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Ways to Experience Kibale National Park
Reviews (212)
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All reviews chimp tracking small group close quarters packed lunch walkie talkie nature walk after hours close proximity within feet long trek taking photos bring water climbing trees human presence long trousers beautiful forest nice park
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Reviewed September 22, 2018

Our family of four loved trekking with the chimpanzees. One warning: make sure you know the possible limitations of the “habituation” trek vs. the regular trek. We were not adequately briefed (by our tour agency at home) about the differences between these treks and had assumed that the habituation trek would be the best way to maximize the possibility of having a better quality experience with the chimps. In fact, as explained to us on the ground by a few sources, precisely the opposite is true. When you go on the “habituation” trek, you are trekking after a family of chimps who are not yet used to human contact. Thus, the chimps are much more prone to being more skittish, less relaxed, and on the move. We were also told that the likelihood of seeing any chimps at all drops dramatically when you are on the habituation trek. Apparently, in the past, if you were on the habituation tour and did not encounter chimps, the guide would try to take you to a family that is already habituated. However, in order to limit contact, they have discontinued this practice. As a result of this advice, we changed our reservation to the regular trek the night before. We were so glad we did. We had almost 90 minutes of time with a large family of chimps that were mostly on the ground and close by which made for some fantastic sightings. We recommend that, if you only have one day, and you want to maximize the chances you will encounter chimps up close, go on the regular trek. We enjoyed it so much that we wished we had another day to do it. Note that, while the terrain is mostly flat, once you do find the chimps, you are going through some pretty heavy foliage in hot and humid conditions. Make sure to cover up as much skin as possible.
After the chimp trek, we did what they call the “swamp tour” which is a 90-minute walk with a member of the local community around a natural wetlands area. We enjoyed this as we did see a lot of bird life and about a half dozen different species of monkeys that we did not see anywhere else.

Date of experience: July 2018
2  Thank TravelhoundPortland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2018 via mobile

One of the most beautiful forests that we visited in Uganda! Great birding destination. Also, THE best place for chimpanzee tracking and we saw these wild, wonderful creatures 2 days in a row. So much wildlife in the park’s assorted habitats. Knowledgeable rangers safely guided us on our hikes and we even came across seldom seen bush elephants!

Date of experience: August 2018
Thank rrheard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2018

We trekked the chimps in August 2018 with Elliot as our guide. Unfortunately after 5 hours of hard trekking through the jungle we were unable to find the chimps. Happily Elliot was able to take us to spend 1 hr with the habituated chimps instead.

Although we were very happy with the experience we have (and it’s well run) if your main goal is taking photos of the chimps the habituated group might be a better choice as they are less skittish. If your main goal is to see how chimps behave in the wild and you enjoy seeing the forest this is a great choice.

We did have one person in our group who was very unpleasant. Please do not sign up for this experience if: 1) you think it is a zoo and you will see the chimps immediately. This is nature and sometimes the chimps hide! 2) you are not prepared for rain, 3) you are not prepared for a long trek. Be in decent shape for a fast trek through the thick jungle. Bring water and a packed lunch.

Date of experience: August 2018
3  Thank Emily C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2018

Kibale is a beautiful forest with 13 species of primates. As we are very keen wildlife enthusiasts, our travel agent had booked us the habituation experience. My focus in Uganda was the gorillas and I did not know what to expect from the chimps.
For starters, the hiking is considerably easier than for the gorillas. The terrain is mildly undulating and the vegetation far less dense. I had a heavy camera and had the help of a porter, which made things easier even though the terrain was less demanding. The tracking experience is also entirely different from gorillas, and for the unprepared, can be somewhat frustrating. We found the chimps fairly quickly in the morning although they were up on the trees, not allowing good photographs. When they came down after an hour or so, we only caught glimpses of dark fur but they moved very quickly and were soon lost. We were unable to pick up their trail again. As the chimps move through the trees, the trackers often need to wait for their calls before being able to even move in the right direction. We were told that in the dry season, when food is scarce, sub-groups who find food tend to stay quiet and not advertise their find. This means a lot of waiting around in the forest. This was not really explained before the habituation experience was chosen. While I amused myself with butterflies and colobus, it was clear that other members of the group were getting restless and there was some aimless stomping around just to keep moving. Kibale is rich in birdlife and we heard many birds, which our guide easily identified, but none could be seen as they were too high up in the canopy. We were not able to find the chimpanzees for the rest of the day so this experience is only for those who like being in the forest per se, without expecting a big payoff.
We did not do regular chimp tracking in Kibale but in Kyambura, which was wonderful.

Date of experience: July 2018
2  Thank Chandralekha G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2018

This was an amazing experience! My 80 year old mother and I traveled to Uganda to trek Gorilla's and chimps. We trekked chimps in both Queen Elizabeth National Park and in Kibale National Park. Kibale was by far the better trekking experience. We rented a car and off we went without a guide. The rental SUV was horrible, but the country was reasonably easy to get around on your own. I would not pay the high priced safari companies to do this. You can do it relatively inexpensively on your own.

Date of experience: July 2018
1  Thank Cperoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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