Chimpanzee habituation in Uganda

Chimpanzee habituation in Uganda  : Uganda is unique in its ability to combine a huge diversity of wildlife and safari experiences along a single itinerary. Chimpanzee habituate tracking in Uganda is one of the most remarkable wildlife experiences available on the continent. Kibale forest national park is one of the few places where tourists can do both the chimpanzee trekking and the Chimpanzee habituation experiences. Kibale national park is also a home to 138 species of birds, 250 tree species and 60 species of forest wildlife including forest elephants, bushbucks, warthogs, giant forest hogs and buffaloes. Kibale national park is a unique spectacular place and one of the only outstanding areas in Africa harboring both ever green montane forests together with tropical rainforest. Chimpanzees trekking in Kibale forest offer great opportunities for visitors to enjoy other activities like birdwatching, nature walk and an opportunity to spot the forest animals available in the park.

Chimpanzee habituation refers to the process of allowing wild Chimpanzee get used or accustomed to human presence around them through, prolonged/continuous and sustained visits led by experienced researchers and park guides/wardens. Thus this involves making chimpanzees used to human beings around them when they are visited. This habituation process takes about 2 years for the whole process. Chimpanzee habituation process enables visitors to spend the whole day with the chimpanzees. This activity is a limit to only 6 people per day for a particular chimpanzee community and this depends entirely on which place you go tracking in Uganda. Chimpanzee habituation experience starts in the morning with briefing from a guide. Visitors cannot go out to the forest by themselves and must be led by armed park guides or rangers, these rangers know where to find the chimpanzee communities by following clues left behind. Habituated chimpanzee can identify the familiar faces of the guides which make them reassured. The chimpanzees are more active during the morning session as they head out feeding and hunting. In the afternoon, many of the members are resting and grooming each other as they try to find shelter to avoid the suns heat.

While on Chimpanzee habituation exercise, expect to be escorted by armed rangers/guards. The rangers scare off other wild animals like Buffaloes and elephants that may pose a danger to visitors by shooting in the air. The guides may also start by looking for them around the area that they built their last night nest. The price for chimpanzee habituation experience is only slightly higher than normal chimpanzee habituation experience and hence provides better value for money. Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is more demanding and visitors are involved in all habituation related activities unlike the 4 hour trekking where visitors remain distant. Visitors must wake before the break of dawn to meet the guides and go looking for the chimpanzees before they leave nests. In this way, you will be able to watch them wake

Tracking chimpanzee can go on for hours depending on the season and which park you are going to. However getting their exact location is not difficult like mountain gorillas that are relatively quiet with occasional barks from the dominant male. Chimpanzees are very stubborn, unruly and noisy. Trackers locate them by their hoots and loud barks. Once you locate a group, prepare to continue following them for a long time through hills, dense forest and vegetation – often at high speed. Be careful of falling fruit and urine from the chimpanzees up on trees. The chimpanzees may take a while before descending from the trees and settling down on the ground. Once they are on the ground, you will get several opportunities to take good photos and observe their individual behavior and character well like preparing for the day’s activities like feeding, resting, taking care of their young, protecting their territories and finally building their nests on top of trees and by the end of the day, you will be familiar with all the individuals including their body markings and personalities.

Chimpanzee habituation in Uganda
Chimpanzee habituation in Uganda

The best time to go for chimpanzee habituation is during the hot rainy season despite the mud because during the dry season, chimpanzee like to move deeper into the forests looking for food. During the rainy season, the forests are green and full of fruit reducing the mobility of the chimpanzee communities. Visitors can easily locate them without having to trek for long distance. It is always recommended that visitors book their chimpanzee permits months in advance. Visitors need a minimum of 3 days to have a complete chimpanzee habituation safari.

3 Days Chimpanzee Habituation and Trekking Safari 

This 4 days chimpanzee habituation and trekking safari takes you to Africa’s best chimpanzee experience destination with guaranteed best views of the chimpanzees and other 12 existing primates in the park.


  • Day 1: Transfer to Kibale national park
  • Day 2: Chimpanzee habituation experience
  • Day 3: Day 4: Transfer back to Kampala/Entebbe

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Transfer to Kibale national park – Bigodi swamp walk

Depending on your location in Kampala/Entebbe, you will meet with your safari guide and thereafter embark on your journey to Kabale national park. This park is Africa’s best primates’ destination with about 13 different primates’ species including the chimpanzees. The park is located in the western part of Uganda taking about 5-6 hours’ drive on the road with en-route stop in Fort portal town for your lunch. This drive is exciting with great views of the countryside and the people.

Connect to visit Bigodi swamp, the swamp has been recognised to host about 138 bird species and one can be able to see over 50 birds a day. Several primates can also be spotted in the wetland including the black and white Colobus monkeys, Blue Grey Cheeked, Ververt monkeys, Red Colobus monkeys to mention a few. Thereafter, transfer to your booked lodge for check-in, have dinner and overnight at Kyaninga Lodge/Ndali Lodge/Chimpanzee Guesthouse/Isunga Lodge

Day 2: Chimpanzee habituation experience

Wake up very early, enjoy your breakfast and set off to the park headquarters with your trekking gears, packed lunch and water. Meet with other trekkers and gather for a briefing from the park officials where you will be guided on the expectations. Thereafter in only a group of 6 people and ranger guides/researchers, set off for chimpanzee habituation experience. This is a full day activity were you will visit a semi-habituated chimpanzee group that in the process of habituation. These chimpanzees are usually difficult to find because they keep running away however the researchers will find them and allow you to spend 4 in their presence. Return to meet your safari guide and receiving your certificate and drive back to your lodge; dinner will be serve and overnight stay at lodge above

Chimpanzee habituation in Uganda
Chimpanzee habituation in Uganda

Day 3: Transfer back to Kampala/Departure

After breakfast, check-out of the lodge and embark on your journey back to Kampala/Entebbe. It’s a 5-6 hours’ drive from Kibale national park to Kampala with en-route lunch. You will be dropped off a location you advise in Kampala be dropped at Entebbe airport for your departure flight back home. End of Safari

book a gorilla safari