Chimpanzee habituation experience (CHEX) in Uganda

The Chimpanzee habituation experience (CHEX) in Uganda offers the opportunity to spend an entire day with wild chimpanzees in the forest. It is the alternative to the chimpanzee tracking adventure which offers only one hour with the chimpanzees in the forest.

The chimpanzee habituation experience starts very early in the morning and tourists have to go into the forest at 6am to see the chimps when they de-nest (wake up from their nests) and from there on follow them in the forest and watch them throughout the day as they go about their lives, until the evening when they make new nests to go to sleep!  They are very mobile early in the day and you have to run to catch up with them as they go swinging through the forest canopies as they search for food including hunting monkeys such as the Colobus that is a delicacy for them. In the afternoon they often come down from the canopies to escape the sun and relax on ground, and get to mate, groom each other, etc… They are thus less mobile in the afternoon and you get to watch them closely. At dusk they will make nests and go to sleep, at which point you return from the experience.

It is not mandatory to spend the whole day in the forest, but any time you feel you have had enough you can call it off and return.

There is an age limit for chimpanzee tracking and the chimpanzee habituation experience of 16 years.

Places to do the chimpanzee habituation experience in Uganda and cost of permit

Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is the prime destination for chimpanzee tours in Uganda including the chimpanzee habituation experience which is offered in the park throughout the year. The park has the highest population of chimpanzees in Uganda with over 1500 chimps.  There are three communities of the habituated chimps which are used for tourism.

The permit for the chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale costs USD 220

Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park

Budongo forest is the only other place other than Kibale where the chimpanzee habituation experience is offered. It also harbors Uganda’s second largest population of chimps with over 800 chimps. There is one community of habituated chimps of 80 members at Kaniyo Pabidi in the south of Murchison Falls National Park. It is this one community that is used for both the chimp tracking and the habituation experience in Budongo Forest. Note that the chimpanzee habituation experience is NOT offered in Budongo forest during the peak tourism months of July, August and September when there are many tourists visiting the habituated group for the chimp tracking tours.

The permit for the chimpanzee habituation experience in Budongo forest costs USD 150

The habituation experience is best done as an add-on to the big game safari to Murchison Falls National Park.

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