.
You may have a chance to see birds like Black-crowned Waxbills, Green-backed Twinspot, Scarce Grey-headed olives and others. In the Bigodi sanctuary at the observation tower, you can spot a wide range of birds on the papyrus reed.
Other than the chimpanzees, Kibale National Park is rich with 12 different primate species, some of which include black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboons, bush babies, blue monkeys, L’Hoest’s, red-tailed monkeys, potto and others. During the primates walk in Kibale National Park, you may spot some of these primates.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
Other than chimpanzee trekking, you can spend more time with the semi-habituated chimpanzees during the chimpanzee habituation experience. You follow a team of researchers in the wilderness to help collect information about the chimpanzees under the habituation process. You get to watch then interact, identify traits of each chimpanzee, participate in naming them and so many other activities.
A maximum four tourists are allowed to do a chimpanzee habituation experience per session.
You get to learn more about the local community during this local community walk, which may take 2 days to 6 days. Staring and ends at Kanyanchu Visitor Center. You explore the forest during the day and overnight in the Kikoni, Nyaibanda and Nyakalongo community campsites. What an experience worth your time and making memories of your Uganda safari.
Is chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park safe?
Kibale National Park is safe for chimpanzee trekking as professional ranger guides lead each trek with experience in this rainforest. They observe whatever they trace in the forest and carry defense items like rifles and machetes for trimming protruding creepers.
The ranger guides follow the pace of the slowest trekker so that no person is forgotten in the forest. Even the tourists are urged to stay closer to each other so they are lost in the wilderness. Tourists only walk in the forest with an escorting ranger guide so that they are not at risk of an attack from unhabituated forest dwellers.
What Are The Rules Of Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park?
- Surrounding the chimpanzees when you locate them may agitate them and push them into hiding.
- Spitting on the ground and vegetation is forbidden as this is food for the chimpanzees and forest dwellers. You may contaminate them with germs.
- Provoking the chimpanzees is forbidden as this may agitate them and push them into hiding. You have just one hour allowed in their presence.
- When chimpanzee trekking, keep your voice low so you do not distract the chimpanzees.
- Keep a distance of 8 meters from the chimpanzees when you locate them so that you give no chance for transmitting infections to the highly susceptible chimps.
- Using flash photography is forbidden as this may scare the chimpanzees conscious of occurrences in their environment.
- Wear a clean mask when in front of the chimpanzees to prevent spreading any contiguous germs.
- If you wish to cough or sneeze, do it at least 200 meters from the chimpanzees.
- Littering the forest with plastic wraps or any other indecomposable items is forbidden as it alters the nature of the forest were plants on which chimpanzees feed grow.
- When you locate the chimpanzees, you have an hour with them, but follow all the guidelines given during the briefing and with the ranger guides.
- Only persons aged above 12 years are allowed to do chimpanzee trekking as they can withstand the forest conditions.
- Ask the ranger guide to dig a hole at least 30 meters deep if you wish to have a long call and cover well beyond recognition.