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Kibale Budget Chimpanzee Trekking Tours

4.1/5  –  71 Kibale Reviews

Kibale National Park is renowned for its monkey diversity. More than a dozen primate species inhabit this vast rainforest, most visibly red-tailed monkey, red colobus, black-and-white colobus and the endemic Uganda mangabey. Kibale is also a stellar bird-watching destination, with a checklist of 370 bird species that includes the glamorous likes of great blue turaco, double-toothed barbet and papyrus gonolek. But for most visitors, Kibale’s main attraction is a chimp community that was habituated in the 1990s and is now incredibly relaxed around people. Visiting humankind’s closest relative in Kibale is a truly thrilling bucket-list experience. For budget travelers, it’s also a relatively affordable goal compared to gorilla trekking.

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1-20 of 110 cheap chimp trekking tours to Kibale National Park

7 Questions About Kibale Budget Chimpanzee Trekking Tours


7 Questions About Kibale Budget Chimpanzee Trekking Tours

Answered by Philip Briggs

Can I go chimp trekking in Kibale National Park on a budget safari?

“Yes, you can. And for those on a tight budget, chimp trekking is quite a bit cheaper than gorilla trekking, so it is easier to incorporate into a low-cost safari without pushing the price up too much. What’s more, a wide variety of budget safaris including Kibale are available, from 2-day stand-alone dashes from the capital city of Kampala to relaxed countrywide itineraries with a duration of 2 weeks or longer.”


Is Kibale the best place in Uganda to track chimps affordably?

“Kibale is statistically the best place in Uganda to track chimps. The habituated community here is very used to people, so your chances of locating them is greater than 95% and the quality of sightings is usually excellent. Having said that, Kibale is definitely not the most affordable place to track chimps in Uganda. That distinction belongs to Kalinzu Forest Reserve (on the border of Queen Elizabeth National Park), which charges US$50 per person for a permit as compared to US$200 in Kibale. Although Kalinzu is not as reliable for sightings as Kibale, it has a very decent success rate of around 90%. If you are on a really tight budget, it is certainly worth thinking about as a cheaper alternative.”


What other activities can I do on a budget safari in Kibale?

“Although chimp trekking is by far the most popular activity in Kibale, there are many other possibilities for exploring this biodiverse park. If you only have time to do one other activity, a recommended option is the Bigodi Swamp Walk, which loops through a small community-run reserve immediately outside the park boundary. The guided walk through Bigodi is affordably priced and the sharp-eyed local guides will point out dozens of bird species along with several types of monkey. Guided forest walks in Kibale are also available, but they are more expensive than Bigodi and tend to be less rewarding unless you're serious about locating secretive forest interior birds. Other recommended options include guided night walks into the park to look for nocturnal creatures such as the sloth-like potto and exploring some of the region’s many beautiful crater lakes.”


How many days are recommended for a budget chimp trekking trip to Kibale?

“It is possible to track chimps on a stand-alone 2-day Kibale National Park budget safari out of the capital Kampala or nearby Entebbe International Airport. This is quite a rushed option, as the driving time is around 6 hours in either direction. But it still leaves time to do the Bigodi Swamp Walk on the afternoon you arrive and a chimp trek the next morning. An advantage of a 2-day safari is that you only pay for 1 night's accommodation, which helps keep costs down. Budget and time permitting, however, we would recommend at least 3 days for a stand-alone visit to Kibale, and 4 days or longer if you also want to visit other nearby national parks.”


Can I combine chimp trekking in Kibale with gorilla trekking elsewhere in Uganda?

“Yes, plenty of operators offer trips that combine chimp trekking in Kibale with gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The two parks are about 240km/150mi apart, a distance that can be covered in 6 hours. If you don't mind things being a little rushed you can squeeze both trekking activities into a 4-day safari. If possible, however, we would recommend 5 to 6 days for a combined gorilla and chimp trekking safari. This will make for a far more relaxed holiday. And it allows you time en route to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park and look for lion, elephant, buffalo and other plains wildlife.”


What type of accommodation can I expect on cheap Kibale packages?

“Most budget tours accommodate clients in simple but clean tented camps or lodges, but a few prefer to use campsites, which tend to keep the price a bit lower. It is worth checking accommodation arrangements before booking any safari to make sure you're comfortable with what is on offer. Most tented camps and lodges provide full-board packages that include meals. On a camping safari, you will most likely travel with a professional cook who prepares all meals.”


How much does a Kibale budget safari cost?

“The cheapest stand-alone 2-day chimp trekking packages to Kibale cost around US$600 to US$750 per person. This includes transport, 1 night’s accommodation and meals, as well as park and activity fees (including a US$200 chimp trekking permit). Longer budget tours that incorporate other parks will typically work out at around US$250 to US$300 per day if no gorilla trekking is involved. But they will be much more expensive if the package includes a gorilla trekking fee.”


Kibale Reviews

4.1/5 71 Reviews
Stuart Butler  –  
United Kingdom UK

Stuart is a travel writer and author of numerous Lonely Planet guidebooks, including Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The World's Best Chimpanzee Encounter?

Although chimpanzees can be found in quite a number of parks and reserves in eastern Africa the four big ‘chimp parks’ are Tanzania’s Gombe Stream and Mahale Mountains, Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest and Uganda’s Kibale Forest. I have...

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Ariadne van Zandbergen  –  
South Africa ZA

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

The pant-hooting chimpanzees of Kibale Forest

I had one of my most memorable wildlife encounters in Kibale Forest. I arrived late and after paying my fees for next day’s guided chimpanzee tracking trip, I decided to take a stroll down the main road that runs trough the forest....

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Panagiota Marouli  –  
Greece GR
Reviewed: Sep 2, 2022

We found ourselves in another lush forest, hiking to get to the trackers who had spotted the chimpanzees. Our guide was so informative and her love for chimpanzees was contagious! We were a bit unfortunate because the chimpanzees we found...

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Zsolt Banyai  –  
Hungary HU
Reviewed: Feb 22, 2021

Great place to see the chimps. I was lucky to see them 4 different times, as we hiked around the park. Sometimes they are high up on the trees, sometimes walking thepight the forest, it just depends on your luck. I also managed to see most...

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Winfred  –  
Uganda UG
Reviewed: Jun 15, 2019
Kibaale national park is blessed with nature

The park is blessed with nature for Example tropical rainforest, primates like baboons, monkeys. It has many bird species which can give a good experience to birders. The cool weather in kibaale national park is also amazing. Kibaale...

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Nils  –  
Switzerland CH
Reviewed: Dec 25, 2018

The same as for Bwindi: It was really impressive to see the animals up close. But in a smaller group it would be even better to really get a full score under bush vibe. Here the problem was also that at least 4 groups were close on each...

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