Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park is located in the western part of Uganda. The forest is 775kms 45% tropical woodland, 40% grassland 15% swamp vegetation the most common trees species being the Wild Rubber trees, Polita Figs which support flora and fauna. There are 275 bird species which include the African Grain Hepista, Wood Piker, and others. The forest is known to have a wide range of primates like the Red Colobus, Black and White Colobus, Red Tailed Monkey, Velvet Monkey, and Baboon. There are also a variety of mammals which include Sitatunga, Bush Pig, Bush Bucks, Otters, Mongoose and Chimpanzees. The 1450 Chimpanzees represent Uganda’s largest population.
Kibale national park has a variety of wildlife ranging from the moist evergreen forest (wet tropical forest) which is along the Fort Portal plateau. The park also has a dry tropical forest (moist semi-deciduous) and woodland alongside the savanna which is on the rift valley floor with over 200 tree species. This park is a must go for visitors on Uganda Rwanda Safaris
This Verdant Kibale National Park is the best place for a chimpanzee trekking Safari in Uganda. Thirteen species of primates have been recorded, which is the highest number for any Ugandan park, and several monkey species can usually be seen on forest walks. Birds and butterflies are abundant. Itineraries to this park are always among the Best Safari Tour Packages in Uganda and Rwanda
In 1932, Kibale national park was gazetted, and later on in 1993, the park was established to protect a large area of forest that was formerly controlled as a registered forest reserve. The park is famously known for its population of habituated chimpanzees and much more wildlife species.
In 1970, Makerere university biological field station was formed in Kibale national park and later on, in the 1990s the field station expanded significantly. The head offices are found in the park in case of any studies or inquiries.
How to get to Kibale National Park.
From Kampala to Kibale National park can take 326 kilometers that’s roughly 5 hours. You go through Mubende town from Kampala to fort portal, from Fort Portal is only 26 km southeast of the park.
Getting to Kibale national park by air is organized on a daily basis but it doesn’t get you to the park directly. From Entebbe International Airport to Kasese aircraft then later on transfer to the park by road Kanyanchu visitor’s center in Kibale national park.
Kibale National Park Wildlife Highlights
Kibale national park has a variety of wildlife that is very attractive to see. The trip to Kibale Park can be an exclusive and exciting experience. These include;
Kibale national park has the biggest number of primates in the whole of Africa. These include; Chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s Monkeys, Red Colobus Monkeys, Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Red-Tailed Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Grey-Cheeked Mangabeys, Bush Babies, Vervet Monkeys, Potto, and many more.
Kibale national park has a number of mammals however they are hardly seen. These include; Buffaloes, Leopards, Bush Pigs, Elephants, Golden Cats, Warthogs, Duikers, and many more. On a good day, a few Elephants, Buffaloes, or even Bush Pigs can be seen but most of the time you get to see or find footprints because they sense an activity going on in the forest, so they decide to move away.
Kibale national park is also home to over 300 birds and is an excellent birding spot for birders. These include; Green Breasted Pitta, Red-Chested Owlet, Purple Breasted Sunbird, African Grey Parrot, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Crowned Eagle, Little Greenbul, Black Bee Eater, White-Naped Pigeon, Scaly-Breasted Illadopsis, Western Bronze-Napped Pigeon, Nahan’s Francolin, Yellow-Throated Nicator, White-Headed Wood-Hoopoe, Red Headed Malimbe, Yellow-Spotted Barbet, Dusky-Blue Flycatcher and many more.
Amphibians, reptiles, and Butterflies
Kibale national park is home to many amphibians, reptiles, and Butterflies which are usually seen easily.
The park provides refuge to the world’s largest population of the endangered red colobus monkey, and it is an important stronghold for Uganda mangabey, a rare national endemic (meaning it only occurs in Uganda).
Kibale is home to many mammal species aside from primates, but they are rarely encountered. Elephant and buffalo roam the forest and other species present are giant forest hog, warthog, bushpig, bushbuck, and blue, red and Peter’s duiker.
Best Time for Wildlife Viewing
The Dry seasons (from June to July and December to February) are the best times for tracking chimpanzees. The park stays open throughout the year, but in heavy rain, the trails might be difficult to walk and the overall experience might be compromised.
Kibale supports a range of habitats over different altitude zones. The tropical forest on the Fort Portal plateau changes to savannah in the Albertine Valley floor in the south. The forest has suffered less from logging in the past compared to some other forests in the country and is therefore still relatively pristine and home to some very big mahoganies, figs and other hardwoods.
Activities to do in Kibale National Park
Chimpanzees are the main attraction why many visitors come to Kibale park. This particular activity has happened in the forest park since 1993 and it’s usually done twice a day on a daily basis. This activity takes over 6-7 hours each trek and is best for the morning shift with the help of the tour guide. It’s advisable to carry the following things when going for a chimp trekking; a long-sleeved shirt and pants, comfortable waterproof boots, binoculars, a camera, and insect repellant due to the tropical forest which can cause rain at any time.
Chimpanzee habituation experience
The habituation took place over a period of two years before the tourists got used to the activity. This activity is best in the morning hours because you get to see Chimps leaving their overnight nests before starting their daily activities like feeding, hunting, copulating, breastfeeding, patrolling, and resting. This is really lovely to watch because most chimpanzees are not shy with people to thrill while on Uganda Safaris.
This activity is usually done in the morning and the bird walking starts at 7 am. This is booked earlier before the actual birding day where you get to see a variety of birds. In the morning, birds usually start flying away by 6 am looking for what to eat before flying away to other places. You get to see and watch their behavior more closely than the usual day hours. This is quite fun and enjoyable for every birder who comes for birding in Kibale national park.
Nature walks and hiking
These walks and hikes are done in the forest, most tourists prefer combining Uganda chimpanzee trekking Safari with this activity to avoid rescheduling for another time or day. The hiking is for 12kms through the forest and you will be able to spot a variety of birds and more animals than on land. Hiking is only done in the dry season (December – February and June – September) throughout the year. In Kibale National Park there is an option for a night walk, it gets you to see the nocturnal such as Bush Baby, Hyrax, Potto, and some other few cats and civets. They usually take less time compared to the ones during day time.
Community walks and cultural experiences
Kibale National Park has a number of community activities and cultural experiences that are engaged by people the moment you come for a visit to the park. You get to see what women have done, and you can also purchase handmade things like crafted shoes, bangles, and other things to support the community people. Organize a trip and enjoy a traditional meal prepared by the local people in the community. You can also visit schools around Kibale.
Bigodi Swamp Walk
Bigodi swamp is not in the park but it’s a jungle swamp in its own way that also has a variety of wildlife species that can be fun to watch in addition to Kibale national park. This walk is usually paid for differently and it’s done on your way to or from Kibale national park which is only 6km. Bigodi Swamp is commonly known as the birders’ paradise, the walks usually take 2-3 hours moving through the wetlands with papyrus reeds and palms.
Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru
This part of the activity is found in a cave next to a school called Nyakasura in Fort Portal. Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru is an interesting place to visit and once you visit, you are welcomed by captivating waterfalls. This place has a very strong cultural attachment with the Batooro people who have myths about the place, the caves are full of natural wonders. It’s about 5km from fort portal town to this place and the place has very slippery roads that are not so far from where the car is left to reach the caves.
Crater Lakes Tours
These crater lakes are not found in the park but found in Fort Portal town. The town has more than 60 different cater lakes that are enclosed by steep-sided volcanoes. These crater lakes have a very unique landscape and a lovely place to visit.
Accommodation facilities at Kibale national park
When it comes to accommodation, the park has a variety of rooms for all kinds according to your budget. Restaurants and bars are also there for meals and leisure that will suit your needs. The park is always there to welcome a comfortable stay and Uganda safari.
- Home Bliss Uganda; this is found in Fort Portal town and is 3.8 kilometers from Toroo Botanical Gardens.
- Tooro Fairway Hotel; this also found in Fort Portal Town and is over 1.2 kilometers from Andrew and Brothers Supermarket.
- Ataco Country Resort; this is found in Fort Portal Town and is 5 kilometers from Andrew and Brothers Supermarket.
- Koi Koi Fort Portal; this also located in Fort Portal Town with a splendid view of the Ruwenzori Mountains.
NB; to mention but a few, all these lodgings are affordable and all kinds of classic things compared to what class of quality you may want. With the good service at the accommodations around Kibale national park, expect a very comfortable stay at these hotels/lodgings.
Best time to visit the Park
Kibale is open for chimpanzee trekking throughout the year. December to February and the months of June and July are the driest months and are therefore the best times for this activity. Walking the trails is easier at these times and the overall experience tends to be more enjoyable. Take the popular 10 Days Uganda Safari and get to visit this exciting Uganda wildlife safari park.