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Kibale National Park
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Uganda Kibale Forest National Park: Guided Hiking Day Tour from Kampala
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Kasese
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: This park features one of the most diverse primate populations found anywhere.
Reviewed February 7, 2013

This park holds the biggest community of chimps in the world. the Disney film Chimps has been recorded here.
To walk among these human like creatures is an amazing experience, please if you come to Uganda visit these beautiful animals.
The shouting, relaxing, feeding it's al amazing. Just to be among a family and seeing old and young living together is amazing.

2  Thank Bram L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 5, 2013

We did an afternoon tracking.

Whilst most itineraries put you through in the morning our safari operator (the superb Nkuringo Walking Safaris) told us that this was due to the convenience of safari itineraries rather than it being the best time to track chimps in Kibale.

In the morning the chimps are usually high in the trees feeding. He said in the afternoon they MIGHT be on the forest floor.

And my goodness that piece of advice paid off. Within minutes the sound of chimp activity filled the forest. There is no sound quite like it.

Then the range of behaviour we saw was way beyond my expectation - climbing up and down trees, a male on the floor charging another male, some grooming on the floor, some lying around on the floor posing, some up the trees eating.

Absolutely superb, great photos at really close quarters. Was better than I expected.

1  Thank Waddler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2013

Kibale forest is the place to track the chimpansees,the forest is beautifull and you got to see a lot of primates.When you go for a morning walk on your own stay along the road you will see grey cheecked mangabee,red tail,vervet and off course baboons.
Also guided night walk and swamp can be organized so a lot to do and see

Thank mimiton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2012

For this review I am going to focus solely on Chimp Habituation, one of several guided activities offered by the rangers in Kibale National Park.

Last year, we participated in Chimp Trekking in Kibale during our visit. As most are familiar, this experience is limited to one hour. You meet with your guide/ranger at the ranger station and get put into groups with the other trekkers and proceed into the forest to the last known location of the chimps and watch them for one hour once found, leaving the chimps almost as quickly as you found them. Chimp habituation works in a similar fashion EXCEPT it starts at the crack of dawn and can run the entire duration of the day.

Our experience was as follows:

We arrived at the ranger station at 6:00 am for a short briefing and orientation. We soon began hiking into the forest to the last known location of the chimps. We were told what to look and listen for as we proceeded by torchlight into the dark forest. Our guide told us that the chimps should begin calling, to let their presence and location be known to the other chimps in the group. It wasn't long before we heard our first chimps. We cut through the forest and were soon upon a small group of 4 or 5 individuals. We watched them interact for a very short time when one of the male chimps bit a female. The female began screaming in pain and took off, followed by the male and the female's young child, both of whom were also wailing in the predawn light. They travelled a few hundred meters before coming upon another small group of chimps and ascended into the treetops to begin feeding. For the next couple of hours we would watch the chimps gingerly move throughout the canopy feeding on the various fruits and nuts, descend and move to a new area/tree as we pursued.

This group of chimps that we were following is part of the much larger habituated group in Kibale totally around 120 individuals. The chimps remain in much smaller groups most of the time, for among other things, competition for food.

At around 9:30 or 10, we began to hear human voices. It was the trekkers who were coming for their 1 hour experience. This was really interesting for us. Having followed the chimps for the past 3+ hours, we had already witnessed a wide range of activities and had many close up experiences with the chimps. When the trekkers got there, the chimps were high in the canopy, obscured by the thick foliage. The trekkers strained to get any glimpses of the chimps they could. Finally, towards the end of their hour, the chimps descended and allowed some ground viewing by the trekkers before they had to depart.

Although their hour was up, we still had plenty of our habituation experience remaining! Throughout the remainder of the day, we watched chimps grooming, adults napping, infants playing and jockeying for attention, chimps drinking from rain puddles and in one case a chimp even using leaves to dip into a tree hollow and repeatedly soak up water and drink. We observed distant groups of chimps calling, come together with the chimps we were with at the moment, interact and disperse, allowing us to opportunity to observe/follow an ever increasing variety of individual chimps. Aside from what we were able to witness and observe firsthand, our guide did a wonderful job of explaining chimp behavior. Filling in the gaps between what we saw and what is known about chimp life.

Towards 5:00 pm, with exhaustion setting in, we decided that we had had our fill and were ready to call it a day. We watched the group of chimps we were with for a last few minutes as they descended a fig tree and moved off into the opposite direction that we needed to head. It was the cherry on top of the ice cream watching the chimps disappear into the forest. What a fantastic experience.

Now having done both the Chimp Trekking last year and the Chimp Habituation this year, it is our humble opinion that the only proper way to see the chimps is the Habituation. As described above, your hour with the chimps during the trek is limited to exactly what the chimps are doing for that one hour. If they decide to stay in the trees, so be it and you are left with minimal viewing opportunities. The Chimp Habituation in the grand scheme of things isn't that much more money and considering you get what you pay for, the extra money is well worth it in terms of the experience. Also, with the Habituation, although you can stay with the chimps from sun up to sun down, you are not required to do so. If you go out and get your fill after 3 hours, you can call it a day. But if after 1 hour or even 3 you don't feel that you have properly 'seen' the chimps, you can stay! That's the best part! Plus the variety of daily activities you get to see the chimps engage in is so gratifying with the Habituation---something you just do not get with the one hour Trek.

Finally the nitty gritty: We all had a day pack which contained: rain gear, camera equipment, torches/batteries, bug spray, snacks (peanuts, almonds and cashews), a packed lunch (ham and cheese sandwich, boiled egg, juice box, banana) and water (4 bottles each--300ml/10oz).

We also wore rubber boots (the same kind you see 99% of the rangers/guides wearing) that we had brought from home. We actually wore them for our gorilla hike, the Bigodi Swamp walk, the chimp trek we would do later in Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls and the Rhino Trek at Ziwa. If room allows, these are a purchase well worth the $20. Not only do they keep you from worrying about stepping in mud, elephant dung and ease crossing small streams, they help keep any safari ants off or at least they are easier to detect on your boots. Plus if you pick up too many souvenirs along the way, they can easily be 'gifted' to a guide or ranger as part of your tip or just as a nice gesture.

13  Thank boystownboys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2012

We did 2 trackings / treks for the chimps and ended-up with nice sightings of them. The first one in the afternoon, revealed to be very strenuous as the chimps were far away, not calling and our tracker made an enormous effort to manage to find them after a 3 hours and a half of a very physical trek (up and down all the way). The reward was to see closely 2 chimpanzes. The next day, in the morning, after only 7 minutes walking, we got close to a huge fig tree where we directly saw a big group of chimpanzees. They decided to stay on the tree so no close-ups but were able to observe them for a while doing all sort of things so a very nice experience all in all.
If you are into photography, I would recommend to do the morning trek, since the light is much better (in the afternoon if you are lucky and find them quickly it's OK but otherwise the light might get lesser and lesser if you don't find them quickly enough).
Besides the chimps, being in this very nice forest is also a truly enjoyable experience and your guide might teach you interesting things on birdlife, primates, insects or plants.

1  Thank jboule
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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