Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale National Park is one of the most selling tourism activities done on a Safaris Uganda tour where travelers converge to explore these endangered species. For the best chimpanzee trekking at the continent of Africa, one cannot miss a spot of heading to Kibale National Park. Kibale Forest National Park is one most visited national parks in East Africa for the presence of its habituated chimpanzees that live in the tropical rain forests of the national park.
Kibale Forest National Park best known as the primate capital of the world is located in the western part of Uganda and the national park has an area which is about 795 square Kilometers with a diverse ecosystem filled with different wildlife such as the black and white colobus, olive baboons, pottos,bush baby, endemic Uganda Mangabey, red tailed monkeys, forest elephants, antelopes, different bird species such as green breasted pitas, noisy hornbills and African grey parrots among others.
Additionally, Kibale Forest National Park’s prime activity is chimpanzee trekking. The national park has a great number of various apes however, the chimpanzees have been a center of attraction to the tourists that visit Kibale Forest National Park. About 1500 chimpanzees are habituated in Kibale Forest National Park making it accessible for trekking by tourists.
Chimpanzee trekking activity in Kibale Forest National Park starts at Kanyanchu Visitors Centre early morning with one hour of briefing and trekking starts at 8am and another starts in the afternoon at 2 pm daily with an estimated duration of 2-5 hours trekking and strictly six tourists are permitted to trek chimpanzees so you need to book your chimpanzee permit prior to arrival to Kibale Forest National Park. Visitors have one hour to be next to the chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Four groups of chimpanzees are open for tourism and research purposes in Kibale Forest National Park. The tourism group of Chimpanzees is found in Kanyanchu and the whole activity is done in this sector of Kibale Forest National Park. And there is also one group found in the centre of the park with about 200 individuals. The research groups include the one found in Sebitoli and Kanyawara which has about 60 individuals. The trails in the tropical forests are filled with spectacular views of other animals like the monkeys and the different bird species that make pleasant sounds in the treetops. So the visitors to get view these animals as they trek the chimpanzees.
Additionally to chimpanzee trekking, there is also Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) which enables visitors to accompany researchers into the forest. The chimpanzee groups involved are less familiar with humans than those visited on the Primate Walk. Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) is done on a half and full-day basis and advanced booking has to be done for this activity. Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) is quite challenging and adventurous at the same time. Visitors love this experience because they get to learn the behaviors of the chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
Rules and regulations to follow during chimpanzee trekking
In Kibale Forest National Park, some rules and regulations have to be followed during chimpanzee trekking that includes;
- During the one hour session with the primates, you are always advised to keep a distance of about 8 meters away from the primates in other words you are not advised to keep physical contact with them. Chimpanzees are susceptible to human infectious diseases.
- Visitors under the age of 12 are not allowed to go for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park.
- Flash cameras are prohibited during the trekking activity. And u are advised to always turn off the flashlights.
- Do not eat next to the chimpanzees.
- If you have any sickness like a cold you are not allowed to trek to prevent chimpanzees from getting infected.
In addition, some equipment needed for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park includes items such as pair of binoculars, light-weighted hiking shoes to help you during moving on the steep slopes, sleeved shirts for protection against thorns, rain jacket, and a bottle of water among others.
How to get the chimpanzee trekking permits
Chimpanzee trekking permits are gotten from one sole provider that is Uganda Wildlife Authority that issues the permits from their offices in Kampala City and at Ishunga Center in Kibale Forest National Park. All visitors are advised to book their chimpanzee tickets in advance to prevent congestion and prolonged waiting for the chimpanzee permits.
When to visit Kibale Forest National Park for Chimpanzee trekking
The best traveling time to Kibale Forest National Park is during the months of June to September and December to February because these are the driest months in Uganda and the most active months. The wet seasons start from the month of March to April then May and November. During the wet seasons, it is really challenging to truck down the chimpanzees but it is ideal for bird watching activity.
How to get to Kibale Forest National Park for Chimpanzee trekking
Kibale Forest National Park is about 336 Kilometers from Kampala and about 300 kilometers to Fort Portal. On reaching Fort portal you will need to take around 36 kilometers to reach Kanyanchu Visitor Center. You can also use the routes such as Kampala-Fort Portal-Kamwenge- Kanyanchu or Kampala- Fort Portal- Sebitoli.
Kibale Forest National Park has a great number of lodges and hotels ranging from luxury, mid-range and basic or budget hotels. Many of these are located near Kibale Forest National Park and they are pocket-friendly. So the visitors can choose what suits them better. Many of these include the following;
Primate Lodge: Primate Lodge is a luxury accommodation facility which is located near the Kanyanchu Tourism Center and it features eco-friendly facilities and offers 8 cottages and a camping ground. Some of the amenities include well-stocked bar and restaurant, a campfire area, a storage area, and parking space is also provided to the guests. It is one of the lodges inside of the boundaries of Kabale Forest National Park.
Kyaninga Lodge: Kyaninga Lodge is located near one of the crater lakes known as Lake Kyaninga and offers facilities like a restaurant, Double sided fireplace, a fully stocked bar, swimming pool. The place has 8 cottages that are filled with raised platforms, double / twin bed, hot and cold running water.
Chimpanzee Forest Guest House: Chimpanzee Forest Guest House is a midrange accommodation facility that is located near Kibale Forest National Park and features a main lodge building and a range of garden cottages. Some of the amenities in Chimpanzee Forest Guest House include a dining room, a lounge area and a bar which displays a view of the surrounding.
Chimps Nest: Chimps Nest is located near Kibale Forest National Park and it is a midrange accommodation facility that features comfortable cottages that have a private balcony, private outside bathrooms. Other amenities include a restaurant and a bar, parking space is available, solar lighting among others.
Other accommodation facilities near Kibale Forest National Park to try out include the moon, Rwenzori View GuestHouse, Lake Nkuruba Nature Reserve and Community Campsite, Nyinabulitwa Country Resort and Safari Camp, and Ndali Lodge among others.
In conclusion, chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park is one of the most thrilling memorable and adventurous tourism activities that give you a pleasant and extraordinary experience of a lifetime with the primates in their natural habitat.