Uganda protects many primates but the ones set for trekking are the ones which under goes habituation. Primate habituation is the process by which a targeted primate specie is made familiar to human beings. The process is done by wildlife experts like primate doctors, primatologists and game rangers from Uganda wildlife Authority.
There are many primates in Uganda but in this article, lets us focus on the main three primates which are trekked in Uganda. They are Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees and Golden monkeys.
Mountain Gorilla Habituation safari in Uganda– Tourists who yearn to spend more hours with Mountain Gorillas are expected to spend US$1500 per person for gorilla habituation. The tour allow guests to stay with Gorillas for four hours than one hour which is given to Gorilla trekkers.
Gorilla habituation is done in Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. One gorilla family is reserved for Visitors’ Gorilla habituation. Uganda decided to engage tourists in gorilla habituation process to promote gorilla tourism and to advocate for conservation campaign. The four hours given to guests to stay with gorillas saves a total amount of US$1300 because, gorilla trek for one hour cost US$700. Therefore US$700 x 4 = US$2800 – US$1500 = US$1300.
Gorilla habituation tours starts at Bwindi Impenetrable park headquarters (Rushaga sector) at 7:30am with briefing and thereafter, the guests move with rangers to meet gorillas in their natural environment. The searching time is unpredictable but when gorillas are found, the trekkers are given 4hrs to see, study, take photos and so on. When 4hrs elapses, tourists returns to their respective accommodation for lunch and relax or do any other activity (s) in the afternoon.
Chimpanzee habituation tours in Uganda – Chimpanzee habituation is the process by which chimps are made familiar to man. Chimpanzee habituation tames them from being violent amidst human beings. Just like Gorilla habituation, Chimpanzee habituation takes between 2-3years until when they get used to humans.
Uganda offers chimpanzee habituation for tourists when they visit a semi habituated troop of chimps together with primate experts to witness and participate I the process. Uganda is gifted by five destinations (Kyambura Gorge, Kalinzu Forest, Toro Semuliki game reserve, Kibale National Park and Budongo Forest) which host the chimps but today, chimpanzee habituation tours are done in Kibale National Park and Budongo Forest. Today, the cost of chimpanzee habituation is US$250 per person in Kibale National Park and US$230 per person for foreign nonresidents, 160 USD per person for foreign residents and 90 USD for east African citizens.
The two destinations offer chimpanzee habituation but Kibale National Park offers the best experience due to the fact that the park hosts the majority of chimpanzees in Uganda.
Golden monkey habituation in Uganda – Its only in Mgahinga where Golden monkeys is habituated takes place. Like Chimps and Gorillas, the golden monkeys also need habituation process to be tamed. Golden monkey habituation process is spearheaded by wildlife experts, who visits a troop of golden monkeys on daily basis until when the troop is fully habituated. The process may take 2-3years and after confirming a completion of the process, the golden monkey troop is officially launched for trekking. During the process, tourists who are willing to participate in the process pay US$100 per person. A visitor can pay on ground or in advance by bank.
Golden monkeys, mountain Gorillas and chimpanzees are he only officially trekked primates in Uganda and thus undergo prior habituation process.