Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park : Kibale national park also known as the primate capital is located in western part of Uganda southeastern part of Fort Portal. The national park covers a total area of 795 square kilometers and harbors abundant and unique wildlife species including 13 primate species such as chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys, grey checked mangabey, mammals like forest elephants, buffaloes, warthogs, bush pigs, duikers, golden cats, over 350 plant species, 375 bird species among others.
Top things to do in Kibale forest national park
Chimpanzee trekking is the major activity in Kibale forest national park where you will be able to move into the tropical rainforest in search of chimpanzees and once found spend one hour with them in their natural environment. Kibale national park is a home of over 1500 chimpanzees and trekking starts in the morning at around 8:00am with a briefing at Kanyachu Visitors Centre. After the briefing you will be sub divided into groups of 6 people where each group will be allocated a habituated chimpanzee family to trek and a well trained park guide who is well conversant with trails in the forest.
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park takes about 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on their location because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. During trekking you will enjoy great views of other primates like grey cheeked mangabey, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, view different bird species, plants among others.
Once the chimpanzees are located you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you an opportunity to observe their behaviors, watch them feed, play, fight, hunt, mate, breastfeed, rest, take photos and record the breathtaking moments to show people back home after the safari.
Chimpanzee habituation experience
Kibale forest national park is the only destination in Uganda that offers the interesting chimpanzee habituation experiences an activity where the wild chimpanzees are trained to get used to human presence for trekking. Chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale national park allows a maximum number of 4 people and the activity starts with a briefing about the rules and regulations to follow during trekking. After the briefing you will start trekking in the forest with a team of researchers, park guides and trackers.
Chimpanzee habituation experience takes a full day and during trekking you will be able to view variety of bird species, other primates, different plant and tree species among others. Once the chimpanzees under the habituation process are located you will be allowed to spend four hours with them in their natural habitat which gives you a chance to monitor their behaviors, watch them feed, breastfeed, groom young ones, hunt, copulate, patrol, rest and build new nests for the night.
Kibale forest national park is a home of more than 375 recorded bird species including forest birds, endemic birds and migratory bird species. Bird watching in Kibale national park can either be done early in the morning or in the evening with an experienced park guide who will help you to spot different bird species such as blue headed bee-eater, green breasted pitta, great blue turaco, Nahans francolin, little greenbul, purple breasted sunbird, white collared olive bird, black bee-eater, white naped pigeon, little greenbul, purple headed starling, tiny sunbird, grey winged robin, superb sunbird, peckled tinker bird, white thighed hornbill, red chested flufftail, grey throated tit, masked apalis, yellow spotted barbet, black billed turaco, dusky crimsonwing, black capped apalis, red faced woodland warbler, black eared ground thrush, blue breasted kingfisher among others.
This is an interesting activity in Kibale forest national park where you will be able to explore the park on foot with the company of a park guide and an armed park ranger. During the guided nature walk you will get up-close and personal with different wildlife species including primates like l’hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, view different plant and tree species, colorful butterflies, listen to sweet sounds of bird species, breath fresh air among others.
Where to stay in Kibale forest national park
There are several accommodation facilities where you can stay during the safari in Kibale national park. The accommodations range from luxury, midrange and budget including Chimps Nest Lodge, Chimpanzee Forest Guest House, Crater Safari Lodge, Kibale Forest Camp, Isunga Lodge, Kibale Safari Lodge, Kibale Guest Cottages, Mountain of the Moon Hotel Fort Portal, Kyaninga Lodge, Papaya Lake Lodge, Ndali Lodge, Primate Safari Lodge, Turaco Tree Tops, Rweteera Safari Park among others.
When to visit Kibale forest national park
Kibale forest national park can be visited all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. During the dry season the national park receives little or less rainfall therefore hiking and chimpanzee trekking trails will be passable and vegetation will be thin which helps you to have clear views of wildlife species in the park.
Kibale forest national park can also be visited in the wet season during the months of march to may and November because that’s the best time for bird watching where bird lovers will be able to view migratory bird species from Europe. Also during the wet season you will be able to enjoy the park with less crowds and some lodges offer discounts which favors budget travelers.
Getting to Kibale forest national park
Kibale forest national park is located in western Uganda and can be accessed by road transport means where by visitors will drive from Kampala or Entebbe via Mubende-Fort Portal road or Mbarara-Kamwenge road to the park headquarters which takes about 5 to 6 hours drive in a 4WD safari vehicle.