Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is one of the most remarkable Conservation Areas in Africa for unforgettable chimpanzee trekking experiences. This amazing tourist destination extends for over 795 square kilometers of primarily moist evergreen rainforest with wide range of landscapes.

Location of Kibale Forest National Park

This National Park is situated within the western side of Uganda between 1100 meters (lowest) on the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley in the south and 1590 meters above sea level (the highest point) at the Park’s northern edge. Kibale Forest National Park forms a continuous forest with that in Queen Elizabeth National Park creating 180 kilometers wildlife corridor. The Conservation Area is also the site of the Makerere University Biological Field Station.

History of Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park was first established as a Forest Reserve in 1932 and then became a National Park in 1993 to protect the vast area of forest originally managed as a logged forest Reserve. There are presently over 350 tree species in this Park with some being as old as 200 years and others standing at over 55 meters.

Wildlife and Bird species within Kibale Forest National Park

This Ugandan National Park is one of the richest diversity hot spots with one of Africa’s highest concentration of primate species. There are over 13 species of primates that include common chimpanzees-the highlight of Kibale safaris, Red colobus monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, L’Hoests monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons and vervet monkeys among others. Besides primates, Kibale Forest National Park boasts of high elephant population, forest buffaloes, leopards, bushpigs, giant forest hogs, blue duikers, common warthogs, serval cats, sitatunga, mongoose, African golden cats, civets and otters among others. In total there are

The Birdlife in Kibale Forest National Park is also abundant with over 375 species of birds calling the rainforest home. Expect to see the ground thrush, olive long-tailed cuckoo, great blue Turaco, Africa pitta, western tinkerbird, Papyrus gonolek, grey parrots and green-breasted pitta among others. These bird species occupy the vast tract of Tropical rainforest, patches of grasslands and wetlands.

Fascinating Tourist Activities in Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzee Tracking and Habituation Experience

Chimpanzee tracking is the main reason why visitors book for Kibale Forest National Park tours. Chimpanzee treks in this Park are conducted twice a day-morning session starting at 8am as well as afternoon session starting at 2pm. After half an hour to 4 hours of walking in the forest to search for chimpanzees, one hour is allocated to watch them munching on vegetation, grooming each other, mating, playing and other daily routines. However, for visitors interested in a more elaborate experience with chimpanzees, book for the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience for a full-day of trekking and being in the presence of these gentle apes go about their daily routine.

Chimpanzee Trekking Permits

Chimpanzee trekking permits for Kibale Forest National Park cost only $200 per person per trek while permits for the Habituation Experience permits go for only $220 per person per trek.

Chimpanzee trekking guidelines

Visitors are required to maintain a minimum distance of 8 meters when watching chimpanzees.

A maximum of 6 visitors are allowed to trek each habituated chimpanzee troop per day.

The maximum time to spend in the presence of chimpanzees is strictly one hour although trekking time lasts between 30 minutes and 4 hours.

Avoid trekking the chimpanzees if you are sick, especially with flue, cough and colds because these magical creatures are closely related to humans.

Best time to track chimpanzees

Chimpanzees can be tracked all year round but chimpanzee tours are mainly conducted in the dry season-June to September as well as December to February when hiking conditions are more favorable. During these months, hiking trails are drier, not muddy/slippery and Park roads not muddy, making the destination easily accessible. The wet months-March to May and October to November receive peak rains, hiking trails become muddy/slippery, forest floor wet and Park roads literally difficult to use. The rainy season however increases fruiting this abundant food for chimpanzees, making treks shorter and more fun.

Other activities in Kibale Forest National Park include:

Guided forest walks

There are numerous hiking trails distributed across Kibale Forest National Park, offering chances of encountering several primate species, other mammals, reptile species, birds, Amphibians and butterfly species that will make your walk more rewarding.

Bird watching

The Tropical rainforest, patches of grasslands and swamps of Kibale Forest National Park shelter colorful species of birds that include slender-billed weavers, Brown-chested Alethe, African pitta, African grey parrots, crowned eagles, Great blue Turaco, yellow-rumped tinkerbird and Scaly-breasted Illadopsis among others. During birding expeditions, be prepared to encounter up to 100 of the total 375 species of birds in this Park.

Cultural tours

Cultural tours around Kibale Forest National Park introduce visitors to the daily life of the Bakiga and Batoro people with visits to traditional healers, entertainment in traditional songs and dances, school visits and many others.

Where to stay

When it comes to places to stay, Kibale Forest National Park and the surrounding areas feature several eco-friendly accommodation facilities ranging from budget, midrange to upmarket. They include Nyinabulitwa Resort and Safari Camp, Papaya Lake Lodge, Mantana Tented Camp, Crater Valley Kibale lakeside Resort, Primate Lodge, Kanyanchu River Camp, Mountains of the Moon Hotel, Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse, Ndali Lodge, Rwenzori View Guesthouse, Kyaninga Lodge, Chimps Nest, Sebitoli Camping area, Crater Safari Lodge, Kibale Forest Camp,

How to get there

Situated in western Uganda, Kibale Forest National Park is about 320 kilometers/6-7 hours’ drive from Kampala City. There are two routes to get to this Park-the commonest being Kampala-Mubende-Fort Portal Town extending for 290 kilometers then another 30 kilometers to Kanyanchu Visitor Center. (the heart of this Park). Alternatively, take the longer route via Masaka and Mbarara Towns to Kibale Forest National Park.

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