Where to Do Primate Habituation In Uganda
Uganda is home to a wide range of primate species ranging from Monkeys, Chimpanzees, and the giant mountain gorillas in the impenetrable forest of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park. It’s no doubt that primate tourism contributes to the largest percentage of Uganda’s tourism benefits. All these primates are wild in nature yet very friendly to the guests and can be watched with no worry of being attacked by these animals. The process of training the primates to get used to the presence of human beings is known as Habituation. Primate habituation is a common term here in Uganda for those that have especially done it together with UWA researchers.
Mountain gorilla habituation in Uganda takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the home to the largest population of mountain Gorillas in the world. This experience is strictly conducted in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi with currently two (02) groups set aside for this beautiful experience. The guests are enough time of 4 hours with the Gorillas as they take part in training these forest giants to get used to people in their presence. Tourists are given an opportunity to participate in the naming and identifying the different behavioral changes of individual Gorillas.
This exercise takes place in the Kibale National Park, the home to the highest population of Chimps in the whole of East Africa. Kibale has over 1500 chimps living in the Kibale forest under the care of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Unlike the experience of habituation of Gorillas that are so humble and gentle, the habituation of chimps is an exceptional category of primates, they are so playful and easier to associate with. The team of UWA staff will guide you to the group of chimps that is being habituated.
You will be allowed to spend 4 hours with them as you study them and participate in the real training of these close relatives of human beings. The uniqueness of the Chimps is that they share 98% DNA with human beings. The habituation experience with them in the Kibale jungle will introduce you to much information including their diet, sexuality, and their social life in the forest.
How long Habituation takes?
Primate habituation is a difficult experience that takes 2 to 3 years of endless monitoring by UWA researchers. The Chimpanzees and Gorillas may be dangerous to humans if they feel insecure with anything that comes close to them. This, therefore, means that the UWA team has to monitor the primates until they are in a condition that allows tourists without changing their behavior. The habituation of all the primates normally ends with a mock exercise that involves going to track them to confirm their friendliness to the visitors.
To take a primates habituation safari, a minimum of 3 days required including the 2 days of traveling to and from the gorilla or chimps habituation destination. If you want to combine primates habituation with other wildlife viewings, choose a 5 days gorilla safari in Uganda that combines gorilla watching in Bwindi Jungle and fantastic game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Parks.
Cost of a primate tracing permits in Uganda
Gorilla habituation experience permits are charged 1500USD per permit for all the people interested in this activity. The permits are available every day and are given on a “first come first serve” basis. Chimpanzee habituation permits for Kibale are charged 250USD per permit and the permits allow each participant to spend almost the whole day in the presence of the Chimpanzees in the jungle. The higher charge on this activity is explained by conservation purposes which may require more expenses to preserve these endangered primates.
A maximum of 4 people is allowed to go for a gorilla habituation experience per day. This is meant to avoid stressing these wild animals since you may surround them and make them feel threatened. Conservation also requires that you leave the animals to have their time alone in the forest and enjoy their time for reproduction and proper feeding.
How to book primate habituation permits
The permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the only government institution authorized with the issuance of permits to all protected areas. The habituation permits are issued after payment and are issued to you before the tracking date to the client through their travel agencies or to the guests themselves. Our reservations team is ready to help you book these permits to save you time and ensure timely booking for your primate habituation experience in Bwindi for Gorillas or Kibale for the Chimps.
NB: Most tourists prefer the habituation because it gives them more time with the primates that tracking which lasts for one hour. The 4-hour experience with the closest relatives of human beings is every traveler’s desire to learn more about these African species if endangered apes.