Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau.
Kibale National park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee.
It also contains over 375 species of birds. Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180km-long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park.
The Kibale-Fort Portal area is one of Uganda’s most rewarding destinations to explore. The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and within half a day’s drive of the Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks, as well as the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.
Top Things to Do in Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest – where the West African Jungle meets East Africa. The best place in all of East Africa for Chimpanzee Tracking. Home to 13 Primate Species including almost 1,500 Chimpanzees. Kibale Forest, when it comes to Primates, including chimpanzees offers you the best experience in East Africa. Even within Uganda, where 5000 chimpanzees are found, Kibale Forest is the premier Primate Destination.
A reality, often not realized by Visitors to Uganda is that Kibale Forest and beyond offers, even more, than Chimpanzee Trekking, such as hiking, biking, Crater Lake Hikes, Caving, Cultural Visit and one must not forget the famed Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary – one of the few Jungle Swamps in East Africa teaming with Primates, Birds and Mammals.
Kibale Forest National Park is one of East Africa’s major Tropical Rainforest, something you cannot find in Kenya or Tanzania. A Visit to the Forest allows you to discover a whole nother world beyond Savannas and arid plains. It is not be missed for the Rainforest Jungle like Vegetation alone, add the Primates that have the highest rate of seeing them on a Trek and a Chimpanzee enthusiast is in his version of heaven.
Most visitors to Kibale Forest go chimpanzee tracking in Uganda, which means that you will be one hour with a chimpanzee group. Some want more of the experience of being with the chimpanzees and you can have more.
At Kibale Forest, you can spend a whole day with a Chimpanzee Group in what is called a Chimpanzee Habituation Experience. It is an all-day experience from very early to late afternoon.
Kibale Forest – the Primate Capital of East Africa is the best place to track Chimpanzees in Uganda, there are other great chimpanzee trekking places but none like Kibale Forest.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience Kibale Forest:
Kibale Forest is the best place in East Africa for the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience. It is an all-day experience with the chimpanzees in Kibale Forest.
The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience begins early in the morning and lasts all-day long – you are with a guide, researchers, trackers and others as you are in the presence of Chimpanzees being habituated.
Not only will you see Chimpanzees, but other primates, birds, butterflies, trees and mammals.
The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience – also called CHEX is one of the more popular activities for our safari clients.
Bushcraft Children Activities:
Children under the age of 15 cannot track chimpanzees but there are plenty Kid-Friendly Things to do and see while the parents are tracking the chimpanzees.
Children – Friendly Rangers will show the children the wonders of the forest, show them wildlife, plants, trees, birds, and monkeys.
Kibale Forest is one of the few places where children can take Bushcraft classes and activities where the children will not miss exploring Kibale Forest.
We also make sure that your children have a kid-friendly driver with them to make sure that they feel comfortable.
Hikes and Nature Walks:
Nature walks and hikes abound in, near and around Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda. There is even a hike that traverses the length of the park. Where each night you sleep in a different area outside of the park.
There are also plenty of day-hikes in or near the park and in the park for you to enjoy the various aspects of the Kibale Forest and the surrounding area.
There is a great half-day (Plus) hike during the dry seasons of 12 kilometers in length. Along with this hike you can see the varied habitats found in the forest, rivers, swamp, grassland and the tropical rainforest all making up Kibale Forest. An extended hike (several days) through the park can be taken and can be incorporated into your itinerary.
Nocturnal Forest Walk:
The night forest walk takes place after dinner in Kibale Forest. You are guided by Uganda Wildlife Rangers equipped with spotlights to see the forest come alive at night.
You can see the creatures of the night such as Bush Babies, Pottos, at times Tree Pangolins and other nocturnal animals, including the birds that rule the night in the forest.
The walk is about 1 1/2 hours in length. The walk is optional in most Uganda safari tours that take in Kibale Forest and is best taken during the night that you arrive in Kibale Forest.
Chimpanzee Trekking and Chimpanzee Habituation Safaris:
Kibale Forest is one of the highlights of any Ugandan Safari. After Bwindi Impenetrable Forest it is the favorite Primate Park to visit in Uganda.
What makes Kibale Forest even more popular are the added plus items that one can do see on a chimpanzee trekking or habitation experience safaris to the park. The Plus Features such as Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary, the Crater Lakes, Caves, and hikes.
The primary reason that visitors come to Kibale Forest it is the fact that the Forest is the Primate Capital in East Africa with 13 species of Primates that can be seen here.
Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary:
Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary – simply a swamp in the tropical jungle, filled with natural wonders that have amazed and delights thousands each year as they trek through this Jungle Swamp – primates – including chimpanzees in the afternoon, birds including the large Blue Turaco.
Even more than that the incredible plants, trees, palms, Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary has become a must visit place near Kibale Forest.
This is a Bigodi Community Project and the guides are from the project and the community benefits greatly. The walk is 3 hours in length and not to be missed by birders.
Crater Lakes Top of the World Hike:
Near Kibale Forest you will find many crater lakes which you see as we drive near the Park. The top of the World Hike is a popular activity near Kibale Forest – a three-hour or longer guided walk covering three crater lakes, villages, tea-plantations and a view from the top of the world that takes in 3 crater lakes and the Rwenzori Mountains with the landscape below.
This hike is three hours in length and is taken with guides who can explain Village life – the legends of the crater lakes, the tea and vanilla plantations all along the way. There are other Crater Lake hikes that can be done either half or full-day.
The Amabere Caves:
Visit this amazing cave for its beauty, natural wonder and cultural legends – it is located not too far from Kibale Forest and is a most welcomed addition to the other places in, near, or around Kibale Forest Park.
The Amabere caves – just a short drive are a combination of legends and nature – you will hear the stories of old and see nature at work as you are guided on the hike to the caves and the waterfall.
The hike – nature-walk is about two-three hours in length and is conducted with a guide.There are also three nearby crater lakes that can be visited on a hike.
The Nakayima Witch’s Tree:
This is a cultural and traditional worship site that you can visit on the way to Kibale from Kampala or from Kibale to Kampala.
Commonly called the Witch’s Tree it is on top of a hill with great views, it is used by Ugandans who come and appeal to the spirits in case of illness, infertility, diseases, and relationships.
A tour guide will give you an insight into the site, the current cultural practices and the oral history of this ancient tree. Break your drive-time from or to Kampala with a visit to the Nakayima Cultural site.
Biodiversity at Kibale National Park
The forest cover in Kibale National Park is broadly classified into three. It is mid-altitude, moist evergreen in the north, gradually decreasing in elevation to moist semi-deciduous in the south and a mixture of deciduous and evergreens in the central parts.
Kibale National Forest has one of the highest diversity and concentration of primates in Africa. It is home to a large number of endangered chimpanzees, as well as the red colobus monkey considered Endangered and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey that are considered Vulnerable. The park is also home to over 325 species of birds, 4 wild fellids, 13 species of primates, a total of at least 70 other species of mammals, and over 250 tree species.
There are 13 species of primates in Kibale National Park. The park protects several well-studied habituated communities of common chimpanzee, as well as several species of Central African monkey including the Uganda mangabey (Lophocebus ugandae), the Ugandan red colobus (Procolobus tephrosceles) and the L’Hoest’s monkey. Other primates that are found in the park include the black-and-white colobus (Colobus guereza) and the blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis).
The park’s population of elephants travels between the park and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Other terrestrial mammals that are found within Kibale National Park include red and blue duikers, bushbucks, sitatungas, bushpigs, giant forest hogs, warthogs, and buffalo. The carnivores that are present include leopards, African golden cats, servals, different mongooses and two species of otter. In addition, lions visit the park on occasion.
Bird life in the park is so prolific, boasting over 375 sited species of birds, including the western green tinker bird, olive long-tailed cuckoo, two species of pittas (African and green-breasted) and the African grey parrot, Imperative to note that the ground thrush (Turdus kibalensis) is endemic to Kibale National Park.
The park boast over 229 species of trees found within the moist tropical forests of the park. Some endangered timber species of trees in the Kibale National Park include; Lovoa swynnertonnii, Cordia millenii, and Entandrophragma angolense. The forest understory is dominated by shade-tolerant shrubs and herbs, which include Palisota schweinfurthii and Pollia condensata, in addition to ferns and broad leaf grasses.
|Languages spoken||English, Luganda, Lunyoro|
|Currency used||Uganda Shillings (UGX)|