Kibale National Park – Home to Chimpanzees in Uganda
Kibale National Park also known as Kibale Forest National Park is found in southern western Uganda characterized by evergreen rain forest. Kibale is a forest with the largest number of chimpanzees in Uganda. Chimpanzee trekking is the major tourist activity in this park which is the among among chimp trekking areas in Uganda. There are also a variety of primates, birds as well as insects. The park roughly 766 square kilometres large and is at an altitude between 1,100–1,600 meters (3,600–5,200 feet). The area is predominantly humid with perennial rain forest plus a varied range of landscapes. Kibale is one of the former outstanding areas to have both coastal and montane forests. In East Africa, it withstands the past substantial span of pre-montane forest.
Kibale National Park is one of the places with the prettiest and greatest diverse territories of tropical forest in Uganda. The forest is sheltered, scattered and characterized by grassland coverings as well as swamps. The National Park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, notably are the 13 species of primate together with the chimpanzees.
The forest also holds over I 375 species of birds. Kibale is not far from Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to form a 180 km-long strip for wildlife in Ishasha, the far-off southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park, plus Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park.
The Kibale-Fort Portal region is one of Uganda’s most worthwhile endpoints to visit. The park deceits nearby the peaceful Ndali-Kasenda crater region and within a short drive from Rwenzori Mountains, Semuliki National Parks, Queen Elizabeth, and also Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve.
The park was established 1932 and officially recognized as National park in 1993 to defend a huge area of forest formerly succeeded as a projected Forest Reserve. The park makes a unceasing forest together with Queen Elizabeth National Park. This contiguous form of the parks makes up to 180 kilometres (110 mi) wildlife strip. It is an significant eco-tourism and a travel destination, common for its inhabitants of habituated chimpanzees pus 12 other species of primates. It is also the place for the Makerere University Biological Field Station
Best times to visit the Park
The northern receiving a mean annual rainfall of up to 1700 mm, mostly during March-May and September-November hence being the wettest area in the park.. The climate is normally amusing with average temperatures range of 14-27o C annually. The southern part of the park receives little rainfall just few rain droplets fall down on a hot rift valley led to open savanna grassland hence meaning that the temperatures are high in the southern part of the park.
During the dry seasons, the temperatures raise up to 800 F (25Oc), during this time animals will always keep around water and they are always aware of the afternoon rainstorm. January and February are the hottest month and therefore being the best period to visit the park. The rainy season starts from March to May and then from October to December, here the roads are very muddy hence 4×4 vehicles are recommended.
Kibale is situated in western Uganda, 22 km southeast of Fort Portal town. Kanyanchu River Camp, the main center for tourism activities, can be gotten from Kampala either from the south via Mbarara and Kamwenge to reach Kibale and the north, through Mubende and Fort Portal.
The northern route is shorter and faster, about a 290 km tarmac road driving to Fort Portal on additional to 32 km on rock-strewn to Kanyanchu.
Sebitoli Forest Camp, a subordinate tourism center is the most quicker to reach, The route starts straight on Kampala road, 12 km before Fort Portal. Public means runs during the course of the day between Kampala and Fort Portal (passing Sebitoli) and Fort Portal and Kamwenge (passing Kanyanchu).
An en-route visit to Ndali-Kasenda crater area gives panoramic outlooks of the tea estates and Kibale Forest in the east, Lake George, the Rwenzori mountain ranges in the west plus the Rift Valley plains in the south. This area can be visited while on foot or by car.
Areas of attraction inside Kibale National Park
Kanyanchu River Camp
Kanyanchu is found in the central part of Kibale national park, is the key trail head for the park’s well-known forest walks, the most common trail from where primates walk as they are coming from the forest. The forest consists of around 13 species of primate to trek among which includes habituated chimpanzees. Nature walks and Bird watching are for both children and adults, there are also guided night walks.
Sebitoli Forest Camp
Kibale’s secondary tourism center found in the north of the national park provides guided forest walks and the opportunity to see a number of primates such as black-and-white colobus, red colobus, vervet monkeys and blue monkey’s .Tourists may also spot a diversity of water, forest and Savannah birds plus enjoying the beautiful scenery of River Mpanga.
Areas of Interest outside the Park
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Ironic in biodiversity and good-looking decor, the wetland is a birder watchers heaven with around 138 species. Situated outside the park in Magombe Swamp it also crowds 8 species of primates such as grey-cheeked mangabey, the black-and-white colobus, blue monkeys , olive baboons and red-tailed, L’Hoest’s. Mongooses and Bush-bucks and can also be found here. The reservation was set up to protect the private environmental features in conjunction with the wetland that were controlled by the indigenous community.
The wetland is found close to Sebitoli north of the park, this community-managed scheme gives an outstanding bird watching and stopovers to the local tea estates and factory. Nature walks will bring closer to primates such as the black-and-white colobus, red colobus and red-tailed monkeys. Other animals like otters, mongooses and bush-bucks can be witnessed in the wetlands.
Activities in Kibale Forest
Chimpanzee trekking is the most prevalent activity is the Kanyanchu Primate Walk. Around 12 species can be sought, and a good variety of diurnal monkeys invariably met, but the celebrities of this trek are the chimps. Chimpanzee Kanyanchu have been tracked since 1993 and the chances of locating these primates are very tremendous. The nature walks begins at 8am and 2pm and end at an average of three hours, depending on various factors.
The full-day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) works with a chimp community which is undertaking habituation. Early tourists can watch chimps leaving their overnight nests between 6:00 – 6:30 am before breastfeeding, feeding, hunting copulating, patrolling resting, and displaying until it is time to build new nests around 7:00 pm.
Birding in Kibale
Bird watching starts in the early morning at Kanyanchu; tourists should book as early as possible prior to the day before bird watching. Infrequent species include the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, White-collared Olive back and Papyrus Canary.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is found just outside the park, it holds about 138 bird species which may be viewed during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms. These could include the White-spotted Fluff tail, White-tailed Ant-thrush Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Black-crowned Waxbill Yellow-billed Barbet, , Grey-winged Robin-chat, Bocage’s Bush-shrike , Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Superb Sun-bird, Brown-crowned Tchagra, , Western Nicator, Black Bishop, and White-breasted Negro Finch among others.
Hiking/Nature Walks in Kibale
When chimpanzees and other forest inhabitants rest up in their nest in the evening, a nighttime shift of infrequently viewed creatures becomes lively. Night walks though in a gloomy forest require use strong torches to search for these nighttime beings such as the potto, bush baby, night-jar, and cricket and tree hyrax, with its frightening scream, together with the occasional civet or serval cat. Night walks leave the camp at 7.30 pm and takes about one to 2 hours.
Cultural Encounters in Kibale
During your guided nature walks, the local guides will take you to visit the local people and share their life history with you. There is KAFRED a local organization which promotes livelihoods and biodiversity conservation through ecotourism. You will have a chance to visit local schools, churches and traditional doctors. Get to know about ways of living ,watch their traditional ceremonies and the historical facts about Bigodi will also be narrated here that describes how the local Batooro were joined by local baking from southwestern Uganda since 1950s.
Money got out of these activity is capitalized in , sanitation ,education and , health improving the livelihood of local people. It is also used to help increase consciousness of the importance of biodiversity via singing, dance, and drama performances at local schools. In 2010, KAFRED they won the prestigious UNDP Equator Initiative Award.
Inside the park.
Primate Lodge Kibale Kanyanchu River Camp
Sebitoli Camping Ground
Kibale Safari Lodge
Kibale Forest Camp
Montana Tented Camp
Safari Hotel Bigodi
Crater Valley Kibale (CVK) Lakeside Resort
Lake Nkuruba Nature Reserve
Nyinabulitwa Resort and Safari Camp
Rweteera Safari Park Lakeside Camp.