Kibale national park safaris are known to be primate related. However, there are a lot more activities to add up to your kibale national park safaris including the crater lakes tour, hiking, cycling among others. Kibale national park has won its position among the most desired destinations in Uganda. It is called the primate capital of the world. The fame name is attributed to the enormous number chimpanzees it harbours; over 1500 chimpanzees. Besides the chimpanzees, kibale national park has 12 more species of primates, including the mangabeys, golden monkeys and the black and white colobus monkeys among others.
Kibale national park is located in the western side of Uganda, close to the famous tourist city of Fort portal. Kibale national park is not as big as Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison falls national park in Uganda. It covers an area of about 760sq.km and it is among the smallest national parks in Uganda. Kibale national park is mainly dominated by by the semi- deciduous rainforest trees.
It was formerly a natural forest before it was exploited by the British in 1959 for hardwood timber during the construction of the kilembe copper mines in kasese. After the colonial rule in Uganda, the forest was taken back to the government of Uganda and it was established in 1993, and, opened in 1995. Therefore, overtime the forest has been left to replenish back to its natural state. The Uganda wildlife authority, over years, has carried on its role of conserving the forest; it has eliminated some of the eucalyptus that occupied the forest, to allow the natural wood trees to multiply.
Kibale national park is located in a hilly area; this caused variation in the altitude of the national park. The altitude of kibale national park, perhaps, is the reason for the wide range of vegetation types; from an evergreen rain forest to a dry savannah lands and woodlands. The different vegetation acts as habitat to a number of forest animal species like monkeys, birds, insects, reptiles and other mammals; kibale national park has about 60 mammal species.
The biodiversity of kibale national park is partially attributed to the neighboring ecosystems. Kibale national park is bordered by Queen Elizabeth national park and Queen Elizabeth national park are connected to form a stretch called a wildlife corridor which stretches for about 180 km. This kibale- queen Elizabeth wildlife corridor makes it possible for animals like lions, leopards, warthogs and others to cross to kibale national park; this is the reason for the rare sightings of leopards and other cats in kibale national park night nature walks.
Kibale national park safaris are extra ordinarily the real deal African safaris of a lifetime. Kibale national park is the best destination you want to do your chimpanzee trekking in Africa. Kibale national park has over 1500 chimpanzees and half of which is habituated and ready to be visited. Kibale national park has the most primates on the African planet, both in terms of species and total number, this has made the national park quite famous in the whole world with the common reference name of the “primate capital”.
Besides the primates, kibale national park is a home to other wildlife like birds; it has over 350 bird species. Some birds are endemic to kibale national park, this is perhaps the reason as to why kibale national park is called the birders paradise and birders pride by the visitors. During your kibale national park safari, you get a full chance to spot birds like the African pitta, the black eared ground thrush, black bee eater, and little greenbul, small sun birds, crowned eagles, the yellow spotted nicator and the wood warbler, among the rest.
Chimpanzee trekking is the highlight of any kibale national park safari. It is mainly done within the forest, following the several trekking trails in the forest. Chimpanzee trekking is done by 4 to 6 people who must be led by the tour guide (well versed with the forest life and good tracking skills). Chimpanzee trekking in kibale national park takes about 2 to 3 hours; however, the interaction with the chimpanzees lasts for a duration of just one hour. Despite the fact that the one hour interaction with the primates is such a rewarding moment, you get to take photos and also study the behaviors of the chimpanzee.
Chimpanzee trekking has a number of simple rules you must follow in order to enjoy your primate safari. The sick people are not allowed to do chimpanzee trekking in kibale national park, for they may infect the helpless chimpanzees. It would be a good idea for you to put on trousers since chimpanzee trekking is done in the forest thick with buses. The terrain in some areas is really slippery that you would like to have a pair of rubber boots in order to have a wonderful time.
The best time to visit kibale national park is the dry season, just like any other national park in Uganda or even Africa at large. The dry season in Uganda is experienced from late November, through December, January and early February. The dry season is favorable for kibale national park because it sees no rainfall interruptions and the trails are passable during this season.
Despite the fact that you may desire to visit kibale national park in the wet season, this is a low tourist season in almost all national parks in Uganda. But, it is an ideal time for you to enjoy a free space for your chimpanzee habituation in kibale national park. Plus, the wet season is a low cost season for safaris in Uganda; the Uganda wildlife authority tends to reduce national park fees in the wet season in order to attract visits.
- Kibale chimpanzee tracking starts at kanyanchu point.
- Primate walk in kibale forest takes about 2 to 4 hours along Kanyanchu River.
- The forest hike takes about 4 hours over 12 km long trail.
- Educational walks for the children under 12 years.
- Bigodi wetland sanctuary and magembe swamp walk.
- Crater lakes tour.
- Community walks.
- Chimpanzee habituations among other interesting activities.
You can reach kibale national park by road transport from Fort portal town. Kibale national park is located southwards from fort portal town. Kibale national park is approximately 320 km from Kampala the capital city of Uganda. Fort portal is the largest nearest town to kibale national park with all the support services you would require for your smooth safari, it has banks, restaurants, car hire companies, hotels, among others. You can also reach kibale national park by plane to kasese airport and take a 1hr drive to the park.
You can book for kibale national park safaris from your trusted tour operator. However it is always the best idea to book safaris using the local tour operators. When your trip is booked by a local tour operator, it’s the companies’ responsibility to get you from the airport to kibale national park. However, if you are doing a self-drive to kibale national park, it is good to have the much updated travel maps to direct you through your journey.