Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau.
The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the localised red Colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys, the endemic Uganda Mangabey and man’s closest relatives, the chimpanzee.
It also contains over 375 species of birds. Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180km-long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park.
The Kibale-Fort Portal area is one of Uganda’s most rewarding destinations to explore. The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and within half a day’s drive of the Queen Elizabeth, Ruwenzori and Semuliki National Parks, as well as the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.
Kibale is one of the best places in Africa to view many primate species. Visitors can expect to see five or six species in addition to chimpanzees. Species active during the day include vervet, red-tailed, l’Hoest and blue monkey, black-and-white colobus, olive baboon, red colobus and grey-cheeked mangabey. Other mammals including lion, elephant and buffalo are present, but rarely seen.
UGANDA SAFARI DESTINATION
A CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY
Current Time in Kampala – Uganda
KIBALE NATTIONAL PARK AT A GLANCE.
Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip, which stands 1,590m above sea level. The lowest point is 1,100m on the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley to the south.
351 tree species have been recorded in the park, some rise to over 55m and are over 200 years old.
Kibale’s varied altitude supports different types of habitat, ranging from wet tropical forest on the Fort Portal plateau to woodland and savannah on the rift valley floor.
Kibale is one of Africa’s foremost research sites. While many researchers focus on the chimpanzees and other primates found in the park, others are investigating Kibale’s ecosystems, wild pigs and fish species, among other topics.
Things to do in Kibale Forest National Park
Most visitors to Kibale Forest go chimpanzee tracking, which means that you will be one hour with a chimpanzee group. Some want more of the experience of being with the chimpanzees and you can have more.
At Kibale Forest you can spend a whole day with a Chimpanzee Group in what is called a Chimpanzee Habituation Experience. It is an all-day experience from very early to late afternoon.
Kibale Forest – the Primate Capital of East Africa is the best place to track Chimpanzees in Uganda, there are other great chimpanzee trekking places but none like Kibale Forest.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience Kibale Forest
Kibale Forest is the best place in East Africa for the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience. It is an all-day experience with the chimpanzees in Kibale Forest.
The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience begins early in the morning and lasts all-day long – you are with a guide, researchers, trackers and others as you are in the presence of Chimpanzees being habituated.Not only will you see Chimpanzees, but other primates, birds, butterflies, trees and mammals.The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience – also called CHEX is one of the more popular activities for our safari clients.
Bushcraft Children Activities
Children under the age of 15 cannot track chimpanzees but there are plenty Kid-Friendly Things to do and see while the parents are tracking the chimpanzees. Children – Friendly Rangers will show the children the wonders of the forest, show them wildlife, plants, trees, birds and monkeys. Kibale Forest is one of the few places where children can take Bushcraft classes and activities where the children will not miss exploring Kibale Forest.
Hikes and Nature Walks
Nature walks and hikes abound in, near and around Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda. There is even a hike that traverses the length of the park. where each night you sleep in a different area outside of the park.
There are also plenty of day-hikes in or near the park and in the park for you to enjoy the various aspects of the Kibale Forest and the surrounding area. There is a great half-day (Plus) hike during the dry seasons of 12 kilometers in length. Along this hike you can see the varied habitats found in the forest, rivers, swamp, grassland and the tropical rainforest all making up Kibale Forest. An extended hike (several days) through the park can be taken and can be incorporated into your itinerary.
ATTRACTIONS IN KIBALE NATIONAL PARK.
Kanyanchu, in the central part of Kibale, is the main trailhead for the park’s famous forest walks, the most popular of which is the daily Primate Walk. There are 13 species of primate to search for, including habituated chimpanzees. Bird watching, nature walks for both kids and adults and guided night treks are also available here.
Sebitoli Forest Camp.
Kibale’s secondary tourism centre in the north of the forest offers guided forest walks and a chance to encounter primates such as red Colobus, black-and-white Colobus, blue monkeys and vervet monkeys. Visitors may also spot a variety of aquatic, forest and savannah birds and enjoy views of the Mpanga River.
ATTRACTIONS OUTSIDE KIBALE NATIONAL PARK.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary.
Rich in biodiversity and beautiful scenery, the wetland is a birder’s paradise with about 138 species. Located outside the park in Magombe Swamp it also hosts eight species of primates including the black-and-white colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed, L’Hoest’s and blue monkeys, and olive baboons. Bushbucks and mongooses can also be found here. The sanctuary was set up to preserve the exclusive environmental features along with the wetland and is managed by the local community.
Located near Sebitoli in northern Kibale, this community-run project offers excellent bird watching and visits to the local tea estates and factory. Nature walks will bring you up close to primates such as the black-and-white Colobus, red Colobus and red-tailed monkeys. Other animals like otters, mongooses and bushbucks can be observed in the wetlands.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN/OUT OF KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
Kibale National Park boasts of 375 species, 60 percent of all recorded forest species of Uganda. Bird watching tours start at 7am at Kanyanchu. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located just outside the park, is home to 138 bird species which may be seen during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms.
Chimpanzee Tracking and Habituation Experience (CHEX).
Kibale’s most popular activity is the Kanyanchu Primate Walk. Thirteen species can be sought, and a good variety of diurnal monkeys invariably encountered, but the stars of this twice-daily show are chimpanzees.
Join a local guide on a walk through the Magombe swamp wetlands to enjoy the local wildlife, birds and vegetation. The daily life of the Batooro people can be discovered during village walks, including stops at the village’s primary school, church and traditional healer.
When chimpanzees and other forest residents rest up at dusk, a night time shift of rarely seen creatures becomes active. Bats, pottos, bush babies, and civets are the most active at night. Night walks though the darkened forest use powerful torches to seek nocturnal creatures.
Kibale Forest Lodging Choices
Choices of lodging from budget to Luxury that you while visiting Kibale Forest and partake in the many activities described here.
In the budget – moderate range Kibale Forest Camp stands out and in the Luxury range it is Kyaninga Lodge overlooking a crater lake and Ndali Lodge that also is exemplary and both lodges are still the best in the area and our clients have loved their various stays here.