Gorilla & Chimpanzee Habituation Experiences Uganda

Posted by Crooked Compass

The opportunity to be in such close proximity and experience gorillas & chimpanzees in the wild, is one of the draw cards for travellers to Uganda. There are fewer than 900 mountain gorillas in existence making the opportunity to  learn more about these gentle, mysterious primates first hand and only metres away from you, an even more important education piece on their longevity through conservation.

Photo Credit: Bwindi Impenertrable National Park.

Instead of the regular Gorilla trekking experience, there is now a new way to experience these primates and make more of a difference to their future. Introducing the Gorilla and Chimpanzee Habituation Experience.

Gorilla Habituation Experience

Wondering what the gorilla habituation experience is all about? In a nutshell, it is training wild gorillas to make them familiar with human presence before they are declared free for trekking. Gorilla training is an everyday venture which is undertaken by rangers, conservationists and gorilla doctors who must visit a gorilla family undergoing training for up to 3 years. As part of this process, travellers have the opportunity to witness and take part in this process. It’s the most intimate way to meet, see, interact face to face and enjoy the human like characters of mountain gorillas, which make them exceptional creatures.

Photo Credit: Bwindi Impenertrable National Park.

The opportunity to spend roughly half a day (four hours) in the presence of the critically endangered mountain gorillas takes place in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. You must travel to a location called Rushaga as this is the only sector that gorilla training takes place. The gorilla habituation experience is the best way to meet and spend ample time with critically endangered mountain gorillas. This really is a personal experience as a maximum of 4 people per group inclusive of the researchers and guides are permitted to go see the gorilla family. What a privilege.

Photo Credit: Bwindi Impenertrable National Park.

Travellers are reminded to be extra careful to ensure safety in the presence of wild gorillas and must follow all trekking rules and guidelines like keeping a seven-metre distance, keeping calm and staying within your groups are all highly emphasised. Do not mistake habituation with gorilla trekking, the experience is a different journey. It’s an experience of its own kind - especially with such key personnel escorting you!

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Like our Gorilla Habituation program, the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is run on a similar premise. There are around 5000 chimpanzees recorded to live in Uganda and about 1500 of these live in the Kibale National Park. This park found in the district of Kabarole is the only place in Uganda where Chimpanzee Habituation takes place.

Photo Credit: Eric Heininger (Unsplash)

 

A typical habituation experience begins in the hours at dawn between 6am and 6:30am. Like the gorilla habituation experience, only a maximum of 4 people per group inclusive of the researchers and guides are permitted to encounter these chimps. You are then taken to see the location where the primates built their nests the previous night, and if you are lucky you are sure to find them just getting up. Other activities you will see them taking part in are feeding patrolling, copulating, breastfeeding the little ones, hunting, resting and building new nests.

Photo Credit: Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzee habituation is not the only activity you can experience in this region, Kibale National Park is not only rich in primates but other wildlife as well. There are 12 primate species in the park - the Central African Monkey, Black and White Colobus Monkey, Blue Monkey, L’Hoest’s Monkey and the Ugandan Red Colobus Monkey just to name a few. There are mammals that include the Red and Blue Duikers, Sitatungas, Giant Forest Hogs, Bushbucks, Bush pigs, African Buffalo and Common Warthogs. There are carnivores like lions, African Golden Cats, Leopards, Mongooses and two types of otters. And if all of that is not enough then there prolific birdlife in the park with over 325 sited bird species like the Ground Thrush that is endemic to Kibale National Park, the Western Tinkerbird, the African Grey parrot and the Olive long-tailed Cuckoo among others. Did we mention there are also elephants!

Photo Credit: Kibale Forest National Park.

Looking to add these exclusive experiences to your travel plans for 2020? If you would like to make this experience yours then contact us today, our Tours By Design team are ready to create your bespoke journey. Check out our small group tour to Africa here.