Kibale national park notably referred to as “The Primate Capital of the World” is the most magnificent of Uganda’s tropical rain and one of the rewarding area to go chimpanzee trekking although most tourists visit the chimpanzees much like the Mountain Gorillas for one hour but there is however another option that allows you to be with chimpanzees all day long in the Kibale Forest and that is chimpanzee habituation experience.
There are over 4950 Chimpanzees ever recorded to live in Uganda and about 1500 of these live in the Kibale National Park alone. This park situated ideally in the heart of the Tooro Kingdom in western Uganda near Fort Portal is the only place in Uganda where Chimpanzee Habituation takes place and it takes close to 3 years to be completed. More so, the activity is a full day encounter with the endangered chimpanzees in the rain forest of Kibale Forest national park. Chimpanzee habituation gives travellers a chance to spend extended time to learn and enjoy the social behaviours of chimpanzees in their natural habitats.
Just like in gorilla trekking experience, you will start off with an early morning breakfast, get your lunch packed and head out to meet your guide that will lead you into the forest but with this particular experience, only a maximum of 4 people per group inclusive of the researchers and guides are permitted to go chimpanzee trekking. More so, this experience is about training and familiarising wild chimpanzees to human presence before declaring them free for usual trekking.
When is the best time for chimpanzee habituation?
For one to fully enjoy this habituation experience, we advise if possible in the months of March to April and November where there is notably less congestion. One other thing to take note of is this experience is not for those feeble at heart.
What is the cost of Chimpanzee habituation permit?
Nonetheless, one needs a permit to be accepted to go see these primates and permit bookings have to be done 6 months prior to the actual day. This means that once purchased the permits cannot be transferred or reimbursed in case you do not participate in the chimp habituation experience. However this type of permit differ from those got for Chimpanzee tracking in terms of costs so unlike the $200 paid for normal Chimp tracking, here foreign residents and non-foreign residents pay $250.
How to prepare for Chimpanzee habituation experience?
Before you book for this kind of experience, one needs to know the primate and this means reading as much about your target species and its environment as possible. Familiarise yourself with what others have done and with your species’ basic behavioural repertoire. Secondly, try to gain exposure to the species itself, perhaps by visiting a zoo to observe the animal directly. The more naturalistic the physical and social environment of the captive primate, the better its potential as a model for wild con-specifics. Spending time observing captive primates will increase familiarity with their basic locomotor patterns and postures, facial expressions, and other behaviours, including foraging and food processing, grooming, play, reproductive and agnostic interactions. Pay particular attention to vocalisations, since these may be a means of locating wild primates and will help you to interpret behaviour in the absence of clear observation. Concentrate on alarm and display behaviours, as these are likely to be initial responses to human presence. Observing captive primates will also provide an opportunity to learn how to distinguish individuals and will give you a head start in recognising primates in the wild.
What to pack for the Chimpanzee habituation experience?
Below you can find our carefully recommended packing list;
-A Solid soft bag
-Comfortable long sleeves safari clothes
-Sun hat & sun glasses
-Hiking or walking safari boots
For an extraordinary and spectacular chimpanzee experience, I recommend a chimpanzee habituation experience for both wildlife Photographers and any one interested in learning more about chimpanzees. Contact us via email; firstname.lastname@example.org and we help you plan your safari.
Author; Munyirwa Osman