Kibale National Park Uganda
Kibale Forest National Park is the best chimpanzee tracking destination in Africa.
Kibale Forest National Park Uganda is home to over 1,500 chimpanzees and other 12 primate species making it a prime destination for primate tracking and encounters not only in Uganda but world over. Here is a guide on the most relevant information about Kibale Forest National Park including background, location, attractions, activities, best time to visit and top accommodation facilities for all kinds of travelers;
Location of Kibale Forest National Park Uganda
This ultimate chimp tracking destination of Kibale Forest National Park is found in western Uganda in the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge. The park covers about 795 square Kilometers with the highest point on the northern tip at 1,500m above sea level. Kibale forest forms a continuum joining the southern end of Queen Elizabeth National Park, a popular Uganda wildlife safari park. Connecting to the ishasha sector, this forms a 180km long wildlife corridor to the Sebitoli area north of Kibale Forest National Park.
History / Background of Kibale Forest National Park Uganda
Kibale Forest National Park was first gazetted in 1932 though formally established in 1993with an intention of protecting the large area of forest previously managed as a logged forest reserve. Kibale Forest is one of the remaining expanses containing both lowland and montane forests and the only forest sustaining the last significant expanse of pre-montane forest. Today is the top Uganda chimpanzee trekking safari destination being habitat to a large number of chimpanzees within the forest.
Chimpanzee trekking Rules and Regulations
- Chimpanzees can easily catch human diseases; you must not enter the forest if you are sick.
- Do not leave litter in the forest
- If you need to urinate or defecate, do so off the trail. Bury your wate in a hole (30cm deep) along with any toilet paper
- Keep as quiet as possible
- Keep at least 8 meters (25 feet) from the chimpanzees at all times
- Do not mimic chimpanzee vocalization (you do not know what you might be saying)
- Do not eat near chimpanzees
- Do not chase the chimpanzees
- Do not use flash photography
Best time to visit Kibale Forest National Park Uganda
Kibale Forest National Park is an open Uganda tour destination though best time to visit is during the dry season in the months of June – September and December – February. The months of March – May and September – November form the wet season which offers challenging time for game viewing. During the wet season, the vegetation is tall and trails are slipperly making trekking a little difficult.
However, Kibale Forest National Park does not experience extreme weather conditions and therefore chimpanzee trekking can be scheduled for any time of the year.
How to get to Kibale Forest National Park Uganda
The Kanyanchu River Camp which is the primary centre for tourism activities in the park can be accessed from Kampala-Uganda’s capital via Mubende –Fort Portal road in the north or from the south on the Mbarara-Kamwenge road. Using the northern route via Mubende and Fort Portal is easier with a shorter distance of 307km on about 5-6 hours drive. It’s just 32km off the main road to Kanyanchu and the Secondary tourism centre known as Sebitoli Forest Camp is just 12km before Fort Portal.
Your Route to Kibale National Park Uganda
Attractions / what to see in Kibale Forest National Park Uganda
Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest Park Uganda
Chimpanzees are man’s closest relatives sharing about 98.7% DNA with ability to adapt to their environments just like humans. Known as the premier Uganda chimpanzee trekking safari destination, Kibale Forest Park hosts the biggest population of chimpanzees in Uganda. With more than 1,500 chimpanzees, in Kibale forest the park is known as the world’s primate capital. Chimps are tracked along the Kanyanchu primate walk trails where there is a possibility of sighting other primate species. For over 25 years chimpanzees have been tracked in Kibale Forest and therefore there about 99% chances of coming close to these man like animals.
Other primates in Kibale Forest Park Uganda
Alongside the popular chimpanzees, other primate species can be seen in Kibale Forest Park just within the Kanyanchu trail. Primate species that can be sighted here include the vervet monkeys, red colobus monkey (endangered), L’Hoest’s monkey (vulnerable), central African monkey, Uganda mangabey, Ugandan red colobus and the black and white colobus monkey.
Mammals in Kibale Forest Park Uganda
There several mammal species in Kibale Forest Park though not so common. Terrestrial mammals found in the park include bushbucks, common warthogs, African buffalo, red and blue duikers, sitatungas, bushpigs and giant forest hogs. Carnivores in the forest include the African golden cats, mongooses, leopards and two species of otter.
Birds in Kibale Forest Park Uganda
Though a popular primate destination, the park boasts about 370 bird species. Birds that can be seen in Kibale forest include the Green Breasted Pitta, African Pitta, Olive long-tailed cuckoo, Grey Parrot, Western Tinkerbird, Papyrus Gonolek, White winged Warbler, Papyrus Canary, White-collared Oliveback, African Pied wagtail, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Crowned Eagle, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird and many more.
The Ground Thrush (Turdus Kibalensis) is endemic to Kibale Forest National Park.
The Cassin’s Spinetail, Blue-headed Bee-eater, Nahan’s Francolin and Masked Apalis are not recorded anywhere else in Uganda.
Activities / What to see in Kibale Forest National Park Uganda
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park
Chimps are tracked along the Kanyanchu primate walk trails. Chimpanzee trekking always starts with a briefing from the park rangers on the do’s and don’ts of chimpanzee trekking. Some of the chimp trekking rules include, do not trek chimps when you have a cold, don’t leave litter in the forest, don’t eat near the chimps, do not chase the chimpanzees, do not mimic chimpanzee vocalization, keep 8 meters distance and much more. Chimpanzee trekking lasts about 2-4 hours. For travelers planning to trek chimps in Kibale Forest Park, you can opt for either a morning or evening chimpanzee trek.
Birding in Kibale Forest National Park
Birding in Kibale Forest park offers the avid Uganda bird watching safari tourists the chance to sight several special sightings. Birds that can be seen in Kibale forest include the Green Breasted Pitta, African Pitta, Olive long-tailed cuckoo, Grey Parrot, Western Tinkerbird, Papyrus Gonolek, White winged Warbler, Papyrus Canary, White-collared Oliveback, African Pied wagtail, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Crowned Eagle, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird and many more.
Nature walks Kibale Forest Park Uganda
Kibale Forest National Park is a great place for a primate walk as tourists sight the several primates in the forest. The adjacent Bigodi wetland is also a perfect add on for a nature walk while on a Uganda safari to Kibale Forest Park. Its name “Bigodi” was derived from a local Rutooro word known as “kugodya” which means to walk tiredly derived from a connotation that every when visitors reached the swamp they became so tired to go the jungle and just rested there. Bigodi wetland is a good place for bird watching and primate sighting too.
Uganda safari packages to Kibale Park Uganda
This 16 Days Uganda wildlife, Gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking safari is a 16 days Uganda safari to view wildlife, trek chimpanzees, trek mountain gorillas and have a white water rafting experience. This 1 6 days Uganda safari is a very inclusive safari with the top safari activities in the best of the Uganda safari parks. Read More
This 9 Days Uganda chimpanzee trekking and Primate Safari is a wildlife safari in Uganda majorly having more encounters with chimpanzees, other primates as well as more wildlife species like lions. The tour includes primates and wildlife in Uganda combined with Ngamba Island sanctuary. Read More
12 Days Uganda wildlife, chimpanzee and gorilla trekking safari is a wildlife safari in Uganda with the big five game encounter as well as the chimpanzee and Uganda gorilla trekking safari. The 12 days safari to Uganda offers a chance to visit the top wildlife viewing parks as well as trek the chimpanzees among the highest population in the world. A part from primates and other wildlife, the rare, Mountain Gorillas are also a highlight of this trip. Read More