How to plan a Uganda primate habituation experience safari from Kigali, Rwanda
How to plan a Uganda primate habituation experience safari from Kigali, Rwanda. The Uganda primate habituation experience gives you extra time with the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, or golden monkeys. Flying into Rwanda to do primate safaris in Uganda is becoming a common choice. Of late, Uganda is becoming the haven for African primate expeditions, but the time spent staying with the primates is limited to reduce the chances of spreading communicable infections to them and give them time to deal with day-to-day activities.
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Uganda is one of the few countries in the world that still has some of the natural forests where the great primates of Africa find home. Planning a gorilla habituation experience in Uganda can include primates like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees trekking, and golden monkeys.
Some of Uganda’s primate habituation destinations include the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kibale National Park, and Budongo for the chimpanzee habituation experience, and the Mgahinga National Park for the golden monkey habituation experience.
A habituation permit is key before confirming this safari adventure, but prior booking is required. The Uganda Wildlife Authority is mandated to sell and regulate all gorilla, chimpanzee, and golden monkey permits. You can book the gorilla safari through a tour operator to help you put together your safari amenities and lift off your shoulders the burden of having to plan.
Tourists are finding it more convenient to arrive in Kigali, Rwanda, and connect to Uganda via Gatuna or Kyanika Border. This route takes 5 to 6 hours rather than the 8 hours to 9 hours drive from Entebbe airport or Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park.
Before proceeding, we need to understand the below terms.
The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where tourists escort a team of researchers and trackers into the wilderness to follow a semi-habituated gorilla family to help them get used without altering their nature. So far, gorilla habituation experience in Uganda is happening in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with only two gorilla families. Only four gorilla permits are released for gorilla habituation experience.
Golden monkey habituation experience is a safari where tourists escort a team of researchers and trackers to follow a semi-habituated golden monkey community and stay with them for four hours. This helps them get accustomed to human presence without altering their nature. Mgahinga National Park is the only home of golden monkeys in Uganda. Four
The Chimpanzee Habituation experience is an African safari where tourists follow a team of researchers and trackers follow a semi-habituated chimpanzee community in the wildernesses to get them used to human presence without altering their nature. Kibale National Park and Budongo Forest are the home of chimpanzee habituation experience in Uganda.
How To Plan Uganda Primate Habituation Experience through Kigali?
Book a Uganda primate permit.
Even though you are flying into Kigali airport in Rwanda, you need a gorilla, chimpanzee, or golden monkey habituation permit for Uganda. You can use the service of an accredited tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris. We have over 10 years of experience planning African safaris and aim to provide the best safari experience. We can secure the primate habituation permit on your behalf, book accommodation, and any other necessary amenities that can support your safari.
Since the primate habituation experience permits are limited, booking is booked especially during the peak season, which runs June, July, August, September, December, and January.
Secure Accommodation To Use On Uganda Primate Safari
Primate habituation experiences in Uganda normally start early in the morning with the briefing. Missing briefing may call for a penalty, resulting in being disqualified for attending primate safaris. Since these are semi-habituated primates, you learn how to behave with them during the briefing. They may display some odd behavior not commonly seen by those fully habituated.
You need to spend the night within or closer to where the gorilla, chimpanzee, or golden monkey habituation experience will happen.
Most of the Uganda primate destinations have accommodations of different budgets within or closer to the park.
Southern Bwindi Accommodations: Clouds Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Bwindi Backpackers Camp, Nshongi Camp, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge.
Mgahinga National Park Accommodation: Gahinga Volcanoes Lodge, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp, Mountain Gahinga Lodge, Mutanda Lake Resort.
Kibale National Park Accommodation: Primates Lodge, Ndali Lodge, Kibale Safari Lodge, Chimps Nest, C.V.K
Budongo accommodation :
Additional Uganda safari activities to combine with Primate Habituation experience
While on Uganda’s primate habituation experience, you may include other safari activities like game drives, Uganda birding, white water rafting, bungee jumping, multicultural experience, scenic viewing, sport fishing, and several others. Our safari consultant can help you assemble a well-tailored itinerary suitable for your time on the Uganda safari.
Some of these activities are en route, and with a stopover of a day or two before or after the primate habituation experience, you can make the best plan with the help of our tour consultant.
Where Can I Go for Primate Habituation Experience In Uganda?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
For gorilla habituation experience, the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the only spot where you can enjoy this experience. So far two gorilla families are open for gorilla habituation experience with 8 gorilla permits.
The southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park comprises two areas: Nkuringo and Rushaga.
On the day of the gorilla habituation experience, you wake up earlier than others to attend the briefing. You go through the dos and don’ts of gorilla habituation safari and what you may be expected to do during the four hours. Some of the activities you may take part in include making calls, collecting specimens, identifying the mountain gorillas by name, monitoring the behaviors of the mountain gorillas, and others.
Kibale National Park and Budongo Forest
Chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale National Park in western Uganda and Budongo forest allows you to escort a team of researchers and trackers to follow a community of semi-habituated chimpanzees. Uganda has a population of about 5000 chimpanzees and of them 1500 chimpanzees are residents of Kibale National Park. In Africa, Kibale has the best experience with the chimpanzees while Budongo forest is home to a huge population.
You must attend a briefing before starting the chimpanzee habituation experience as two sessions are conducted per day. Never mimic the chimpanzees when you trace them because you may not know what you are communicating.
A maximum four chimpanzee habituation permits are released per troop per session. This reduces the chances of causing tension to these semi-habituated chimpanzees still becoming accustomed to human presence.
Mgahinga National Park
Golden monkey habituation in Mgahinga National Park is another interesting primate safari you can select. Golden monkeys are charming primates, but what distinguishes them is their larger body structure covered in golden brown fur at the lower bottom.
Golden monkeys have a larger body structure than other monkey species, but their charming nature makes them special even when habituated. During the golden monkey habituation experience, these primates always keep you on your toes.
Watching them can never leave you bored. You must purchase a golden monkey habituation permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. A maximum 4 tourists are allowed to do a golden monkey habituation experience per day for conservation reasons.
When can I book a Primate Habituation Experience Permit?
If you hope to do a Primate habituation experience in the high season, you must secure the permit at least 6 months to a year up front. During the high tourism period primate permits sell out to gorilla permits, chimpanzee permits and golden monkey permits.
This is because their supply is limited for conservation reasons and to reduce the effects of mass tourism in the forest where they thrive.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority advises clients to secure their primates permits in advance, so do we to avoid last-minute panic. Booking the primates permits is the only confirmation you need to start securing other safari amenities like accommodation, vehicle hire, driver guides and others.
Can I Purchase Uganda Primate Permits In Instalment?
Although buying in full would be the best choice for primate permits some circumstances may not permit this so no worries, Uganda Wildlife Authority accepts installment purchases of 30% and 70%, respectively. To qualify for an installment permit purchase, you must buy your primate permit before 90 days the primate habituation date and remember to top up 90 days to the trekking date.
Remember to top up your Uganda primate permit or it will be re-opened to the public and in case you are still interested, you have to rebuy the permit.
You must be ready to remember and top up your permit or fully buy the primate permit.
Can I Move The Uganda Primate Permits In Case I Cant Travel On The Arranged Time?
Yes, you can reschedule the gorilla chimpanzee or golden habituation experience permit according to the policy of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Follow the below procedure to reschedule the Uganda primate permits purchased through the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Write to Uganda Wildlife Authority requesting to reschedule the gorilla, chimpanzee or golden monkey habituation experience permit. As a backup, attach evidence in case you have any.
When the request to move the primate permit is approved, it is moved according to the permit availability status.
Note: Uganda accepts two free primate reschedules but the third time can only be endorsed by the executive director of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
What is the age limit for primate habituation experience?
The age limit for gorilla or golden monkey habituation experience is 15 years and beyond. This is because of the nature of the topography of the area where mountain gorillas live. At a glance, the physical appearance of the mountain gorillas may stimulate some adrenaline that a child below this age may find hard to contain. Even the time of locating these primates on a habituation adventure may be hard to determine, yet children below 15 years may only withstand the short hours in the wilderness.
The minimum age limit for chimpanzee habituation experience is beyond 15 years because this is a wilderness adventure that requires some patience, a child of 15 and below may not withstand this. The charming nature of the chimpanzees causes them to provoke their visitors, which may be quite irrational for a child below age. This may cause the child to react in a manner that may agitate the chimpanzees causing a stampede in the forest.
What are the guidelines of Uganda’s Primate Habituation Experience?
Rules and regulations of primate expedition are set to protect them from human infections and chances of changing their nature when you feed them. They change their life to start depending on human provision.
- When with the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees or golden monkeys, keep a distance of about 8 meters from them. This protects these primates from catching human communicable infections like cough, flu, COVID-19, etc.
- Do not surround the primates as they may feel ambushed upon locating them.
- Please do not eat or smoke close to the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees or golden monkeys to prevent them from pulling anything from you. They are wild animals that must look for their food.
- Do not litter in the forest, as this is the feeding spot for most of the primates because the most significant part of their meal is foliage.
- Avoid spitting on vegetation to avoid passing human communicable infections to these primates.
- Keep your voice low while with these primates and avoid sudden movements
- Only four hours are accepted with the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, or golden monkeys during the habituation experience.
- Never use flash photography when with mountain gorillas, chimpanzees or golden monkeys. This may scare them, pushing them into hiding.
- Volunteer to stay behind if you catch any communicable infection before the gorilla, chimpanzee or golden monkey habituation experience. This is to prevent chances of passing an infection to these primates, which may lead to their massive death.
Do you plan to start your primate habituation safari from Kigali, please contact us and let us plan your safari today.