Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park

Chimpanzee trekking in kibale forest national park: Chimpanzee are known as our closest relatives sharing 99% of their DNA with humans only that they communicate using signs. Chimpanzees live in large groups of up to 100 individuals and sometimes some families have up to 200 individuals. Chimpanzee trekking is the top thing to do in Kibale forest national park and it attracts several tourists especially primate lovers time after time from all over the world to engage in this thrilling experience of spending one hour with the habituated chimpanzees in their natural habitats making Kibale forest national park the best destination for chimpanzee trekking in the entire East African region with over 1500 species of chimpanzees. Kibale forest national park is situated in the western part of Uganda and was established in the year 1995 in order to protect the forest and the wildlife within it especially the chimpanzees that thrill with in Kibale forest. Kibale forest national park is a home to 13 species of primates though chimpanzees are the most common primates with the forest but tourist usually encounter with the other remaining 12 species of primates.

Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park is done in two shifts that is the morning shift and the afternoon shift. Morning chimpanzee trekking starts at 8:00am while the afternoon chimpanzee trekking starts at 12:00pm. Both morning and afternoon chimpanzee trekking starts with the briefing at the Kanyanchu research center where the park headquarters for kibale forest national park are situated. During the briefing, trekkers are well informed about the dos and the don’ts during chimpanzee trekking and all the possible expectations while in the jungle trekking chimpanzees in kibale forest national park.

Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park

After chimpanzee trekking briefing, trekkers are given time to hire porters who are always available to assist in carrying the back packs and assisting trekking during difficult trails. Once porter hiring is done, trekkers start the fascinating adventure of searching for the habituated chimpanzee families amidst security of armed rangers. There are a lot of other wildlife species spotted in kibale forest during chimpanzee trekking and these include other primates such as monkeys, mammals such as elephants, buffaloes, bird species such as forest birds and many more. Chimpanzees are easily spotted by following their loud voices. Trekking chimpanzees in kibale forest requires a particular level of fitness as chimpanzees keep moving in the forest in search of food and trekkers have to keep following them up until they finally stop. Trekkers are then entitled to only one hour with chimpanzees watching them as they feed, mate, breastfeed, and even watch them fight amongst themselves. Take as many photographs as you can and later on return to the lodge for relaxation or engage in any other activity like bigodi nature walk.


Chimpanzee trekking permit in kibale forest national park costs $200 per person for foreign nonresidents, $150 per person for foreign residents and UgX 100000 for Ugandans and other East Africa community members. On the hand, the cost of chimpanzee habituation experience in kibale forest national park costs $250 per person for foreign nonresidents, $200 for foreign residents and UgX. 150,000 for Ugandans and all other east African community members. The good news is that a chimpanzee permit include the park entrance fees and Ranger fees but excludes the porter hire fees.

These chimpanzee trekking /Habituation permits have to be booked in advance either directly from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or through a trusted and registered tour operator like Focus East African Tours to reserve it for you and you pick it at the office upon arrival in Uganda.


Trekking chimpanzees is done all year round but due to different climatic conditions in Uganda, the best months recommended to engage in chimpanzee trekking with in kibale forest national park is during the dry months  of December, January, February, march, June, July, August and September when the trails are dry and passable with minimal vegetation cover. However during the dry season, the park is highly congested with several trekkers unlike the rainy months of April, May, October and November when trekkers are few but with the challenge of muddy trails.


  • The minimum age for chimpanzee trekking is 12 years
  • A group of 6 trekkers is allowed alongside armed rangers
  • One hour is allowed in presence of chimpanzees
  • Trekkers are advised to promptly follow the advice from rangers and guides while in the wild with chimpanzees
  • Littering of the park is prohibited
  • No eating, drinking or drinking close to chimpanzees
  • Use of camera flash light while taking photographs is not allowed
  • Sick people with communicable diseases such as flue and cough are not allowed to trek chimpanzees
  • A social distance of at least 8m is recommended between trekkers and the chimpanzees


The Packing list for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park include;

  • Kibale chimpanzee trekking permit
  • A back pack should be well packed with a camera, a pair of binoculars, insect repellant etc.
  • A hiking stick is obtained at the park on trekking day
  • Pack some snack and enough drinking water on trekking day
  • Hire a porter to assist in carrying the back pack
  • Wear an appropriate gorilla trekking gear such as Long sleeved clothes, garden gloves, appropriate hiking shoes, sun glasses and a cap


By road: Kibale forest national park can be accessed by road from various locations. For instance tourists can get to Kibale forest national park from Kampala which is about 5-6 hours’ drive, 6-7 hours’ drive from Entebbe international airport to Kibale, 2-3 hours’ road drive from Queen Elizabeth national park to Kibale forest national park, 4-5 hours from Semliki national park to Kibale forest national park, it takes about 7-8 hours’ drive from Jinja to Kibale, 7 hours from Lake mburo national park, 8 hours from Lake Bunyonyi, 7-10 hours from Bwindi impenetrable national park depending on the sector among others. This implies that it’s very easy to connect to Kibale forest national park from various locations and also it’s possible to tail a Uganda safari including chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park with Queen Elizabeth wildlife viewing safari, and Bwindi impenetrable national park for gorilla trekking and many more due to its strategic location.

By air: There are also domestic flights from Entebbe international airport or Kajansi airfield to kibale.

Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park

Conclusion: chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park still remains the top activity done in kibale forest national park. Other destinations where Chimpanzee trekking is carried out in Uganda include, Budongo forest, Kaniyo Pabidi, Kyambura gorge, Kalinzu forest, Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary and Semliki national reserve. Apart from Chimpanzee trekking, Kibale forest national park has other several tourist activities which include; Chimpanzee habituation experience that allows 4 hours with chimpanzees after following then for a long period of time, birding with over 375 bird species thrilling in kibale forest national park, guided nature walks in bigodi wetland sanctuary, visiting the crater lakes, visiting Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru caves, and many more.

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