Primates Habituation enable primates get familiar to human beings. In Uganda primate habituation is among the major tourist activities in western Uganda. For Gorilla tourism, some Gorilla families undergo habituation which takes between 2-3 years. The primatologists, Gorilla doctors and other experts takes the leading role during the habituation process. There are two gorilla homes in Uganda:
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) – 18 gorilla families
- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP) – 1 Gorilla family
For Chimpanzee tourism, Chimps also under go habituation in Kibale National Park, Budongo Forest, Toro- Semuliki game reserve, Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu forest.
How is primate Habituation done in Uganda?
Experts visit a targeted gorilla family on daily basis to ensure that they get used to human beings. Primate habituation of Gorillas and chimpanzees is done for the maximum duration of 3 years and thereafter, the gorilla or chimpanzee troop is launched for official trekking.
Gorilla habituation with tourists
In Uganda, Gorilla habituation is done only in Rushaga sector at the cost of US$1500 per person. Game rangers go gorilla habituation with four trekkers and spend full day in the forest with a gorilla group. They meet Gorillas before they wake up from their nests- study their daily activities until gorilla go back to sleep then trekkers return to their respective accommodation.
Chimpanzee habituation with Tourists
On the day of Chimpanzee habituating, you will start the day with an early morning breakfast and move with packed lunch to the park headquarters where you will meet your guide that will lead you into the forest. Just like gorilla habituation, a maximum of 4 people per group inclusive of the researchers and guides are permitted to go see the Chimpanzees. You are then taken to see the place where the primates built their nests the previous night. If you are lucky and awoke early, you are sure to find them just getting up. Thus, a typical Chimpanzee habituation begins in the hours at dawn between 6-6:30 am. While watching Gorillas, expect to see them breast feeding, patrolling, hunting, rustling and resting among others. At around 7pm, building new nests where they are to stay during the night.
However, Chimpanzee habituation is not the only activity you should be sure to do on this day because Kibale National Park is not only rich in primates but other things as well. Beside the 12 primate species in the park like the Central African Monkey, the Black and White Colobus Monkey, the Blue Monkey, the L’Hoest’s Monkey and the Ugandan Red Colobus Monkey there are other life groups here like the mammals that include the Red and Blue Duikers, the Sitatungas, the Giant Forest Hogs, the Bushbucks, the Bush pigs, the African Buffalo and Common Warthogs. Carnivores like the two otter species, the lions, African Golden cats, Leopards and different kinds of Mongooses. There is also prolific birdlife in the park with over 325 sited bird species like the Ground Thrush that is endemic to Kibale National Park, the Western Tinker bird, the African Grey parrot and the Olive long-tailed Cuckoo among others. Also present in the park are elephants.
All this gives you more a reason to go for Chimpanzee Habituation because it is an exhilarating, educational and adventurous experience you wouldn’t want to miss out when in Uganda.