Kibale Forest was gazetted as a national park, it was a water-logged forest reserve with a continuation of the park, stretching out on an approximately 180km long wildlife corridor adjoining to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Later on, due to the existence of wildlife and the need for conservation of the environment. The forest was gazetted as a national park in 1993. The formation of Kibale national park was for the need to conserve eco-tourism as well as Safari destination.
The formation of Kibale national park from Kibale Forest today has supported the existence of primates. The park is home to 13 different species of primates with chimpanzees being the most interesting primates to visitors hence the park is one of Uganda’s most visited national parks in the western part of the country. A mention of Chimpanzees cannot end without Kibale national park as it’s the only national park conserved for the existence of the endangered primates. Other primates that are found in the park include; Red Colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkey, black and white colobus, and the Blue monkeys to mention a few.
In addition to the formation of Kibale forest, it is an epic destination for birding activities for visitors interested in birding safaris. The forest boasts of having the existence of over 375 different bird species including the Olive long-tailed cuckoo, the western tinker bird, the grey parrot, the African and Green-breasted Bird and the ground thrush among others.
Kibale Forest national park is a natural habitat with over 70 mammals including the globally endangered 9 animal species including the forest elephants, leopards, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, bushbucks, red and blue duikers, warthogs, African golden cats, and several mongooses. On rare occasions do lions visit the park given the adjoining corridor to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The formation of Kibale national park for was purposes of conservation of wetlands since the park was a water-logged reserve. The Bigodi wetland which is the most fascinating wetland that is located adjacent to Kibale national park, 6km from the Kanyanchu park information center and is recognized as an area of extensive biodiversity among which also includes the primate species. Bigodi swamp/wetland is a community-based eco-project managed by the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED). This association is responsible for supporting eco-tourism enterprises objectives to ensure that the local communities around Kibale national park benefit from tourism. The swamp has been recognized with approximately 138 birds species and bird experts are said to always spot up to 50 new birds every day. Some of those birds and primate species include the Grand blue Turaco, black and white colobus, red colobus monkeys, Blue grey cheeked, Vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzees and the L’hoest monkeys to mention a few.
This jungle swamp is commonly known as the birders’ paradise. A walk through Bigodi swamp is usually done after chimpanzee trekking. It takes about 2-3 hours walking through the wetland with papyrus reeds and palm trees. The walk allows you to spot about 5 different Primates species and thousands of different bird species.