Uganda provides the greatest opportunities for the various Chimpanzees activities in East African region including Chimpanzee habituation experience. Uganda is home to over 5,000 chimpanzees in protected and unprotected areas. The five main Chimpanzee destinations in their Natural habitats in Uganda are Kibale National Park, Budongo Forest, Kyambura Gorge (in Queen Elizabeth National Park), Kalinzu Forest and Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.
Chimp tracking, which is available for an hour is the commonest chimpanzee activity in all the above 5 locations. However, there is another option that allows you to be with chimpanzees all day long in the forest.
Chimpanzee habituation experience (CHEX) is a full-day activity that occur in the chimpanzee community which is undergoing habituation. The daily activity of Chimpanzee Habituation Experience means an early breakfast, a packed lunch (taken from your lodge, at your own cost) and meet your guide. From here, you take off to where the chimpanzees built nests the night before. You will spend the rest of the day with chimpanzees as they rise from their sleep to when the go to bed. Chimpanzee habituation is aimed at getting the chimpanzees used to human presence and is a long process that can take up to two years before a group of chimpanzees can safely be considered habituated.
In Uganda, you can choose to go for a chimpanzee habituation experience in either Kibale Forest or Budongo forest. However, we recommend you to go to Kibale forest for an ultimate chimpanzee habituation experience.
A typical day for a chimpanzee habituation experience starts as early as 6:00am. You therefore need to wake up early, take an early breakfast and carry pack lunch. You set off before dawn to meet your guide and then you chimpanzee adventure begins.
Your guide will lead you to the chimpanzee nests for the night before. The chimpanzees arise at the break dawn as you approach their nests. And your day of observing the chimpanzees begins.
You will have an entire day to watch the chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Your day will be interesting and memorable as you watch an episode in a whole season of habituation for the chimpanzee group you are visiting. You will have an opportunity to watch chimps leaving their overnight nests between 6:00 – 6:30am before feeding, copulating, hunting, breastfeeding, resting, patrolling and displaying until it is time to build new nests around 7pm. It is not just watching the activities of chimpanzees, but you will learn the unique features and differences of chimpanzees, learn how to identify the different chimpanzees as individuals by their markings, sometimes scars and other unique features that make them stand apart from rest. Your eventful day finally comes to a close when the chimpanzees climb into their new nests for the night and you head back to your lodge with good memories, and the satisfaction of a day well spent. Don’t forget your camera, because during the activity, you will get very nice camera shots of chimpanzees doing various activities.
When you do habituation experience in Kibale forest, it’s not only chimpanzees you will see. You will see a host of other things. Thirteen species of primates can be sought, and a good variety of diurnal monkeys invariably encountered. Additionally, you may see elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, various bird species-the forest has 350 different bird species. The beauty and richness of the forest is seen in the exotic plants, trees, and butterflies. It is simply amazing. And you need to keep your eyes wide open so you do not miss anything.
There is no better season for habituation experience, however, for convenience, it is best in the months of March, April, May and November, when there is less tourist congestion. The Chimpanzee habituation experience costs $220 for foreign non-residents, $150 for foreign residents and $70 for East Africans. Additionally, there are transport costs and lodging and meals.
For your convenience, most tour companies give packages that combine chimpanzee activities and other activities. There are great choices of lodging from budget to luxury, serving exotic and local foods. Kibale is only 4 hours from Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. For more information, please contact us.
You will have an experience of a life time as you watch at close range these majestic apes feed, play and relax but before that you’ll track down the habituated chimpanzee in Kibale – what an experience.
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