Kibale Forest National Park

About Kibale Forest National Park

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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.
Kibale is famously known for Chimpanzee tracking. The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee. Kibale Forest National Park also contains over 375 species of birds. 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, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks, as well as the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.

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Activities to do in Kibale Forest National Park

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Chimp Tracking in Uganda

Chimpanzee Trekking

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 trail are the chimpanzees. Kanyanchu’s chimps have been tracked since 1993 and the chances of locating them are excellent. Guided walks start at 8am and 2pm and last an average of three hours, depending on various factors.Chimpanzee are the most sought after primate by visitors, but you should look out for the black & white colobus, red tailed monkey or the grey cheeked mangabey.
kibale-chimpanzee-tracking

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

This is a lifetime experience that allows accompany Kibale’s researchers and habituation at chimpanzee during their daily activities, thereby getting used to human presence without changing their natural. During your tour, expect coming across the chimps de-nesting (in their nocturnal nests) between 05.30 to 06.30, before them throughout the day till they make new nests and the night around 19.00. The Habituation Experience by tourist for low season months of March, April, May and November
kibale-birding

Bird Watching in Kibale

Bird watching tours start at 7am at Kanyanchu; you are advised to book in advance. Rare species include the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, White-collared Oliveback and Papyrus Canary.

Birds to expect on your tour could include the White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black Bishop, White-breasted Negrofinch and Black-crowned Waxbill among others.

nature-walks-forest-hike

Forest Nature Walks in Kibale Forest

 Night walks though the darkened forest use powerful torches to seek nocturnal creatures such as the potto, bushbaby, nightjar, cricket and tree hyrax, with its chilling shriek, as well as the occasional civet or serval cat. Night walks leave the camp at 7.30pm and last between one and a half and two hours.

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.

Bigodi Wetlands

Visit Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary – simply a swamp in the tropical jungle, filled with natural wonders that have amazed and delights thousands each year as they trek through this Jungle Swamp – primates – including chimpanzees in the afternoon, birds including the large Blue Turaco.

Even more than that the incredible plants, trees, palms, Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary has become a must visit place near Kibale Forest. This is a Bigodi Community Project and the guides are from the project and the community benefits greatly. The walk is 3 hours in length and not to be missed by birders.

cultural encounters in Kibale

Cultural Walks in Kibale

During the nature walk, a local guide will take you along the boardwalk through the Magombe swamp wetlands. You are likely to see wildlife at close-hand, including several of the 200 species of birds, eight varieties of primates and numerous butterflies, along with unusual swamp vegetation.

You will learn about the role of women in the village and traditional ceremonies, and the history of Bigodi is told through the story of the “Village of Two Tribes”, describing when the indigenous Batooro were joined by migrating Bakiga from southwestern Uganda in the 1950s.

Kibale National Park seats in western Uganda, 22km southeast of Fort Portal town. Kanyanchu River Camp, the primary center for tourism activities, can be reached from Kampala either from the north, via Mubende and Fort Portal, or the south through Mbarara and Kamwenge.

The northern approach is shorter and quicker, with a 290km tarmac road running to Fort Portal followed by 32km on gravel to Kanyanchu.

Sebitoli Forest Camp, a secondary tourism center, is even easier to reach. This stands directly on the Kampala road, 12km before Fort Portal. Public transport runs throughout the day between Kampala and Fort Portal (passing Sebitoli) and Fort Portal and Kamwenge (passing Kanyanchu).

A stop at the Ndali-Kasenda crater area offers a panoramic view of the tea estates and Kibale Forest to the east, the Rwenzori to the west and Lake George and the Rift Valley plains to the south. This area can be explored on foot or by car.

The park has excellent accommodation with Kibale primate lodge that is located in Kanyanchu.Others include up-market accommodation,tree houses and undemanding cottages are discovered at Sebitoli.Every accommodation has a campsite with a restuarnt serving both local and international cuisine.Budget accommodation is also found at Bigodi ,Nkingo and Ndali crater area.Ndali is well known for its up-market accommodation and other budget alternative such as Chimpanzee guesthouse along with lake NkurubaFort Portal town also has high standard accommodation.

Kibale Forest National Park Highlights

  • Size: 795km2
  • 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 savanna 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.