CHIMPANZEE HABITUATION EXPERIENCE- All day encounter with the chimpanzees of Kibale Forest
THE CHIMPANZEE HABITUATION EXPERIENCE
Uganda is a prime primate destination with some of Africa’s premier parks that harbor some of the continent’s endangered primates. It is only here that primate lovers get more time with the species they love by engaging in habituation experiences.
Visitors get more time to spend with some of the major/key primate species that include Mountain gorillas, Chimpanzees and Golden monkeys.
In the rainforest of Kibale National park (Uganda’s number one primate house) travellers usually spend just one hour with the Chimpanzees which are a major attraction at the park. Actually, you can have a whole day with these remarkable animals. The chimpanzee habituation experience is gaining more preference from visitors of recent due to more time they get to spend with these apes, the involvement and not just being observers.
Few participants are allowed and they get more involved, take more advantage of the knowledge of the guides, habituators and researchers who will help you understand these primates more. Unlike gorilla habituation that is a 4 hour activity, chimpanzee habituation experience (CHEX) is an all-day activity. There are over 5000 Chimpanzee in Uganda and over 1500 are in Kibale Forest. This means you will have all odds on your side to experience large group of Chimpanzees.
The 250 USD activity starts from the Kanyanchu Visitors Centre which is the trail head for all activities at the park. Visitor have early rises for breakfast and carry their packed lunch and meet with the guides and the other group at the visitors centre for briefing. After the briefing, guides lead the visitors through the forest until they meet the group that is under the habituation process. The early start enables you to experience some of the rare behaviors of the chimpanzees for example what they do in the morning when they leave their nests.
When the visitors get too meet the chimpanzees, they help the researchers on the day activities of monitoring, treating the sick or injured, and observing to understand the markings or what differentiates one from the other and even naming them. After they return to their lodges later in the evening.
The day not only unveils the chimpanzees just, but if you are keen you encounter much more than the chimpanzees which include the sighting of some of the 12 primate species in the park, 350 bird species, amphibians, insects, reptiles, forest elephants, bush pigs, and a variety of flora.
The activity can be done all year round and participants must at least be 15 years and above.
What to carry
For clothing, one should have hiking boots, long sleeved shirt, hat, insect repellent, long trouser, light rain proof jacket and of course your camera. Participants are also advised to carry snacks, packed lunch and enough drinking water.
Note: In natural settings, you either see or don’t see and at times some activities can be unreliable. The fact that you are looking for wild chimpanzees that are not used to human presence and that are always on the move, you might miss or get a few sightings even after long treks. It happens though not every day and this note is to make you aware.