Kibale national park is a protected park that boosts with a high population of chimpanzees with over 1500 apes which are inhabited of kibale forest. In Uganda, there are over 5000 chimpanzees. The park is under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority and is on the list of the world heritage site. The park is situated in the western region of Uganda covering a total area of 776 square kilometres of its land and it is located between 1,100 metres to 1600 metres in elevation.
The park is one of the areas that has the last remaining expanses to contain both montane rain forest and lowlands. The forest extends to Queen Elizabeth national park and the park has a major eco-tourism and safari destination popularly for its huge population of habituated chimpanzees. There are other 13 primates species in kibale national park such as Uganda mangabey, Red colobus monkeys , L’hoest’s monkeys , black and white colobus monkeys many more there are also other mammal species like leopards, African buffaloes, Elephants, giant forest hog, African golden cats, servals, mongooses and two species of otters. The lions are rarely seen in this park but since the park’s location is closer to queen Elizabeth national park, lions from queen usually visits the park and there is possibility of seeing them, antelopes, common warthogs, bush pigs, sitatungas, bushbucks, Red and blue duikers and very many other species.
Kibale national park is also a home of 325 bird species such as olive long-tailed cuckoo, western tinker bird, green-breasted pitta, African pitta, Abyssinian ground thrush, Crowned eagle, black-capped apalis, purple-breasted sunbird, black bee-eater, yellow spotted nicator, blue breasted kingfisher, brown-chested alethe and many more. Most birds can be highly spotted out at bigodi wetland sanctuary which is the best place for birding in kibale national park.
Activities done in Kibale National Park
Kibale national park offers very many exciting activities for the tourists to engage in and these include the unique chimpanzee trekking, chimpanzee habituation, crater lake top of the world hiking, nocturnal forest walk, nature walk and hike, bushcraft children activities, Nakayima witch’s tree, bird watching and many more.
Chimpanzee trekking: This is a very gorgeous activity that attracts many travellers to visit kibale national park which is best destination for primates experience in all of East Africa and it is the best place to trek chimpanzee in Uganda still there are other amazing chimpanzee trekking area but unlike kibale forest. In kibale forest, the possibility of seeing these apes is high because the park hosts over 1500 chimpanzees. Chimpanzee trekking is best done in morning hours but before proceeding to kibale forest tourists are first given short briefing about chimpanzee trekking after a briefing you will be accompanied by a trained guide to their natural habitats. The activity can take 30minutes or even a full day depending on the location of the primates and once they are found you will be given one hour to watch them on the way they groom themselves, feeding their your ones, playing on the branches of the trees. All you need to do is to carry your clear camera with enough battery to take photos of these apes with that one hour given to you just for feature remembrance.
Chimpanzee habituation experience: Chimpanzee habituation is best done in morning hours at around 7:00 am after tourist’s breakfast. It is a full day activity undertaking habituation. This is a daily done activity carried out very early in the morning. Tourists will be picked from the lodge where you could be sleeping with a packed lunch but at your own cost then you will meet the guide who will lead you to their forest trails. And once they are found you will spend your rest of the day with these great apes as, you will learn about their lifestyle, behaviours, playing and grooming themselves, see them how they built their nest but in evening hours. Chimpanzees are said to be 98% of human genes and are being trained on how to get closer to human presence. After you return back to your lodge have rest. This is the most enjoyable and memorable experience you will ever have on Uganda’s tours.
Guided nature walks: Guided nature walk and hiking can be carried out in Kibale national park and be done in kibale forest which is habitant to various species of primates, birds, trees. Through carrying out nature walk within the forest travellers can be able to spot out primates like red colobus monkeys, black and white monkeys, L’hoest monkey as your listening to sweet melodies of birds singing. You can as well move through the park by hiking along the crater lake which is rewarding and as tourists are enjoying their hike they can be able to view the surrounding farms, communities nearby and many.
Bird watching: Bird watching is remarkable within here. The park host with over 350 bird species and can be best viewed in morning hours and evening hours in cooler hours. Bird watching in Kabale national park can be done out at bigodi wetland area located within the park and such birds that can be seen include white spotted fluff tail, white breasted Negrofinch, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Black Bishop and many more other species kibale is just a haven for birders.
Bushcraft children activity: This is an activity done by children of below 15 years old since they cannot involve in chimpanzee trekking experience and bushcraft activity can be led by a friendly ranger who will show the children the amazing features of the forest, birds, plants, monkeys and many more. Kibale national park is one of the few places where children can do this exciting bushcraft experience and as they are enjoying their classes, children will not miss out to encounter the kibale forest in a way that they will remember in their lifetime.
Nocturnal forest walk: The guided nocturnal forest walk takes place after traveller’s dinner in kibale forest and it is guided by Uganda wildlife Rangers equipped with strong lighting touch to see the nature forest come alive at night. And as your carrying out this unfamiliar activity you can be able to see creatures of the night like pottos, bush babies and other nocturnal birds that rule the night in the forest.
Community Tours are where you will visit the local people who are residents around the park the Batooro and Bakinga people.
How much does chimpanzee trekking and habitation cost?
- Chimpanzee trekking costs USD150 per person per day.
- Chimpanzee habituation costs USD200 per person.
What is the best time to visit the park?
Kibale forest national park can be visited all year round in dry season starting from June to September and December to February when the forest trails are dry and easy to be accessed for chimpanzee trekking and habituation. Tourist can still visit the park in the wet season from March to May and September to November the best months for birding and hotel rates can be low because of the few visitors who visit the park.
Where to stay.
Kibale forest national park offers nice accommodation with comfortable bed ranging between luxury, mid-range, budget and such hotels and lodges include I Sunga lodge, Rweteera safari, Ecolodge Uganda campsite, Kluge’s guest farm, kibale forest lodge, kibale guest cottages and many others.
Accessing Kibale Forest National Park
The park can be easily accessed from the main starting point of Kampala the capital city of Uganda along the newly surfaced road passing via Mubende to Fort portal town up to the main destination which takes 5 to 6 hours by drive. Alternatively, you can choose to fly from kajjasi Airstrip to Kasese Airstrip lasting only 1:00hour from here, your tour operator will pick you and take you to the lodge that was booked for you for not less than 1:30hours.
Visit kibale forest national park where you can get an unforgettable experience of chimpanzee trekking and habituation and this is the only destination that boosts with a high population of over 1500 apes in East African Countries. Be part of the most highlight activity on Uganda’s tours that is chimpanzee trekking and all you need to do is to book for your permits in advance before your time of arrival in Uganda.