Kibale National Park

The 795 square kilometres Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tropical forest in Uganda. This is home to several forest wildlife, most famously 13 species of Primates including Chimpanzees. The forest cover predominates in the northern and central parts of the park on the elevated Fort Portal Plateau. Kibale is the highest at the Park’s northern tip which stands 1590m above sea level. Northern Kibale is also the wettest area, receiving a mean annual rainfall of up to 1700mm, mostly during March-May and September-November. The climate is generally pleasant with a mean annual temperature range of 14-27 Degrees Celsius. Temperatures are highest (and rainfall lower) in the south where the terrain drops down onto the hot rift valley floor and forest gives way to open grassland.

Flora and fauna of Kibale National Park

Kibale’s varied altitude supports different types of habitat, ranging from wet tropical forest (moist evergreen forest) on the Fort Portal Plateau, through dry tropical forest (moist semi-deciduous), to woodland and savannah on the Rift Valley floor.

Around Kanyanchu, in the central part of the park, the high forest contains a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees with the evergreen species dominant. Trees rise to over 55m and exhibit a semi-closed canopy of stratified tree crowns. The undergrowth is sparse with shade-tolerant herbs, shrubs, a variety of ferns and broad-leaved forest grasses. 351 tree species have been recorded in the park. 

The diversity and density of primates in Kibale is the highest in Africa. The most famous of its 13 species is the Chimpanzee, our closest relatives. Kibale’s over 1,450 Chimpanzees represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. Kibale is also home to the rare L’hoest’s monkey and East Africa’s largest population of the threatened red colobus, and blue monkey. Primates include the black and white colobus, blue monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkey, olive baboon, bush baby, and potto. Other mammals are present, though rarely seen. These include forest elephant, buffalo, leopard, bush pig and duiker. A keen observer may also spot reptiles and amphibians as well as a colourful variety of butterflies.

The Park boasts over 325 species of Birds, including 6 that are endemic to the Albertine Rift region, namely the black-capped Apalis, blue-headed sunbird, collared Apalis, dusky crimson-wing, purple-breasted sunbird, and red-faced woodland warbler. other Kibale specials include the African pitta, green-breasted pitta, black bee-eater, yellow spotted nector, yellow rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, black-eared ground thrush, brown chested alethe, blue-breasted kingfisher, Abyssinian ground-thrush and the crowned eagle.

Local People

The people living around the park are mainly Batooro and Bakiga. The Batooro are indigenous to the area while the Bakiga are immigrants from the densely populated southwestern parts of Uganda.
The Batooro take pride in the cultural heritage of the Tooro kingdom, a scion of the ancient kingdoms of Africa’s Greatlakes region. The Omukama (King) and the Kingdom embody the traditional and cultural values of the Batooro. the Bakiga immigrants still maintain their tradition and culture as expressed in their folklore, dance and Language.

The park plays an important role in the lives of the local people who enjoy a variety of benefits from the forest. The forest provides them with many traditional forest products such as wild coffee, food, fuel wood, building materials and herb medicine. 

Activities in Kibale National Park

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience allows you to accompany Kibale’s researchers as they follow Chimpanzee during their daily activities to get them used to human presence without altering their natural behaviour. You can expect to see the Chimpanzees de-nesting (coming out of their nocturnal nests) between 05:30-06:30, before following them during the day until they create new nests and retire for the night around 19:00. The habituation Experience runs all year round. 

Primates walk (Chimpanzee Tracking)

The most popular of Kibale’s walks starts from the Kanyanchu Visitor Centre at 08:00 and 14:00 and lasts 2-3 hours. Chimpanzees are the primates most sought after by visitors, but you should also look out for the Black and White colobus, red-tailed monkey, and Gray-cheeked mangabey. Your guides will point out sunbirds, pittas, and other bird species and will explain the traditional uses of plant species within the forest. This walk is for six persons per group therefore, we highly recommend booking in advance.

About Kanyanchu: Kanyanchu is a hub for tourism activities in the central part of the park. The main attraction is the opportunity to track chimpanzees in their Rainforest home. A community of chimpanzees have been habituated since 1991 and the chance of locating them is very good indeed (over 90%). Note that the park is only accessible on foot; there are no motorable tracks open to tourists.

Children’s Activities

Children of 12 years and below who are not allowed to view the Chimpanzees or go into the forest can instead enjoy educational forest walks of 1-2 hours duration followed by creative activities. Parents can enjoy their forest walks in the knowledge that their children are occupied in a worthwhile activity with trained ranger guides. The children visit the forest and learn about the ecosystem and its inhabitants through short interesting walks. Games and creative activities include pond dipping, cyanotype, photography and batik making.

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary Walk

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is situated just outside the park in Magombe Swamp. This is known for a wide range of wildlife that includes primates, such as chimpanzees, red colobus, black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys and other mammals such as sitatunga, bushbuck, other and mongoose, The wetland is also home to over 138 bird species. These can be seen during guided walks from viewing platforms and a boardwalk trail.

The sanctuary is a community-based initiative aimed at conserving the unique bio diversity and environmental values of the wetland.

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