Chimpanzee Habituation simply means getting the chimpanzee’s used to the presence of humans. To do this, you need to put your morning person suit on, (get comfortable clothes, good steady boots and a rain jacket). Grab your packed lunch, snacks and water, then get down to business at the briefing point! Don’t forget to pack the camera and extra batteries to capture the moments.
The chimpanzee habituation experience is more rewarding when done in Kibale National Park ‘home of the primates’ with a record of highest density of about 1500 individuals. This experience is limited to 4 people and a permit costs 200 USD per person for the full day activity. There are three habituated communities in Kibale Forest, two for research and one for visitors. There is a new Chimpanzee Habituation Group called Buraiga priced at 100 USD per person because it’s in its early stages and the chimps are wild and constantly keep moving. These permits are booked with either your booking agent or directly through the Uganda Wildlife Authority. While this experience can be done all year round, the best months to participate in habitation are March, April, May and November when there is less tourist activity in the forest.
This day will start as early as 06:00am, before dawn breaks in order to watch the Chimpanzee Community de-nest, the thrill of watching them get out of the nests they built for the night will be worthwhile. You will be joining the Kibale Forest Trackers, Ranger Guides and Researchers as they go out all day in the footsteps of one chimpanzee community they are habituating. Get to be a part of this 2-year experience learning about the chimpanzees’ way of life and learn more about the other 12 different species, habitants of the forest.
You will get to learn about the chimpanzee communities, usually composed of family groups of three to six individuals, totaling about 50 -100 individuals. Hierarchies are formed by the adult males of the community, which is led by one alpha male. Adolescent females may move freely between communities, although territory is strictly patrolled and conflicts can occur between neighbors. Identification of the individuals basing on features, markings, sometimes scars and other unique features that make them stand apart from rest is done.
Chimpanzees are omnivores in nature, you will witness their feeding on a wide variety fruit and leaves, flowers, bark, nuts, seeds. Chimpanzees also hunt antelope’s and other primates like monkeys for meat. Chimpanzee from time to time are known to use tools that include grass stems, sticks and twigs poking them into termite or ant nests and eating the insects that cling to them. They also use rocks to break nuts.
During the habituation, communication patterns are studied. Get to know how chimpanzees communicate with one another using a complex system of vocalizations, body language, human-like facial expressions, and hand gestures. A chimpanzee grooming session is not to be missed as it’s a daily chore for these individuals, removing pieces of debris from soil and vegetation and dried skin from their bodies. The grooming act helps reduce stress and remove parasites from their bodies as well.
At the end of the day around 6:30pm, you will be exhausted and the Chimpanzees’ will be winding up their day as well. Get to witness the building of new nests for the night. After this experiential, educational and enjoyable day, you will return to your place of overnight stay.
To book your Primate Safari, contact Travelers Link Africa on firstname.lastname@example.org