Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale forest national park is one of the best destinations in Africa located in the western part of Uganda in the Kamwenge district. The national park covers a total area of 795 square kilometers and harbors different wildlife species including 13 primate species like grey cheeked mangabey, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, animals like forest elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, antelopes, forest birds like green breasted pitta, Cassin’s spine tail, blue headed bee-eater and different vegetation types like tropical rainforest, grassland, swamp among others.

Top things to do and see in Kibale forest national park

Chimpanzee trekking

Chimpanzee trekking is one of the major activities done in Kibale national park because it harbors the highest number of chimpanzees. Chimpanzee trekking in the park starts in the morning with a briefing about the rules and regulations at the park headquarters. After the briefing you will be divided into groups of 6 people where each group will be allocated a habituated chimpanzee family to trek and then start trekking in the forest with an experienced park guide. Trekking of chimpanzees in Kibale national park takes about 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on where the chimpanzees are located because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. During trekking you will be able to spot other primates like black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, forest birds, colorful butterflies, different plant and tree species among others. Once the chimpanzees are found you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their environment which gives you a chance to learn about their habits, behaviors, watch them play, feed, hunt, mate, breastfeed, fight, rest, take photos with a flash less camera and record the moments.

Chimpanzee habituation experience

Chimpanzee habituation is a process where the wild chimpanzees are trained to get used to human presence for trekking. The habituation process takes a period of 2 to 3 years to be completed and it’s done by a team of researchers, scientists, park guides, trackers among others. Chimpanzee habituation experience is an all day activity that starts early in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters. After the briefing you will join a team of researchers and start trekking in the forest in search of the chimpanzees under habituation process. Once they are found you will be allowed to spend four hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you an opportunity to monitor their behaviors, lifestyle, watch the chimpanzees carry out their daily activities like feeding, grooming young ones, breastfeeding, playing, fighting, mating, resting among others.

Bird watching

Kibale forest national park is a home of more than 375 recorded bird species including endemic and forest bird species. The birding activity starts at around 7:00am from Kanyachu visitors centre and lasts for a half day or full day depending on your interests. During bird watching you will be able to spot different bird species like Abyssinian ground thrush, yellow billed barbet, red winged francolin, black bishop, black crowned waxbill, brown crowned tchagra, nahans francolin, masked apalis, hairy breasted barbet, grey winged robin chat, white tailed ant-thrush, grey winged robbin, blue headed blue-eater, Cassin’s spine tail, great blue turacco, green breasted pitta, yellow spotted nictor, tiny sunbird, white collared olive back, little greenbul, purple headed starling among others. 

Nature walks

This is an interesting activity in Kibale forest national park that gives visitors an opportunity to explore the park on foot. During the nature walks which start from either Kanyachu or Sebitoli you will be accompanied by an experienced park guide who is conversant with different trail. During the guided nature walk you will be able to view various animals like elephants, antelopes, bushbucks, duikers, primates like l’hoest monkeys, vervet monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, view different bird species, tree species, beautiful butterflies, listen to sweet sounds of bird species, enjoy the cool breeze, sights and sounds of the rainforest among others.

Nocturnal forest walk

This is an exciting activity that will give you a chance to experience the park at night with the company of a park ranger and spotlight torches for clear viewing. During the nocturnal forest walk which starts at around 7:30pm after dinner and takes about one to two hours, you will be able to spot various nocturnal animals like pottos, owls, bush baby, genets, nightjar, tree hyrax, serval cats, civet among others.

Bigodi swamp walk

Bigodi wetland is a sanctuary that is located about 5 km from the entrance of Kibale forest national park and its one of the best birding areas where you will be able to view variety of bird species like the great blue turaco, white spotted flufftail, blue breasted kingfisher, collared apalis, green breasted pitta, brown chested alethe, Abyssinian ground thrush, western nicator, yellow billed barbet, crowned eagle black bishop, black crowned tchagra among others. During the swamp walk in Bigodi wetland you will also enjoy spectacular views of primates like grey cheeked mangabey, vervet monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, red colobus monkeys, animals like sitatunga antelopes, mongoose, bushbucks, otters, bush pigs, colourful butterflies among others. 

Best time to visit Kibale forest national park

Kibale forest national park can be visited all year round though the best time is during the dry/peak season in the months of June to September and December to February.  During the dry season Kibale forest national park receives little or less rainfall therefore vegetation will be thin which makes wildlife viewing easy and chimpanzee trekking trails will be dry and passable.

Kibale forest national park can also be visited in the wet/low season during the months of march to may and November because that’s the best time for birding where bird lovers will be able to view migratory bird species. The wet season is also the best season for chimpanzee habituation experience since the park is free from many visitors due to heavy rains. 

Where to stay during your safari in Kibale national park

There are various accommodation facilities ranging from luxury, midrange and budget where visitors on a safari in Kibale national park can stay. The accommodations include Ndali lodge, Primate Lodge, Crater safari lodge, Kyaninga lodge, Papaya Lake lodge, Chimpanzee forest guesthouse, Chimps nest, Kibale forest camp, Mountains of the moon hotel, Rwenzori view guesthouse, Lake Nkuruba nature reserve and community campsite, Nyinabulitwa country resort, Kanyachu river camp, Kibale forest camp, Isunga lodge among others.

How to get to Kibale Forest National Park 

kibale forest national park is located in western part of uganda and can be accessed by road transport means whereby you will drive from kampala through mubende, Fort Portal or mbarara kamwenge road to the park headquarters which takes about 5 to 6 hour drive in a 4WD safari vehicle.

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