When it comes to chimpanzee tracking adventures, Kibale Forest National Park never goes unmentioned! It is incredibly the most-sought after primate destination in Uganda and Africa at large, boasting 13 primate species. Kibale Forest National Park sits in 3 Western districts of Kamwenge, Kabarole, and Kibale.
Kibale Forest National Park has existed since 1993 when it was established with the purpose of protecting its diverse primates and other wildlife. It occupies an area of 795sq.km of land and it largely consists of a lush tropical rain-forest, with some portions of savanna grassland, woodland on its Northern and Central sides. This protected area sits at an altitude of 1100 meters and 1600 meters.
Species of primates in Kibale Forest National Park Uganda
Kibale Forest National Park is dubbed the primate capital of the world for a reason. All the 13 species of primates live in this park’s rain-forest and they include an estimate of about 1500 chimpanzees. There exist also several L’Hoest monkeys, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, olive baboons, red colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys plus nocturnal primates like pottos, bush babies.
Besides primates, Kibale Forest National Park also shelters other numerous mammal species. These include among others the bush pigs, duikers, bushbucks, forest elephants, buffaloes, golden cats, sitatungas and most of these can be spotted on Uganda safari tour in this protected area.
Species of birds in Kibale Forest National Park Uganda
Kibale Forest National Park is one of the birder’s paradises in Uganda. It prides itself as a home to over 375 bird species making it one of the looked-for birding tour destinations in Uganda. This protected area shelters variety of interesting birds including the blue-headed sunbird, African green breasted pitta, black bee-eaters, red-faced woodland.
Others include purple breasted sunbird, dusky blue flycatcher, Nahan’s Francolin, yellow-throated nicator, little greenbul. There is also possible to identify the white-headed wood hoopoe, scaly breasted illadopsis, white-naped pigeon, yellow spotted barbet, red-headed malimbe.
Kibale Forest National Park has an estimate of about 250 butterfly species. This makes it one of the untapped butterfly watching destinations in Uganda. It also protects several reptiles and amphibians making it an exceptional Uganda safari destination.
Chimp tracking in Kibale Forest National Park’s top safari activity attracting the majority of its visitors on Uganda safaris. It is a magical primate paradise with over 1500 chimpanzees and several habituated chimpanzee communities. Tourists enjoy a morning or afternoon chimpanzee trek while on a Uganda safari tour in Kibale starting from Kanyanchu Tourist Centre. Valid chimp tracking permits are issued at $200 (for non-foreign residents), $150 (foreign residents), and shs 150,000 (East African Community citizens) but you can also benefit from the current promotional offer running from 1st December 2020 to March 31st, 2021.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is by far the most thrilling adventure you shouldn’t miss to enjoy on a safari holiday in Kibale Forest National Park. This is an exceptional primate experience involving initiating semi-habituated chimpanzees to human presence before setting them for chimpanzee tracking.
The process normally takes 2 years and it involves a long day of following chimpanzees, observing their feeding habits, hunting techniques, copulating, patrolling habits till they make new nests. Chimpanzee habituation permits are available at $250.
Kibale Forest National Park features a variety of the most sought-after birds making it one of the best birding destinations. The majority of birders visit this park to identify birds such as the African green breasted pitta, red faced woodland, black bee-eaters, purple breasted sunbird, blue headed sunbird, yellow spotted barbet to mention but a few.
There is no better destination to enjoy an on-foot experience than Kibale Forest National Park! A guided nature walk in this protected area ushers you into its varied habitats with the possibility to sight primates, colorful butterflies, flora, birds.
Kibale Forest National Park isn’t only popular for primate adventures, but also for authentic community/cultural experiences. Community walks are best done along with the Bigodi/Magombe wetland sanctuary. This shelters 138 bird species including the Great Blue Turaco, primates, unique flora, and mammals. You also get entertained by the local residents’ unique dances, music performances, and then learn more about their unique lifestyles.
There is no specific best time to visit Kibale Forest National Park because it is open to tourists all year round. However, chimpanzee tracking is best carried out during the dry months of the year (June-September and December-February). For visitors interested in bird watching, the wet or rainy season serves best (March to April or October to November).
Kibale Forest National Park is one protected area with a variety of accommodation facilities. Tourists choose from budget to luxury options including among others Ndali Lodge, Primate Lodge, Papaya Lake Lodge (Luxury), Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse, Chimps Nest (Mid-range), Rwenzori View Guesthouse, Isunga Guesthouse (Basic).
By road: Entebbe/Kampala through Mityana-Mubende to Fort Portal tourism city and drive 26kms to Kibale Forest. This takes 6 hours’ drive starting from Kampala. From Kampala-Mbarara via Ibanda to Kibale Forest National Park. Or drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park via Kasese-Fort Portal about 3 hours’ drive. From Murchison Falls National Park via Hoima to Fort Portal about 7 hours’ drive. By air, fly from Entebbe Airport/Kajjansi airfield to Kasese/Mweya airstrip and transfer to Kibale Forest National Park for your chimpanzee adventures.
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