Kibale Forest National Park tucked away in the western part of Uganda near Fort Portal town. It contains one of the most varied tracts of tropical rain-forest in Uganda.
Most of the northern and central parts of the park are dominated by forest covers that are interspersed with patches of grassland and swamps.
Furthermore, the park adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south creating a 180km long corridor for wildlife between the Ishasha sector and Sebitoli in its north.
More than that, Kibale National Park lies close to the Ndali-Kasenda crater area and it’s a half day drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park, Semliki National Park and Rwenzori Mountains.
Out of the 70 mammal species in the Park, 13 are primates and this Park has the highest diversity of primates in Africa.
Among the primates, chimpanzees are the most famous and reason for most of Safaris to Kibale. The total number of chimpanzees in Kibale is approximated to 1450 individuals.
Aside from Chimpanzees, Kibale is home to the threatened red colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons and grey-cheeked mangabey.
Other ground-dwelling animals exist in the Park though there are rarely seen while in the jungles. An estimate records over 500 elephants in the park together with leopards, buffalos, warthogs, bush pigs and duikers. Some migrate from the nearby Queen Elizabeth National Park.
On top of 375 bird species, over 250 species of butterflies breathe life in the Park in addition to reptiles and amphibians.
Just in the western part of Uganda, you can easily get to this Park by road transport means. It is about 310 km and takes about 5-6 hours for the drive from Kampala up to Kibale Forest National Park.
From Kampala or Entebbe you drive via Kampala –Mityana – Mubende – Fort Portal highway passing road side sceneries like rolling hills, valleys, grasslands, savannah, farmlands and more.
From the city you will drive straight to Fort but before reaching town you branch off in Kibale Forest and continue up to the gate of the Park.
Areas of Interest
Kanyanchu River Camp
Kanyanchu is positioned in the central part of the Park – it’s the main trailhead for the highly appreciated forest walks offered in the Park, the most famous being the primate walk.
There are over 13 primate species to search while on this walk including the chimpanzees. In simple terms, Kanyanchu tourism center is the starting point for all tourism activities in Kibale, you can as well do bird watching or nature walks.
Sebitoli Forest Camp
Just in the northern part of Kibale forest, you find this secondary tourism center in the Park. It offers mainly, guided nature walks that reward clear chances to spot numerous primate species like black and white monkeys colobus, blue, vervet monkeys, red colobus and more.
You are also exposed to variety of birds including aquatic, forest and savannah species. Additionally, views of Mpanga River are awesome.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Known for its rich biodiversity and stunning scenery, Bigodi wetland is a haven for bird watching.
It is home to over 138 species of birds including the rare shoebill stork. This spot is just outside of the Park within magombe swamp.
Guided nature walks offered exposes you not only to bird species but you will also sight the eight species (grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys) that call it home.
On a lucky day you can also see the bush bucks and mongooses. This sanctuary was established to preserve the exclusive environmental features; it is under management of the local community.
Set in close proximity to Sebitoli in the northern side of Kibale forest, Kihingami is ideal for bird watching. From here you can also visit the local tea estate and factory.
Guided nature walks on offer lead you to incredible localities where you can sight plenty of primates and animals like bush-bucks, otters to mention but a few.
Top Activities in Kibale.
Birding in Bigodi Wetland
For first timers, Kibale is a wonderful spot you should consider for bird safaris in Uganda. It is endowed with a lot of species including the rare ones. All birding excursions start at Kanyanchu tourism Centre, you are advised to book in advance.
The main locations for bird watching Kibale include sebitoli, kihingami and bigodi wetland. During the expeditions in Bigodi, travelers stroll around via boardwalks heading to multiple viewing platforms.
You will behold species like Papyrus canary, olive back canary, papyrus gonolek, white-winged warbler, yellow-spotted barbet, hairy-breasted barbet, yellow-billed barbet, western nicator, grey-winged robin-chat, brown-backed scrub-robin, black and white shrike flycatcher, superb sun-bird, brown-throated wattle-eye and more
Chimpanzee Tracking and Habituation
Without doubt, chimpanzee tracking and habituation are the main reasons for most of safaris to this Evergreen Park in the western part of Uganda.
While on chimpanzee tracking, a specified group of tourists are allowed to meet with Chimpanzees in the Jungle to have an insight about their behaviors and ways of living.
Only one hour is allowed to be in their presence after locating them, then for habituation experience you are allowed to be in their presence for four hours or full day in the Jungle.
Kanyanchu primate walk is the trail head followed during the tracking, you can sight other primates on the way but the main motive for the walk is the chimpanzees.
In Kibale, chimpanzee tracking is offered in four sessions including morning, afternoon and late noon. The first session usually starts at 8:00 am and lasts for about three hours.
Those who go early in the morning have higher chances watching the chimps as they leave their nests to go for feeding, copulating and breastfeeding.
These are fantastic for those who are after sighting lots of bird species and also come close to nature. In Kibale, nature walks are offered both during day and night.
At night, a guided nature walk through the forest brings you close to nocturnal creatures like night-jars, tree hyrax, bush babies, civets and serval cats.
A torch is a must have for night nature walks in Kibale, these walks start at 7:30 pm and last for about one to two hours.