Chimpanzee Habituation In kibale Forest National Park

Kibale forest national park is situated in the western part of Uganda in Kabarole district near the town of fort portal. The park is one of also hosts one of the moist and evergreen rain-forests in East Africa covering an area of about 766 Sq. km. It also has a diverse array of landscapes because it is situated on an average elevation of 5200ft above sea level and it is one of the remaining forests, which is both lowland and Montane.

The park was established in 1993 with the aim of protecting the large forest previously managed as a logged forest reserve. The park is currently well known for its diverse attractions and activities like the commonly known chimps, monkeys, baboons, birds, butterflies, other resident mammal species and the diverse vegetation cover of the area with numerous tree species. Kibale forest national park is also known as the primate capital of East Africa because it hosts the majority of primate species more than any other park in East Africa, including the endangered chimpanzees, red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey which is one of the vulnerable monkeys in the world.

In total, Kibale forest national park shelters up to 13 different primate species making it to be the best desitination for primates safaris in East Africa. Kibale has primates such as Uganda Mangabey, Uganda red colobus and the L’Hoest’s monkey, over 1500 chimpanzees , with most of them well habituated for trekking and habituation by visitors, 1,325 bird species and some of the other mammals that call Kibale national park home .

Being the best destination for chimpanzee tracking in the whole of east Africa, it has numerous chimp troops / families which are open for tracking all year through, Kanyanchu is the pioneer place for the trekking activity that started way back in 1993 up to date and of course the chances of seeing the chimps are excellent.

Guided walks in the national park for chimpanzee tracking start at 8am and 2pm for morning & afternoon programs respectively, and lasts for at least 3 hours while other chimps are being studied and habituated to associate with people so that it can offer easy viewing for the visitors and detailed encounter with to examine the day to day life and get acquainted with them; the activity is referred to as Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) and normally takes a whole day of exclusive examination of chimpanzees’ habitats and way of life.

The habituation experience is an experience of spending the whole day with the chimps in their natural habitat, observing their daily activities and behaviors. The habituation experience starts by the evening before the day for the experience starting with going to see where the chimps are setting and building their nests the night before. This means it’s advisable for one to take early breakfast and some packed lunch then off before dawn breaks in to the forest with a ranger guide to the chimps’ community that is going to be habituated for the entire day. This experience is so interesting for early visits to the chimps nests because one will witness the chimps leaving their overnight nests from 6am, before feeding, breastfeeding, copulating, hunting, resting, patrolling up to 7pm when they start to build new nests for that night, of course the day ends when the chimps climb in to their newly built nests for the evening as you head back to your lodging.

The best recommended months for this wonderful experience of fun and adventure with the closest relatives to human beings are March, April, May, and November when there is no congestion offering a small group closer contact with the chimps.