Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park

Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park

Chimpanzee tracking is the main activity carried out in Kibale National Park, the western part of the pearl of Africa Uganda. The park is home to over 20 habituated chimpanzee groups that live together with other wildlife species like birds, butterflies, and other mammal species. Kibale National Park covers an area of 795 square kilometres but there is a lot to discover. Chimpanzee tracking is an activity that allows visitors to spend an hour in the presence of chimpanzees while learning their behaviors and taking photos.

Kibale Forest National Park was established in 1995 to protect a lush forest and its inhabitants and since then, it has been the main spot for chimpanzees and is known as the primate capital of the world with 13 primates. It's ranked as the best destination in East Africa to trek chimpanzees, the human’s closest relatives with up to 98% similar DNA. Kibale is close to Semliki National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

This activity can either be done in the morning at 08:00 hours or afternoon at 14:00 hours. Visitors interested in taking part in chimpanzee tracking are required to acquire a chimpanzee tracking permit which can be bought through a recognized safari company or directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala. Each permit costs USD 200 for foreigners and 150,000 UGX for East African community members. Visiting chimpanzees is in high demand and this calls for booking in advance.

Trekking starts at Kanyanchu Information Centre with a briefing that covers different aspects like what to do while in the forest, what to expect, and the time to spend as you take the experience. The park ranger guide well-armed will take trekkers into the forest to start the search for chimpanzees. Interestingly, chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park doesn't require walking long distances to locate chimpanzees and this means that there is a guarantee of over 98% chance of spotting them. chimpanzees can see people before you see them which means that they are so observant.

Chimpanzees are more active than gorillas which are gentle giants and therefore trekkers should expect to find them more active as they jump from one tree to another. They normally do daily activities like looking for food, mating, and grooming each other. Each chimpanzee has a unique trait like human beings for example being shy, stubborn, quiet, and many more. These primates love staying in trees which will lead to neck pains since you will stretch your eyes up the forest trees.

After the trekking experience, trekkers are rewarded with a certificate of appreciation and then one can opt to take other activities such as visiting the neighboring community in Isunga or Bigodi communities. This offers great community walking trails where you will spot different attractions such as tea estates, coffee plantations, crater lakes like Lake Nyabikere, homestead setups, and different food crops that are grown in the community. Other activities include bird watching, butterflying, crater lake explorations, Bigodi swamp walks, sport biking, Boda Boda adventures, nature walks, and much more.

The best time to do chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park

Like any country located along the equator line, Uganda has two rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season happens from March-April-May and October-November. The dry season happens from December to early March and June-July-August-September. The truth remains that the best time to visit chimpanzees depends on the visitor’s choice. During the dry season, there is a large flow of visitors in the country which requires booking. In the wet season, the flow of tourists in the country tends to drop.