Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale forest National Park is a beautiful park in western Uganda, just near the equator, featuring a variety of tropical rain forest and a variety of wildlife. The average yearly temperature is cold and varies from 14 to 27 C.

With 13 distinct primate species, it is referred to be the “primate capital of East Africa.” Within its 795km2 boundaries, more than 1,450 chimpanzees are protected. It is by far the greatest location in East Africa to observe chimpanzees. Since the chimpanzees have been socialized for more than 26 years, you may observe the big apes in their natural habitat. Children must be at least 15 years old to track chimpanzees. If they’re younger, they can choose to visit the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, which lies near Lake Victoria in Entebbe. There, from an elevated platform, tourists can watch the chimpanzees emerge from the bush for their noon lunches.

Due to the diverse altitudes of the forest, the park has the chance to house a variety of creatures that call the various ecosystems home, including woodland, savannah, wet tropical forest, and semi-deciduous dry tropical forest.

Wildlife in Kibale 

According to estimates, there are 60 different types of mammals in the Kibale forest, including leopards, duikers, forest elephants, forest buffaloes, golden cats, warthogs, and bush pigs. Animals in forests tend to be more timid and aggressive, maybe due to the foliage or the fact that fewer people visit them than do savannah parks, which are typically bustling with humans. If you’re lucky, you might see a few elephants, buffaloes, or bush pigs, but more often than not, all you’ll see are their tracks because these animals prefer to flee when they notice movement in the forest.

The majority of visitors to Kibale National Park do so to participate in chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation experiences, which are the main draws of the forest. Bush infants, L’Hoest’s monkeys, red colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, black-and-white colobus monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys, Vervet monkeys, and Potto are among the 13 primate species found in the park.

Birds in Kibale 

Over 375 bird species, including six indigenous to the Albertine Rift region, may be found in the Kibale forest, making it a top location for birdwatchers. Because of its diverse ecosystem and thick foliage, which provide birds with a shelter and a plenty of food to eat, it is a great place to go bird watching. For nocturnal species, birding often takes place in the early morning and late evening.

Green breasted Pitta is one of the main attraction for birders visiting the park. Other bird species to look out for include; Red-chested owlet, Purple breasted sunbird, African Grey Parrot, White-naped pigeon, andScaly-breasted Illadopsis,Western bronze-napped Pigeon, Nahan’s Francolin, Yellow-throated Nicator, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Crowned Eagle, little Greenbul, Black Bee eater, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Red Headed malimbe , Yellow-spotted barbet , Dusky-blue Flycatcher etc.

Butterflies and Amphibians in Kibale National Park

Over 250 kinds of butterflies, as well as a number of reptiles and amphibians, may be found in the park. The reptiles and amphibians need great observation, but the butterflies are “all over the place.” Take in the colorful butterflies as you travel through the jungle in search of chimpanzees and other monkeys.

Activities in Kibale National Park include safaris.

Chimpanzee trekking 

The main draw for many visitors to Kibale National Park is the chimpanzees. Since 1993, visitors have been undertaking chimpanzee trekking in the Kibale forest. Because chimpanzee trekking is conducted twice daily, at 8 a.m. in the morning and at 2 p.m. In the afternoon, you can select the time that is most convenient for you, but the morning is strongly advised. Before the journey begins, you will gather for a briefing from the ranger guide to learn about the various creatures in the park as well as the expectations while in the forest. Remember that chimpanzees move around a lot, so trackers go ahead of you to look for where they nested the previous night and where they are now. They then offer this information to your ranger guide to direct you in that direction. Because it can rain at any moment in a tropical jungle, you should be prepared to walk for long distances and have a rain poncho. Binoculars, a camera, bug repellent, suitable waterproof boots, and long-sleeved clothing are additional necessities.

Chimpanzee Habituation in Kibale National Park

Kibale Forest national forestBefore chimpanzees get accustomed to people and chimp monitoring can start, they must first undergo a two-year habituated phase. Every morning during the chimpanzee habituation experience, a visitor may observe chimpanzees leaving their overnight nests before they begin their day activities, which include eating, hunting, copulating, nursing, patrolling, and relaxing. The Chimps become used to people when the practice is done over years, and that family is listed among those who may be followed.

Birding in Kibale National Park

Bird walks in Kibale Forest begin at 7 a.m. every morning, but you must reserve early so the rangers can be ready for you. Numerous birds, including endemics to the Albertine Rift, may be found in the park. Any birder in Kibale Forest should concentrate their morning efforts on looking for the Green Breasted Pitta. Other species include: Grey-throated Flycatcher, Grey-winged Robin, Crested Flycatcher, Blue shouldered Robin Chat, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Black-billed Turaco, White-naped Pigeon, Red-chested Fluff tail, White-collared Olive-back White-bellied, Masked Apalis, Nahan’s Francolin, Tiny Sunbird, and many more.

Nature Walks and hikes

The forest is full of diverse wildlife, and because you are concentrated on chimpanzee trekking, you might not get the opportunity to explore the whole forest. A 12 kilometer trek through the forest is an alternative. More different species of birds and animals may be seen here. On a good day, you might see elephants, duikers, and bush pigs. This is possible during the drier months of June, July, August and December and January. This trail is slippery and impassable during the rainy seasons.  There are also night treks to witness the nocturnal when the other forest dwellers are sleeping. The rangers employ strong lights to track nocturnal animals such as bush babies, hyrax, potto, and on rare occasions, serval cats and civets. These 2.5-hour treks begin at 7 p.m.

Cultural encounters and community walks

When you visit Kibale Forest, you may participate in a variety of community activities and cultural events. The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a community effort to conserve the unique eco system that runs along the wetland. With around 138 species, the marsh is a birder’s paradise. Magombe wetland is home to eight different primates. These wetlands are managed by the community. Visit a women’s project and assist them by purchasing handcrafted items. Tinka’s house is a great spot to prepare and/or enjoy a traditional dinner.

How to get to Kibale National Park 

You may reach the park by flying from Entebbe International Airport to Kasese Airstrip, which is an hour away from Kibale National Park. Drive from Kampala via Fortportal to Kibale Forest. Alternatively, Kampala – Mbarara – Kibale forest via Ibanda (in case of an activity layover) and ultimately from Queen Elizabeth National Park – Kasese – Fortportal – Kibale forest or Queen Elizabeth National Park – Kasese – Kasekende craters – Kibale national park.