kibale forest Park

If you have been looking for the perfect place to see chimpanzees in the world, the tropical rainforest of Kibale Forest National Park is a place to go. Kibale Forest National Park is situated in Kabarole district in the western side of Uganda covering a total area of 321 sq. km. The national park comprises of tropical rainforest which a home to 120 mammals, 370 bird species, and 13 primates. 

Observing chimpanzees is the most done activity in Kibale Forest National Park and has attracted thousands of tourists from different corners of the world. The park has the highest population of chimpanzees in the whole world. It also hosts other 12 primate species which are the olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Uganda mangabeys, grey checked mangabeys, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, galagoes,potto, sooty mangabey and Uganda red colobus and much more.

The chimpanzee trekking experience in Kibale Forest 

The primate walk in Kibale Forest National Park starts very early in the morning with breakfast and trekkers for the day move to Kanyanchu Visitor’s Centre. This is where trekkers gather for a briefing from the rangers which is about the rules and regulations of the activity. After the briefing is done, trekkers are grouped and given armed ranger guides who will lead them throughout the hike. 

Trekkers and armed ranger guides drive to the starting points of the trails which are inside the Kibale forest. Here they do a small briefing with their armed ranger guides and the search for endangered chimpanzees begins. Searching for chimpanzees goes through different trekking trails with armed ranger guides making sure that the trekkers are safe.

When searching, the armed ranger guides look for where these primates could have passed or left food. There is always communication between the rangers to know where the chimpanzees could be. Searching goes through different vegetation covers that are homes to birds and animals of the park and trekkers have a chance to see wildlife that lives there.

After several hours of moving up and down the Kibale Forest National Park searching for chimpanzees, they are finally spotted. When spotted, the armed ranger guides allow trekkers to be around them for 1 hour which comes with an opportunity to study their habits, see them carry out daily activities, take photos, and record videos.

After getting done with the chimpanzees, trekkers still follow the rules and regulations taught as they move away from the group. Trekking out of the jingles comes opportunities like seeing the monkeys, olive baboons, mammals, and primates that have been recorded in the park. 

What is the cost of chimpanzee tracking permits in Kibale Forest

For any tourists to track chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park, they must obtain a chimpanzee tracking permit which is bought from Uganda Wildlife Authority. A chimpanzee tracking permit costs $250 for foreign non-residents, $200 for foreign residents, and UGX180,000 citizens of East African Member States. The rates include guide fees, entrance fees, and nature walks on the day of tracking.

There are not so many chimpanzee tracking permits in Kibale Forest National Park and therefore tourists who have decided to visit Kibale Forest National Park and spend some time with close relatives to human beings are advised to book 3 to 4 months in advance. This is advised to avoid last-minute disappointments.

How many chimpanzee trekking permits are available in Kibale Forest

There are currently 72 trekking permits in Kibale Forest National Park on a day. some of these permits are used in the morning and the other are used by afternoon trekkers. The number of permits is few compared to the number of trekkers so travelers who have decided to go chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park are advised to make early bookings (at least 3 to 4 months in advance) especially those coming in the high season of June to September and December to February. 

When to go chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park is done throughout the year however June to September and December to February are the best times to go. It’s during the driest months that Kibale Forest National Park receives little rainfall and plenty of sunshine. The trekking trails are dry and it becomes easy for tourists to walk through while the vegetation is short with good views of the chimps.

Tourists can still use the rainy season to visit Kibale Forest National Park and get discounted tour packages since lodges reduce prices. The rainy season in March to May and October to November is however characterized by too much rainfall so tourists should expect heavy rainfall at any time of the day. 

Tourists can still use the rainy season to visit Kibale Forest National Park from March to May and October to November. These are rainy months which means that there are high chances of rainfall while you are in the park which might spoil the activity. The trekking trails will be mussy and slippery and if vegetation is tall you will have unclear views of the chimpanzees. 

Getting to Kibale Forest for chimpanzee trekking

The most convenient way tourists can get to Kibale Forest National Park for chimpanzee trekking is by use of road transport. It’s a 6 to 7-hour journey full of great views along to way from Entebbe/Kampala to Kibale Forest National Park. From Entebbe, tourists pass via Kampala, Mityana, Mubende, Kyegegwa, Kyenjonjo, and Fort Portal where they drive south to the park. 

Where to stay on a chimpanzee trekking safari in Kibale Forest

Chimpanzee trekking is best done in the morning hours in Kibale Forest National Park and tourists who come far from places need to spend a night before the trekking date. There are lots of lodges mid-range, budget, and luxury in Kibale where tourists can stay before or after trekking. Turaco treetops, Chimpundu Lodge, Isunga Lodge, Crater Safari Lodge, Ndali Lodge, and Primate Lodge to mention but a few.