Many tourists interested in primates come to Uganda mainly for the Chimpanzee and Gorilla tracking. However, something new and much more interesting was added on to the list and it is Habituation. This is the process of making wild primates get used to having human beings around and preparing them to be tracked later on. It can be done for both Chimps and Gorillas and it takes close to 3 years to be completed. There are over 4950 Chimpanzees ever recorded to live in Uganda and about 1500 0f these live in the Kibale National Park alone. This parkfound in the district of Kabarole is the only place in Uganda where Chimpanzee Habituation takes place nonetheless, one needs a permit to be accepted to go see these primates. These however differ from those got for Chimpanzee tracking in terms of costs so unlike the $150 paid for Chimp tracking, non-foreign residents pay $220 and the foreign residents pay $150 while the East Africans only pay $70.
This not only allows them just an hour in their presence but a whole day to spend all their time with these chimps. For one to fully enjoy this habituation experience, permit bookings have to be done 3 months prior to the actual day and if be it possible in the months of March to April and November where there is notably less congestion. One other thing to take note of is this experience is not for those feeble at heart.
DAY OF CHIMPANZEE HABITUATION.
On the day you will be going Chimpanzee habituating, you will start off with an early morning breakfast, get your lunch packed and head out to meet your guide that will lead you into the forest. Only a maximum of 4 people per group inclusive of the researchers and guides are permitted to go see these Chimps. You are then taken to see the place where the primates built their nests the previous night. If you are lucky and awoke early, you are sure to find them just getting up. Thus a typical Chimpanzee habituation begins in the hours at dawn between 6-6:30 am.Other activities you will see them taking part in are copulating, breastfeeding for the little ones, feeding, patrolling, hunting, resting and later on at around 7 pm, building new nests where they are to stay during the night.
However, Chimpanzee habituation is not the only activity you should be sure to do on this day because Kibale National Park is not only rich in primates but other things as well. Beside the 12 primate species in the park like the Central African Monkey, the Black and White Colobus Monkey, the Blue Monkey, the L’Hoest’s Monkey and the Ugandan Red Colobus Monkey there are other life groups here like the mammals that include the Red and Blue Duikers, the Sitatungas, the Giant Forest Hogs, the Bushbucks, the Bush pigs, the African Buffalo and Common Warthogs. Carnivores like the two otter species, the lions, African Golden cats, Leopards and different kinds of Mongooses.There is also prolific birdlife in the park with over 325 sited bird species like the Ground Thrush that is endemic to Kibale National Park, the Western Tinker bird, the African Grey parrot and the Olive long-tailed Cuckoo among others. Also present in the park are elephants.
All this gives you more a reason to go for Chimpanzee Habituation because it is an exhilarating, educational and adventurous experience you wouldn’t want to miss out when in Uganda.