Uganda Chimpanzee trekking ranks as the top safari activity in Kibale National Park.
Kibale Forest national park is the best destination for encountering Chimpanzees in Africa, therefore it is the best place for Uganda Chimpanzee safaris. This Chimpanzee haven boasts over 1500 Chimpanzee population out of the 5000 Chimpanzees in Uganda.
Note that out of the 300,000 estimated wild Chimpanzees living in the equatorial forests of Africa, observing chimps in their natural environment is a rare memorable experience and a must not miss!
Uganda Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale National Park is done mainly on Kanyanchu’s chimp community which has been tracked since 1993. This memorable adventure is done in two sessions in a day: The morning session at 8 am and the afternoon at 2 pm, all taking 2-5 hours.
While undertaking Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park, you have a 90% chance of spotting chimps!
During Kibale Chimpanzee trekking, you’ll encounter some of the 70 species of animals in Kibale National Park. Commonly spotted include, Olive Baboons, Red Colobus, Vervet Monkeys, Red-tailed, L’hoest’s, Black-and-white Colobus, and Blue Monkeys. Forest Elephants and Buffalos are rare!
On a Chimpanzee safari in Kibale park, some of the 370 species of birds in Kibale National Park can be spotted. Among these include the Great Blue Turaco, Double-toothed Barbet, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Bar-tailed Trogon, African Parrot, etc.
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale is one of the most thrilling adventures you shouldn’t miss out on your Uganda safaris!
How Is Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park Done?
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park is done only for two sessions a day. These include:
- A morning session starting at 8 am and,
- The afternoon session starting at 2 pm.
Both sessions of Uganda Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park start with registration and then the briefing at Kanyanchu Visitors’ Center. In the briefing, you’ll be informed about the adorable apes you’re about to see!
Furthermore, you’ll be told the Dos and Don’ts to follow for example avoiding getting so close to Chimpanzees and never to eat, drink or smoke near chimps.
After the lovely briefing, trackers leave in a group of 6 people. Each group is accompanied by a guide, who is armed in case of emergencies. And then it’s time to head into the jungle!
Visitors undertaking Uganda Chimpanzee safaris in Kibale NP have over a 90% chance of spotting chimps. The treks trek can take about 2-5 hours.
On your memorable adventure of searching for the close generic cousins of man, you’ll move through the tangled undergrowth to the sight where these adorable apes were seen the previous night. You’ll enjoy wonderful bird songs and the different calls of Monkeys in Kibale Forest!
Along the trail of Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park, visitors usually spot some of the 13 primates and various beautiful birds in Kibale Forest. Many plant species and colorful butterflies are spotted also.
Primates Commonly Spotted Along Chimpanzee Trekking Trail Include:
- Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys
- Red-tailed Monkeys
- Olive Baboons
- Vervet Monkeys
- Uganda Red Colobus
- Blue Monkeys
- L’Hoest’s Monkeys, etc.
Beautiful Birds Encountered During Kibale Chimpanzee Trekking Include:
- Great-blue Turaco
- Double-toothed Barbet
- Red-rumped Tinkerbird
- Black-billed Barbet
- Red-fronted Tinkerbird
- Blue-breasted Kingfisher
- Bar-tailed Trogon
- African Emerald Cuckoo
- African Grey Parrot
- Tropical Boubou, etc.
When about to spot Uganda Chimpanzees in Kibale park, you’ll hear them before you encounter them. Amazing hoots somewhere deep in the forest will be heard first! Jane Goodall called it “the pant-hoot call”.
This unique vocalization is a kind of bonding ritual enabling Chimpanzees within the same range to identify exactly who is around at any given moment.
To visitors undertaking Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda Kibale national park, this eruptive crescendo is one of the most spine-tingling sounds of the rainforest! It’s a strong indicator that visual contact with man’s closest genetic relatives is imminent.
On following the pant-hoot direction, you’ll soon find one of the family’s sub-groups. These might be up in tree canopies eating figs. However, if you’re lucky, some will come down to the ground, and that’s when the real magic happens!
You’ll enjoy Chimpanzees swinging in trees (playing), feeding, grooming, breastfeeding, and some coupling if lucky. It’s such an unforgettable wildlife-watching experience, seeing how intelligent chimps are!
The way how Chimpanzees will look at you with their bright eyes and even pose for your camera will make you wonder if they’re enjoying the interaction even more than you are!
Note: This thrill interaction with chimps is limited to one magical hour!
What Is The Ideal Session For Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park?
As told you that Uganda Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale park can be done two times a day. The morning session starts at 8 am while the afternoon at 2 pm.
As professionals who have organized several Uganda Chimpanzee tours in Kibale National Park, we recommend the morning session.
During the morning, Chimpanzees tend to be more active and amazing as they roam feeding vigorously on the forest floor. Thus, exciting to watch!
In the afternoon, chimps are relatively not active! They usually rest in tree canopies.
Chimpanzee Trekking Rules And Regulations In Kibale National Park
There’re various Chimpanzee trekking rules and regulations to be followed by visitors undertaking Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park.
These rules help to protect your life and also that of the endangered Chimpanzees!
Therefore, trackers should follow the following few rules:
- Chimpanzees can catch human communicable diseases. Therefore, if you’re sick (flu and cough) please, volunteer and don’t track Chimpanzees.
- The minimum age for tracking Chimpanzees in Kibale Uganda is 15 years. But, exceptions can be made if your child is old enough, fit, strong, and in a position to follow the ranger’s instructions.
- The group size for Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale is limited to 6 individuals. This is so because so many faces might make Chimpanzees get agitated.
- You shouldn’t litter in the forest as this exposes Chimpanzees to diseases and it’s against eco-tourism.
- Along the trail, if you must defect or urinate, go off the track. After, bury your waste 30cm deep, with any toilet paper.
- You must maintain maximum silence along the chimp trekking trail. However, this shouldn’t stop you from asking a ranger. The more you keep quiet, the more wildlife you’ll encounter on the trail
- On encountering Chimpanzees, you must keep an 8m (25ft) from chimps all the time. This helps to keep these adorable apes calm.
- You must follow the instructions from the guide. These guys understand Chimpanzees quite much, they know what they’re talking about. Therefore, you can’t enter the forest without an official guide!
- It’s not allowed mimic Chimpanzees’ vocalization. This is because you might not know what you might be saying! Imitating a chimp might just drive it to charge at you.
- Visitors are seriously warned from eating, drinking, or smoking near Chimpanzees! This exposes them to risks of getting human diseases.
Chasing Chimpanzees is not allowed.
- Flash photography is strictly forbidden! The flashlight stresses Chimpanzees.
- You are limited to ONE HOUR after encountering Chimpanzees.
Packing List (Preparation) For Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park
For a memorable Uganda safari experience, visitors planning to undertake Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park are encouraged to have the following:
A Camera And Binoculars
While on your Chimpanzee safari in Uganda Kibale park, you’re encouraged to have a camera. It will help you capture all special moments with the chimps. A binocular can help you to look clearly at those in tree canopies.
- The binoculars and camera must not be so heavy to make you get tired!
- Your camera should have a good zooming lens to capture good photos of the Chimpanzees in tree canopies.
- Flash cameras are not allowed!
2. Insect Repellents
Since Kibale Forest is a rainforest, biting insects like Mosquitoes might be prone in the area. Therefore, you are advised to have an insect repellent to safeguard yourself.
3.A Rain Jacket
This is so crucial due to Kibale’s being a rainforest. Rainfall is expected all the time! Therefore, you’re advised to have a raingear for yourself in case it happens to find you in the jungle.
4. Comfortable Hiking Shoes
Chimpanzee trekking shoes need to be sturdy! They must have good traction and waterproofed. This is so because, along the trail, some points might be muddy, steepy, and slippery.
5. Garden Gloves
While undertaking Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park, you’re advised to have garden gloves. These will protect your hands from touching dirt and getting injured.
6. Long-Sleeved Shirts And Trousers
Such an outfit will protect your skin from direct scratches in the jungle along the Kibale Chimpanzee trekking trail.
7. Sunglasses And A Hat
These will safeguard you from the tropical sunshine! Sunglasses will protect your eyes from strong light rays while a hat will keep you from direct scorching sunshine.
8. Drinking Water And Packed Lunch
All these are so vital for visitors undertaking Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale park. This is so because the adventure might run for more time than you expected, thus finding yourself getting hungry and thirsty.
- You’re advised to pick up your packed lunch from your accommodation as there’re no restaurants in the jungle!
9. A Backpack
This is so important as it will help you carry all your Kibale Chimpanzee safari essentials safely. These can include cameras, snacks, drinking water, and spare clothes.
Best Time To Go For Chimpanzee Trekking In Uganda Kibale National Park
Are you wondering about what is the best time to go Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park?
Well, Chimpanzees Uganda safaris in Kibale can be carried out all year round. However, the best time is during the dry months in June-August and December-February. In these months, rainfall is relatively minimal and the trails are drier. Thus, ideal for Chimpanzee trekking!
March-May and September-November are considered the wettest months in Kibale Forest. Therefore, trails become somewhat challenging to hike and it can rain all day long. Therefore, affects your adventure.
During the rainy season, there is an abundance of (food) fruits in Kibale forest national park. So, Chimps don’t go deep into the jungle to search for food. Therefore, spotting them becomes easier than it is in the dry season!
Cost Of Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park
Visitor’s Category Price Per Person
- Non-Foreign Resident: 200 USD
- Foreign Residents: 150 USD
- East African Residents: 150,000 UGX
The rate includes a guide fee and entrance fees
Prior booking is paramount!
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Vs Chimp Trekking In Kibale National Park
Although Chimpanzees trekking and Gorilla trekking are both adventure Uganda safari activities, each one is unique! For example:
- Gorilla trekking is more challenging as it’s done in hilly and mountainous areas including Bwindi and Mgahinga national park. Kibale Chimpanzee trekking is done on a flat terrain of the forest that is not too challenging. Therefore, less challenging and has no minimum level of fitness needed.
- The trail for Gorilla trekking takes about 2-8 hours while for Uganda Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park takes 2-5 hrs.
- A Uganda Gorilla trekking permit costs 700 USD while the permit for Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale is 200 USD.
- The habituated Gorilla family is visited by a maximum of 8 people while a Chimpanzee community in Kibale National Park is restricted to only 6 people.
A Professional Guide For Visitors Undertaking Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park
While planning to undertake Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park, you’re encouraged to do the following for an effective experience:
- You should book a lodge nearby Kibale National Park headquarters. This will help you reach in time for the briefing.
- Prior booking of a Chimpanzee trekking permit is very vital.
- Also, you’re advised to sleep early so that you can wake up early for your memorable adventure.
- Put on comfortable and nature-friendly clothes. Khaki, brown, and grey are so ideal.
FAQs About Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park
What Is Chimpanzee Trekking?
Chimpanzee trekking is among the most popular and memorable Uganda safari activities giving you an opportunity of encountering Chimpanzees in the wild. It’s such a great moment, encountering man’s closest relatives in their natural environment!
Chimpanzee trekking is limited to 6 people per group visiting a Chimpanzee community. Normally, the treks can go for about 2-5 hours and on encountering chimps, you’re limited to one magical hour with them.
You’ll enjoy these adorable apes feeding, grooming, kissing, swinging in trees, etc. During this thrilling moment, you’re encouraged to keep an 8-10m distance and not allowed to feed them.
When Did Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park Uganda Begin?
Uganda Chimpanzees in Kibale National Park have been tracked since 1993.
Majorly Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale is done within the Kanyanchu area on the Kanyantale chimp community which boasts over 90 remembers. Some chimps here have been observed for over 25 years!
What Is The Minimum Age For Chimpanzee Trekking?
The minimum age for Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda Kibale National Park is 15 years. However, some exceptions can be made. This is so if the child is old enough, fit, strong, and capable of following the instructions of the ranger guides.
Do You Need A Permit To Do Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park?
Just like it is with Gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga national park, Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale also requires one to have a Chimpanzee trekking permit.
This permit will give one access to the park for this adventure.
Visitors to undertake Uganda chimpanzee safaris in Kibale are encouraged to book their Chimpanzee trekking permits before the tracking date. Two booking options can be used including:
- Booking directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), a government body responsible for tourism.
- The other alternative is booking through a reliable tour operator like Prime Uganda Safaris & Tours Ltd.
Where Is Chimpanzee Trekking Done In Kibale National Park?
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park is mainly done in the Kanyanchu area on the Kanyantale Chimpanzee community. This community comprises over 90 habituated Chimpanzees, first tracked by tourists in 1993.
The trekking starts from Kanyanchu Visitors Centre normally at 8 am and 2 pm and usually lasts for 2-5 hours. Walks are specifically done along Kanyanchu Primate Walk.
What To Wear For Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park?
Visitors undertaking Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park are encouraged to put on nature-friendly clothes. These neutral colors can easily blend into the jungle and don’t stress up chimps!
- Among these include Khaki, brown, and grey. White or any other light color is not ideal as they show up easily with dirt and dust. Black isn’t good, as it absorbs a lot of heat. Blue can attract Tsetse flies!
- You’re also encouraged to put on comfortable sturdy hiking boots which are also waterproofed. This is so because, along the Chimp trekking trail, you might come across hilly and at times slippery muddy points.
- You must also have long socks to tuck your pants inside just to avoid safari ants in case of any along the trail.
What Animals Are Spotted While Undertaking Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park?
Several visitors undertaking Uganda Chimpanzee tours in Kibale often get a chance of spotting some of the 70 species of animals in Kibale National Park.
Among these include, primates like Baboons, L’hoest’s Monkeys, Vervets, Red-tailed, Red-Colobus, Uganda Mangabeys, and Black and white Colobus Monkeys.
Forest Elephants, Buffalos, Leopards, Bushbucks, Bush Pigs, Forest Hogs, and Warthogs are rare. However, lucky visitors can encounter some.
Why Do Uganda Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park?
Kibale National Park offers the best Uganda Chimpanzee safaris incomparable to any other place in Uganda and Africa.
- The park is home to over 1500 Chimpanzee population (the highest total in Uganda) out of the 5000 total in Uganda.
Kibale park is dubbed as the Primate Capital of Africa due to its high concentration of Primates than any other park in Africa.
This Chimpanzee haven holds over 13 primate species and most can be spotted along your chimp trek! Among others include Baboons, Red-tailed Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Vervets, Black and white Colobus Monkeys, etc.
- The chances of spotting chimps in Kibale are incredibly high, over 90%! This is truly more reliable than other Uganda Chimpanzee trekking For example in Kyambura gorge of Queen Elizabeth park, visitors have about a 60% chance to spot chimps.
- Kibale’s National Park’s terrain is not so challenging compared to other Uganda Chimpanzee trekking spots like Kyambura gorge.
- For bird lovers on Uganda tours, you can easily combine a Chimpanzee safari with birding tours in Uganda The park holds over 370 bird species most being beautiful forest birds counting the rare Green-breasted Pitta.
Where Else Can You Don Chimpanzee Trekking In Uganda?
Though Kibale National Park remains a haven for Chimpanzee safaris in Uganda, there’re also other spots in Uganda where Chimpanzee trekking can be done from. Among these include:
- Kalinzu forest just close to Queen Elizabeth park
- Budongo Forest in the Kaniyo Papidi area of Murchison Falls National Park and,
- Kyambura gorge of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Is Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park Safe?
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park is generally safe. For all the past years, visitors have carried it out successfully and no accident has ever happened.
Below is how safe is Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park:
- To ensure your safety while undertaking Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale, you’re accompanied by an armed UWA ranger who ensures your safety. These rangers are trained on how to treat these wild animals in case you meet one along the trail!
- More so, Uganda Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest is done on a fully habituated Chimpanzee group since 1993. No incidence of a chimp attacking a visitor has ever been registered. Therefore, it’s truly a safe thrilling adventure!
- Daily, the anti-poaching team makes patrols in Kibale Forest to control any possibilities of poachers in this expanse. Therefore, don’t be worried about any attack from the poachers.
- The 8-10m distance emphasized among the Chimpanzee trekking rules and regulations of Kibale also ensures your safety.
Is Chimpanzee Trekking Difficult In Uganda Kibale National Park?
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park is not so difficult however, it requires a moderate level of fitness. In Kibale, this exciting adventure is done on relatively flat trails of the forest.
Note that, Chimpanzees generally live in low altitudes which are easier to trek compared to Mountain Gorillas that live in higher elevations, demanding some level of fitness!
Therefore, Uganda Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale is ideally comfortable for all people as there’s no hiking difficulty.
Please note that, during the rainy season, the trails might become slippery thus, a bit challenging to hike.
What Is The Importance Of Chimpanzee Trekking In Kibale National Park?
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park is of great importance to the economy of Uganda, and the environment at large.
- Economic Importance of Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale
- Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park attracts thousands of tourists across the globe to Uganda. This leads to foreign exchange earnings to Uganda which is used in turn to develop other sectors. For example infrastructures, agriculture, etc.
Note: 20% of the trekking fee is returned to the development of the surrounding communities.
- Tourists who come to undertake Chimpanzee trekking provide a market for local products of the local people. For example, through buying handicrafts.
- Furthermore, Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale park has eased the development of infrastructures in the region. For instance, modern lodges and hotels around the park.
- Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale has helped to portray a good image of Uganda abroad in western countries.
2. Environment Importance Of Chimpanzees Trekking In Kibale Park
- Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park has played a very vital role in conserving the environment. Since much revenue is earned from Chimpanzee trekking, the Uganda government has invested in conserving Kibale Forest.