Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda

Overview of Kibale Forest National Park Uganda

This is positioned in the west of Uganda in the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge which 358km from Kampala the country’s capital. Kibale National Park covers 795km2 of land surface and is among the few remaining mature tropical forests in Uganda. The park shelters 351 tree species with tree species that are 200 years old and 50m in height. Besides trees, Kibale National Park also contain 70 species of mammals, 13 species of primate including the common chimpanzees and 375 bird species all of which can be explored while on Uganda safaris.

Kibale National Park was first gazette in 1932 as a forest reserve but in 1993, the area was up graded to park status and the management was transferred from National Forestry Authority to Uganda Wildlife Authority. The park has a forest neck that continues south wards to adjoin Queen Elizabeth National Park forming a wildlife corridor that stretches for 180 km. Kibale National Park is a famous ecological environ ideal for educational research and leisure encounters no wonder it is where the Makerere University Biological Field Station (MUBFS) is located. Its environs are occupied by the Batooro natives and the Bakiga who migrated into the area following heavy population in their traditional Kigezi region.

Map of Kibale Forest National Park

Tourist Safari Attractions in Kibale Forest National Park

Birds

The 375species of birds offer ideal opportunity for attracting birders to Kibale National Park while on safari in Uganda. More 138 bird species thrive in the adjacent Bigodi wetland sanctuary. Kibale National Park has a range of birds among which include the following; Nahans francolin, blue-headed blue eater, masked apalis, Cassin spine tail, White-naped Pigeon, Crested fly catcher, Red Winged Francolin, Green- brested Pitta, Joyful Greenbul, Red- chested fluff tail, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Grey winged Robbin, Yellow-billed Barbet, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, White-spotted Flufftail, Western Nicator, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Grey-winged Robin-chat, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Superb Sunbird, White-breasted Negrofinch, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black Bishop, and Black-crowned Waxbill.
Primates
The park has the great counts of primates on the continent of Africa and it is known worldwide as the primate capital of the world. Kibale National Park has great numbers of habituated chimpanzees which form the ground for Chimpanzee trekking safaris in Uganda. Besides chimps, the park has other 12 primate species among which include; black-and-white Colobus monkeys, l’Hoestes monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, vervet and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, red Colobus monkeys and four nocturnal primate species (pottos and bush babies).

Other Wildlife

Besides primates, Kibale National park also contain a range of other fauna among which include; Bush Pig, Elephant, Buffalo, Blue, Harvey’s and Peter’s Duickers and Bushbuck. The park also contains 60 species of mammals among which include; Ichneumon, Banded and Marsh Mongooses, Swamp Otter, Alexander’s Cusimanse, Ratel (Honey Badger) and African Palm Civet. Other species that have been recorded in the park but rarely seen include; Serval cat, Leopard, Golden Cat, Lion, Hippopotamus, Warthog and Giant Hog. The Bigodi swamp contains the elusive Sitatunga.

Flora

Kibale National Park has abundant lush flora and contain a complete mature forest with few patches of regenerating forest that is recovering from effects of human encroachment. 351 species of trees exist in Kibale National Park some of which are 200 years old and close to 50m in height. The setting of this prehistoric forest forms the ground for educational tours and leisure Uganda safaris. The park of Kibale is a shelter to over 351 species of trees providing a strong forest ecological study base suitable for educational and research travelers.

Ndali – Kasenda crater lakes

The Ndali – Kasenda crater are series of volcanic hollows that have been filled by water to form splendid crater lakes. The local traditions attach the formation of these lakes to the Chwezi King Ndahura who stayed in the area after abdicating his throne to Wamala his son. From the geographical point of view, the craters are living testimonies of the extensive volcanic forces that occurred in East Africa about 10,000 years ago. The lakes Nkuruba, Nyabikere among others are amazing to encounter on Uganda safari.

Tourist Activities in Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzee tracking/ trekking and Habituation

The Kanyanchu Primate Walk is one of the famous Uganda safari activities and the prime activity in Kibale National Park. The chimpanzees have been habituated and from 1993, the chimp trekking activity has been in existence which put the percentage of encountering chimps in Kibale higher than any other chimp trekking destination in Uganda. The Chimpanzee trekking activity starts at 8am and 2pm daily lasting for 2 – 5 hours including 1 hour of direct encounter with them. The trek for chimpanzees goes beyond chimpanzees as you traverse the amazing forest landscapes full of unique flora, birds and animals. The chimp trekking activity takes 6 chimp trekkers per group and a limit of 18 trekkers is considered daily in both morning and afternoon sessions.
While the Chimpanzee habituation encounter is far beyond the chimpanzee trekking encounter. This activity takes full day commencing at 6:00 am with short briefing at the Kanyanchu tourism center. It allows you to explore the chimpanzees – man’s closest relative in detail as they set out to copulate, feed, breastfeed, hunt, patrol, rest and display until they build new nests at 7pm.

Birding

The birding encounter in Kibale National Park commences at7am at Kanyanchu before heading to the jungle of Kibale National Park where you will encounter a range of birds alongside other offerings like fauna and flora. The adjacent Bigodi wetland is a home to 138 species of birds among which include the Rwenzori Turaco. The Kibale forest National Park offers sights of Crested fly catcher, Red- chested fluff tail, Red Winged Francolin, Red Winged Francolin, Green- brested Pitta, Joyful Greenbul, Grey winged Robbin, Red Winged Francolin and Abyssinian Ground Thrush among others. Birding in Kibale National Park is conducted throughout the year and is ideal between March and May and between September and November. In November to April, the migratory tend to be around.

Cultural encounters

The neighboring Batooro and Bakiga surround the park with their unique traditions that can be explored while on Uganda safari. The community encounter is normally done in Bigodi area where they have positioned then selves inform community tourism initiative where you encounter the traditional healer, handicrafts and local school.

Nature walks

Kibale National Park offers an opportunity of nature walks to allow Uganda safari undertakers to explore it on foot. The forest walks allows you to get the intense knowledge behind this fauna and their traditional significance including their use as traditional medicine. The night walks are also arranged to enable you explore the nocturnal animals including the tree hyrax, bush babies, cricket, nightjar, and civet and seval cat. The night walks start at 7:30 pm local time and tend to last 1 ½ – 2 hours.

How to get to Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale National Park can be connected to from the following originating points;
• Kibale National Park id 26km south of Fort portal town.
• The tourism center Kanyanchu can be accessed from the following points form Kampala; From North passing through Mubende and Fort portal towns or from the south passing through Mbarara and Kamwengye. The northern connection is shorter 358km 7 hours’ drive with only 26km on loose surface road.
• Kibale can also be accessed by public means as buses transfer from Kampala to Fort Portal while minibuses connect Fort Portal and Bigodi on daily basis

Within the park

Primate Lodge

Primate Lodge in Kibale is an exclusive eco-lodge situated in the heart of Kibale Forest National Park. Serenely isolated in the rainforest, this Uganda safari lodge offers you a truly authentic jungle experience and is the perfect gateway for tracking Uganda’s primates. Accommodation in luxury, midrange cottage or own tent makes this Lodge ideal for you coupled with free internet in public areas.

The Rooms
Luxury Safari Tents
Luxury Safari Tent. The eight luxury safari tents are raised on a wooden platform with thatch cover that suits in the adjacent environs. All tents have private terrace while the interior appears in traditional African adornment, with nice beds, wide windows and en suite bathrooms.
Forest Cottages. The rooms feature their own veranda and are equipped with large twin beds and living area. They have en suite facilities.
Sky Tree House. This Tree House comprises of a simple bedroom and basic washing facilities at the tree base. Situated over 10 minutes’ walk from the central lodge, the sky tree oversees the impressive elephant wallow. No wonder, forest elephants always roam around at night.
Campsite. A well-maintained campsite with shared washing facilities is available for guests who wish to bring their own tent.

Kanyanchu River Camp

It has four bandas each with two beds and beddings. Also it has one elevated banda providing self-catering services to travelers on Uganda safari-tour. Kanyanchu also contains two common camping sites. There is a canteen at which serves food on order operating from 7:30 am up to the middle of the night though one hour advance booking would be of help. The camp also has a sky tree house accommodating two people and it takes 10 minutes to approach it from the camp.

Sebitoli Camping Ground

This is located in the northern part of the park. It offers accommodation with the maximum capacity of eleven beds. It has no electricity yet but comfortable twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms. The shower has cold water but hot water would be available on request. The campsite has fair range of foods.
Bigodi region (south of the park).

See More Accommodation

Attractions

Tourist Safari Attractions in Kibale Forest National Park

Birds

The 375species of birds offer ideal opportunity for attracting birders to Kibale National Park while on safari in Uganda. More 138 bird species thrive in the adjacent Bigodi wetland sanctuary. Kibale National Park has a range of birds among which include the following; Nahans francolin, blue-headed blue eater, masked apalis, Cassin spine tail, White-naped Pigeon, Crested fly catcher, Red Winged Francolin, Green- brested Pitta, Joyful Greenbul, Red- chested fluff tail, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Grey winged Robbin, Yellow-billed Barbet, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, White-spotted Flufftail, Western Nicator, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Grey-winged Robin-chat, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Superb Sunbird, White-breasted Negrofinch, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black Bishop, and Black-crowned Waxbill.
Primates
The park has the great counts of primates on the continent of Africa and it is known worldwide as the primate capital of the world. Kibale National Park has great numbers of habituated chimpanzees which form the ground for Chimpanzee trekking safaris in Uganda. Besides chimps, the park has other 12 primate species among which include; black-and-white Colobus monkeys, l’Hoestes monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, vervet and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, red Colobus monkeys and four nocturnal primate species (pottos and bush babies).

Other Wildlife

Besides primates, Kibale National park also contain a range of other fauna among which include; Bush Pig, Elephant, Buffalo, Blue, Harvey’s and Peter’s Duickers and Bushbuck. The park also contains 60 species of mammals among which include; Ichneumon, Banded and Marsh Mongooses, Swamp Otter, Alexander’s Cusimanse, Ratel (Honey Badger) and African Palm Civet. Other species that have been recorded in the park but rarely seen include; Serval cat, Leopard, Golden Cat, Lion, Hippopotamus, Warthog and Giant Hog. The Bigodi swamp contains the elusive Sitatunga.

Flora

Kibale National Park has abundant lush flora and contain a complete mature forest with few patches of regenerating forest that is recovering from effects of human encroachment. 351 species of trees exist in Kibale National Park some of which are 200 years old and close to 50m in height. The setting of this prehistoric forest forms the ground for educational tours and leisure Uganda safaris. The park of Kibale is a shelter to over 351 species of trees providing a strong forest ecological study base suitable for educational and research travelers.

Ndali – Kasenda crater lakes

The Ndali – Kasenda crater are series of volcanic hollows that have been filled by water to form splendid crater lakes. The local traditions attach the formation of these lakes to the Chwezi King Ndahura who stayed in the area after abdicating his throne to Wamala his son. From the geographical point of view, the craters are living testimonies of the extensive volcanic forces that occurred in East Africa about 10,000 years ago. The lakes Nkuruba, Nyabikere among others are amazing to encounter on Uganda safari.

Activities

Tourist Activities in Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzee tracking/ trekking and Habituation

The Kanyanchu Primate Walk is one of the famous Uganda safari activities and the prime activity in Kibale National Park. The chimpanzees have been habituated and from 1993, the chimp trekking activity has been in existence which put the percentage of encountering chimps in Kibale higher than any other chimp trekking destination in Uganda. The Chimpanzee trekking activity starts at 8am and 2pm daily lasting for 2 – 5 hours including 1 hour of direct encounter with them. The trek for chimpanzees goes beyond chimpanzees as you traverse the amazing forest landscapes full of unique flora, birds and animals. The chimp trekking activity takes 6 chimp trekkers per group and a limit of 18 trekkers is considered daily in both morning and afternoon sessions.
While the Chimpanzee habituation encounter is far beyond the chimpanzee trekking encounter. This activity takes full day commencing at 6:00 am with short briefing at the Kanyanchu tourism center. It allows you to explore the chimpanzees – man’s closest relative in detail as they set out to copulate, feed, breastfeed, hunt, patrol, rest and display until they build new nests at 7pm.

Birding

The birding encounter in Kibale National Park commences at7am at Kanyanchu before heading to the jungle of Kibale National Park where you will encounter a range of birds alongside other offerings like fauna and flora. The adjacent Bigodi wetland is a home to 138 species of birds among which include the Rwenzori Turaco. The Kibale forest National Park offers sights of Crested fly catcher, Red- chested fluff tail, Red Winged Francolin, Red Winged Francolin, Green- brested Pitta, Joyful Greenbul, Grey winged Robbin, Red Winged Francolin and Abyssinian Ground Thrush among others. Birding in Kibale National Park is conducted throughout the year and is ideal between March and May and between September and November. In November to April, the migratory tend to be around.

Cultural encounters

The neighboring Batooro and Bakiga surround the park with their unique traditions that can be explored while on Uganda safari. The community encounter is normally done in Bigodi area where they have positioned then selves inform community tourism initiative where you encounter the traditional healer, handicrafts and local school.

Nature walks

Kibale National Park offers an opportunity of nature walks to allow Uganda safari undertakers to explore it on foot. The forest walks allows you to get the intense knowledge behind this fauna and their traditional significance including their use as traditional medicine. The night walks are also arranged to enable you explore the nocturnal animals including the tree hyrax, bush babies, cricket, nightjar, and civet and seval cat. The night walks start at 7:30 pm local time and tend to last 1 ½ – 2 hours.

Getting There

How to get to Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale National Park can be connected to from the following originating points;
• Kibale National Park id 26km south of Fort portal town.
• The tourism center Kanyanchu can be accessed from the following points form Kampala; From North passing through Mubende and Fort portal towns or from the south passing through Mbarara and Kamwengye. The northern connection is shorter 358km 7 hours’ drive with only 26km on loose surface road.
• Kibale can also be accessed by public means as buses transfer from Kampala to Fort Portal while minibuses connect Fort Portal and Bigodi on daily basis

Accommodation

Within the park

Primate Lodge

Primate Lodge in Kibale is an exclusive eco-lodge situated in the heart of Kibale Forest National Park. Serenely isolated in the rainforest, this Uganda safari lodge offers you a truly authentic jungle experience and is the perfect gateway for tracking Uganda’s primates. Accommodation in luxury, midrange cottage or own tent makes this Lodge ideal for you coupled with free internet in public areas.

The Rooms
Luxury Safari Tents
Luxury Safari Tent. The eight luxury safari tents are raised on a wooden platform with thatch cover that suits in the adjacent environs. All tents have private terrace while the interior appears in traditional African adornment, with nice beds, wide windows and en suite bathrooms.
Forest Cottages. The rooms feature their own veranda and are equipped with large twin beds and living area. They have en suite facilities.
Sky Tree House. This Tree House comprises of a simple bedroom and basic washing facilities at the tree base. Situated over 10 minutes’ walk from the central lodge, the sky tree oversees the impressive elephant wallow. No wonder, forest elephants always roam around at night.
Campsite. A well-maintained campsite with shared washing facilities is available for guests who wish to bring their own tent.

Kanyanchu River Camp

It has four bandas each with two beds and beddings. Also it has one elevated banda providing self-catering services to travelers on Uganda safari-tour. Kanyanchu also contains two common camping sites. There is a canteen at which serves food on order operating from 7:30 am up to the middle of the night though one hour advance booking would be of help. The camp also has a sky tree house accommodating two people and it takes 10 minutes to approach it from the camp.

Sebitoli Camping Ground

This is located in the northern part of the park. It offers accommodation with the maximum capacity of eleven beds. It has no electricity yet but comfortable twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms. The shower has cold water but hot water would be available on request. The campsite has fair range of foods.
Bigodi region (south of the park).

See More Accommodation

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