Kibale Forest National Park
Chimpanzee Tracking - Uganda Safari Tour
Kibale Forest National Park is a tourist destination located in the South western part of Uganda. It is commonly known for chimpanzee tracking and is also known as the primate capital of the world. Despite encompassing primarily moist evergreen forest, it contains a diverse array of landscapes. Kibale is one of the last remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests. In eastern Africa, it sustains the significant expanse of pre-montane forest.
The park was gazetted in 1932 and formally established in 1993 to protect a large area of forest previously managed as a logged forest reserve. The park forms a continuous forest with queen Elizabeth national park .This adjoining of the park creates a 180 kilometers wildlife corridor.it is an important Eco-tourism and safari destination, popular for its population of habituated chimpanzees and twelve other species of primates. The batooro and Bakiga are the major tribes that inhabit the area around the park. They use the park for fuel, food and other resources with the help of the Uganda wildlife authority.
Kibale national forest has one of the highest diversity and concentration of primates in Africa. It is home to a large number of endangered chimpanzees as well as the red Columbus monkeys and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey.
Activities in Kibale national park
There are a lot of things one can engage in when they visit the national park. These are the key ventures that make the safari of travelers more interesting.
Kibale Forest National Park has a total number of 13 species of Primates of which Chimpanzees are inclusive. Chimpanzee trekking is the most popular activity in the primate capital of the world. The trekking of chimpanzees starts early in the morning with a briefing at Kanyachu visitor’s center about the rules and regulations to follow during the trekking. After the briefing, you will be allocated a park guide who is knowledgeable about chimpanzees and start trekking in the jungle which takes about 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on where the chimpanzees are located. There are about 1450 chimpanzees in Kibale forest of which some have been habituated for a period of two years. Other primates include; Red colobus monkey, Black & White colobus monkey, Red tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey and Blue monkey.vistors will learn about the habits of these primates and record moments to keep these memories with them.
This is close to chimpanzee tracking but is the process of training these primates to get used to having human beings around them and preparing them to be tracked. The process of habituating these primates take a long time and can even take a long time and can even take up to 3 years before they are allowed to be opened for tracking.
During chimpanzee habituation unlike chimpanzee tracking, the travelers are given more time to spend with these primates. Chimpanzee tracking is done for about 3-4 hours and the travelers get to spend 1 hour with the primates once they encounter them. For chimpanzee habituation, the travelers are given more time of about 6 hours and can even spend the whole day with these primates. For one to enjoy the habituation activity, they ought to book their permits at least 3 months prior to the date of travel.
Kibale Forest National Park also has ecosystems such as wet tropical to dry tropical forest, woodland, savannah, shade tolerant herbs, shrubs and broad leaved grasses. These habitats harbor birds and this park has about 325 bird species. Bigodi wetland sanctuary is a top birders spot with 138 bird species. These bird spices include green breasted pita, masked apalis, white naped pigeon, red winged francolin, black crowned waxbill, purple headed starling, the great blue turaco and others.
Kibale forest national park is blessed with a number of wildlife species suitable for game viewing. Therefore, as visitors hike through the dense forest of Kibale, they should expect to see a variety of animals such as chimpanzees, elephants, leopards, buffaloes, bush pigs and so many others. It has also reptiles, birds and butterflies.
Kibale forest national park has densely populated tropical rainforests and so as a result have different kinds of flora and fauna co-existing together. Thus, this makes it a preferable destination to do nature walks especially by the Eco tourists who love nature. The nature walk begins with a briefing at Kanyachu visitor’s center or Sebitoli. After the briefing, you will start hiking in the forest with the company of a well trailed park guide passing through grasslands, swampland where you will get up close and personal with various wildlife species such as the bushbucks and listen to sweet sounds of bird species, enjoy the cool breeze and breathe in the fresh air among others.
Accommodation of Kibale national park
This national park has a wide range of accommodation facilities where you can stay during your safari. the accommodations range from budget, midrange and luxury including primate lodge, chimps nest, Kanyachu river camp, Aramaga rift valley lodge, chimpanzee forest guest house, Rweetera safari park and others .
The best time to visit
The park can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best period is during the dry season also known as the peak season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry season, the park receives less rainfall therefore will be thin which gives you an opportunity to clearly view chimpanzees and other wildlife species. Also during the dry season hiking and chimpanzee trekking trails will be passable compared to the wet season when the trekking trails are muddy and slippery which makes it difficult.
How to get there
Kibale national park is located in western Uganda and can easily be accessed by road transport means whereby you will drive from Kampala via Mubende-fort portal road or the Mbarara-Kamwenge road to the park headquarters which takes about 5 to 6 hours’ drive in a 4WD safari vehicle which can handle the roads of Uganda.