Kibale Forest National Park
A lush forest home to the habituated chimpanzees
Uganda has several forests and national parks in which chimpanzees can be found and the park you visit will depend on the experience you are wanting – whether that is a chimpanzee tracking experience, or a chimpanzee habituation experience. Habituated chimpanzees mean that they are accustomed to human presence and will not run off when they sense or see humans.
Chimpanzees in Kibale
Chimpanzees are the closest relatives to humans sharing about 98% of their DNA composition with humans. They are sociable animals and their groups can be comprised of anywhere between 10 and 100 members. They are very intelligent animals and have utilized traits and actions that have been passed on from generations, such as using rocks for crushing nuts and using empty pods for collecting water.
In Kibale, a chimpanzee trekking experience will allow you to spend approximately an hour with these mesmerizing primates. You will observe them swinging in trees, playing with one another and feeding around you – unfazed by your activity and presence. The group size is 6 people, accompanied by a guide of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
As well as chimpanzees, Kibale Forest homes 12 other species of primates, including the black and white colobus monkeys, the red-tailed monkey and the grey cheeked mangabey, so definitely keep an eye out for these species’. Bird life is also exceptionally good in Kibale forest and the guides will be exceptional in spotting the different varieties and species.
If you are coming from Murchison Falls National Park, then you will fly into Kibale and then drive to your lodge. If you are coming from the southern area (such as Queen Elizabeth National Park or Bwindi National Park), then you can drive up into Kibale.
For accommodation, there are several lodges you can stay in during your stay in Kibale National Park. These include Primate Lodge, Papaya Lake Lodge and Kyaninga Lodge. You can either drive or fly into Kibale Forest. Just like gorilla permits, chimpanzee permits need to be acquired beforehand and you can get these through your tour operator or travel agent. The cost of a single chimpanzee permit is $150 per person and the trek can be either morning or afternoon. Although you are restricted to one hour with the chimpanzees, the walk can be much longer as there is other flora and fauna to see.