Best time for Chimpanzee Trekking Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park also named the World’s primate capital because of the high population of primates in the park chimpanzees being the most dominant. The best time of the year for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park is December to February and June to July. These are the two dry season therefore the driest months and best time for Kibale National Park chimpanzee trekking. The chimpanzee tracking trails are drier making chimpanzee tracking easier and offering a general enjoyable experience.
Best Time: December to February and June to July (least rain)
Generally, June to September is the best time to tour Uganda for other activities for primate tracking like gorilla trekking as well as other activities.
The months of March, April, May, October and November is the low season with high rainfall totals which sees a few tourists visit the park.
The dry season occurs between June to September and December to February which are the driest months of the year and most recommended for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park. During this time the forest is less dense with vegetation and chimpanzees are easily seen. With many expected days of no rainfall there is a high possibility of having a full 1 hour interaction with the chimpanzees without interruption.
For avid birders, if interested in spotting migratory birds then the rainy season of March to May and September to November are the best months to combine chimpanzee trekking with bird watching. However, though chimpanzees do not trek for longer distances during this season, the trails are slippery which makes it hard to trek. Photography may not also be good in case of rain or a cloudy day during your trek.
However, note that Kibale National Park is open year round and chimpanzee trekking is allowed any time of the year.
Kibale National Park popular as a primate habitat (world’s primate capital) especially chimpanzees is located in western Uganda within a moist ever green rain forest. The park covers about 766 square kilometers with a diverse array of landscapes in one of the remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests. Gazetted in 1932, the park was established in 1993 to protect a large area of forest. Today, it is an important eco-tourism and Uganda safari destination popular for its population of habituated chimpanzees and twelve other primate species. The park has some of the highest abundances of primate species in the area.
Kibale National Park is about 314.4km from Entebbe on the fastest route. There are several routes that can be used to reach the park and these can be either from Entebbe International Airport, Kampala-Uganda’s capital or from within the areas of western Uganda.
However, the northern route is shorter and faster with a distance of about 300km on a tarmac road through Fort Portal then 36km from Fort Portal to Kanyanchu in the park. The different routes to the park include, Kampala via Mubende and Fort Portal through Mbarara and Kamwenge and the other route is Kampala via Ibanda to Kamwenge. With the fact that the road to the park is majorly tarmac, it is comfortable to access the park by road.
Kibale National Park can also be accessed by air for tourists who would want to use charter flights. There are airstrips that can be used for landing from Entebbe or Kajjansi airstrip then after connect to the park by road. The two airstrips are Nyakisharara Airstrip in Mbarara (a road drive of 98km to the park) and Kasese airstrip (75km to Fort Portal). There isn’t an airstrip very close to the park which makes reaching the park by air very expensive than by road only.
Kibale National Park Chimpanzee trekking Experience
The most popular activity in Kibale forest is chimpanzee trekking and the Kanyanchu primate walk. Chimpanzees in Kibale’s Kanyanchu have been trekked ever since 1993 and the chances of seeing them is always assured. Guided chimpanzee trekking walks happen on a daily starting with two sessions one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The morning chimpanzee trekking activity starts at 8 am and the afternoon session starts at 2pm. Each chimpanzee trekking session in Kibale lasts about 3 hours depending on the different factors.
The primate walk offers an opportunity to see the largest number of chimpanzees in their natural habitat. The chimpanzee groups are accustomed to human presence (habituated) and therefore very safe to trek. Each trek starts from the Kanyanchu visitor centre where briefing and registration is done.
The contact time with chimpanzees is limited to a maximum of 1 hour. This one hour excludes the trek time to and from. Each group includes only 6 individuals. The minimum age for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is 15 years.
Jewel safaris plans both short chimpanzee trekking trips to Kibale Forest and tailor made tours including other tour destinations. Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda can also be added onto other primate tracking tours like Uganda gorilla safaris or golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Surrounded with other wildlife parks, chimp tracking can also be undertaken on the same tour with Uganda wildlife safaris, adventure trips, bird watching tours or any other activity. For the perfect primate tracking experiences, Uganda is the best option followed by Rwanda which is also home to mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. However, for Africa safari trips that include viewing thousands of animals migrate, then a Tanzania safari or Kenya safari to see the wildebeest or visit other national parks comes in handy.