Kibale National Park

Primate Park of Uganda | Home for Chimpanzees

Kibale Forest National Park is one of the loveliest and best tropical rain forest in Uganda. The park is famous for being home of chimpanzees. But on top of that it is also home for other 13 primate species  commonly sought by visitors. The Forest Park is predominately a forest of  with many forest canopies.  The forest park stands at 1590m above sea level  and with an area of  795km sq  kilometers . The park has is host of many primates including black and white Colobus, red tailed and blue monkeys and grey – checked mangabey, bush babies, and pottos . The park also hosts over 325 species of birds including the yellow spotted nictor yellow rumped tinkerbirds . Other wildlife in this park include forest elephants, sitatungas, bush pigs, bush bucks, magoose.  The diversity and density of this forest is rewarded with 13 primate species on top of chimpanzees  not be found else where in Africa.

The park is accessed from Fort Portal town  on all weather road save for some few kilometers branching to the park.  Alternatively can be accessed from a road from Mbarara from the southern part of the park arriving from Kamwenge road. Kanyanchu  is  36 km away from Fort Portal at sebitoli is the park headquarters are found . All park activities  begin from here. On Kampala to Fort Portal road, Kibale forest is 290  km  and this 5-6 hours drive.

Park Activities

Chimpanzee tracking  Primate Walk
The park is famous for chimpanzee tracking . Chimpanzees have been habituated  for human interaction without any issues. Tracking starts from Kanyachu point from 8.00am and may last 2- 3/5 hours depending how easy you encounter these cousins. While tracking you may also interact with other primates – monkeys of white and black , red tailed and grey cheeked mangabey. Also many bird species will be sighted . You will need chimpanzee tracking permit and currently cost $ 200 per person per permit.

You will be allocated guides at Kanyanchu visitors  centre and then proceed into the forest. The trained guides will help you indentify different species of trees in this rain tropical forest. Proceed  deeper into the forest until will come touch with chimpanzees. These delightful apes are more closely to humans than other living creatures and its tremendous fun watch them as they squabble and play in fruiting trees. In Kibale Forest National park , a  net work of shady trails provide delightful  environment to botanists and butterfly lovers while birders are in for great treat of watching 335 species of birds have been recorded here including the endemics.  The elusive forest elephants which are smaller than the savannah counterparts move around in this forest but are not friendly in case of interaction try to stay far from them. Other wildlife include buffalos, giant  forest hog , and some antelopes. 2 sessions of mornings and afternoons  are arranged on each day to allow chimpanzee tracking very convenient to all visitors.

Chimpanzee Habituation – Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzee habituation experience is an ongoing activity that allows chimpanzees get kind of training to get used to human presence without necessarily altering their natural behavior.   You will accompany Kibale researchers and habituators as they follow chimpanzees during their daily activities as they make them get used to human beings.  You will see chimpanzees de-nesting ( coming out of their nocturnal nests) between 5.30 – 6.30 am. And then follow them the whole day until they start nesting again as they prepare  for the night sleep and resting around 19.00hrs .

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary : Bird Watching safaris: Bird Watching tour at Kibale forest Park

Kibale National park is famous for hosting many bird species  over 300 species of birds  can be viewed here. Bird bird watchers will find Kibale and its environs . Bigodi Swamp  Wetland Sanctuary is situated just outside the park in Magombe Swamp. This famous for wide range of wildlife manly primates – baboons, monkeys – red Colobus, black and white Colobus and red tailed monkeys. This wetland is famous for many bird species , over 140 bird species can be viewed here.  A guided natural walk with guided natural walks  will be conducted following trails and stopping at viewing platforms .

Sebitoli  Forest near the park is also another important area for birders . This part of the forest offer excellent  bird and primate viewing in moist evergreen forest with closed canopies.  Forest walks will lead you to hidden  water falls and taking you through Tea Estates that can also be arranged to be visited  for eco tourism.

Natural Walks: Cultural Heritage tours.

Natural guided walks are  are conducted  in Kibale forest national park . They will bigin at park offices – Kanyanchu or Sebitoli. The trial will explore the forest during the day emerging in the evening. The route takes through the community run camp sites near the forest in villages of Kikoni, Nyaibanda and Nyakalongo.

The two major tribes living around the park are Batooro and Bakiga. Traditionally both tribes use the forest for food, fuel, and building materials. Lots of cultural activities will be introduced to visitors – dancing, cooking and way of living are paramount.

Batooro  people are  naturally creative people. They treasure art and craft as proved by their history. Batooro cultural tours  are led by women. Women weaved baskets , mats, made jewellery out of beads, bracelets, and bark cloth decorations. Men curved stones, spears, pots and drums using the local raw materials.

How to get to Kibale Forest National Park|Traveling to Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale National Park is suited in the western part of Uganda and covers an area of about 26km south-east of Fort Port. Kanyanchu river camp is well known to be the heart of tourism activities and this is easily accessible from Kampala from the North through Mubende as well as Fort Portal. In the southern part, you can use Mbarara or Kamwenge road to get to the park.

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 through a direct route from Kampala with about 16km prior to Fort Port. In case you want to use a bus, it will be easy because it runs daily from Kampala to Fort port via Sebitoli then Fort Portal along with Kamwenge via Kanyanchu.

By Air

Kibale National Park has access to two airstrips; Nyakisharara Airstrip in Mbarara (about 98km through Kamwenge to Kanyancu) and Kasese airstrip, 75km from Fort Portal town. It can also be reached from the airstrip in Tooro/ Semuliki Wildlife Reserve, only 86 km from Kanyanchu. Please check Skyscanner, or for multiple-destination flights check Expedia, to see which airlines can take you to Entebbe International Airport (EBB), and what tickets would cost.