About Kibale National Park; Kibale national park was found and formally established to protect the forest species in the area. Kibale national park is found in south western Uganda near fort portal town. The national park covers an area of about 774sq.km and is dominated by mainly primary, ever green semi-deciduous forest tree species. Kibale is inhabited by quite a range of wildlife species including primates, birds, wild cats, reptiles and insects.
Kibale national park eco community is highlighted by diverse population of birds, butterflies and mammals, plus a range of interesting ecosystems. The park is significant in the tourism industry of Uganda because of the chimpanzee population it harbours. Kibale national park has about 4 communities of fully habituated chimpanzees. They include, kanyawara community which comprises of about 60 chimpanzees, ngongo community with over 200 chimpanzees located in the central part of kibale national park. Kanyachu community is found in the southern side of kibale national park and Sebitole is found in the northern side of the park.
History of Kibale national park
These is a lot of history about Kibale national park was gazetted as a logged forest area by the British in 1932. Besides protecting the nature authenticity of the forest, the forest was used by the British to extract hardwood. They also collected the wild coffee from the forest. The British planted the forest with the exotic trees in the area where they had cleared of the hardwood trees. The need for the hardwood timber hiked as the 1950 construction of the kilembe copper mines began in kasese, kilembe town.
In 1948, kibale forest was gazetted as a forest reserve under the British control who continuously cut down trees, however, they planted the exotic tree species in the area where they had cut the trees. However, in 1993, kibale forest reserve was formally established to be kibale national park. And in 1994, the Uganda national parks (UNP) took over the responsibility of the national park, and it was in control of all the conservation work in the forest.
In 1996, the government body that was in charge of kibale national park and other national parks in Uganda. The Uganda national parks, merged with another organizations called the game department of Uganda to form the Uganda wildlife authority (UWA). The Uganda wildlife took over the responsibility to consolidate and facilitate wildlife protection and management with in kibale national park. Uganda wildlife authority has been so progressive in conserving the forest and also trying to bring bag authenticity up to date.
Wildlife of kibale national park
Kibale national park makes a continuous stretch connected to Queen Elizabeth national park. The stretch is referred to as the wildlife corridor. It stretches over an area of 180km. The kibale wildlife corridor acts as a link for the animals to move from queen elizabeth national park to kibale national park and vice versa. Possibly it is the reason as to why there are some sightings of cats like lions, leopards, serval cats among others with in kibale forest.
Kibale national park is a home to about 13 species of primates and it is the most primates – rich national park on the African content in both total and number of species. Kibale national park has over 1500 chimpanzees in total. Other primates include the Ugandan mangabey, lophocebus ugandae, Uganda red colobus; it is an endangered primate species, procolobus tephrosceles & l’hoest’s monkey.
Kibale national park is not only a home for monkeys but also other animals like, blue and red duiker, bushbucks, sitatungas, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, warthogs, and African buffaloes plus rare sightings of the forest elephants. You can also find predators in kibale national park such as leopards, African golden cats, serval cats among the rest. There are also mongooses and two types of otter species.
Activities in Kibale National Park
You can enjoy quite a variety of visitor activities in kibale national park tailored for you and your family or friends. Kibale national park is a good destination for hiking and nature walks. You can hike around kibale national park and it can be an activity for more than one day. You can, alternatively, choose to do a one day hike within the national park. During the hike you can enjoy various species of the forest like the tall natural trees, different climbing plants and plant parasites that grow lustrously on top of other trees.
Nocturnal walks are a different enjoyment within the park after the dark. After your dinner, you can join in group and head for your night natural walk through the forest. The night nature walks give you an opportunity to see the forest come alive at night. The night walks are guided by two armed rangers with spot lights to enable you see through the night. The night nature walks take about 1 to 2 hours where you stand a chance to see the night hunters like the serval cats, leopards and pangolins at some times.
Chimpanzee trekking and habituation are the famous activities of this national park. Chimpanzee habituation involves a whole day study of chimpanzee behaviors. It starts in the morning before the sun is out so that you can track the chimpanzees when they are just up and getting down from their nests, then follow a particular group to anywhere it may take you, while studying its distinctive characteristic.
Chimpanzee trekking is more like chimpanzee habituation; however, it is done for half a day. The chimpanzee trekking here is done in two shifts i.e. the morning and the evening shift. Each trekking shift is involved by just a limited number of people; strictly 8 people. Chimpanzee trekking in kibale national park is a real deal for you to get a closer interaction with the chimpanzees in their natural setting.
Another interesting activity is nature walks through bigodi wetlands sanctuary. Bigodi wetlands are located on the outskirts of kibale national park. The nature walk in bigodi wetlands is an opportunity for the birders to spot quite a number of bird species like the olive long-tailed cuckoo, western tinker bird, grey parrots, and the ground thrustin among others.
Other activities include, bush crafts for the kids, crater lakes tours through the ndali kasenda crater region, cultural encounters and the historical visit to the amabere ga nyina mwiru among others. You can visit kibale national park any time to enjoy a lot more thrilling features of the African jungle. However the best time to visit kibale national park is the dry season. This is because the park is always dry and the trails passable in the dry season.
Some visitors prefer visiting in the low seasons when the park is free and not so crowded. Also in the wet season, the Uganda wildlife authority tends to discount on the park fees in the low tourism season, which is the wet season. Besides, kibale national park is all year around open and ready to receive you.