Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzee Tracking & Other Primates, Bird Watching, and Nature Walks

Kibale Forest National Park - Uganda

TOP THINGS TO DO IN KIBALE

Kibale National park is the most Magnificent of Uganda’s tropical rain forest and one of the most rewarding areas to explore. Established at the end of the 18th century covering an area of 795sq km in size, Kibale boasts of 13 species of primates including the localized Red colobus monkey, Chimpanzee, l’hoest’s monkey and the endemic Uganda mangabey.

Kibale’s major attraction is the Chimpanzees, the delightful apes, most closely to humans than to any other leaving creature. These can be seen swinging in tree branches as one trek through the forest trails. While you enjoy your tour in this sunny side of nature, you have a life opportunity to sight over 300 bird species. The 180km – long migration corridor for wildlife also habits mammals like the elusive forest elephant, buffalos, giant forest hog, and a half a dozen antelope species; thereby making it one of the most stunning parks in Uganda.

Situated ideally in the heart of the Toro Kingdom in western Uganda, near Fort portal, the park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and is within a half day’s drive of Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National parks. The park became a government Forest Reserve in the early 1940s.

Activities

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX)

The chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) allows the visitor to accompany Kibale’s researchers and Habituaters as they follow Chimpanzees during their daily activity, thereby getting them used to human presence without altering their natural behavior. This is an whole day and early visitors may be able to see the spectacular scene of Chimps de- nesting, feeding, copulating, hunting, breast feeding, resting, patrolling and displaying until they build new nest and retire for the night around 7:00pm.(Advance booking is essential).

Primate Walk (Chimpanzee Tracking)

Also you can experience and participate in the Chimpanzee tracking walks which starts from the Kanyanchu visitor Centre at 8:00am and at 02:00pm and lasts 2-3 hours. Park guides are readily available to take tourists through this ritual. This walk is for the maximum of 6 persons per group and advance booking is essential.

Day Hikes/ Nature walks

This is an exploration of the park’s diverse habitats providing very close contact with nature. The walks begin at 08:00am, 10:00am, and 02:00pm and lasts 2-3 hours and it starts from Kanyanchu visitor Centre. Remind your guide to show you the naked Adam and Eva tree, one of Kibale’s unique wonders.

Bird Watching & Night Nature walks

Kibale National park boasts of 372 bird species of which 60 percent are recorded Uganda’s forest birds. Bird watchers can spot various species of these birds as they enjoy the various activities in the park. Also there is Night Nature walk which allows visitors to track the unique species of birds, animals, and insects such as Bats, Owl, pottos, bush babies, Civets, Genet cat, and Eastern needle nailed, that are most active at night.Children’s Activities

Only Children above 12 years are allowed to go into the forest to view the chimpanzees. Kibale has a variety of activities for children under 12 years including educational forest walks of 1-2 hours followed by creative activities like pond dipping, cyanotype photography and Batik-making. Through these educational forest walks, the children can learn about the ecosystem and its inhabitants. Parents can enjoy there forest walk with the knowledge that their Children are occupied in worthwhile activity with trained ranger guide.

Areas of Interest

Kanyanchu River Camp

Kanyanchu, in the central part of Kibale, is the main trailhead for the park’s famous forest walks, the most popular of which is the daily Primate Walk. There are 13 species of primate to search for, including habituated chimpanzees. Bird watching, nature walks for both kids and adults and guided night treks are also available here.

Sebitoli Forest Camp

Kibale’s secondary tourism centre in the north of the forest offers guided forest walks and a chance to encounter primates such as red colobus, black-and-white colobus, blue monkeys and vervet monkeys. Visitors may also spot a variety of aquatic, forest and savannah birds and enjoy views of the Mpanga River.

Areas of Interest outside the Park

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Rich in biodiversity and beautiful scenery, the wetland is a birder’s paradise with about 138 species. Located outside the park in Magombe Swamp it also hosts eight species of primates including the black-and-white colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed, l’Hoest’s and blue monkeys, and olive baboons. Bushbucks and mongooses can also be found here. The sanctuary was set up to preserve the exclusive environmental features along with the wetland and is managed by the local community.

Kihingami Wetland

Located near Sebitoli in northern Kibale, this community-run project offers excellent bird watching and visits to the local tea estates and factory. Nature walks will bring you up close to primates such as the black-and-white colobus, red colobus and red-tailed monkeys. Other animals like otters, mongooses and bushbucks can be observed in the wetlands.

Accessibility to Kibale forest

The 795sq km park can be accessed from Uganda’s capital Kampala along a newly surfaced road via Kasese near Queen Elizabeth national park, The Park can also be accessed from Mubende-fort portal and takes 5-6 hours’ drive,.

Kibale National park has access to two nearest airstrip Nyakisharara in Mbarara about 98km through Kamwengye and kasese airstrip.

Where to stay in Kibale

The park has excellent accommodation with Kibale primate lodge that is located in Kanyanchu. Others include up-market accommodation, tree houses and undemanding cottages are discovered at Sebitoli. Every accommodation has a campsite with a restaurant serving both local and international cuisine.Budget accommodation is also found at Bigodi, Nkingo and Ndali crater area. Ndali is well known for its up-market accommodation and other budget alternative such as Chimpanzee guesthouse along with lake Nkuruba Fort Portal town also has high standard accommodation.

Lodges & Accommodation
  • Primate Lodge Kibale
  • Nyinabulitwa Country Resort
  • Chimps’ Nest
  • Kanyanchu River Camp
  • Kibale Forest Camp
 

Best time to visit Kibale National Park

Kibale Forest national park is open to visitors and tourists pretty much all year round. The perfect time to visit however is September to March which is the dry season and catching sight of wildlife is much easier.

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