Where to do primate habituation experience in Uganda
Uganda is amongst the most popular primates habituation destinations In Africa. Of late, it’s hard to find locations in the world with habitats that favor the survival of large numbers of primates but Uganda is one of those few.
The country boasts almost half the number of the total population of the only mountain gorillas in the world living in Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National Park.
Golden monkeys in Mgahinga National Park also make it a unique primate destination in Africa with its still virgin vegetation because it is less visited.
Most Popular Safaris
- 3 Day Fly in Gorilla Habituation
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- 6 Days Nyungwe & Lake Kivu
- 3 Day Rwanda Gorilla Tracking
- 4 Days Gorillas and Golden Monkeys
- 5 Days Gorillas & Nile River Source
Majority of the popular primates in Uganda like the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and Golden monkeys require you to have a habituation permit. In Uganda, Uganda wildlife Authority is responsible for selling all wildlife permits except for those areas under certain organizations like Chimpanzee Sanctuary And Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT).
Primate habituation is the process of getting the semi wild chimpanzees familiar to human presence without altering there nature. Although primate habituation in Uganda is now open for the public to participate, initially this work was done by researchers and ranger guides.
They would follow a potential family of mountain gorillas or chimpanzee community or golden monkey troupe for a period between 3 years to more years depending on how it copes. Every time the researchers and Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers would take notes, name the animals, observe there trends of life and so much more. This all takes a long period before presenting the primates to the tourists.
Some Of the primates habituation Destinations in Uganda include
Kibale National park for chimpanzee habituation experience.
Every day a group of tourists is allowed to accompany researchers and habituators into tropical rainforest Kibale National Park. They follow chimpanzees as they do there day to day activities getting them used to the presence of humans without altering there nature.
To cope with the daily routine of the researcher, you need to walk up early to witness the chimpanzees de-nesting from about 0530 hours to about 0630 hours. Follow the community of chimpanzees for the day until creating nests for overnight in the late evening.
Prior arrangement is required in case you are to participate in chimpanzee habituation in Uganda. Following all the rules of chimpanzee habituation is important as to succeed the entire day. You need to pack the right chimpanzee habituation gears too like snacks, tracking boots, insect repellent and others.
Gorilla habituation In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda
Two gorilla trekking families so far have been secluded for gorilla habituation in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
You must obtain a gorilla habituation permit from Uganda wildlife Authority. Strict rules for controlling the spread of Corona Virus are followed since you have more time in the forest amongst the primates. You must have no communicable infection, wear a clean mask on and hand sanitize as recommended.
Although gorilla trekking takes only one hour after locating the mountain gorillas, gorilla habitation takes 4 hours when you locate the mountain gorillas. Only four gorilla habituating permits are sold per family per day.
Remember these are semi-habituated gorillas so expect some wild behavior not presented by the full habituated gorilla families. Keep close to the habituators and researcher to learn more about these families, get ready to hike and locate the mountain gorillas in the far places. There is quite some tension when you meet the mountain gorilla family under observation to show you mean no harm to them. So much more is involved but the experience is fun.
How To Get to the Primate habituation Destinations In Uganda
Kibale National Park
Two routes take you to Kibale National park creating a circuit . you can use the route northern Route to Kanyanyanchu River camp from Kampala passed Mubende and Fort Portal then Kibale National Park. The distance via this route takes about 300 km on tarmac to Fort Portal plus 36 km on murram to Kanyanchu visitor Center.
By using the Southern route From Kampala via Mbarara to Kamwenge then Kanyanchu center.
Sebitori center is the secondary tourism center of the park located close to Kampala road which is about 16 km before Fort Portal town
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Southern sector
Although a number of routes lead to Bwindi Impenetrable national Park, overnighting in areas closer to where your gorilla permit is booked is important. The drive from one area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to another to catch up with briefing early morning is quite challenging. The way is slippery at times, trees may fall and cross the road, you may get a flat tire and so much more.
The route to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Nkuringo side takes Kampala to Kabale to Nkuringo Kampala to Kabale is 414 km then Kabale to Nkuringo is 105 km on a mountainous marram road. Since gorilla habituation requires waking up earlier than normal, we do not recommend staying in Kisoro.
Kisoro is about 80 km from Kabale taking about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Fly In Gorilla habituation
Daily flights can be used to get to Kibale National Park from Kajjansi Air strip or Entebbe Airport. You land in Kasese Air strip or Mweya peninsular then transfer to Kibale National Park. Charter flights can be arranged too but this must be done in advance.
Every day two scheduled flight arrangements are available from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe Airport to Kihihi Airstrip or Kisoro Airstrip. You can catch a transfer vehicle to Nkuringo area.
How To Book Primate Habituation Permits In Uganda
Know the date when you wish to go for gorilla habituation and the number of people to do it with. Note that gorilla habituation has a maximum of 4 permits released for the public to book per day.
Having no communicable infection like corona virus, flu, cholera and others is an advantage because no one with an a communicable infection is allowed to visit the primates. These gentle apes are susceptible to human infections.
When you enquire from us, our safari consultant checks availability of the permits as per the status prevailing at that time.
In case there are still gorilla habituation permits available at that time, we request our clients to reserve them as soon as possible. This is because they are few yet demand is very high. They get sold out fast yet first come first served basis is used.
Purchasing the gorilla trekking permit is the only guaranteed you have to attending gorilla habituation in Uganda. Even other components of gorilla trekking package like booking accommodation, hiring and driver guide or vehicle is based on this. Last minute booking for gorilla trekking activities creates panic and limits on the choices of service providers.
What Is To Consider For A Cost Of Primate Habituation Safaris In Uganda
The cost of the primate habituation safaris in Uganda depends on an initial base of either the gorilla or the chimpanzee habituation permits.
The number of people you travel with to do the primate habituation safaris matters because each of them needs a permit. The maximum number of people allowed to do gorilla habituation is 4 people.
In case you have a combo of primate habituation and other Uganda safari activities like game drives, white water rafting, launch trips, birding and others expect an increase in the cost.
The safari package you choose of for primate habituation also contributes to the total cost of gorilla habituation that is Luxury package, Midrange package or Budget package.
The number of times you do primate habituation in Uganda is also adds to the total cost. Although primate habituation in Uganda takes 4 hours, you may wish to do double habituation.
The timing for the primate habituation safari also matters where by peak seasons normally come with high prices for things like accommodation, driver guide higher and others. The low seasons at times have discounted cost on such services that make up the entire package.
What Is Included In the Cost Of Primate Habituation Permit
The park fees
For every wildlife National park in Uganda, you have to pay park fees that support activities in the park
Security in the Parks
All national parks require security so that tourists’ lives are protected from external attacks. Since gorilla habituation and chimpanzee habituation are in the wilderness, you need to consider security.
In case the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees fall ill beyond own treatment from the vegetation they eat, some human treatment is administered. Even to during annual primate checkups and record keeping, some samples from these primates are collected and analyzed in the laboratories.
The trails within the park have to be taken care of so that clients can safely go through them. the ranger guides need machetes to cut down some creepers in order to make way for tourists to trace the mountain gorillas or chimpanzees.
Ranger Guide Fees
The rangers have overtime acquired knowledge about the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees which is passed to the tourists. A lot of information is written on line, in magazines and other documents, but the rangers have first hand information. Different gorilla families and chimpanzees have unique traits that may not be documented.
For such work, they serve to be paid to encourage them to continue doing the work of getting gorillas or chimpanzees used to the presence of humans.
20 % of the proceed accumulated from gorilla or chimpanzee activities are given to the local community to encourage them continue conservation work. At times the gorillas and chimpanzees stray into the community but when something that benefits the community is set up from this money, they join the conservationists.
How Difficult Is Primate Habituation In Uganda
Whether habituating gorillas or chimpanzees, you need to know that it’s a walk in the jungle. The topography of areas like the habitats for the mountain gorillas is volcanic. Expect to hike to get to where they may be living.
Some level of fitness is necessary to go through the entire trek. Consider doing some exercises prior to the day of habituation. This is because the time of locating these primates is unknown. They are mobile primates that must look for there own food to support them through night and day.
Pack the right gears that will see you through the jungle like safari boots, insect repellant, a camera, raincoat and others.
Some level of patience is necessary because these are semi wild primates whose way about is not known by the ranger guides. They only follow clues left behind after the gorillas living in a particular location.
Since you may be habituating with people you are no familiar with, some level of tolerance is necessary during the walk. This is because some of the habituators may be either very slow or so fast. In order to take a smooth journey with no frustration. Even those who obstruct you may be among the group you just have to communicate well with them so that everybody has chance for the best shots.
Rules Of Primate Habituation In Uganda
- Only one hours is allowed with the chimpanzees or mountain gorillas when you meet them. this is to allow them go about there day today activities.
- No provoking the mountain gorilla or chimpanzees when you meet them.
- Immunize or have negative results of Covid -19 before visiting Uganda Primates. Must wear a mask on when you locate the mountain gorillas or chimpanzees
- Do not feed or chew anything when with the chimpanzees or mountain gorillas.
- Never use flash photography or sound camera when taking photos for memories of your experience during primate habituation.
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees when you meet them in the jungle.
- Surrounding the chimpanzees and gorillas during habituation is forbidden.
- Do not litter the forest when walking to trace the mountain gorillas or chimpanzees during habituation.
- Follow the guidelines from the ranger guides and researcher during gorilla habituation.
Contact us for further information.