Kibale National Park
The Kibale Forest National Park website contains information about wildlife and birds, monkeys and chimps, activities and accommodations in Kibale Forest. There is also a photo gallery with photos of Kibale Forest, a forum and a detailed map of Kibale Forest, with all the places of interest. This website contains a mammal list and bird list of Kibale Forest.
Kibale Forest National Park
With lush tropical rainforest and a fascinating diversity of animals, Kibale National Park is one of the most beautiful and stunning forests in Uganda. The park adjoins with Queen Elizabeth National Park and is an important eco-tourism and safari destination, popular for its population of habituated chimpanzees and 12 other species of primate.
The park is famed for its habituated chimpanzees and birding in Bigodi swamp. This park was gazetted in October 1993. The park has 60 mammal species of which 13 species are primates. This park has the highest concentration of primates in Uganda. The 9 diurnal primates include: vervet, red tailed, L’hoests and blue monkeys, olive baboon and chimpanzee.
Other mammals in the park include: lion, leopard, buffalo, hippo, warthog, elephant, giant forest hog, bush pig, bush buck, sitatunga and Peter’s red and blue duikers. Bird species number up to 335 species of which 4 are endemics to Kibale: Cassin’s spine tail, blue headed bee eater, masked apalis and Nahan’s francolin. A four hour bird trail has been laid out for serious birders in the Bigodi wetland.
Kibale Forest National Park, together with the nearby Ndali-Kasende Crater Lakes, are close to being an independent traveller’s dream, blessed with the tantalizing combination of inexpensive accommodation, easy access, wonderful scenery and a remarkable variety of activities. The park is highly alluring to nature lovers for the opportunity to view a wide range of forest birds and track chimpanzees (as well as viewing a wide range of other primates). Though the scenic appeal of the region remains undiminished, the rising cost of chimp tracking, and the conversion of the old budget Kanyanchu River Camp to an upmarket tented camp, mean that the national park is no longer the mandatory backpacker destination it was a few years ago.
With lush tropical rain forest and a fascinating diversity of animals, Kibale National Park is one of the most beautiful and stunning forests in Uganda, with the highest diversity and density of primates in Africa.
Kibale Forest is certainly worth protecting as it is home to the largest number (in Uganda) of our closest living relative, the endangered chimpanzee. The chances of seeing the chimpanzees in Kibale Forest are better then 90%. Making this the best place to see them in Uganda and Rwanda.
Kibale Forest is home to the largest number (in Uganda) of chimpanzees, our closest living relative. The forest has one of the highest diversity and density or primates and monkeys in Africa, totaling 13 species, including the red Colobus, black and white Colobus, blue monkey, grey- cheeked Mangabey, red tailed monkey, L’Hoest monkey, bush baby and Potto.
Kibale national park is famously known for chimpanzee tracking. However, the park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzees.
It also contains over 375 species of birds. Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180km-long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park.
Things to See in Kibale Forest
The most famous inhabitants of Kibale National Park are the chimpanzees with over 1,450 individuals protected within the park. At Kanyanchu, a community of chimpanzees has been habituated since 1991, allowing visitors the unique opportunity to view these great apes in the natural environment (with more than a 90% chance of viewing).
The park also hosts over 325 species of birds including the yellow spotted nicator, yellow rumped tinkerbirds, little greenbul, green breasted pitta, the African pitta, the crowned eagle, the black bee- eater, hornbills and African Grey Parrots.
Kibale forest national park is home to a remarkable 13 primate species with both nocturnal and diurnal species. These include chimpanzees, the localized red colobus monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, black and white colobus monkey, pottos, Guereza Colobus, Olive Baboon, Grey-cheeked Mangabeys, and Red-tailed Monkeys among others.
What to do in Kibale forest
Kibale presents plenty of exciting Uganda safari activities. It is a favorite primate destination in Africa to enjoy chimpanzee trekking, chimpanzee habituation experience, nocturnal forest walks, day hikes/nature walk, bush craft making for children, tour Amabere caves, visit Bigodi Wetland, etc.
Kibale’s most popular activity is the Kanyanchu primate walk. Thirteen species can be sought, and a good variety of diurnal monkeys invariably encountered, but the stars of this trail are the chimpanzees. Kanyanchu chimps have been tracked since 1993 and the chances of locating them are excellent. Guided walks start at 8am and 2pm and last an average of three hours, depending on various factors. Kibale Forest is one of the best places in the world for chimpanzee tracking. The chances of seeing them are better then 99%. It is also possible to spend the whole day with the chimps and do the chimpanzee habituation experience.
The full-day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience works with a chimp community which is undergoing habituation. Early visitors can watch chimps leaving their overnight nests between 6:00 – 6:30am before feeding, copulating, hunting, breastfeeding, resting, patrolling and displaying until it is time to build new nests around 7pm.
Birding in Kibale
Bird watching tours start at 7am at Kanyanchu; you are advised to book in advance. Rare species include the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, White-collared Olive back and Papyrus Canary.
Nature walks in Kibale
When chimpanzees and other forest residents rest up at dusk, a nighttime shift of rarely seen creatures becomes active. Night walks though the darkened forest use powerful torches to seek nocturnal creatures such as the pottos, bush baby, nightjar, cricket and tree hyrax, with its chilling shriek, as well as the occasional civet or serval cat. Night walks leave the camp at 7.30pm and last between one and a half and two hours.
Kibale forest is an ideal location for their research activities in areas of Forestry, Botany, Ecology, research about Chimpanzees, Birds among other research disciplines.
Places of Interest
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located just outside the park, is home to 138 bird species which may be seen during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms. These could include the White-spotted Fluff tail, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Superb Sunbird, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black Bishop, White-breasted Negrofinch and Black-crowned Waxbill among others.
Plan Your Safari
The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and within half a day’s drive of the Queen Elizabeth, Ruwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks, as well as the Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve.
Getting to Kibale NP in Uganda
There are many routes leading to Kibale National Park in Western Uganda. From Kampala, you can drive via Mityana-Mubende-Fort Portal tourism city to Kibale about 6 hours’ drive journey. From Fort Portal to Kibale, it is about half an hour’s drive. From Queen Elizabeth NP, it is easier connecting up to Kibale about 3-4 hours’ drive and from Murchison, you can spend 7-8 hours’ drive pass through Hoima Oil city to Fort Portal.
Chimpanzee permits are essential when it comes to chimpanzee trekking or chimpanzee habituation experience. Each chimpanzee trekking permit costs USD200 and chimpanzee habituation permits are available for booking at USD250 per person.
Best time to visit chimpanzees of Kibale
Kibale National Park is open to visitors on chimpanzee safari at any time of the year. It is one destination that enjoys favorable weather conditions all year-round but chimpanzee trekking is best done during the dry season. This is either during the extended dry season or short dry season. The extended or long dry season runs from June to September and short drier months include December, January & February.
What to carry
The essential items not to miss on any packing list for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park include waterproof hiking boots or shoes, daypack, socks, long sleeved shirts, camera, insect repellent, a bottled drinking water, rain jacket, etc.
Places to stay in and around Kibale on your Uganda safaris include Ndali Lodge, Crater Safari Lodge, Primate Lodge, Isunga Lodge, Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse, Papaya Lake Lodge, Chimps Nest, Rwenzori View Guesthouse and others.
There are budget, luxury and mid-range accommodation facilities in Kibale National Park (KNP). These include Primate Lodge, Crater Safari Lodge, Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse, Kyaninga Lodge, Ndali Lodge, Kibale Forest Camp, Isunga Lodge and more.