Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale forest national park is located in western Uganda and its one of the best safari destinations in East Africa in that it harbors the highest number of primate species hence also known as the primate capital. Kibale national park is popularly known for harboring 13 primate species including chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey among others. Kibale national park is a home of other wildlife species including mammals like forest elephants, buffaloes, duikers, antelopes, variety of bird species, plants, different vegetation types such as woodland, wet tropical forest, savannah, dry tropical forest among others which act as habitats for wildlife species.
Attractions in Kibale forest national park
Wildlife, Kibale forest national park is a home of different wildlife species including mammals like forest elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, duikers, Sitatunga, 13 primate species including chimpanzees, L’hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, grey cheeked mangabey, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, red tailed monkeys among others.
Birds, kibale national park harbors more than 375 bird species including red chested owlet, blue breasted kingfisher, red faced woodland warbler, white naped pigeon, yellow spotted nicator, purple breasted sunbird, African grey parrot, brown chested alethe among others.
Activities in Kibale forest national park
Chimpanzee trekking is the most famous activity done in Kibale national park and it involves moving into the jungle in search of the chimpanzee families and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. Kibale forest national park is a home of about 1,500 chimpanzees and trekking starts early in the morning with a briefing about the rules and regulations to follow at Kanyachu visitors centre. After the briefing you will be allocated a park guide and start trekking in the forest which takes about 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on the location of the chimpanzees because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. During trekking you will be able to spot other primates species like l’hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, spot different bird species, plant species, colorful butterflies among others. Once the chimpanzees are found you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their environment which gives you an opportunity to take photos, learn about their lifestyle, behaviors, watch them feed, breastfeed, hunt, fight, play, rest, mate, groom young ones among others.
Chimpanzee habituation experience
Kibale forest national park also offers chimpanzee habituation experience an interesting activity where the chimpanzees are trained to get used to human presence for trekking. Chimpanzee habituation experience starts very early in the morning at around 6:00am with a briefing at the park headquarters. After the briefing you will start trekking in the jungle with a team of researchers, scientist and park guides in search of the chimpanzee family under habituation process. The habituation experience is a whole day activity and during trekking you will be able to view variety of bird species, other primates, different plant and tree species among others. once the chimpanzee family is located you will be allowed to spend four hours in the presence of the chimpanzees where you will be able to watch them wake up from their nests, monitor their habits, behaviors, engage in the naming process, watch them carry out their daily activities like feeding, playing, hunting, grooming young ones, resting, fighting, and in the evening watch them building up nests for the night.
Kibale forest national park is a home of more than 375 bird species including endemic birds, forest birds and migratory bird species which makes it one of the best birding areas in Uganda. during bird watching which starts at Kanyachu visitors centre you will be accompanied by a bird guide who will help you to spot different bird species such as Cassin’s spine tail, yellow billed barbet, hairy breasted barbet, Nahans francolin, brown crowned tchagra, superb sunbird, black bishop, blue headed bee-eater, white shrink flycatcher, green breasted pitta, red winged francolin, black crowned waxbill, masked apalis, white collared olive back, grey throated tit flycatcher, purple headed starling, Cabanis greenbul, tiny sunbird, white thighed hornbill, black billed turaco among others.
This is an interesting activity which gives visitors an opportunity to explore the park on foot with the company of an experienced park guide who is well conversant with different trails in the forest. Nature walks in Kibale forest national park start at around 8:00am at Kanyachu visitors centre and begin with a briefing. During the guided nature walk you will pass through the tropical rainforest, grasslands, swamps where you will be able to view primates like red tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, mammals like forest elephants, duikers, bushbucks, different plant and tree species, birds, colorful butterflies, enjoy the cool breeze, relax your mind, listen to sweet sounds of birds singing in trees among others.
Kibale national park also offers night forest walks which start at around 7:30 pm from the park headquarters and last for one to two hours. during the night walks you will accompanied by an armed guide and spotlight torches which will help you to spot nocturnal animals such as bush babies, Pottos, Night jar, Tree hyrax, civet and Serval cats, cricket and many others.
Children below the age of 12 years are not allowed to engage in the adventurous chimpanzee trekking activity in Kibale forest national park therefore there are a number of activities in the park which children can engage while their parents are carrying out chimpanzee trekking. Children activities include forest walks where children will be accompanied by well trained ranger guides, during the forest walks children will get a chance to view different wildlife species including mammals, birds, primates, different tree and plant species among others. other children activities in Kibale national park include batik making, photography pond dipping,
Best time to visit Kibale forest national park
Kibale national park can be visited all year round through the best period is during the dry season also known as the peak season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. During the dry season the park receives less rainfall therefore chimpanzee trekking and hiking trails will be passable compared. Also due to less rainfall vegetation will be thin which makes wildlife viewing easy.
Where to stay during your safari in Kibale forest national park
There are a number of accommodation facilities in Kibale national park where visitors can stay during the safari. The accommodations range from budget, midrange and luxury including Kibale Forest Camp, Chimps Nest, Chimpanzee Forest Guest house, Ndali Kasenda, Primate Safari Lodge, Kyaninga Lodge, Papaya Lake Lodge, Rwenzori Guest house, Kanyachu River Camp, Nyinabulitwa Country Resort, Crater Safari Lodge, Isunga Lodge, Turaco treetops, Rwetera Safari Park among others.
Getting to Kibale forest national park
Kibale forest national park is located in western part of Uganda and can be a accessed by road transport means whereby you will drive from Kampala 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.