Kibale National Park – Place to Track Chimpanzees in Uganda
Kibale National Park has the loveliest and varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. The park enjoys a forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp. This is predominant the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau.
Kibale National Park is famous Chimpanzee tracking in Uganda. The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species. Among them are the 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee.
Kibale National Park also contains over 375 species of birds. The park adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south. This creates a 180km-long corridor for wildlife. The corridor runs from Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. It goes up to Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park.
The Kibale-Fort Portal area is one of Uganda’s most rewarding destinations to explore. Kibale National park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area. This is within half a day’s drive of the Queen Elizabeth and Rwenzori Mountains. You can get to Semuliki National Parks and Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve with ease.
Kibale National Park at a Glance
Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip, which stands 1,590m above sea level. The lowest point is 1,100m on the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley to the south.
351 tree species have been recorded in the park, some rise to over 55m and are over 200 years old.
Kibale’s varied altitude supports different types of habitat. They range from wet tropical forest to woodland and savanna.
Kibale is one of Africa’s foremost research sites. Many researchers focus on the chimpanzees and other primates found in the park. Others are investigating Kibale’s ecosystems, wild pigs and fish species, among other topics.
Animals in Kibale National Park
The diversity and density of primates in Kibale is the highest in Africa. The most famous of its 13 species is the chimpanzee, our closest relative.
Kibale’s 1450 chimpanzees represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. The forest is also home to the threatened red colobus and the rare I’Hoest’s monkey.
Other primates include the black-and-white colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys. You will also find grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto.
At least 70 mammal species are present in Kibale National Park. Ground-dwelling animals are difficult to see in dense forest.
The park has an estimated 500 elephants as of today. There are buffalos, leopards, warthogs, bush pigs, golden cats and duikers.
A keen observer may spot reptiles and amphibians. Also available here is as a colorful variety of 250 species of butterflies.
The park boasts more than 375 species of birds. Kibale National Park specials include the African Pitta and Green-breasted Pitta. There are Afep Pigeon, White-naped Pigeon, Crowned Eagle and Red-chested Owlet.
You can’t miss the Black Bee-eater, Western Nicator, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird and Little Greenbul. Others are Brown-chested Alethe, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, African Grey Parrot and Scaly-breasted Illadopsis.
Brown Illadopsis, Black-capped Apalis, Blue-headed Sunbird and Collared Apalis are here. So is Dusky Crimsonwing, Purple-breasted Sunbird and Red-faced Woodland Warbler. There is also Yellow Spotted Nicator, Little Green Bul and Black-eared Ground Thrush. In the list, you will find the Abyssinian Ground-thrush.
Things to Do in Kibale National Park
Chimpanzee Tracking and Habituation in Kibale
Kibale’s most popular activity is the Kanyanchu Primate Walk. Thirteen primate species can be sought here. There is a good variety of diurnal monkeys will be encountered. But the stars of this twice-daily show are chimpanzees.
Birding in Kibale
Bird watching tours start at 7am at Kanyanchu. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is another bird watching area. It is just outside the park and is home to 138 bird species. This may be seen during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms.
Hiking/Nature Walks in Kibale
Chimpanzees and other forest residents rest up at dusk. A night time shift of rarely seen creatures becomes active. Night walks though the darkened forest use powerful torches to seek nocturnal creatures.
Cultural Encounters in Kibale
Join a local guide on a walk through the Magombe swamp wetlands. here you will enjoy the local wildlife, birds and vegetation. The daily life of the Batooro can be discovered during village walks. The walk includes stops at the village’s primary school, church and traditional healer.
Places to Visit Within Kibale Eco-system
Kanyanchu River Camp
Kanyanchu, in the central part of Kibale and is the main trailhead for the park’s famous forest walks. The most popular of which is the daily Primate Walk. There are 13 species of primate to search for, including habituated chimpanzees. There is bird watching, nature walks for both kids and adults. You can also enjoy guided night treks are also available here.
Sebitoli Forest Camp
This is Kibale’s secondary tourism centre in the north of the forest. Here you will enjoy guided forest walks and a chance to encounter primates. Theuy include red colobus, black-and-white colobus, blue monkeys and vervet monkeys.
Visitors may also spot a variety of aquatic, forest and savannah birds. be sure to enjoy views of the Mpanga River.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is rich in biodiversity and beautiful scenery. The wetland is a birder’s paradise with about 138 species.
It is outside the park in Magombe Swamp and hosts eight species of primates. They include the black-and-white colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey. Others are red-tailed, l’Hoest’s and blue monkeys, and olive baboons.
Bushbucks and mongooses are also here. The sanctuary was set up to preserve the exclusive environmental features. This run along with the wetland and is under the local community.
Kihingami Wtland is near Sebitoli in northern Kibale. This is a community-run project offers excellent bird watching. The tour includes visits to the local tea estates and factory.
Nature walks here will bring you up close to primates. They include the black-and-white colobus, red colobus and red-tailed monkeys.
Other animals like otters, mongooses and bushbucks are also in the wetlands.
Kibale National Park Accommodation
The best place to spend the night is in Primate Lodge Kibale. There are other types of accommodation available in Kibale. They include modern bandas, luxury tents and a comfortable Sky Tree House.
Mantana Luxury Tented Camp is in the middle of the forest. The bush type accommodation and quite comfortable.
Ndali Lodge a luxury accomodation with thatched cottages overlooking a crater lake.
The Rwenzori View Guesthouse located in Fort Portal approximately 30 kms from the forest. Comfortable, middle class rooms with or without private bathrooms are available.