Chimpanzee after rain in Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park a place where West African jungle meets East Africa is located in western Uganda. Kibale national park was established in 1993 and put under the administration of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The park lies in the Albertine rift valley covering an area of 776 square kilometers, it protects moist evergreen forests and considered to be one of the major tropical forests in East Africa.  Kibale national park is one of the most diverse national parks in Uganda bordering fellow national parks like Queen Elizabeth national park in the southern sector of the park. The park is also close to the calm magnificent Ndali Kasenda crater region, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki national park. Kibale national park and Queen Elizabeth national park form a 180 kilometer stretch of a wildlife migration corridor that stretches from north of Kibale in Sebitoli to Queen Elizabeth’s southern sector-Ishasha.

Kibale national park is situated in the most exciting kibale-fort portal region which is the most adventurous region in Uganda worth exploring. This region receives conducive climatic conditions which are favorable both for the ecological growth and tourist activities. The area receives too much rainfall nearly throughout the year with few dry months but not extremely dry most especially northern Kibale which is extra wet in the rainy season in the months of March-May and September – November. The area receives an average annual temperature range of 14°C to 27°C.

Kibale is ranked as one of the Africa’s foremost research sites as many research projects are carried out in the park though the research focuses more on chimpanzees and other primates, more investigations on Kibale’s ecosystem and wild pigs are being embarked on.  

Kibale national park is an habitant to the loveliest and tracts of moist forest with 4 different types of vegetation and over 381 recorded tree species which makes it one of the foremost research centre in Africa. Vegetation types in kibale dominate different locations based on the altitude which ranges from moist evergreen forests dominating the fort portal plateau, dry tropical forest, woodland and savannah vegetation dominating the rest of the park along the rift valley floor. The central sector of Kibale national park around Kanyanchu is dominated by high forest vegetation raising to over 55 meters which forms a semi-close canopy consisting of massive stratified tree crowns, the canopy cover is a mixture of dominant evergreen trees and shade tolerant herbs, ferns, shrubs and broad leaved forest grasses. The northern and central sector of the park on an elevated plateau is also typically dominated by patches of grassland and swamps.

Kibale national park is one of the best tourist destinations in East Africa and Africa famous for offering the best chimpanzee tracking safaris, the park is home to many mammals with 13 primates mostly chimpanzees as the most prominent animals. The park is an habitant to over 1500 chimpanzee individuals, Vervet Monkeys, Red Tailed Monkeys, L’hoests Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, gray-cheeked Mangabey Monkeys, Red Colobus, Black and White Colobus, and Olive Baboons. Other mammals found in kibale national park include Forest Elephants, Forest Buffaloes, Hippos, Warthogs, Giant Forest Hogs, Bush pigs, bushbuck Antelopes, Golden Cats, Leopards, Sitatunga, red and blue Duikers and many more. Among these animals there is also nocturnal animals such as bush babies and Pottos which are usually spotted during night game drives.

Kibale national park is a perfect destination for bird addict tourists since it is a home to over 375 recorded bird species such as African Pitta, Blue-headed Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Yellow Spotted Nicator, Little Green Bul, Black-eared Ground Thrush, Abyssinian Ground-thrush, green-breasted Pitta, Pigeon, White-naped Pigeon, Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, Black Bee-eater, Western Nicator, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Little Greenbul, Brown-chested Alethe, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, African Grey Parrot, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis ,Brown Illadopsis, Black-capped Apalis and many more. Kibale national park is also home to over 250 colorful butterfly species, primates, and amphibians which can be also spotted.

Activities in Kibale National Park

Kibale national park is a premier primate destination but it offers more than chimpanzee trekking, kibale offers exciting safari experiences such as 

Chimpanzee tracking: Chimpanzee tracking is the most exciting and memory offering experience taking place in the deep forests of kibale, on this experience you are allowed only one hour with a group of habituated chimpanzees. Kibale forest offers the best chimpanzee trekking experience in East Africa which is carried out either during day or afternoon, this activity is charged US$ 150 for foreign non-residents, US$ 100 for foreign residents and 10,000 for east African residents which also includes the park entrance fee.

Chimpanzee habituation experience: Chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale forests offers the tourist more time to stay with chimpanzees taking either a full day or half day, this activity begins early in the morning at the park’s headquarters and in this experience tourists together with researchers and guides actively take part in habituation process. Habituation experience is very amazing as you not only see chimpanzees in the deep forests but also get to see other primates like L’hoests Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, gray-cheeked Mangabey Monkeys, Red Colobus, Black and White Colobus and Olive Baboons, birds, butterflies and mammals. To participate in chimpanzee habituation experience each tourist is charged according to the type of habituation experience you prefer, for full day chimpanzee experience foreign nonresident tourists pay US$ 200, US$ 200 for foreign residents and 150,000UGX for East African community residents. For half-day habituation experience, tourists pay US$100 for foreign non-residents and foreign residents and 750 for East African tourists. 

Nocturnal forest walks: There is no better way of enjoying the calm nature of kibale national park than engaging in nocturnal forest walks, nocturnal forest walks an activity of one and half hours take place in the thick forests of kibale in the night with a help of a spotlight and while on this activity nocturnal animals like bush babies and Pottos can be spotted.

Hiking and nature walk: Hiking and nature walk in kibale national park is an activity of 12 kilometers which is best done in the dry months of mid-November – February, June, and September. Engaging in hiking and nature walks is more rewarding as you get to encounter beautiful vegetation cover, mammals, primates and many bird species. Nature walks begin from kanyanchu or sebitoli and can take 2-6 days and each day you get to spend sleepover at different locations in the park

Crater lakes hikes: Crater lakes hike in kibale national park is a mesmerizing safari activity done near kibale forest taking you to the top of three crater lakes, crater lake hiking is a three hour guided walk and while on top of the craters you get to enjoy the spectacular views of landscape of Rwenzori mountains, tea, and vanilla plantations.

One of the Kibale Crater Lakes
One of the Kibale Crater Lakes


Cultural encounters: Cultural encounters in Kibale national park take place in the communities adjacent to the park, this breath taking activity takes the tourist through the communities of batooro and bakiga ethnic people. In this area, you encounter cultural wear, dance and drama, and many traditional activities.

Bushcraft children activities: Bushcraft children activities in kibale national park is an activity is for children under the age of 15 years who are not permitted to participate in chimpanzee trekking, this activity offers plenty of kid-friendly activities which are led by children friendly rangers who will take children through the wonders of the forests such as wildlife, plants, birds and monkeys.

Outside kibale national park a tourist can engage in Caving in Amabere caves, mount biking on the Rwenzori Mountains, cultural visits at Nakayima witch’s tree and tours in bigodi wetlands sanctuary.

While on a safari in kibale national park accommodation can be got from kibale safari lodge, Rweteera safari park, crater safari lodge, green home cottages and campsite, lodge Bella vista and many more. These accommodation facilities are so suitable for relaxing.

Embark on a safari in Kibale national park is a 4 hour and 58-hour drive from Kampala the capital city of Uganda and enjoy the unique vegetation and numerous animals most especially chimpanzees and other primates. 

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