Kibale Forest National Park is one of the most magnificent protected areas within Uganda. This tropical rain forest is located in western Uganda and it is among the best destinations that you can explore. The park has outstanding attractions and the geographical setup itself makes it one of the best places for nature retreats.
The present day Kibale National Park was recognized in 1940s as a forest reserve and later gazetted as a national park in 1993. It occupies a total area of 795 sq km. This is the best place to see chimpanzees in their natural home.
The park host 13 species of primates including Red colobus, black and white colobus monkeys and L’hoest monkeys. The chimpanzees are the major attraction that pull tourists to this part of the world and you can meet these delightful apes that most closely related to human within a few hours of hiking.
Kibale Forest is one of the best places for primate safaris and enjoys a privilege of the being the primate capital of the world. The wild chimpanzees in live in communities and always split into into small groups to avoid food competition. They live in communities and chimpanzees are known to have advanced knowledge of using tools to earn a living.
Among the chimpanzee communities in the park, there is Kanyantale community where researchers have done much studies into the interesting community of these primates. This community is comprised of about 120 habituated individuals. Chimpanzees of this community are always spotted swinging in tree branches when you hike through the forest trails. Chimpanzees in this community are friendly and used to human presence but still remain wild meaning when in their presence.
While tracking chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park, you can’t avoid beautiful sounds and sights of amazing forest birds. Some interesting birds to see in the park include the great Blue Turaco, African Kingfishers, Wood peckers and most interestingly Pita.
How to Get to Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park is situated in the western part of the Uganda. It lies a few kilometres from Fortpotal town. The journey from Kampala via Mubende and Fortpotal takes about 6-7 hours.
Kanyanchu is the primary center for tourism activities in Kibale forest national park. There is a tourist information center to offer you all the information you need to adventure through the forest.
Attractions in Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park boasts of diverse wildlife. There are 13 primate species that live in the park. The forest hosts the highest density of chimpanzees that call it home. There are over 1,000 chimpanzees that live in this colony and 120 individuals have been habituated for tourism.
The other primates that live in the park include black, white and red colobus monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys and olive baboons etc.
There are about 350 bird species both within the forest and in Bigodi community swamp.
Other mammals that live in Kibale include forest elephants, buffaloes, antelopes such as Red and Blue duikers, some bush pigs etc.
There are approximately 250 butterfly species.
In terms of flora, there are tree species most especially the hardwood trees.
Activities done in Kibale Forest National Park
Within Kibale Forest National Park, there are lots of activities that you can enjoy while on your safari.
Chimpanzee tracking is the most popular adventure that can be done in the park. There are several habituated chimpanzees that can be visited by tourists. A pass to visit these apes cost US$150 per person per trek and this activity is limited to only 1 hour of primate watching.
Another popular adventure is the chimpanzee habituation experience that is done in Buliaga community. This activity will involve you watching the chimpanzees for more than 1 hour. This activity comes at a cost of US$200.
Other adventures to undertake are;
- Bird watching that is mainly done in Bigodi swamp community
- Nature walks that will enable you see numerous wildlife including various monkey species, baboons, red and blue duikers etc
- Butterfly Watching
How to acquire chimpanzee tracking and habituation experience permits
You can book chimpanzee watching permits with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or book a primate safari that is all inclusive from one of the Uganda tour operators. Most activities within the park begin at 8am in the morning and the chimpanzee habituation experience best begins at 6:30am in the morning.