Kibale Forest National Park is a primate enthusiast’s paradise, as the park resides more primate species than any other Park across the African continent. The Park is situated in the western region of Uganda, in Fort Portal. Kibale comprises of 13 primate species of which 9 of them are diurnal well as the 4 are nocturnal.
The diurnal primate species include; chimpanzees, olive baboons, red tailed monkeys, black and white Colobus, red Colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, vervet monkeys, and the Uganda mangabeys. The four nocturnal primates are; Thomas’s Galagos, Eastern/Elegant needle clawed galagos, Demidoff’s galagos, and the Potos.
However, the prime attraction in the Park is the chimpanzees which share 98% of human De-oxyribo Nucleic Acid (DNA). Chimpanzees are very close friends to humans and whenever these precious apes see a human being, they are ever eager to come next to him/her. It’s however inadvisable for you to allow this intimacy between you and the chimpanzees, at least view them from a distance of 7 meters away.
Chimpanzee tracking and habituation in Kibale
The most sought after activity in this Park is chimpanzee tracking. The trails begin at the Kanyanchu Visitor Centre with the briefings. After the briefings, you are then grouped into 6 individuals per tracking group and then enter the rainforests of Kibale for an exciting activity of tracking the chimpanzees.
Like the gorilla safaris, tracking the chimpanzees is also an arduous activity, meaning that if you are a bit ill or very old in age, you shouldn’t go for this activity. Tracking the chimpanzees in the natural habitants lasts for almost 1 to 4 hours depending on where they spent their previous night.
When tracked and found, you will spend one hour with the primates but if you feel like spending more hours with the chimpanzees, then you should go for the amazing chimpanzee habituation experience. With the chimpanzee habituation experience, you escort the researchers in the forests and spend much time with these astonishing creatures.
The chimpanzee habituation experience means the process of making the chimpanzees accustomed to human presence. This offers you much time to spend with the chimpanzees but this activity (chimpanzee habituation) is more tiresome and strenuous than chimpanzee tracking. This is because you are tracking wild chimpanzees which are not used to human presence at all, so they will keep running and hiding whenever they see you and you will also need to track for so long to meet the chimps. However if you prove you are really fit, then going for the chimpanzee habituation experience is more rewarding than chimpanzee tracking though all are fantastic and memorable experiences.
Advance booking is however very essential and inform your tour operator on which of the two experiences (chimpanzee habituation and chimpanzee tracking) you are willing to go for such that it books your permit accordingly. A Kibale chimpanzee tracking permit costs US$ 150 well as a chimpanzee habituation permit costs US$ 200. Enjoy a thrilling chimpanzee excursion in Africa’s most recommended primate national park, Kibale!! The Park has very many accommodations within and around it, and of all types to match with all travelers’ fancies and budgets.