Kibale National Park has one of the most stunning and varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp that dominates the northern and central parts of the park.
The Park is famous for Chimpanzee tracking. With 13 primates species, Kibale National Park in western Uganda, measuring 795 sq. km is known is the Primates Capital of the world. The park hosts about 1500 chimpanzees out of the 5000 recorded in the country and has 375 and 250 bird and butterfly species respectively in addition to 70 mammal species.
Kibale has about 500 Forest elephants along with buffalos, leopards, warthogs, bush pigs, golden cats, duikers, Bush Pig, Bushbuck, Harvey’s and Peter’s Duickers, Spectacled Demidoff’s and Thomas’s Galagos. Others are Lord Derby’s Anomalure, African Civet and Common Genet. Sitatungas are found in the nearby Bigodi Swamp but are infrequently seen.
Kibale National Park adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180km-long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park.The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and within half a day’s drive from Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks, as well as the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.
Chimpanzee Tracking and Habituation
Chimpanzee tracking is the most popular activity in the Kibale National Park.
The adventure starts the Kanyanchu Visitor center at 08.00 & 15.00 and lasts 2 to 3 hours. Your
Chimpanzee tracking has rules and regulations to follow. A distance of just about 8m is very important between you and the chimps. People with diseases such as flue or diarrhea may not allowed in the park. Avoid eating near the chimps. Children below the age of 12 are prohibited from tracking chimps. Along the way, you can other primates.
The diversity and density of primates in Kibale is the highest in Africa. The forest is also home to East Africa’s largest population of the threatened red colobus and the rare I’Hoest’s monkey. Other primates include the black-and-white colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboon and bush baby and Potto.
The chimpanzee habituation experience gives you an opportunity to accompany Kibale’s researchers and habituates as they follow chimpanzees throughout their daily activities. This has been proven to get the chimpanzees used to human presence without interrupting their daily activities.
A Visitors get the chance to follow a chimpanzee’s day from about 6am in the morning till 7pm in the evening.
With 375 species of birds, birding has never been at its best with Kibale specials that include the African Pitta, Green-breasted Pitta, Afep Pigeon, White-naped Pigeon, Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, Black Bee-eater, Western Nicator, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Little Greenbul, Brown-chested Alethe, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, African Grey Parrot, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis ,Brown Illadopsis, Black-capped Apalis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimson wing, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Yellow Spotted Nicator, Little Green Bul, Black-eared Ground Thrush and the Abyssinian Ground-thrush.
Kibale has a Chimpanzee-tracking program with a high success rate. Other primates found on these guided walks include Olive Baboon, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Guereza Colobus, L’Hoest’s Gentle (Blue)
When chimpanzees and other forest residents rest up at dusk, a nighttime shift of rarely seen creatures becomes active. Night walks though the darkened forest use powerful torches to seek nocturnal creatures.
Forest Hike: This seasonal 12km hike is restricted to the dry seasons of mid-November-February and June-September. It explores the park’s diverse habitats including tropical rainforest, riverine forest, swamp and grassland. You will have the chance to see a wide variety of bird species and primates and perhaps also duiker and bushbuck.
Local guides take visitors through Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary outside the park. The swamp is
Rich in biodiversity and has a beautiful scenery. It has about 138 bird species, 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 there. The sanctuary was set up to preserve the exclusive environmental features along with the wetland and is managed by the local community. Community woman use the swamp to collect raw materials for making crafts.
Located near Sebitoli in northern Kibale, the community-run project offers excellent bird watching and visits to the local tea estates and factory. Nature walks 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. The daily life of the Batooro can be discovered during village walks, including stops at the village’s primary school, church and traditional healer.
The main tourism centre at Kanyanchu, on the newly tarmacked Fort Portal- Ibanda road can be reached from Kampala by a number of routes all on surfaced roads. The 355km direct road via Fort Portal and the 35 km to the North. The park can be accessed from the south via Masaka, Lyantonde and Ibanda 392km with an experience at the equator in Kayabwe and the longest Mbarara, Kasese and Fort Portal (525km)
By air, the park has access to Two air strips and that is Nyakisharara in Mbarara where you drive 100km to the park and Kasese which is 60 km from the Park.