Chimpanzee tracking at Kibale Forest National Park commences at the Kanyachu briefing point managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Similar to gorilla trekking at Bwindi, a chimpanzee permit is mandatory for participation. The trek is also known as the “primate walk” since other primate species can be spotted along the way. Upon encountering the chimpanzees, visitors are allowed one hour to observe them. A maximum of 8 individuals can track each chimpanzee family. Kibale Forest National Park offers a total of 56 chimpanzee permits, with 36 available for morning and afternoon sessions.
Situated in southern Uganda, Kibale Forest National Park is renowned for being home to numerous primate species. Among the 13 significant primate species found here, the chimpanzee population is the largest, earning it the title of “The Primate Capital of the World.” The park’s vast tropical rainforest serves as a natural habitat for these chimpanzees, while other wildlife can be found within the savannah grasslands of certain areas and the outskirts of the park.
Originally designated as a forest reserve in the 1940s, Kibale Forest National Park was later promoted to national park status due to its abundant biodiversity. The park boasts an impressive array of flora and fauna, including 350 tree species, 71 mammal species, and 370 bird species. However, the park is best known worldwide for its 13 unique primate species, with the chimpanzee population being the most prominent, estimated to number around 1500 according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Other notable primates include red colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys. The park also provides habitat for various mammal species such as elephants, buffalos, and giant forest hogs, though sightings of these animals during forest treks are quite rare.
When it comes to chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park, visitors have the option of two daily sessions: morning and afternoon. The morning session starts at 8am, while the afternoon session begins at 2pm. Regardless of which session you choose, your chances of encountering chimpanzees are quite high, with a 99% success rate. However, if your goal is to see chimpanzees in their most active state, it’s best to opt for the morning session. During this time, you’ll witness the chimpanzees as they venture out in search of food. On the other hand, the afternoon session provides an opportunity to see the chimpanzees as they return to their nests after a day of foraging.
The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Kibale Forest National Park is a unique opportunity to encounter chimpanzee groups and families that are not accustomed to the presence of humans. Similar to gorilla habituation in Bwindi, a chimpanzee habituation permit is required to participate in this experience. The trek starts at the Buraiga area (Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)), and you will have the chance to trek with researchers who will share in-depth information about the chimpanzees in Kibale Forest.
In Kibale Forest National Park, there are 12 chimpanzee habituation permits available daily for trekking in both the morning and afternoon. During the experience, groups of four people will track each chimpanzee family, allowing for an intimate and educational experience.
If you plan to visit the chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park for either trekking or habituation experience, you must have a chimpanzee permit. It is highly recommended to secure the permit in advance, which means you need to book it before your trip to Kibale. The good news is that booking a chimpanzee permit from anywhere in the world is straightforward, especially if you contact Trek Africa Expeditions. We guarantee instant availability, reservation, and dates tailored to your travel plans in just 15 minutes.
Chimpanzee Trekking Permits
To book a chimpanzee trekking permit, you will need to provide Trek Africa Expeditions with your travel dates, the number of people in your group, and any other relevant information. We will then check availability and reserve your permits once we receive your payment. It is essential to note that only a limited number of permits are issued each day, so booking in advance is crucial.
Chimpanzee Habituation Permits
Booking a chimpanzee habituation permit is similar to booking a trekking permit. However, unlike trekking permits, only four people are allowed to visit each chimpanzee family during the habituation experience. Trek Africa Expeditions will help you book your permit and even provide you with an experienced guide and researchers to trek with you.
To book your chimpanzee trek or habituation experience in Kibale Forest National Park, simply contact Trek Africa Expeditions through our telephone numbers, WhatsApp, or email. Provide us with the dates you plan to visit and trek the chimps in Kibale forest. We will then check with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to confirm the availability of the chimp permits for your preferred dates. Once we secure the permits, we will reserve them for you and provide payment instructions.
Trek Africa Expeditions offers various payment options, including bank transfers, credit card payments, and cash (in rare cases). After confirming your preferred trekking dates, we will issue an invoice for your chimpanzee permits. Payment can be made via bank transfer or credit card. However, a 5% surcharge is applied to credit or debit card payments, which is not the case with wire transfers. Once payment is made, we require proof of payment to proceed with purchasing your permit while we wait for the funds to show on our bank account. Bank transfers and credit card payments typically take 2-3 working days.
After you have paid for your chimpanzee permits, we will immediately purchase them and send you scanned copies of the permit receipts for you to keep. On the day of your trek, your guide will carry the permit cards and present them to park headquarters. It’s important to note that chimpanzee trekking permits only include a one-hour encounter with the chimps, while chimpanzee habituation permits include a 4-hour encounter with semi-habituated chimpanzee families, park entry fees, and services of well-trained ranger guides who will accompany you in the forest. The chimpanzee permit fee does not include transportation to and from the park or accommodation during your stay.
Located in the southern part of Fort Portal town, the main headquarters for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park is Kanyanchu, which can be accessed via the Fort Portal-Ibanda road, approximately 27km away and a 30-minute drive. There are various routes to get to the park from Kampala, including the most direct route via the Kampala-Mityana-Mubende-Fort Portal highway (335km, 4-5 hours drive). Other routes include the Mbarara-Ibanda highway (405km) or the Lyantonde-Ibanda highway (392km) from the south, and from Queen Elizabeth National Park via the Kasese-Fort Portal highway (76km, 2 hours drive).
In addition to road transport, Kibale Forest National Park can also be accessed by air transport. The park has close access to two airstrips, Nyakisharara near Mbarara (100km to the park) and Kasese airstrip (76km). This means that visitors can fly to either Kasese or Mbarara and then drive to Kibale Forest National Park for chimpanzee trekking or chimpanzee habituation experience on the same day.
Kibale Forest National Park offers a range of accommodation options suitable for visitors participating in various activities in the forest. Whether you are looking for luxury, midrange, or budget lodgings, the park has something for you. If you prefer to stay in Fort Portal town, you can choose from accommodations such as Rwenzori View Guest House or Fort Motel, which are only a 30-45 minute drive from the starting point of chimpanzee and habituation treks in Kibale Forest. For luxury lodgings, Papaya Lake Lodge, Ndali Lodge, Kyaninga Lodge, and Crater Safari Lodge are excellent options. If you prefer midrange options, consider Kibale Forest Camp, Primate Lodge, or Tree Tops Lodge. Budget options and camping options include Chimpanzee Forest Guest House, Kibale Homestay, Kibale Guest Cottages, and Isunga Lodge. These lodges offer comfortable and standard facilities for your stay in the park. For a tailor-made trip that includes the best accommodations for your visit to Kibale Forest National Park, contact Trek Africa Expeditions.