Chimpanzees share 98% of human genes making them our closest living relatives. They are found in 21 countries throughout Africa, but are most easily sighted in Uganda due to their dense populations. Kibale Forest is especially good for tracking trips, but chimps can also be seen in the Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth NP and in Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls NP.
Tracking in Kibale Forest N.P.
Chimpanzee tracking experiences are excellent thanks to several well maintained walking trails and a large number of resident chimp families in the forest. There is also a wonderfully diverse concentration of other primates (more than any other forest in East Africa, in fact), including: red colobus, red-tailed guenon, white-nosed monkey, gray-cheeked mangabey, blue monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, and the black and white colobus monkey. In addition, you may see olive baboons, bush babies and nocturnal pottos.
Kibale’s most popular activity is the Kanyanchu Primate Walk. Thirteen species can be sought, and a good variety of diurnal monkeys invariably encountered, but the stars of this trail are the chimpanzees. Kanyanchu’s chimps have been tracked since 1993 and the chances of locating them are excellent. Guided walks start at 8am and 2pm and last an average of three hours, depending on various factors.
The perennially popular primate walk provides the chance to observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Kanyanchu’s groups are accustomed to human presence – some have been observed for over 25 years – and the chance of locating them is over 90%. Walks leave Kanyanchu Visitor Centre at 08.00, 11.00 and 14.00 and last between 2-5 hours. Early arrival to allow for registration and briefing is recommended. Contact time with chimpanzees is limited to one hour; group size is limited to six visitors; participants must be aged 16 or over. Advance booking is essential.
CHIMPANZEE HABITUATION EXPERIENCE
The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) enables visitors to accompany researchers and habituators into the forest. The chimpanzee groups involved are less accustomed to human presence than those visited on the Primate Walk and following and viewing them is both exciting and challenging.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) is available on a full or half day basis starting and advance booking for this activity is required. Early visitors can 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.
Various local tour operators that have been acredited by government are available to provide services including Chimpanzee Habituation Experience booking in order to ensure that you get a your slot at the appropirate time
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