KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Kibale Forest National Park is one of Africa’s best chimpanzee trekking safari destinations. It is a spectacular rain-forest protected area, perched in western Uganda in the districts of Kibaale, Kamwenge and Kabarole. Kibale Forest National Park is 6 hours’ drive off Kampala and 3 hours’ drive if you start your journey from Queen Elizabeth National Park. From Fort Portal Tourism City, Kibale National Park is 26kms away.
Kibale National Park is an extensive rain-forest park, established in 1993 to protect its diverse species of primates and other wildlife. It occupies 795sq.kms of land area with altitudinal range of 1100 to 1600m. Other than tropical rain-forest, Kibale Forest National Park is a stunning Uganda safari with some patches of savanna grassland, woodland especially along the rift valley floor around its Northern and Central area.
Primates in Kibale Forest National Park (KFNP)
Kibale Forest National Park is a renowned primate capital of the world, priding itself of 13 species of primates. This park protects an estimate of 1500 chimpanzees and it is undoubtedly the preferred chimpanzee tracking safari park. Other than chimpanzees, you also stand a chance to look out for the grey cheeked mangabeys, pottos, red colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, red tailed monkeys, baboons, bush babies, vervet monkeys.
In addition to primates, Kibale also shelters a good portion of other mammals including duikers, forest elephants, sitatungas, bush bucks, buffaloes, golden cats and others. It also hosts an estimate of about 250 species of butterflies, several amphibians and reptiles.
Kibale Forest National Park is also one of the Important Bird Areas. It is a host to over 375 bird species and they include the rare African green breasted pitta, red faced woodlands, black and white casqued hornbills, purple breasted sunbird, white naped pigeon, yellow throated nicator. Others include Nahan’s francolins, black bee-eaters, white headed wood hoopoe, scaly breasted illadopsis, red headed malimbe.
Activities in Kibale Forest National Park (KFNP) Uganda
Chimpanzee trekking is the leading primate adventure Kibale Forest National Park is popular for. With about 1500 chimpanzees, the park boasts of many habituated communities available for chimpanzee tracking. Each day, trekkers can engage in any of the 2 chimpanzee treks; early morning and afternoon with chimpanzee permits costing US Dollars 200. In Kibale, treks to see chimpanzees begin with briefing at Kanyanchu Tourist Centre.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX)
Chimpanzee habituation experience is perfect for tourists who want to enhance their experiences. It offers a whole day exploration of chimpanzees and you get the in-depth insight on their daily behavior right from feeding till they make new nests to retire for the night.
Kibale Forest National Park is a remarkable birding safari destination. It is one experience you should consider to add on your chimpanzee trekking safari. The park is blessed with variety of avifaunal species especially the purple breasted sunbirds, the African green breasted pittas, while head wood hoopoes, scaly breasted illadopsis, dusky blue fly catchers, yellow throated nicator, little greenbul to mention but a few.
The amazing part about nature walks is that you have opportunity to immerse yourself into the park’s diverse habitat. This comes with exposure to butterflies, flora, reptiles, primates, birds and a lot more. The available trails in and around Kibale Forest include crater lake hikes, Bigodi wetland, forest trail and Amabere cave trail.
Cultural encounters offer amazing option for you to blend your primate fun in Kibale Forest National Park. The park is surrounded by the Batooro and some Bakiga. You can have the best of your cultural experience after chimpanzee trekking on community walk/visit to Bigodi wetland.
When to travel in Kibale Forest
Kibale is known for its favorable weather and climatic conditions which make it an all-year-round primate safari destination. However, if it is chimpanzee trekking you plan to be part then the best time to get here is during the dry season. This falls in the months of June to September and December till February. For holidaymakers who are interested in birding safaris, Kibale is best to visit from March till May and October to November; these are the 2 phases of wet/rainy months.
Places to stay
Visitor accommodation choices in and around Kibale exist as budget, mid-range and luxury. They include Ndali Lodge, Primate, Chimps Nest, Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse, Papaya Lake Lodge, Rwenzori View Guesthouse and many others.
Access to Kibale Forest National Park (KFNP)
By road; from Kampala/Entebbe, Kibale is reachable via Mubende-Fort Portal about 6 hours’ drive. From Kampala via Masaka-Mbarara through Ibanda or drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park for only 3 hours to Kibale. From Murchison Falls, Kibale National Park 6-7 hours’ drive away. By air, the nearby airstrips include Kasese and Mweya airstrips and you fly from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airfield.
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