Kibale national park being one of the most adored parks in Uganda is situated in Western Uganda close to Fort Portal town. The park is characterized by the tropical rain forest, grasslands and swamps and it is occupying approximately 790sq. kilometers. The highest point of the park stands at 1590m above sea level (northern tip) while the lowest point is at 1,100m on the floor of the rift valley to the south. The park is a home to a total of 70 mammals including 13 species of primate.
Kibale national park is well known for chimpanzee trekking. It is a home to over 1500 chimpanzees living in their natural habitat. This has made the park to be having Uganda’s biggest population of the threatened primate. It also harbors the threatened red colobus, olive baboons, bush baby, red and blue tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, potto and the rare I’Hoest’s monkey.
Activities in Kibale Forest national park.
As discussed earlier, Kibale Forest National park has the largest population of chimpanzees in Uganda. Over 1500 chimps have been recorded in the park recently. Therefore chimp trekking and habituation are the major activities as well as bird watching.
Chimpanzee trekking and habituation.
Kibale forest national park is one of the best safari destination in Africa for chimp trekking. This activity is mostly carried out in the kanyanchu area of Kibale national park. while in participating in this primate walk, thirteen species can be sought and a good variety of diurnal monkeys. Chimps in the Kanyanchu area has been trekked since 1993 and the chances of locating them are perfect compared to gorilla trekking as the search takes about 1-5 hours only. Chimp trekking is done by visitors who are above 15 years and are physically well and a period of one hour is given for observing and studying these closest relatives to humans.
Chimpanzee habituation Experience is an experience which enables visitors to accompany researchers and habituators in to the forest. visitors are allowed to spend a half or full day with the primates depending on the visitor’s Itinerary.
Chimpanzee trekking permit goes for USD 150.00 for foreign non residents and USD 100.00 for foreign residents where as chimp Habituation Experience permit is at USD 200.00 for both foreign non residents and foreign residents ( full day.) and USD 100.00 for staying with the primates a half day.
Other wildlife are also in the park such as about 500 elephants, buffaloes, leopards, Warthogs, golden cats, duikers and bush pigs.
Birding in Kibale forest national park.
The park is a home to over 380 species of birds including the Afep pigeon, White-napped Pigeon, Red-chested Owlet, African Grey Parrot, Crowned Eagle, Black-capped Apalis, Purple-breasted Sunbird as well as Little Green Bul.
Visit Bigodi, a top birders spot. It is famous for wildlife such as red colobus, black and white colobus, mongoose, bushbucks, red tailed monkey and chimpanzees.
Bigodi swamp is a paradise for bird watchers with over 140 bird species within Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. Some of the common birds here include the Great Blue Turaco.
Hiking/nature walks and cultural Encounters in Kibale
After the trekking activities, nature walk is done through the thick rain forest with powerful torches to seek nocturnal creatures.
Cultural encounters is guided by a local guide through the Magombe Swamp wetlands to enjoy the birds, local Wildlife and the daily life of the Batooro as well as stops at the village’s primary school, traditional healer and church.
How to get here.
Kibale national park is situated in the western part of Uganda and can be easily accessed from Kampala from the nort via Mubende as well as Fort Portal. In the southern part of kampala, one can use the Mbarara or Kamwenge road to get to the park.
A bus also runs daily from Kampala to Fort portal via Sebitoli then Fort portal along with Kamwenge via Kanyanchu.