Kanyanchu is the main chimpanzee trekking trailhead in Kibale National Park. Located 10kms from Isunga park offices, Kanyanchu Visitor Centre is where briefing and chimpanzee treks or primate walks in Kibale National Park begin from. From Fort Portal Town/City, Kanyanchu is about 35kms away and it is accessible on Fort Portal Kamwenge tarmac route.
Kanyanchu features several habituated chimpanzee communities making it a preferred chimpanzee trekking spot. Over 4 habituated chimp communities exist in Kibale and Kanyanchu is where briefing about chimpanzee tracking rules is done and treks begin early morning or in the afternoon. The two sessions of chimpanzee trekking at Kanyanchu begin early with morning session always begins at 8:00am after briefing and in the afternoon at 2:00pm.
Kanyanchu chimpanzee treks/primate walk last for 2-4 hours and besides trekking chimpanzees, there are multiple activities to enjoy here. These include guided primate walks/forest walk/nature walks, birding, chimpanzee habituation experience, etc.
Kibale National Park
Kanyanchu Tourist Centre is located in Kibale National Park, Western Uganda. The park was founded in 1993 and its creation was primarily to shelter its diverse primate species. A total of 13 primate species make Kibale the primate capital of the world.
The primates of Kibale include an estimate of about 1500 chimpanzees, the blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, baboons, vervet monkeys, red colobus monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, pottos, bush babies, black and white colobus monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, Uganda mangabeys, etc.
Additionally, there are over 60 species of mammals also thriving in the jungles of Kibale including a total of 500 elephants, 250 butterfly species, 5 antelope species, 3 wild hog species, over 375 bird species, 70 reptile species, 351 tree species and more.
Birding safaris in Kibale
Kibale houses over 375 bird species making it one of the best spots to identify diverse bird species. The park is a home to one of the most looked for bird species- the African green breasted pitta, masked apalis, Nahan’s francolins, Blue headed bee-eater, Yellow spotted nicator, Crowned eagle, Black eared ground thrush, Collared apalis, Blue breasted kingfisher, Abyssinian ground thrush, etc.
Chimpanzee trekking- This is the main highlight of any Kibale Forest safari. A chimpanzee trek through Kibale Forest is entirely to view chimpanzees in the wild rather than at the zoo. It is a distinct experience altogether and should be considered a must-do on Uganda safaris.
More than 1500 chimpanzees all live in Kibale Forest and there are several habituated communities already open for trekking. To enjoy Kanyanchu chimpanzee/primate walk, each chimpanzee permit is available for reservation at USD200 and for the extra-ordinary chimpanzee habituation, permits cost USD250 per person.
Normal chimpanzee trekking is all about visiting already habituated chimp communities and chimp habituation experience allows you visit the semi-habituated community and takes the whole day of following chimps/half day. Treks to see chimp communities are all led by the experienced park guides.
Lodges in Kibale National Park Fort Portal
Luxury/upmarket safari lodges, mid-range/moderate and budget safari lodges all exist in and around Kibale National Park. These include Primate Lodge, Kyaninga Lodge, Ndali Lodge, Crater Safari Lodge, Papaya Lake Lodge- Luxury lodges; Chimp’s Nest, Kibale Forest Camp (Midrange) and budget lodges Nyinabulitwa Country Resort & Safari Camp, Chimpanzee Guesthouse, Rwenzori View Guesthouse.
Getting to Kanyanchu Visitor Centre
Kanyanchu Visitor Center is found right in the heart of Kibale National Park, about 10kms from the park’s main offices- Isunga. From Kampala, about 300kms on Mubende- Fort Portal route, 35kms from Fort Portal.
By air, fly to Nyakisharara Airstrip in Mbarara and drive 98kms on Kamwenge route to Kanyanchu Visitor Centre or land in at Kasese airstrip, about 80kms from Fort Portal or fly up to the airstrip in Semliki Wildlife Reserve and drive for 86kms to Kanyanchu.