Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda
Measuring about 795 square kilometers, Kibale National Park is located in southwestern Uganda, spanning Kibale and Kabarole Districts. Its elevation varies between 1,100 meters to the south and 1,590 meters to the north. The varied altitude supports different types of habitats, ranging from moist ever green forest to the north and semi-deciduous forest to the south to make up for up to 77% of the forested portion of the park. The remaining 23% accounts for the grassland, swamps and other plantations. Over 351 species of trees have been recorded in Kibale Forest with some rising as high as 55m over 200 years old.
Kibale is popular for the high diversity and remarkable concentration of primates, believed to be the highest in Africa. Of the 13 primate species, most attention is given to Chimpanzees, some of which have been habituated and attract hundreds of tourists each year for chimp tracking adventures.
ANIMALS AND BIRDS OF KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Kibale National Park is home to about 70 mammal species, the most popular being the 13 species of primates. Of the 13 primates the most popular are man's closest relatives, the chimpanzees. The park has Uganda's largest population of chimpanzees, estimated at about 1,450 individuals. It also has East Africa's largest population of the red Colobus and the rare l'Hoest monkey. Other primates in Kibale National Park include grey-cheeked Mangabey, olive baboon, bush baby, black-and-white Colobus, potto and red-tailed and blue monkeys. Other mammals that have been recorded in Kibale include leopards, branded and marsh mongoose, swamp otter, warthogs, giant hogs, about 500 elephants, buffalos, bush pigs, gold pigs and duiker, lions, hippos, Ichneumon, serval, and the rare sitatungas. These are mostly ground dwelling animals which are not easily seen in the dense forest cover.
Kibale Forest National Park hosts more than 375 species of birds. Some of those recorded include African Grey Parrot, Crowned Eagle, White-napped pigeon, Afep pigeon, African Pitta, Red-chested Owlet, Green-breasted pitta, Black bee-eater, Black-capped Apalis, Western Nicator, Yellow-spootted Nicator, Blue-headed Sunbird, Blue-headed sunbird, Brown-chested Alethe, and Little green bul among others.
ADVENTURES IN KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
Chimpanzee Tracking and Habituation
With more chimpanzees than anywhere else in Uganda, Kibale National Park is the best place for chimpanzee tracking adventures. A number of these delightful apes have been habituated and offer exciting encounters, watching them grapple about in the fruiting trees, doing their trademark pant-hoots, and making several human-like gestures. Chimpanzee tracking is done daily with two sessions available, the first commencing at 8.00am and the second one at 3.00pm. It is done in a group not exceeding 8 members and lasts for about three hours. You require a chimpanzee permit issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority in order to join in the tracking. Due to the limited permits issued for a particular date it is recommended you book your chimp tracking safari way in advance.
A habituation program is also available for even a better experience with the chimps. You get to feed the chimps and engage in several activities with the chimps as part of their habituation process.
Home to over 375 species of birds, Kibale Forest is a delight for birders. Explore the park's shady network of forest trails to catch a number of forest birds, lots of butterflies and other wildlife.
Guided Nature Walks
Guided nature walks are quite an adventure in Kibale Forest with lots of wildlife to encounter including a number of monkeys, olive baboons, elephants, buffalos, and several birds. Bigodi swamp area is the most popular spot for nature walks due to its endowment with lots of wildlife.
Nocturnal walks are also available to catch a number of nocturnal including African civet, Potto, mongoose, common genet, and Thomas' Galagos among others. They start at about 7.00am but endeavor to carry along lighting equipment like torches.
GETTING TO KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
- Kampala - Fortportal - Kibale National Park