One of the most spectacular tropical rainforests in Uganda, Kibale Forest National Park is the world’s primate capital. This park was founded in 1993 with more than 1500 chimpanzees and more 13-primate species. It is no wonder that this park is the ideal destination for chimp tracking. This national park is located in the western part of the country straddling between Kamwenge and Kabarole districts.
Accessing Kibale Forest National Park
Getting here to enjoy one of the best safaris in Uganda is a 6-hour drive 320 kilometers away from the city. However, this depends on the traffic. Accessing the park requires a permit that costs UGX.100, 000 East African residents, $100 for foreign residents, and $150 for foreign nonresidents. Since prices can change without prior notice, you may need to contact us for the latest prices at your time of visiting.
There is a chance to enjoy a discount when you come during March, April, or November. To enjoy a chimp habituation experience, the permits cost UGX.70, 000 for East African residents, $150 for foreign residents, and $220 for foreign nonresidents.
Apart from chimps, other primates you can’t miss here include:
- Blue monkey
- Red-tailed monkey
- L’Hoests monkey
- Olive baboons
- Red colobus
- Uganda Mangabey
- Black and white colobus monkey
Chimp Tracking in Kibale Forest National Park
This incredible adventure begins at Kanyanchu Visitor Center for a briefing by a park official. The briefing begins at 7:00 am and takes an hour before hitting the jungle to track the amazing primates. This expedition takes about 2 to 3 hours and the pack is strictly 6 individuals. It explains the importance of booking with a tour of your safari date in advance.
Deep in the forest, expect to hear the primates before seeing them. Chimpanzees are always screaming, panting, hooting, and barking. Luckily, this helps professional tour guides to locate the primates. Keep in mind that you have one hour for a face-to-face chimp encounter. Chimpanzee tracking is available in the morning or afternoon.
You can as well spend a day on a chimpanzee habituation experience. Kibale Forest National Park has 4 chimp communities set up for tourism and research. This has about 50 to 60 individuals with the second community at the heart of the park with about 200 chimps. The third community is at Kanyanchu, the center of the whole tourism experience in the park. For research, there is the fourth community at Sebitoli.
Common chimp behaviors
A fully-grown male chimp weighs about 35 to 70 kilograms and about 3 meters tall. Females weigh about 26 to 50 kilograms standing at about 2 to 4 feet. Chimpanzees have a life expectancy of about 40 years in the wild while those in captivity can last 60 years. Unlike mountain gorillas, chimps are man’s closest cousins sharing about 98 percent DNA.
Some of the human-like behaviors of chimps include:
- Being very social
- Extreme intelligence
- Communication with others
- Using rocks to crush nuts
- Hollowing out water with empty pods
- Catching termites from holes with sticks
Chimpanzees live in communities with a population of about 10 to 100. Here, the young ones are babysat and groomed by the elders. After 4 years, the young chimps can now live on their own. Just like other wild species, chimps can get very aggressive when irritated. These primates spend most of their time on the ground to feeding on flowers, fruits, leaves, and seeds.
Things To Keep In Mind During ChimpTracking
- Avoid eating near the primates
- Not for visitors below 12 years
- Never use a flashlight to take photos
- Don’t irritate the chimps in any way
- Stay about 8 meters away from the chimps
When To Go For Chimpanzee Tracking
This is an all-year-round activity. However, you better come during the dry season starting from June, September, December, and February. The wet season is during March, April, May, and November. During this period, it is a bit hard to track these primates. However, this is an ideal moment for bird watching.
Packing list for chimp tracking in Kibale Forest National Park
- Rain jacket for unpredictable weather
- Pair of binoculars for bird watching
- Good camera with extra batteries
- Long-sleeved shirt for protection from prinking thickets
- Light-weighted hiking shoes for climbing steep and slippery slopes
Chimpanzee tracking is one of the most memorable experiences to make an ideal safari in Uganda. Kibale Forest National Park is full of chimpanzees and other primate species. It is the ideal location to give you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch these magnificent species in their natural habitat. A great tour guide will always be handy to ensure you make the most of your safari.