Kibale Forest national Park - Chimpanzee Tracking Uganda

Explore the great kibale forest national park for chimpanzee tracking after the great hike of the mountain rwenzori national park the best snow capped mountain in Africa recommended to be visited for hiking tours in Uganda with Rwenzori mountaineering service

Kibale National Park is a national park in southern Uganda, protecting moist evergreen rain forest. It is 766 square kilometres (296 sq mi) in size and is located between 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) to 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) in elevation. 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 last 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 parks creates a 180 kilometres (110 mi) 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 park receives an average annual rainfall of equal to 1700mm, mainly during March-May and September-November. The climate is usually pleasant with an average annual temperature range of 14 to 27oC. Temperatures are at maximum (& rainfall lower) in the south where the terrain drops onto the blistering rift valley floor and forest provides way to open grassland.

Kibale is one of Africa’s foremost research sites. While many researchers focus on the chimpanzees and other primates found in the park, others are investigating Kibale’s ecosystems, wild pigs and fish species, among other topics. Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau.

The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, there are 13 species of primates in Kibale National Park. The park protects several well-studied habituated communities of common chimpanzee, as well as several species of Central African monkey including the Uganda mangabey, the Ugandan red colobus and the L'Hoest's monkey. Other primates that are found in the park include the black-and-white colobus and the blue monkey. It also contains over 375 species of birds. 351 tree species have been recorded in the park, some rise to over 55m.

Safari activities in Kibale Forest national Park

Chimpanzee Tracking

Chimpanzee tracking is the most common and exciting activity in the park. There are various chimpanzee groups in the park that are habituated and open for public viewing. On the tracking date, you are expected to be at the park headquarters an hour before the tracking starting time for a briefing about the activity by the park guide and have your permits verified. You will then set out into the forest to look for the chimpanzees. The activity will take around 4 hours, less or even more depending on the speed the chimps are moving at and their location. As you look for the chimps, you will expect to spot other primates like white and black colobus monkeys, baboons, mangabey and various bird species like the blue turaco.

Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is located immediately on the outskirts of the park within Magombe Swamp. The wetland is as well habitat to 138 species of birds. The wetland is prominent for a diversity of wildlife such as primates, like chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, red colobus and black & white colobus, plus other mammals like sitatunga, bushbucks and mongoose. This wetland is a community managed initiative intended to conserving the exceptional bio-diversity as well as the environmental values of the sanctuary. The Kihingani wetland Guided Walks just as those at Magombe, are carried out within the Kihingani wetland, immediately on the outskirts of the national park close to Sebitoli.

Forest walk

This forest walk is seasonal and runs for 12km and is limited only to the dry months from mid-November to February and June to September. It takes you through the various park habitats among which are: grassland, riverine forest, tropical rainforest and swamps. You will get the opportunity to see a diversity of bird species plus primates and if lucky duikers and bushbucks. This walk starts at 08:00 from the Kanyanchu Visitor centre and finishes at the elephant wallow at around 14:00. Carry with you enough drinks plus snacks; and we recommend booking in advance.

Birding

This park is endowed with more than 335 species of birds including the Red-chested Fluff tail, Black-capped Apalises, Red-winged Francolin, Grey-headed Olive-back African Pitta, Joyful Greenbul, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Tiny Sunbirds, Green-breasted Pitta, White-naped Pigeon, Chestnut-winged Starling, Grey-winged Robin, Grey-throated Flycatcher, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Abyssinian Ground Thrush among many others.

How to Get to Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale National Park is located in western Uganda, 22km southeast of Fort Portal town. Kanyanchu River Camp, the primary center for tourism activities, can be reached from Kampala either from the north, via Mubende and Fort Portal, or the south through Mbarara and Kamwenge. The northern approach is shorter and quicker, with a 290km tarmac road running to Fort Portal followed by 32km on gravel to Kanyanchu.

Sebitoli Forest Camp, a secondary tourism center, is even easier to reach. This stands directly on the Kampala road, 12km before Fort Portal. Public transport runs throughout the day between Kampala and Fort Portal (passing Sebitoli) and Fort Portal and Kamwenge (passing Kanyanchu).