Kibale National Park is located in western Uganda a part that is truly blessed by nature with the many attractions found which include the park itself that focuses on ensuring that tourists have the utmost primate experience while on their Uganda tour. Uganda is blessed to have many primate destinations like Ngamba chimpanzee sanctuary, Queen Elizabeth National Park where they can be found in the Kyambura gorge but when it comes to Kibale national park the experience is unmatched making it the top destination primate tracking.
Kibale national park is a home to Kibale National Park including 1,500 Chimpanzees, monkey species like the golden monkeys, the black and white colobus monkeys, the vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, olive baboons, galago, the potto and many more and if that is not enough the park is also a home other animal species like red and blue duikers, bushbucks, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, common warthogs, and African buffalo, leopards, African golden cats etc and it is also a birding destination with over 350 bird species, for instance, the African pitta, Abyssinian ground thrush, Crowned eagle, Dusky Crimsonwing, Black-capped Apalis, Collared Apalis, Purple-breasted sunbird.
Kibale National Park is located in the western park of Uganda in the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge which can be accessed by using road transport. From Kampala, you will pass through Mubende and Fort portal town where they will connect to the park or through Mbarara and Kamwenge. For tourists using public transport, in Kampala there is daily public transport means to Fort Portal where you can connect to the park.
For tourists that are interested in using air transport, Kibale National Park has access to two airstrips that is the Nyakisharara Airstrip in Mbarara which connects to Kanyanchu where the park is found. Kasese airstrip can be used to travel to connect to Kanyachu where tourists will connect to the park in the shortest time possible as compared to road transport.
Activities in Kibale National Park
Kibale national park is the hub of primate tracking in East Africa and this is because of the numerous primate species that can be found in the park. The primate experience in Kibale National Park is quite unmatched when one visits other areas with the primate species for instance in Rwanda where they can go to Nyungwe national park, in Uganda hey can find them in Ngamba chimpanzee sanctuary, Queen Elizabeth National Park where they can be found in the kyambura gorge because it offers the utmost experience as compared to other places as explained below:
Primate Species: Kibale forest is characterised by both lowland and montane forest which are evergreen throughout the year this makes it a great habitat for the primate species and the presence of the forest has enabled reproduction among the primates because of the fact that there is availability of food and most importantly security with the park rangers carrying out daily patrols has helped to prevent activities like poaching with in the park and hence it has promoted a safe environment for the primates which has led to the increasing numbers with in the park.
Chimpanzees: Chimpanzees in Kibale National park are the most dominating primates a tourist on their Uganda tour will see once they visit the park which will offer memorable experiences. The park has over 1500 chimpanzees in total some of which are habituated making them good for chimpanzee trekking and others are in the habituation process which tourists can engage in.
Tourists will be welcomed by the beautiful sounds of the chimpanzee hooting, clapping and making noise while they are seen jumping from different tree branches which are quite interesting when experienced. The coming into contact with the chimpanzees is one of the most interesting experience because one will find out how much in common they have with the primates that are to say like humans, the chimpanzees, for instance, the chimpanzees ovulate and it is the role of a male to mate with the females in order to impregnate her. When this happens, the female takes eight months to produce although in human it is 9 months. Once a young one is given birth to, it is the duty of the mother to take care of its young one just like in humans they breastfeed them, and this can be seen when tourists carryout chimpanzee tracking tours.
Other primate species that are found in Kibale national park include the monkey species include the Central African monkey including the vervet monkey, the Uganda Mangabey the Ugandan red colobus and the L’Hoest’s monkey which spend most of their time on the ground feeding their young ones, looking for food and during the night they go on top of the trees in order to sleep.
Other primates that are found in the park include the blue monkey, red colobus black-and-white colobus and the blue monkey, red tailed monkey and also some nocturnal primates like tarsiers, aye-aye, bush babies, Dwarf lemurs and the Mouse Lemurs, as well as the Lorises and the Pottos. Interesting about the park is the fact that aside from being a primate capital in East Africa it is also home to a number of other mammal species, for instance, the bush pig, warthog, cape bush back, African buffalo, the sitatunga, elephants and many.
With the primate species tourists can participate in the following activities to make their Kibale national park primate tour interesting as explained below:
Chimpanzee trekking: While tourists go for chimpanzee trekking as part of an activity on their Kibale national park tour, they will have a chance to trek the chimpanzees in their natural habitat and they will have the most satisfying encounters once they are met. In the park, the chimps are found in the Kanyachu region which leads for the guides to call the activity to be called the Kanyachu primate walk
The activity starts by tourists assembling at the Kanyachu visitor centre where they are briefed about the do’s and don’ts while in the presence of the chimpanzees and ob so on and when briefing is done, they will be guided into the forest in search of the chimps which when you are close to them, they will be heard by their loud hoots, claps and many more.
The chimpanzees that are found in Kanyanchu are habituated which makes them accustomed to human presence and here tourists will observe them carrying out there daily activities like feeding, playing, grooming themselves and so on, contact with the chimpanzees is limited to only one hour once they are found and during the trekking process, a maximum of 6 people are limited to a particular group of chimps, therefore, tourists should book in advance in order to participate and not miss out on the thrilling activity.
Chimpanzee habituation: The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is another exciting primate activity that can be carried out while in Kibale national park and here instead of tourists tracking habituated chimpanzees, they track chimpanzees that are in the habituation process and interesting about the activity is the fact that tourists are included in the habituation process.
Tourists will accompany the chimpanzee researchers and habituating team and carry out the habituation process this can either be done full or half-day depending on the schedule of the tourists and just like chimpanzee trekking, habituation is also limited to a number of people therefore tourists should book in advance if they want to take part in the habituation process.
For tourists that start very early in the morning, they will see chimps leaving the nests they slept i at night and if tourists carry out full-day habituation, they will be able to find out and see the nests that they put up at night to sleep in that day. Usually, the chimps start putting up the nests around 7 pm. Which will be exciting for tourists once carried out.
Important to note, tourists can access the chimpanzee trekking and habituation permits can be obtained with the help of the tour operator of a trusted tour company or through the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Nature walks: Nature walks are also satisfying activity while in the park because of the cool breezes that are formed as the wind blows through the tree leaves, the sounds of the chimps in the trees, the monkeys breaking tree branches while they jump from one tree to another is quite magical and adventurous. While carrying out the walk numerous butterfly and bird species will be seen which enchanting and worth spending your time looking at them.
Tourists can also carry out nocturnal forest night walks where nocturnal animals can be seen with the use of spotlights that can be hired from the reception. After dinner, tourists interested in the activity are escorted by rangers and guides experience the forest coming to life in the night with different night creatures that can be seen which may such as Bush Babies, Pottos, at times Tree Pangolins nocturnal birds can also be seen. The walks take one hour and a half. So any tourist interested in the walk then Kibale national park is the park to be.
Butterfly and Bird Species: The Kibale national park tour will give a tourist to see a variety of butterfly and bird species because this is because of the number of trees that are used as habitats for both the birds and the butterfly species. The park is a home to335 recorded bird species including four endemic bird species that is: Nahan’s francolin, Cassin’s spine tail, blue-headed bee-eater, and masked Apalis and these are not found in any other national park in Uganda and for bird lovers interested in the watching the four bird species, they shouldn’t miss out visiting Kibale national parks while on their Uganda national parks tour.. Other bird species include African pitta, Abyssinian ground thrush, crowned eagle, Dusky Crimsonwing, Black-capped Apalis, Collared Apalis, Purple-breasted sunbird.
Birding and butterfly watching: Birding start at 7 am at Kanyanchu and for tourists interested in the activity they are encouraged to book in advance in order to carry out the activity in order not to miss out on seeing rare bird species like the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, White-collared Olive back and Papyrus Canary. Outside the park tourists can visit Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located just outside the park, which is also a great spot for different bird species like the White-spotted Flufftail, African pitta, Abyssinian ground thrush, Crowned eagle, Dusky Crimsonwing, Black-capped Apalis, Collared Apalis, Purple-breasted sunbird Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, among others.
Amare Ga Nyina Mwiru: Amabere Ganyina Mwiru Cave hike will give a tourist on their Kibale national park tour the ultimate cultural experience while they visit them. The rich cultural history affiliated to the caves gives tourists the ultimate cultural tourism experience. The Batoro, the natives of fort portal have a cultural belief attached to these caves because they believe that during the ‘’Batembuzi’’ era which was the ruling empire/ kingdom at that time were believed to be demi gods meaning they would disappear and appear into underground and earth.
When the then king of the dynasty Bukuku made a match for his daughter nyinamwiru, and the daughter refused, the king was so disappointed in his beautiful daughter that he ordered his guards to cut off her breasts and it is believed that ever since that day the breasts in the caves are believed to be Nyinamwiru which is translated in Lutooro as ‘’Amabere ga nyinamwiru’’ the breasts in the caves are seen oozing out milk which is eye-catching once visited. Tourists should not miss out on this life-changing opportunity.
Crater lakes: Although the crater lakes are located outside Kibale national park, tourists on their Kibale national park can get involved in visiting the crater lakes which will be exciting for them. Some of the crater lakes visited includes the crater lakes in Ndali-kasenda which include Lake Nkuruba, Lake Lyantonde, lake Nyabikere, lake Nyinambuga, Lake Kifuruka , lake Nyinambuga all of which offer spectacular views of different features including the Rwenzori mountains, tea plantations, Lake George and many more all of which create great memories for the tourists.
Bushcraft Children Activities: Since children under the age of 15 years cannot participate in chimpanzee tracking, there are different other activities that they can participate in and have fun while at the park. Children’s bushcraft is one activity they can participate in that is fun and engaging in a way that park guides and rangers walk around the park as they are shown monkeys while they take swings in the in trees different bird species and afterwards they engage in bush craft making where they are taught to make crafts like baskets, table mats and many more.
Community Encounters: Tourists on their Kibale National park tour will have a chance to engage with the local communities including the KAFRED (Kibale Association for Rural and Economic development) the community initiative has mobilized the people of the community to participate in the established business initiatives which enhance tourism and development within the region.
Some of the established businesses include; arts and crafts where tourists can buy souvenirs while they are on their Kibale national park tour. Most of the arts and crafts made, the raw materials are got from Bigodi swamp which is also a great area for birding with 138 bird species found in the swamp where guides can take you on a guided nature walk through the swamp where you can see different primate species and numerous bird species.
While on your Kibale national park tour, there are a variety of accommodation facilities that can be classified with in midrange, luxury and budget facilities all of which are found within the proximity of the park. The services offered include dining services, bar services, dining services, 24-hour room services which enable quality service delivery.
- Masaai backpackers home
- West end hotel
- Rweteera safari park
- Ecolodge Uganda campsite
- Isunga lodge
- Reinah tourist hotel
- Kibale forest lodge
- Njara suites
- Crater safari lodge Kibale
- Ihamba lakeside safari lodge
- The baboon safari resort