Kibale forest national park was made a national park at the end of 18th century covering an area of about 765 sq kms, it is located in the south western park of Uganda from Kampala Uganda’s capital and its largest city. The park can be reached in a drive of about 5-6 hours on a clear weather condition via Kasese and its neighbours Queen Elizabeth national park, Rwenzori Mountain, and Semiliki national park. Kibale forest national park can also be reached from Kampala via Mubende and Fort portal or through Mbarara and Kamwenge and these routes can make clear access to the park. Kibale forest national park is regarded as the most Uganda’s tropical forest and one of the most visited Uganda national parks for chimp tracking. Kibale forest national Park is one of the few protected parks in the world hosting almost 13 species of primates including the red colobus monkeys, baboons, civet monkey, black and white colobus monkey, LHoest’s monkeys and the endemic Uganda Mangabay and the most interesting and major attraction are the chimpanzee the most closest relative of man than any other creature on earth. Chimps are fabulous fan to watch as they swing in tree in this side of the nature. Not only primate species but also the park is a home to over 300 species of birds , over 90 species of mammal including the elusive forest hogs, and a half dozen antelope species, elephant , water bucks and various species of trees and butterflies, all these creatures make kibale national park the most striking parts in Uganda.
What to do at the park
There are very many activities that can be done at the park these include;
This is one of the most activities done at the park, chimp tracking begins very early in the morning at 08:00am, 10:00am and at 2:00pm from the Kanyanchu Visitor Centre where you receive a short briefing about the dos and don’ts while with these primate species and also get assigned to the ranger guide. After the briefing follow the guide to the forest to begin the activity. tracking time is unpredictable as meeting them depends on where they spent the last night from, so some levels of physical fitness is necessary as well as tracking gears such as strong boots, long sleeved shirts and blouses, cloves, bottled waters to cool your throats. Ounce chimps are met you strictly allowed staying with them for only one hour while observing their behaviours as well as taking as many photos as you can ( a flash camera is not allowed as it can scare away these animals).
Not only chimps that can be seen during the tracking other primate species such as red colobus monkeys, baboons, civet monkey, black and white colobus monkey, LHoest’s monkeys and the endemic Uganda Mangabay. Only 6-8 members are only allowed to track chimps in each group and advance booking is essential to avoid inconvenience. Children above 12 years are only allowed to track chimps. You are advised to book in time as chimp permits are on a very high demand they are issued on first come first served the earlier the better in order to avoid inconveniencies.
For birders kibale forest national park offers the best sighting since it host over 300 bird species of which 6o%are recorded Uganda’s forest birds. The park also offers night nature walk which allows visitors to track the unique species of birds, animals and insect like bat, bush babies among others. The park is gifted with guides who are not only kin watchers but also interested in the field, they will take you through the paths good for spotting various species of birds. Bigodi area of the park is most rewarding area for bird watching; this place is also famous for primate watching like chimpanzee, the black and white colobus monkey, red tailed, bush buck as well as mangooze
This is an interesting activity done at the park; this activity allows you to accompany kibale’s researchers and habituates as they follow chimpanzees during their daily activities there by getting them used to human presence without altering their natural behavior. Being one of the six member allowed in a group is so memorable, watching chimps in a close distance is a moment difficult to forget, as you will meet chimps doing their daily activities like feeding, making nest for the following night, copulating, breast feeding, resting after the activity you will retire back to your accommodation in the late evening. For this activity you are advised to book in time.
Exploring the park on foot provide a close contact with nature, as the guides are always available to take you through the forest, during the nature walks you are able to see very many forest dwellers in a close distance like various species of primate such as the black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzee, mangooz, baboons, various species of birds, trees among others, during the nature walk, remind your guide to show you the necked Adam and Eva tree one of unique kibale forest wonder.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the life and African culture, Kibale forest national park provide this opportunity. This full walk can start either at Knayuncu or Sebitoli. Explore the forest during the day end or rest at the community run composites near the village of Kinoni,Nyaibanda and Nyakalongo, if interested porters can be hired to carry your equipments like bags among other. In order to book this activity pre-booking is essential). Cultural walks can take about 2-6 days in the local communities.
Accommodation within and outside kibale forest national park include
Within the park
Kanyanchu River Camp
Primate Lodge Kibale: is located at the Kanyanchu Visitors Centre in Kibale National Park. From Fort Portal follow the road to Kamwenge for 36 kms and branch off at the sign post directing to Primate Lodge Kibale.
Sebitoli Camping Ground (Northern park of Park)
Kibale Safari Lodge
Chimp’s Nest: The lodge can be reached in only 15 minutes’ drive from Kanyanche the starting point for chimp tracking at the park and many other activities in Kibale Forest. Chimps nest is located near Nyabubale, a small village between Nkingo and Bigodi. Chimps' Nest also borders the Bigodi Swamps. It has good rooms ranging from Self-contained cottages, family cottage or self-contained budget rooms with a restaurant which serves tasteful meals in a warm and inviting environment where you can enjoy our friendly service. Chimp’s Nest is a midrange type of accommodation
Kibale Forest Camp: situated in a patch of indigenous forest, just outside Kibale Forest National Park. The camp consists of 7 African safari style tents, which are comfortably furnished with twin or double beds
Mantana Tented Camp
Safari Hotel Bigodi
Northen region Crater Lake
Nyinabulitwa Resort and Safari Camp
Crater Valley Kibale (CVK) Lakeside Resort
Mountains of the moon: This is a large resort-style hotel, just outside of the center of Fort Portal. It features a large main building with a central garden and rooms surrounding an inside courtyard.
Kyaninga Lodge: located 15 minutes outside Fort Portal town. Perched atop a hill overlooking a stunning blue crater lake, the lodge enjoys spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding landscape