Where to do primate habituation experience safaris in Uganda
The primate habituation safari in Uganda gives you more time in the company of the endangered mountain gorillas and chimpanzees than one hour of primate trekking. Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Kibale National Park, and Kaniyo Pabidi are some of the primate habituation destinations in Uganda.
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To do either gorilla habituation or chimpanzee habituation adventure in Uganda, you need a permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Since gorilla or chimpanzee habituation is limited to a maximum of 4 tourists, advance permit booking is necessary. The demand for doing either gorilla or chimpanzee trekking is rising yearly, yet to reduce disturbance, the number of participants is controlled to a maximum of 4 persons.
What Is Primate Habituation Safari?
Primates habituation is an adventure where tourists escort a team of trackers and researchers into the forest to follow wild primates and get them used to human presence without changing their nature.
You can do gorilla habituation or chimpanzee habituation safari in Uganda.
Where Can I Do Primate Habituation Safari In Uganda?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
You can do gorilla habituation in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Rushaga and Nkuringo areas. Two gorilla families so far are home to gorilla habituation adventure.
Having a gorilla permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority and 4 hours of gorilla viewing. The time for locating these mountain gorillas is still being determined because they are free animals in the wilderness. The forest also hosts about 18 gorilla families fully habituated and open for gorilla trekking booking.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a biosphere reserve, so on the way, you may spot other primates like black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, blue monkeys, ghosts, and others.
The rich bird list of Bwindi forest makes it a Uganda birding haven with over 335 bird species recorded, including Albertine endemics and more than 7 species on the IUCN red list.
How To Get There
Kampala to Kabale to Kanungu to Buhoma
Kampala to Ntungamo to Rukingiri to Kihihi to Buhoma
Kampala to Kabale to Nkuringo
Queen Elizabeth National Park to Kihihi to Buhoma
Daily Scheduled Domestic flights from Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport to Kihihi Airstrip.
Charter flight services are available too.
Accommodation to book for gorilla habituation safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
It is best to book accommodations in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, where you do not have to rise at night to drive in the dark to catch up with the briefing.
Clouds Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Ichumbi Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Eco-lodge, Trekker’s Tavern, and others.
Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park has over 1500 chimpanzees, but you can participate in chimpanzee habituation. During the chimpanzee habituation safari in Kibale National Park, you accompany a team of researchers and habituators on their daily routine of helping the wild chimpanzees get accustomed to human presence.
Expect some wild behavior from the chimpanzees as they still need to be fully habituated to human presence. The chimpanzees may retreat into hiding during the four hours of your watch. When this happens, cease what you may do to let researchers show you what to do next.
You may find the chimpanzees just after de-nesting during the early morning session. During the afternoon chimpanzee habituation session, you may witness them construct nests for the night.
How To Get There
Two routes lead to Kibale National Park, creating a circuit that is:
Kampala to Mubende to Fortportal to Kanyanchu make the northern route.
Kampala to Mbarara to Kamwenge to Kanyanchu makes the southern route.
Daily domestic flights commence from Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport to Kasese Airstrip.
Charter flight services are available too for private transport.
Accommodation To Book During Chimpanzee Habituation Safari In Kibale National Park.
Kibale Safari Lodge, Primates Lodge, Kyaninga Lodge, Chimps Nest, Ndali Lodge, Chimpanzee Guesthouse
Kaniyo Pabidi Forest In Murchison Falls National Park
This forest hosts some of the rare chimpanzees in Uganda. It is 8 kilometers from the Kincumbanyombo gate of Murchison Falls National Park. The forest where chimpanzees live is one of the few leftover grown mahogany tree spots.
You gather for a briefing early morning, then follow researchers and habituators into the forest to follow the semi-habituated chimpanzees in the wilderness.
You may locate other primates like olive baboons, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, and black and white colobus, to mention but a few.
Kaniyo Pabidi forest is home to many birds, including Albertine endemics.
How To Get There
Kampala to Luwero to Budongo to Karuma falls to Kicumbanyombo gate to Kaniyo Pabidi Forest
Accommodation In Murchison Falls National Park
Paraa Safari Lodge, Nile Safari Lodge, Sambiya Lodge, Red Chillis Camp, Murchison River Lodge, Baker’s Lodge
What Is The Cost Of Primate Habituation Permits In Uganda?
Gorilla Habituation Permit Cost
$1500 per person for foreign nonresidents, $1000 for foreign residents, and 750000shs for East African citizens.
What Are The Inclusions And Exclusions Of Gorilla Habituation Permit Cost?
The cost of a gorilla habituation permit includes park fees, security, services of a ranger guide, local community support, gorilla conservation support, and 4 hours with the mountain gorillas.
Exclusions of gorilla habituation permit cost include accommodation, porter cost, tips, and any other items of personal nature.
Chimpanzee Habituation Permit Cost
Kibale National Park
$300 per person per trek for chimpanzee habituation in Kibale National Park.
The cost of chimpanzee habituation in Kibale National Park includes ranger guide service, researcher fee, park fees, four hours with the chimpanzees, security, and chimpanzee conservation support.
Exclusions Of Chimpanzee Habituation Permit Cost
Porter hire, transport, snacks, and any other items of personal nature.
How Long Is Chimpanzee Or Gorilla Habituation Safari?
Whether doing gorilla habituation or chimpanzee habituation adventure in Uganda, the time you take during these primate safaris is unknown. These primates freely meander in the forest with nothing to stop them.
Some tourists have located the chimpanzees or mountain gorillas after 2 hours, while others may take longer. It would be best to have some patience as the forests have numerous factors that propel the mountain gorillas or chimpanzees to move or stay.
As the pace of gorilla or chimpanzee habituators differ, you need to have some level of fitness that can help you walk through the jungle with less difficulty.
How Difficulty Is Primate Habituation In Uganda?
Primate habituation experience, gorilla or chimpanzee habituation, happens in the jungle. The topography of these forested areas may have highlands like in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
The forests have stinging insects that may sting you and cause skin irritation, so wear an insect repellant that is comfortable.
Even stinging nettles may be part of the fauna, so wear a long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, and garden gloves.
Have some fitness level, whether on gorilla or chimpanzee habituation, so you get no muscle pull along the way. Primate habituation adventures may take longer than you know.
Is Primate Habituation In Uganda Safe?
Since you are with a team of experienced habituators and researchers with prior knowledge about the traits of mountain gorillas or chimpanzees, listening to them is the best safety measure.
Each of the Uganda National Parks where gorilla or chimpanzee habituation safaris happen has other security agencies in place to keep law and order.
You must be mindful of personal security by only entering the forest with an escorting ranger guide. Stay closer to the group you are habituating with, and try to follow the rules of gorilla or chimpanzee habituation.
Pack the proper gorilla habituation or chimpanzee habituation gears that you can use while in the wilderness to give you extra protection.
Which Is The Difference Between Gorilla Habituation And Chimpanzee Habituation In Uganda?
Both gorilla and chimpanzee habituation experiences get you closer to the closest human cousins in the wilderness. Meeting mountain gorillas or chimpanzees during a habituation expedition is an unforgettable African safari experience.
The cost of a gorilla habituation permit is $1500 per person, while the price of chimpanzee habituation in Kibale National Park is $300 per person.
Chimpanzee habituation has two sessions, morning and afternoon, while gorilla habituation is once a day.
Gorilla habituation is so far done in southern Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, while chimpanzee habituation can be done in Kibale national park or Kaniyo Pabidi Forest.
Can I Buy The Primate Habituation Permits For Uganda In Instalment?
Buying entirely your gorilla or chimpanzee habituation permits is the best approach, but due to different factors, you may need to be in a position to do so.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority accepts installment purchases for gorilla or chimpanzee habituation permits in installments of 30% and 70 % of the total cost, respectively.
NOTE that an installment gorilla or chimpanzee permit purchase only applies when you buy the permits at least 90 days before the habituation adventure date.
Ensure you top up 90 days before the gorilla or chimpanzee habituation date. Failure to do so may attract a penalty.
When Can I Book Either Gorilla Or Chimpanzee Habituation Permit?
Gorilla permits or chimpanzee permits are open daily all year, but because of their limited numbers, a maximum of four per day or per session, they get sold out fast.
You can secure your primate habituation permits at least 6 months to a year in advance, especially those for peak seasons: June, July, August, September, December, and January.
The low season which is March, April, May, and November, are likely to be available even at the last minute due to limited demand; however, this is only guaranteed some of the time.
To save yourself last-minute panic as you try to put together your primate habituation safari in Uganda, book everything in advance because of the limited safari amenities too.
How Dangerous Are Uganda Primates During Habituation Safari?
The mountain gorillas or chimpanzees under habituation are partially accustomed to the presence of humans. They are not violent, but you need to follow the advice of researchers and rangers that have ideas about the traits of the mountain gorilla family or chimpanzee community.
Stay calm in front of these primates because they are suspicious of intruders in their habitat. TRY not to provoke the chimpanzees or mountain gorillas to avoid agitating them. Although you have four hours with the mountain gorilla or chimpanzees during a habituation adventure, they may hide once they discover something odd.
Mountain gorillas are generally shy primates and calm despite their huge size and scary outlook. The chimpanzees may try to stage a simple fight but not violent.
What Are The Rules And Regulations Of Primate Habituation Safari In Uganda?
- Volunteer to stay behind if you catch a communicable infection like the flu, or cough, as the chimpanzees and mountain gorillas are susceptible to them.
- Keep your voice low or speak low during primate habituation to avoid destroying the mountain gorillas or chimpanzees. You may appear suspicious.
- If you wish to do a long call, ask the ranger guide to dig a hole for you and cover well beyond recognition to avoid being exhumed by forest dwellers.
- Avoid dumping garbage in the forest, especially indecomposable materials, that can alter the nature of the forest where food for mountain gorillas grows.
- Try not to spit on the ground or vegetation that mountain gorillas or chimpanzees feed on.
- When you locate the primates, you have 4 hours in their presence.
- Only tourists aged 15 and above can do gorilla habituation, while chimpanzee habituation is above 15 years.
- If you wish to eat or smoke, do it away from the mountain gorillas or chimpanzees. To prevent chances of them picking it from you and eating it. They are wild animals that must look for their food.
- When taking photos, do not use flash photography. You may scare the mountain gorillas or chimpanzees.
- Wear a mask and hand sanitizer before going into the forest during gorilla or chimpanzee habituation.
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