• Kibale National Park
  • Kibale National Park
  • Kibale National Park
  • Kibale National Park
  • Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park, located in southwestern Uganda is a tropical rainforest that harbors quite a number of wildlife species that have attracted many tourists to come into Uganda.

This national park has contributed widely in Uganda’s tourism industry because it harbors some endangered species that catch the traveler’s eye. Chimpanzees are primates that share about 90% of their DNA with human beings and have been habituated in Kibale Forest National Park.

Uganda in total has about 4950 chimpanzees and Kibale National Park holds about 1500 chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are also visited by travelers for 1 hour which is the same for gorilla trekking.

However, chimpanzee trekking also has an option for travelers to spend more time with the Chimps and this is called Chimpanzee Habituation.

Kibale National Park is one of the best Africa safari tour destination for chimpanzee trekking safaris and has the highest number and diversity of primates in East Africa.

There are 13 species of primates including chimpanzees living within its 795km2 land cover with the most beautiful and most diversified tracts of tropical forest in the whole of Uganda.

Kibale National Park

The Forest covering predominates in the central and northern part of the park on the raised Fort Portal plateau. At the park’s northern tip, Kibale is highest and stands 1590m above sea level

Kibale National Park Uganda is one of the best safari destinations in Africa for chimpanzee tracking. See advice, sample Uganda safari packages, how to get a chimpanzee tracking permit and so much more information on Uganda tours.

Flora and Fauna Kibale National Park

Vegetation Areas in Kibale National Park

Kibale’s varied vegetation offers different varieties of wildlife habitat, ranging from the moist evergreen forest (wet tropical forest) along the Fort Portal plateau, then through the dry tropical forest (moist semi deciduous), and then to the woodland and savanna along the rift valley floor.

 In the central part of the park, around Kanyanchu, the high forest consist of a mixture of evergreen trees and deciduous with the evergreen species being dominant.

The vegetation rises to over 55m and establishes a semi-closed canopy of massive stratified tree crowns. With shade tolerant herbs, a variety of ferns, shrubs and broad leaved forest grasses, the undergrowth is sparse. 351 tree species have been registered in the park.

Wildlife in Kibale National

With 13 different species, the number and diversity of primates in Kibale National Park is the highest in the whole of Africa. The most popular of these are the chimpanzees with over 1450 individuals living here making it the best destination to enjoy a Chimpanzee Tracking Tour.

Kibale National Park

A Uganda safari will enable you to see all these primates. In addition Kibale is home to the uncommon L’Hoest’s monkeys, East Africa’s biggest population of the endangered red colobus monkeys, the black & white colobus, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, grey cheeked mangabeys, bush babies as well as potto among many others.

There is a number of other wildlife in Kibale National Park however they are hardly seen. These consist of buffaloes, leopards, bush pigs, elephants, and duikers. A keen viewer may also be able to spot some amphibians, reptiles and a variety of colorful butterflies.

Where is Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park is located in Kabarole District in western Uganda a land blessed a strong cultural heritage. The park is located in nearest to Fort Portal town which is the biggest town with in Kabarole District.

This town has a big population of the Batoro tribe that has their Kings palace located at the heart of this fort portal town.

The Omugabe King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru is the current king of Tooro kingdom in which Kabarole District is located. He happens to be the youngest King in Uganda and in Africa at large.

The Location of Kibale National Park is in the western part of Uganda about 348km (5 hrs drive) from Kampala and about 26km south-east of the beautiful Fort Portal town – one of Uganda’s most lovely places to explore. The park is located close to the serene Ndali Kasenda crater area and it takes a half day’s drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountains & Semuliki National Parks and the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.

Southern Kibale borders Queen Elizabeth National Park and collectively these conserved areas protect a 180 km long migration corridor for wildlife that stretches from the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park in “Ishasha”, to “Sebitoli” in northern Kibale.

How to Get to Kibale National Park

Kibale national park is located in the western part of Uganda in Kabarole district, 22km south of Fort Portal town. There are 2 roads of accessing Kibale national park from Kampala city/Entebbe, which is the central location for any safari tour to Uganda national parks.

There is the northern route via Mubende and Fort Portal and the other approach is the south via Mbarara and Kamwenge. The northern route is the shortest and quickly accesses the park at a distance of approximately 290 km on a tarmac road, taking about 4 to 5 hours’ drive. It’s a 32 km driving from Fort Portal to Kanyanchu information center.

Sebitoli Forest camp located directly on Kampala road is a secondary tourism center easily reached with a distance of about 12 km from Fort Portal town. Ndali-Kasenda crater lakes area offers a panoramic view of tea estates, Kibale forest in the East, Rwenzori, Lake George and the rift valley plains to the south.

These areas around the park can be accessed on foot or by car. Additionally, Kibale forest adjoins Queen Elizabeth National park in the south and Semliki national park in the north. There is no airstrip close to the park except of one which lands in Kasese.

Driving from Kasese is another 2-3 hours’ drive to Fort portal town to connect to the park.

What is unique in Kibale National park?

Kibale National Park is one of the most interesting and varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda with a forest cover interspersed with patches of grasslands and swamps dominated in the northern and central parts of the park.

The park has about 351 species of trees recorded, some rising to over 55m and are over 200 years old.

Kibale National Park covers an area 795 square km, standing at 1,590m above sea level with the lowest point of 1,100m on the floor of the Albertine Rift valley to the south.

The park’s varied altitude supports different types of habitat, ranging from the wet tropical forest on the Fort Portal plateau to the woodland and savannah on the rift valley floor.

Kibale National Park is home to about 70 forest wildlife (Mammals) including the buffaloes, forest Elephants and some of the antelope species however most uniquely the park is the habitat of the 13 species of primate amongst which include the endangered Chimpanzees.

 The forest contains approximately 375 bird species ranking the park as one of the top birding destinations in Uganda.

Kibale National Park connects to Queen Elizabeth national park to the south creating a 180 km long corridor for different wildlife extending from Ishasha sector which is a remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth national park and to Sebitoli in the north of Kibale Forest national park.

When to Visit Kibale National Park

Although Kibale National Park is accessible throughout the year, the Best time to Visit the park is during the dry season when the trails are dry and passable. This runs from December to February and then from June to September.

The wettest area in Kibale is the northern area, receiving an average annual rainfall of approximately 1700mm, mainly during March to May and September to November. The climate is usually pleasant with an average annual temperature range of 14C to 27C. The southern part of the park experiences the maximum temperatures and lower amounts of rains where the terrain drops onto the hot rift valley floor and forest provides way to open grassland.

Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda

For the best Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda, Kibale Forest guarantees the best views of these endangered primates. The forest has been ranked as the best destination in East Africa where tourists can easily find the wild chimpanzees.

These primates are the second exciting and most popular primates in Uganda after the Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi Forest National Park.

 Aside Kibale forest being the best destination for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda, there are other destinations where tourists can visit in order to see the chimpanzees namely; Budongo Forest in Murchison falls national park, Kalinzu forest and Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park.

Before Chimpanzees are trekked by visitors, to ensure that they get familiar to visitors, they are first tracked by park authorities (Park Rangers) who first carry out a Chimpanzee habituation process before tourists are invited to visit.

Chimpanzee habituation is a process that is undertaken to get the Chimpanzee used to human presence before visiting them. This is a daily activity done for hours in a day and takes up to two years to fully habituate the chimpanzees.

Several years back, visitors had 20% chances of meeting the Chimpanzee in the wild, whilst today Chimpanzee trekking is 99% guaranteed.

Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda involves walking through the jungles of rain forests in search of them for about 2-5 hours depending on the location of the primates and on finding them, visitors are limited to only one hour in the presence of the endangered primates.

Activities in Kibale National Park

Chimpanzee Habituation

Kibale National Park

This is more like Chimpanzee Trekking but in this case, tourists are allowed to spend more time with the chimpanzees up to more than 6 hours unlike the normal one hour of chimpanzee trekking. And also the chimpanzee permits for habituation are kinda more expensive compared to the trekking permits.

Chimpanzee Trekking

TCko,panzee trekking is one of the best selling activities in Kibale National Park and 90% of the tourist come to this park for this activity.

Kibale Forest Hikes and Walking Trail

The Kibale Forest walk trail is 12km long and the hike is usually done in the dry season from the month of June to September are mid-November to February, taking between 5 and 6 hours.

Hiking Tours in Kibale National Park offer you an opportunity to discover the park’s assorted habitats such as river line forest, swamp, grassland and tropical rainforest.

Birding in Kibale

The park is a home to 325 different bird species, including 6 that are native to the Albertine Rift area like the dusky crimsonwing, black-capped apalis, blue-headed sunbird, collared apalis, red-faced woodland warbler and purple-breasted sunbird.

Other Kibale specials are the green breasted pitta, African pitta, black bee-eater, Abyssinian ground thrush, yellow spotted nicator, little greenbul, black-eared ground thrush, brown chested alethe, yellow rumped tinker bird, blue-breasted kingfisher, along with the crowned eagle.

The Bigodi nature walk offers the best bird watching opportunities in the park as the swamp alone has approximately 138 bird species. It’s also famous for wildlife such as chimpanzees, red colobus, black and white colobus, red tailed monkey, bushbuck as well as mongoose.

Cultural Tours around Kibale

Led by a local guide, you will get a chance to meet the native Batooro people as well as the Bakiga immigrants (from the densely populated southwestern part of Uganda) who stay around this park.

During the Kibale Cultural Tours you will visit a traditional village to see the traditional lifestyle of the Batoro, visit the local church, primary school, traditional healer and get a closer encounter with these natives. You will also enjoy some energetic traditional dances and songs by the Bakiga.

Crater Lakes Tour

The Kasenda area found in Fort Portal is home to more than 50 different crater lakes which are surrounded by steep sided volcanoes. a visit to this picturesque are will give you an opportunity to appreciate the unique landscape of this area.

Kibale National Park

Cultural Trails

The nature walk begins from Kanyanchu or Sebitoli and it takes about 2 to 6 days. The enroute will help discover the forest and late rest in the community-run campsites close to the villages of Kikoni, Nyakalongo and Nyaibanda.

Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru

These are rocks that are situated in a cave near Nyakasura school in fort portal and are fascinating in that as you travel to access them, you are welcomed by captivating waterfalls.

The Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru rocks have a strong cultural attachment to the Batoro tribe people who have a myth about them. This is a place of myths and natural wonders located about 5 km from Fort Portal town.

The walk to the caves is often short but slippery so you are advised to carry comfortable hiking shoes. On arriving at the site, you are welcomed by the site manager who takes you through the historical myth of the caves in a relationship the Batooro culture and kingdom.

 Enter the jungle trail leading you to the caves and the fascinating water falls. There are hills very close to the caves that visitors can hike with views of the numerous Crater lakes.

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a fascinating wetland that is located in Magombe swamp adjacent to Kibale national park, 6km from the Kanyanchu park information center and is recognized as an area of an extensive array of biodiversity among which also includes the primate species.

Bigodi swamp/wetland is a community-based eco-project managed by the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED).

This association is responsible for supporting eco-tourism enterprises objectives to ensure that the local communities around Kibale national park benefit from tourism.

Bigodi swamp is known as one of the best birding sites in Uganda, hence “the paradise of birds”. The swamp has been recognized with approximately 138 birds species and bird experts have are said to always spot up to 50 new birds every day. Some of those bird species include the Grand blue Turaco,

Several primates’ species can also be spotted while in the wetland, these could include the black and white colobus, red colobus monkeys, Blue grey-cheeked, Vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzees and the L’hoest monkeys to mention a few.

Additionally, visitors can also find mammals like the Mongoose, bushbucks, warthogs, the otters to mention a few.

Combining Chimpanzee Tracking with Other Uganda Safaris

You can combine your chimpanzee tracking safari with gorilla trekking tours, or Uganda Wildlife Safari Tours to other parks such as Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Semuliki, Murchison Falls or Climb Mount Rwenzori. Holidaymakers with more safari time can combine this with Rwanda Tours and Kenya Safaris