About Kibale National Park is an ultimate primitive safari destination in East Africa and one of the top primate area in Africa. The park is a UNESCO World heritage site and managed by ‘’UWA’’ Uganda Wildlife Authority a governing body to all Uganda’s conservation areas and reserves ,located in western part of Uganda ,purposely to protect moist evergreen rainforest and diverse wildlife species mostly the primates .Kibale national park covers about 766 square kilometers in size and ranges between 1,100metres and 1,600 meters in elevation .Despite the fact that ,the park contains both lowland and montane forests and in eastern Africa it renews the last significant expanses of pre-montane forest.
Kibale National Park was gazette as national park in 1932 and formally created in 1993 to protect a large area of forest managed as a logged forest reserve. The park forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park the second largest national park in Uganda famously known as a home of about 95 species mainly the rare tree climbing lions among other species.
In general, Kibale as an important ecotourism and safari destination with outstanding population of habituated chimpanzees and other ‘’12’’ twelve species of primates. There are various species of central African monkey such as the Uganda mangabey, Uganda red colobus, L’hoest’s monkeys, black and white colobus and blue monkey. The park is also a home of elephants which usually travel between the park and Queen Elizabeth national park, other species of wildlife species to discover in the park include common warthogs, African buffalo, bushbucks, sitatunga, red and blue duiker, bushbucks, carnivores are also present in the place leopards, African golden cats, servals, mongooses and two species of otter though lions visit the park occasionally. Furthermore ,a paradise of birds hosting over 325 species of birds such as Olive long-tailed cuckoo ,western tinker bird ,Blue-headed bee-eater ,African pitta ,Afep pigeon ,Blue-headed sunbird ,Black capped apalis , Ruwenzori apalis ,Scaly breasted illadopsis ,western nicator ,White napped pigeon ,Red-chested owlet ,Masked apalis ,Little greenbul ,Grey parrot , Red-faced woodland sunbird ,Nahan’s francolin ,Dusky crimson wing , Crowned eagle , White napped pigeon among others .The best time to see these birdlife in Kibale starts from March to May and September to November when it is fruiting season .
However, there fabulous activities one can do on visit to Kibale National Park as follows;
This is the main done activity in Kibale national park meaning the park boosts with the highest population of more than1500 primates. For one to engage in chimpanzee tracking requires you to pay a fee of USD200 per person per track. Chimpanzee tracking starts early in the morning with a briefing at the Kanyanchu center to brief you about the rule and regulations of chimpanzees while in the jungle. After head out in the jungle with a guide who is knowledgeable about chimpanzees, tracking can take about 30 to 5 hours depending on where the chimpanzees are located. While tracking, you will be able to view other small primates like the black and white colobus monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, L’Hoest monkeys, view scenic green vegetation, bird species many more.
Once chimpanzees are seen you will be allowed to spend an hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you a great chance to observe them while breastfeeding, hunting, mate, fight, rest in the evening, learn about their behaviors, take photography and record the breathtaking moments to show to the rest.
Chimpanzee habituation experience Kibale
Chimpanzee habituation experience is an adventurous activity carried out in the park in the habituated chimpanzees which are trained to get used to human presence for tracking .The process of training them it’s a period of 2 years and whenever they notify that chimpanzees are ready for tourism .They open it to the public ‘’tourists’’ to visit them .However , chimpanzee habituation experience begins very early in the morning with a briefing at the park head quarter where after you will be accompanied by a team of researchers ,trackers ,park guides and enter the forest in search of the habituated chimpanzees.
Once chimpanzees are located you will be able to spend 4hours with them in their natural habitat which gives you a chance to learn about their habits, lifestyle, behaviors, collect samples from them, watch them in the evening time how they make their nests, feeding, mating, resting, hunting and seeing them in the evening making their nests is so adorable and unforgettable experience on your safari in the park .
Birding in Kibale National Park
The park is a great location for birding with a recorded list of more than 360 bird species including the forest endemic species and the migratory birds which make it a loving safari destination for birders.
Birding in Kibale national park best enjoyed in the early morning or late evening which is done with an expert bird guide who knows to recall their names. Some of the bird species to be spotted include great blue turaco, white bellied turaco, grey throated tit flycatcher. hairy breasted barbet, Nahan’s francolin, black crowned waxbill, masked apalis, Abyssinian ground thrush, white collared olive back, black billed turaco among others.
Nature walk/hiking in Kibale national park
Nature walking is also part of activities carried out in the park ,so interesting as you adventure park’s treasures on foot but before you start the hike ,they will first brief you and always follow the instructions given .Hiking experience is accompanied by a trained park guide who known the most interesting walking trails with much attraction to see such as wildlife species can be easily seen like forest elephants ,duiker ,bushbucks ,primates like blue monkeys ,black and white colobus moneys ,grey cheeked mangabey ,red tailed monkeys ,view different unique bird species , plants ,hiking as you enjoy listening to sweet melodies of birds ,cool breeze and breath fresh air among others.
Nocturnal forest walks in Kibale National Park
While in Kibale national park, you can opt to do nocturnal forest walk is also amazing will be accompanied by park ranger and a guide with a strong spotlight for clear viewing of nocturnal primates. The guided nocturnal forest walk starts at around 7:00pm and have a great view of nocturnal species in the forest such as bush bush, pottos, tree Hyrax, galago, cricket, nightjar among others.
Bigodi swamp walk
This is a commonly done activity after chimpanzee tracking, a great location for primates viewing, birding and having gainful view of the nature. Numbery of different species can be encountered along here, during your visit to the park.
On your visit to Kibale national park, you can choose to do cultural encounter to nearby communities, where you will be able meet the locals and interact with them, be entertained with the traditional dances and songs, visit women project center get to learn on how to make craft materials.
Accommodation facilities in Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park being one of the top visited safari destination on Uganda safaris, first time visitors shouldn’t worry where to stay while on their safari to the park. The park has classic accommodations facilities which ranges from Luxury –Mid-range to budget range.
Lodges include; Chimpanzee Forest Guest House, Papaya Lake Lodge, Kyanika Lodge, I Sunga Lodge, Kibale Safari Lodge, Primate Lodge Kibale, Chimp Nest, Kibale Forest Camp, Kanyanchu River Camp, Ndali Kasenda Lodge, Mountains of the Moon Hotel, Crater Safari Lodge among others.
When to visit the park’s activities –Kibale National Park
The park is all year visited though the best time is during the dry seasons ‘’peak seasons ‘’ starts from June to September and December to February. During dry seasons the park receives little rainfall with great opportunity of clear view of chimpanzees and other wildlife species as well as chimpanzee tracking trails can be passable compared to the wet seasons which can be difficult to ascend and descending back. Wet seasons happens in the months of March to May and November though best for birding.
Accessibility to Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park lies in western region of Uganda, approximately 5 to 6 hours’ drive from Kampala pass via Mubende -Fort portal to main destination. We recommend you to use 4×4 wheel safari vehicle. You can choose to fly with a domestic flight with Aero link from Entebbe International park with in 45minutes to access the landing airstrip, Mweya airstrip near Queen and be picked up by our safari drive to the Kibale National Park which is 1-hour drive.
Start now your safari to Uganda’s primate safaris combined with wildlife, Kibale National Forest which has one of the highest diversity and concentration of primates in Africa and mostly a home to large number of endangered chimpanzees as well as the red colobus monkeys and the rare L’Hoest Monkey.