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Kibale National Park (Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda)

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One of the animals that captivates me the most are the monkeys. Wherever I go, they always surprise me and I have a great time watching them. For this, our visit to chimpanzees in Uganda, more specifically inKibale National ParkIt was really special. Although we saw things that I did not like in my view, this did not dispel the feeling experienced with chimpanzees. A really amazing animal and which is very close to what we human beings are today.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park, visiting chimpanzees in Uganda

Uganda is not only famous for the Gorillas and the moon tabs. This small country houses a collection of animals as wonderful as lions, African elephants, hippos, buffalos, giraffes and rhinos (in small quantities), cheetahs, hyenas, leopards and of course, the friendly chimpanzees. A wealth that not many countries could boast about it.

By far, the best place to visit chimpanzees is the Kibale National Park, famous for various internal wars between different clans of Chimpances where cannibalism is not lacking. Something that closely resembles humans (wars), while other breeds of monkeys, such as baboons, blue monkeys and other species in the region, come with some disbelief.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

Even so, these internal disputes are located in the areas where the human being usually does not have access, therefore the visit to the park is certainly safe. This does not imply that for security reasons you have to visit with a guide and this must be properly armed, usually with an AK-47. Of course, this weapon is not precisely by the Chimpances, although eye, some saints are not ... The weapons are used in case of crossing with tree elephants or buffalo, a danger if he gets angry.

Kibale National Park Facts

Kibale National Park has about 1400 chimpanzees, in addition to a multitude of monkey races. It is the national park of Uganda with more variety of primates. This makes it very visited, but of course, if we check the list of visitors, we will see that this does not usually exceed 3000 visitors a year. Not very large if we compare it with other national parks in Kenya or Tanzania.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

The national park has 2 accommodation options. One in a luxury hotel format and another through a tent. Both options include the cost of admission to the park, which are about 40$. If we do not stay, we will have to pay at the entrance. Once there, the guide is reserved in the visitor center, which is included with the ticket. This guide covers a group of around 6/10 people, which is communicated by walkie-talkie with other guides and in this way locate chimpanzee groups faster.

The best time to visit chimpanzees is first thing in the morning. Time when they go down to the floor for breakfast and collect some food for the babies left up (up to five years).

Free route through Kibale National Park

It is not impossible but it is not advisable either. But by power you can. Finding a chimpanzee without a guide is not impossible, in fact at the right time it is simple. What does not guarantee you is your safety nor that you do not get lost. Losing yourself in this forest is extremely easy and that is why it is very important to carry a GPS, since orienting yourself with the sun is not easy given the altitude and lushness of the forest.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

We did it, we enjoyed it a lot, we saw several groups of monkeys and even a chimpanzee that ran next to us just one meter away, fleeing from a group of people who were not far from us. In any case, I do not advise. We recklessly ignored the problem of buffalo and elephants, which they told us the next morning.

Guided tour of Kibale National Park

It's 8 in the morning and we show up at the visitor center of Kibali National Park. Once we registered, we were introduced to a room where there are about 20 more people. In it they show us an introductory video of the park, where the safety rules to be complied with and everything we should not do in order to preserve the life of chimpanzees are discussed.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

We are placed in a group of 6 people, guided by a woman and her AK-47 under the right shoulder. With her a pretty young boy in practice. Both remind us that we should not litter, do not look chimpanzees in the face, do not shit / piss unless you bury it 30cm since it affects their territorial habitat, stay still if a chimpanzee approaches, do not imitate them, no Feed them and of course not shoot with flash. Of all this, what surprised me the most is not being able to enter the sick park, since the animals could detect it and thus be subject to an attack.


We start from the visitor center and enter fully into the forest. The adrenaline runs through our veins, but although it is true, a day before we had already seen our first chimpanzee.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

The route is simple, with little slope and the landscape is splendid. We feel like Tarzan in the jungle, while our guide looks with lynx eyes tree by tree in search of the king of the jungle.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

We do not take long to find them, we are totally at breakfast time and this is never forgiven. The first ones we saw were high, very difficult to capture without binoculars or a telephoto lens.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

The next ones we saw were already on the ground, having a feast while sitting on a tree trunk. These apparently did not flinch, even though a group of curious people was watching them from a distance. However, over time they ended up bothering and decided to put feet in dusty.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

After 10 minutes we saw a second group of chimpanzees, the same size and age similar. We knew that these were already adults because of the color of their skin, more black than brown. Something common when passing 15 years of age.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

Other younger boys, were several tens of meters above, eating some fruits that for the human being are almost inedible of how acidic they are and that can make anyone who eats them drunk !! In addition, you had to keep an eye and not be placed just below. Many times I gave them a piss and zás!


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

The route despite being around 2 hours, goes a long way and it is almost certain that a chimpanzee is found. If you have to put a black dot to the activity is that certain tourists do not respect the safety distances when taking photographs. All for not pulling the camera zoom or why there are still people who pull mobile phones in places where they certainly don't make sense.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

Practical data

Before leaving for Uganda

  • Search and compare flights at the best price
  • Lonely Planet Guide
  • Airport Transfers
  • Car rental found a 15% discount

How much does it cost to visit chimpanzees in Uganda?

Entry costs 40$ and includes the guided tour. This can be paid by credit card.

What is the best time to visit chimpanzees?

Ideally, visit it in the dry season, from December to February and from June to September.

How to get there Kibale National Park

It is normal to arrive by rental car or by a car with a driver. It can also be reached by public transport from Fort Portal, asking to be stopped at the entrance of the park. These are usually mini buses that run along the highway ofKamwenge.

Where to sleep in Kibale

If our option does not go through a tent, nor is it a matter of paying high prices, it is best to find a hotel in the crater lakes region, less than 10 kilometers from Kibale.

  • Ecolodge Uganda Campsite: located in the crater of Kifuruka. A modest campsite at a tight price and very well located to see the crater lakes.
  • Rweteera Safari Lodge: cabins in the crater lakes area. Economic.
  • Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse: hotel with breakfast. Rooms clean and generally comfortable.

What to take to Kibale National Park

There are several things to keep in mind in this place and most of it has to do with photography:

  • Telephoto lens not less than 300mm if we want to photograph monkeys at the top of the trees
  • Luminous targets The forest is dark and requires using a high ISO
  • Binoculars
  • Anti mosquitoes
  • Boots, never flip flops
  • Wear long sleeves if possible
  • Bring water. There is no drinking water on the trails

Places near Kibale National park

Very close to Kibale National park is crater lakes. A region of ancient volcanic activity and where today its extinct craters are covered with fresh water.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

Recommended for hiking trails of little difficulty as well as a good place to stay and escape the hustle and bustle of Fort Portal.


Visiting chimpanzees in Uganda, Kibale National Park

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is more than mandatory. Africa is a very special continent and one should not play it. We recommend the Intermundial.


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