Guide to filming chimpanzees in Kibale National Park

A brief about Kibale National Park

Kibale national park is located in western Uganda shared by different districts namely kamwenje, kyegegwa and kabarole. The park is famously known as the primate capital in the country. A home to the chimpanzees and other more primates. The chimpanzees are visited for one hour. However, through chimpanzee habituation, there is an option for spending more time with the chimps. Chimpanzee tracking is predominately done in 3 sectors of the park, Kanyawara, Kanyanchu and Ngogo Makerere Field Research Station.

Chimpanzee filming permits/Contract from UWA

How to obtain kibale chimpanzee filming permits step by step.

A chimpanzee filming permit is obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority which is applied for in writing. The film crew is required to write a detailed letter to the Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority and in the letter detail who you are, what you want to shoot, where the shoot will be futured and who the crew members are. You will share this letter and we will submit it on your behalf to the relevant offices. The process usually takes about a week or two to get the first feedback. A draft for the rates will be drawn and shared with the crew to confirm that what has been quoted is exactly what the team requested for. You have the option to choose between the one-hour filming with the Chimpanzee habituated for tourism or you choose the habituation experience that give you upto 6 hours with the chimpanzees when you meet them. If the crew proves that the rates are all good and the dates as well, you are required to pay the stipulated sum and then a contract will be drawn for you.

How long does it take to process chimpanzee filming permits

The process of organizing and applying for the chimpanzee permit usually takes about 2 weeks at most to have the process done.

How do I pay for Kibale filming permits.

All filming fees and permits fees are paid to accounts at Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala Kamwokya. After payment, a receipt is issued and you take it to the tourism businesses office for verification and contract drawing.

What documents do I need to secure permits to film in Kibale National Park?

All you need is a in introductory letter detailing what you want to shoot and passport copies of the crew.

Which body or authority is in charge of issuing kibale filming permits?

Filming permits for National Parks are issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority as it’s the regulatory body for activities that are carried out in National Parks and wildlife reserves in Uganda.

Is it possible to change dates of my filming schedule?

This all depends on the situation at hand and also the duration you have before the start of the shoot. For example if for bad luck there was another pandemic or war in the country or country of the film crew it is possible to write to UWA and request for adjustment of dates. Other cases that would qualify you to receive amendment of dates would be, a crew member falling sick before the shoot dates, travel restrictions on the crew well communicated in advance as well.

Do I need a film fixer in Uganda to assist me with this?

 For a successful shoot in Uganda, it is important that you hire the services of a fixer in the country. Both for preproduction and production. Having a fixer with you at all times during your shoot will ensure that any issues that may come up in the process will be dealt with. Shoots can be dynamic and any small thing can erupt into a big issue halting your shoot but with a fixer on ground you get to eliminate such.

Kibale Chimpanzee trekking permits as a requirement

Do I need chimpanzee trekking permits to shoot in Kibale?

Yes, as long as you are filming with the chimpanzees, you are required to first book the chimpanzee permits. Once you have these confirmed then you can apply for filming permit. The chimp permit gives you access to the chimps and the filming permit allows you to film with them.

What is a chimpanzee trekking permit?

A chimpanzee trekking permit is a document that allows people access to spent time with the chimpanzees in different parts of the country.

How much is a chimpanzee trekking permit in Kibale National Park?

The current cost of a chimpanzee permit in Kibale national park is 200 usd for non-foreign residents, it is 150 usd for foreign residents and 150,000 ugx for East African citizens.

Where can I buy Kibale Chimpanzee permits?

Chimpanzee permits are authorized by Uganda wildlife authority. This is the organization in charge of wildlife and national parks in the country. Our long-term working relationship enables us to easily get them on your behalf.

When is the best time to secure kibale filming permits?

When planning a shoot it is best to secure your permits at least 4 months prior. This is majorly because the chimp permits given out on a daily basis are limited to a specific number of people. Booking them in advance allows you to secure your spot to be able to film the chimpanzees.

It is possible to pay them in installments?

It is possible to pay chimpanzee permits in installments. You can choose to pay 70 percent or 30 percent of the total cost of permits but the full amount should have been paid atleast a month before the chimpanzee tracking date.

What is included in kibale chimpanzee permits?

Chimpanzee permits include the park entrance fee and also a ranger guide in the forest and the tracking of the chimps itself.

What is excluded in Kibale chimpanzee permits?

It excludes transportation to the park and any sort of logistics and welfare.

What is the cancelation policy for kibale permits

Once chimpanzee permits are purchased from Uganda Wildlife Authority, there can’t be a refund of the money. However, you can be allowed to reschedule the permits to a time that does not go longer than a year and this change has to be communicated 3 weeks minimum before the due date.

Press Accreditation/Media Cards to film in Kibale National Park

What is a media Card/pass?

A media card is a document that allows you to film and work in the country if you are in the filming industry. The media card is recommendation for everyone that wants to film in any part of Uganda including Kibale National park.

How to process media accreditation to film chimps in Kibale National Park

One can apply for media accreditation as long as they have the necessary requirements. The requirements for media accreditation in Uganda include the following; Introductory letter addressed to The Secretary Media Council of Uganda, Passport copy, passport size photograph, filled in Form G, you should also have applied for the special pass. The Introductory letter is what is considered for application and once it is put in the process is already set.If you have all the above share with us and we will follow up the process for you, our working relationship with the media council of Uganda over the past years enables us to expedite the process and have your application moving in the shortest time possible.

What documents do I need to secure media cards

To successfully secure media cards, you will need the following documents

  • An introduction letter addressed to secretary media council of Uganda
  • A passport copy valid for at least 6 months
  • A Form G that is fully filled
  • Passport size photograph
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Which organization issues media cards in Uganda

The Organization that is responsible for issuing media cards in Uganda is Uganda Media council.

How much is Press accreditation/Media card to film in Kibale National Park

As of now. The cost of a media card is 175usd per person

Are there different media cards? How much is each?

Media cards only have differences in the duration that they are valid as shown below

  •  175usd for a period of 30 days
  •  225usd for a period of upto 6 months
  • 325usd for a period of upto 2 years

 General Questions about chimpanzee filming in Kibale National Park

How many habituated chimpanzee communities are available for filming?

Kibale national park has five habituated chimpanzee communities as of now. The communities are habituated in different regions of the park. These communities are known as Ngongo community, Kanyawara community, Kanyanchu community, sebitole community and Kanyantale community.

How long can one film chimpanzees in Kibale National Park?

Filming in Kibale national park doesn’t have a duration limit as long as you pay the daily park fees and all the Uganda wildlife authority charges for the time you expect to be shooting. You can film in Kibale even up to a whole year as long as you have all the necessary permissions.

What is the best time to film chimps in Kibale National Park?

Chimps can be filmed at any time of the year and you will have a 90 percent chance of seeing them all the time. The best times one can look out for are the months of December to February and the months of May to August.

How many chimpanzee filming sectors are in Kibale National Park

Which sector/region is popular for chimpanzee documentary shooting?

The Ngogo sector and community is most popular for filming. This is because it has the highest number of chimpanzees compared to the other communities in different sectors of the park. This community has been featured in the Netflix series Chimp Empire. Other sectors include Kanyawara and Kanyanchu.

What are the 6 top documentaries that were filmed in Kibale National Park?

Chimp empire a Netflix series that aired in 2023 is one of the top documentaries filmed in kibale national park in the Ngogo sector of the forest. Film crew fixers was the fixing company that worked on this documentary in Particular.

Animal . another Netflix series that focuses on bringing out different characters of different animals also filmed an episode in Kibale national park about the chimpanzees 

Rules and regulations to follow when filming chimps in Kibale National Park?

When filming chimps in Kibale , the following rules have to be followed

  • Sick people are not allowed because chimps can catch human diseases
  • You are not allowed to spend more time than what you are allocated on your permit
  • Don’t litter in the park
  • Keep quiet when in the forest
  • Do not use flash photography
  • Minimum age allowed in the park is 12 years
  • Don’t mimic the vocalization of the chimps
  • Don’t chase chimps
  • Don’t eat close to chimpanzees

What to wear when filming chimpanzees in Kibale National Park

When filming chimpanzees, be keen to avoid bright colors as they irritate chimpanzees making them react hostile.

How to get to Kibale National Park

You can get to kibale national park either by road or by air. By road, drive from Entebbe airport and head to Kibale this will take approximately 6 to 7 hours. If you choose to fly from Entebbe, you will land in Kasese and then drive to the park and this will take approximately 3 hours.

Where to stay in Kibale National Park

Kibale national park has several lodging options which range from budget to luxury, you can make a choice according to your preference. They include isunga lodge, kibale forest camp, Turaco tree tops, primate lodge and so many more.

Do I need a film fixer when filming chimpanzees in Kibale National Park?

You need a fixer when filming the chimpanzees in the park. This is to ensure that the shoot goes smoothly. incase of any complications, a fixer will be able to handle the situation on your behalf.

Is it possible to film chimpanzees in Kibale National Park with a drone?

It is possible to film chimpanzees with a drone. however, you are required to have all the necessary documents and permission allowing this.

Is it possible to film chimpanzees for months or even a whole year?

Yes, it is possible, all you need is to have the necessary permissions that allow you to film in the park for such an extended time period.