Kibale conservation area is a forest reserve with an estimated terrain elevation of about 1233 m above sea level. Kibale conservation area is located in western Uganda region and covers the areas of kibale national park, semliki national park, katonga and Toro – semliki wildlife reserve. It is an area of several ecosystems including dry savannah and tropical rainforests. The variation in the type of vegetation is attributed to the extreme differences in the elevation of the area.
Kibale conservation area consists of kibale national park, Toro- semliki wildlife reserve and semliki national park. Kibale conservation area has the highest concentration of wildlife species, perhaps, due to the wide range of eco systems it entails. Kibale conservation area offers magnificent view of the Rwenzori ranges, excellent birding experiences, rewarding nature walks through the forest (kibale chimpanzee trekking) among other interesting activities.
Kibale national park
Kibale national park‘s biodiversity, over the past number of years, has been strengthened through several ways aiming at the restoration of the natural habitats, and increasing the number of animal species. The name that kibale national park holds in the worlds tourism industry as the primate capital of the world, is directly attributed to both, the total number of the primates in the national park and the number of the primate species it harbors.
Kibale national park has over 1500 chimpanzees and other primates including the mangabeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, the blue colobus monkeys and the rare golden monkeys. The chimpanzees make an highlight to all the kibale national park primate safaris. Kibale national park is mainly visited for chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation.
Kibale national park is not only a home for the primates, but also other animals like lions, civets, serval cats, African golden cats, buffaloes, elephants, leopards, bush bucks among others. Kibale national park is also a home for over 350 species of birds including the green breasted pitta, ground thrush among others.
Semliki national park
Semliki national park creates a boundary of the kibale conservation area to the extreme west; it forms a border of the democratic republic of congo and Uganda. Semliki National Park is known for the twin hot springs; female and male hot springs. Semliki national park is also a home for quite a number of bird species and makes the birding safaris quite rewarding.
Semliki national park is a home for primates like the blue colobus monkeys, olive baboons, and red tailed monkeys among others. Visiting semliki national park, will give you an opportunity to learn about insects like butterflies and reptiles like snakes, lizards among others. Semliki national park, gives you an awesome view of the Rwenzori mountain ranges.
Toro – semliki wildlife reserve
Toro- semliki wildlife reserve is also part of the great kibale conservation area. It is a home for a large number of Uganda kobs. Toro-semliki wildlife reserve was established as a game reserve in 1926. It is among the first gazetted protected areas in Uganda. The main reason that led to the land marking of the Toro – semliki wildlife reserve, was to protect the big number of Uganda kobs in the area.
Toro semliki wildlife reserve spans over an area of about 550 square kilometers. It is located in the western region of Uganda and part of the consolidated kibale conservation area. Toro – semliki wildlife reserve covers parts of Ntoroko and Kabarole districts in the west. Toro – semliki wildlife is located in the albertine rift valley area between Kijura and the famous mountain Rwenzori.
Toro – semliki wildlife reserve is dominated by the acacia- combretum woodland and the grasslands of savannah, however, it has some areas covered by the palm forests, most especially in the swampy areas. It is also known for the cultural authenticity of the local communities including, Karugutu – Kyabandara community, Rwebisengo community, Kisesenge – Kyabaseke community and Ntoroko fishing community.
Katonga wildlife reserve
Katonga reserve is also part of the vast kibale conservation area covering over 211 square kilometers. It is located in western Uganda along the banks of river Katonga reserve which was established in 1998 for the protection of its unique species of flora and fauna. Katonga wildlife reserve was first gazetted in 1964 as a wildlife corridor to link Tanzania to Uganda in order to allow the free movements of the animals form one end to another.
Katonga wildlife reserve is dominated by savannah vegetation. The biggest area of the reserve is covered by the mixed savannah grassland and savanna woodland vegetation type. Some areas are covered by the papyrus swamps for example, on the river banks of Katonga River. Katonga wildlife reserve harbours animals like the rare wetland antelopes, sitatungas, quite a number of water bucks, hippos, with a growing population of birds, mainly the east African common bird species and primate species.
In 1960, katonga reserve had zebras, topis, and elands. However they are no longer present. Although, the elephants still exist in the area. The years between 1971 and 1985 saw a lot of exploitation of the wild animals by poachers; also the reserved land became encroached on by the farmers. However, in 2015, the Uganda wildlife authority transferred about 60 impalas and 5 zebras to the area. The translocations were successfully executed, this was aiming at restocking the reserve and also to boost tourism in the area. Currently, there are over 300 impalas and 150 recorded species of birds; most of the birds are wetland birds, water birds and open savannah birds among others.
In a synopsis, kibale conservation area is a rewarding area if one could chose to visit any time. You can add the visit to kibale conservation area to your itinerary of any Ugandan safari and get an unforgettable experience of your life.