Kibale national park is located in western Uganda in the Kabarole district. The location of Kibale national park is strategic in that many other attractions surround it, therefore, increasing the tourists’ experiences in this region.
This national park is made up of a dense tropical rainforest which is a habitat for the primates. The park is also characterized by woodland and savannah on the rift valley floor with the northern and central parts of Kibale national park dominated by trees.
Kibale facilitates a lot of research on the chimpanzees and other primates in the national park as well as its ecosystem and the diversity of life in the tropical rainforest. The research can be carried out during the chimpanzee habituation experience which offers a closer interaction with these species.
This ultimate chimpanzee tracking destination in Uganda which is a term used to refer to Kibale national park was first gazetted to protect the large forested area before being awarded a national park status under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
This national park is adjoined to Queen Elizabeth national park to the south creating a wildlife corridor between the Ishasha sector and Sebitoli in Kibale.
How to get to Kibale national park;
- By road; from Kampala via Mubende and Fort portal (northern route)/ via Mbarara and Kamwenge (southern route)
- By air; Nyakisharara airstrip and Kasese airstrip
Attractions in the Park
- Wildlife species in Kibale forest elephants, bush bucks, sitatungas, buffaloes, duikers, and other species. These species share the kibale forest with the famous primate species which can be seen in the park such as chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, colobus monkeys, L’ hoest monkeys, olive baboon, diademed monkey, vervet and blue monkeys among others. The forest elephants are a rare but not impossible sight though the signs of their presence can be observed at many locations within the forest.
- Bird and butterfly species in this national park include green breasted pitta, African pitta, yellow-billed barbet, black bee eater, purple breasted sunbird, red-faced woodland warbler, blue-headed sunbird and many other bird species. The butterflies can be seen in the Kibale forest as well as at the observation area where tourists are briefed before starting the chimpanzee tracking activity. There are different birding spots within Kibale national park which offer a satisfying birding experience for birders.
- The crater lakes are among the attractions which are located in the Fort portal. This attraction has attracted a number of tourists and the trips to these famous crater lakes are combined with visits to Kibale national park. The crater lakes offer one of the best hiking areas in the dramatic landscape with steep slopes. The beautiful scenery of the hills and the crater lakes are some of the tourist favorite sites during trips to Kibale national park.
- Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru is a tourist site that consists of stalagmites and caves which are attached to local folk tales. The visit to these caves also offers sights of waterfalls, tea plantations, and other attractions.
Activities in Kibale National Park
Activities that tourists participate in during a trip to Kibale national park include the following;
- Chimpanzee tracking is the major tourist activity for which Kibale national park is known. The dense forest supports a large number of primates in this national park as well as other wildlife species. Chimpanzee tracking engages tourists in looking for the chimpanzees in their natural habitat as they swing around the trees and bird sounds fill the forest. Butterflies can also be seen within the forest during the chimpanzee trekking experience. Certain rules and regulations are explained to the tourists before they start their adventure of tracking the chimpanzees. This activity is done in a group of about four people according to the rules and regulations of chimpanzee tracking in order to avoid overcrowding the chimpanzees and to avoid infecting the chimpanzees. During the chimpanzee tracking process, the tourists are taken to the last place where the chimpanzees were last seen in the company of their ranger guide. Permits for chimpanzee tracking are booked in advance prior to the visit to Kibale national park.
- Birding is carried out at Kanyanchu within the national park and Bigodi swamp outside Kibale national park. Both of these locations offer great chances of bird watching with species such as papyrus gonolek, white-winged warbler, white collared olive back, papyrus canary, white-spotted fluff tail, yellow spotted barbet, superb sunbird, and many other species.
- Chimpanzee habituation is an activity that engages the tourists in close interaction with the chimpanzees to get the chimpanzees used to human presence in their territory. This activity allows the tourists to spend the entire day in the habitat of the chimpanzees. Different people participate in this activity such as researchers, guides and the tourists themselves. Some of the chimpanzee families which have been successfully habituated include the Kanyanchu group. The terrain where this magical experience of habituation takes place is less straining and the forest is less dense making the chimpanzees easy to spot as they swing up in the tree branches, groom each other or feed in the forest.
- Nature walk involves an up-close viewing of the different attractions within Kibale national park including the plant and tree species. These nature walks are taken along different trails in Kibale such as the forest trail, the Amabere cave trail, crater lake hikes, Bigodi trail, and crater lake hikes.
- Community walk offers an insight into the lives of the local community in terms of their ways of life, traditions and norms, dress code and many other aspects about the culture of the locals. It also involves performing cultural dances as well as seeing the local arts and crafts.
- Bushcraft involves a number of activities for the children to give them their own unique and satisfying experience of the visit to Kibale. The children engage in a variety of activities such as exploring the forest, wildlife viewing and showing the children the different plant, tree, and species in the national park.
Make the most of your journey to the primate capital where the West African jungle meets East Africa and experience the beauty of western Uganda and get one of the greatest wildlife experiences in Kibale national park.