Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park is a 795km2 and contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. This is a home to a host of Forest Wildlife, most famously 13 species of primate including Chimpanzees. Forest cover predominates in the northern and central parts of the park on the elevated Fort portal plateau.
The Northern Part of Kibale is the highest and stands 1590m above sea level,it is also the wettest area receiving a mean annual rainfall of up to 1700mm, mostly during the months of March to May and September to November.
The Climate is pleasant with a mean annual temperature range of 14-27oC.
The southern Part of the park has the highest temperatures with lower rain falls where the terrain drops down onto the hot rift valley floor and forest gives way to open grassland.
Flora and Fauna:
The varied altitude in Kibale Forest supports different types of habitat, ranging from wet tropical forest on the fort portal plateau, through dry tropical forest to woodland and savanna 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 recovered in the park
The diversity and density of primates in Kibale is highest in Africa. The most famous of its 13 species is the chimpanzee, our closest relative. Kibale’s 1450 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 large population of threatened red colobus monkey. Other Primates include the black and white Colobus, Blue monkey, Grey checked mangabey, and red tailed monkey, Olive baboons, Bush baby and Pottos
Other Mammals are present though rarely seen. These Include: Forest elephant, Buffalos, Leopards, Bush pigs and Duikers. A keen observer may also spot reptiles and amphibians as well as a colorful variety of butterflies.
Kibale National park is located in Western Uganda, 26km south-east of Fort portal town.
Kanyanchu River camp is a primary center for tourism activities and can be reached from Kampala either from the North via Mubende and Fort portal.
From the South through Mbarara and Kamwenge, With the Northern approach being the shortest and quickest with a 300km tarmac road running Fort portal and followed by 36km on Murram to Kanyunchu.
Around the Park;
Kanyanchu River Camp
Kanyanchu is the hub for Tourism activities in the central part of the park. The main attraction is the opportunity to track chimpanzee in their rainforest home. A community of Chimpanzee has been habituated since 1991 and the chances of locating them are very good indeed that is over 90%.
Also to note is the park can only be accessible on foot and no motor able tracks open to tourists.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
This allows you accompany Kibale’s researchers and habituators as they follow chimpanzee during their daily activities, there by getting them used to human presence without altering their natural behavior.
You can expect to see the chimps de-nesting between 05:30-06:30am, before following them during the day until they create new nests and retire for the night around19:00pm.
This habituation Experience runs during Tourist low season months of March, April, May and November.
Chimpanzee Tracking (Primate Walk);
The most popular of Kibale’s walk start from Kanyanchu Visitor center at 08:00am and 15:00pm and lasts 2-3 hours. Chimpanzees are the primates most sought after by visitors, but also the black and white colobus, Red tailed monkey and Grey cheeked mangabey can be found with bird species like the sunbirds, pttas and many more. Also, there are explanations about the traditional uses of plant species with in the forest.
This is a 12km seasonal hike and is restricted to the dry seasons of mid-November to February and June to September. This hike explores the park’s diverse habitats including the tropical rain forest, riverine forest, swamp and grassland.
You will have the chance to see a wide variety of birds and primates and perhaps duikers and bushbucks. The walk begins at 08:00am from Kanyanchu visitor center and ends at the elephant wallow around 14:00pm. Pre booking is recommended.
Sebitoli Forest Camp;
This is located 12km from Fort portal town on the Kampala Fort portal road. This part offers excellent bird and primate viewing in moist ever green forest with a semi-closed canopy of stratified tree crowns.
Cultural Heritage and Nature Trail;
The adventurous visitor can follow a 2-6 days trail through the forest. The full walk starts or finishes at either Kanyanchu or Sebitoli. The route explores the Forest during the day, emerging in the evening to sleep in the community-run campsites near the villages of kikoni, Nyaibanda, Nyakalongo. These provide the opportunity to meet local people and gain insights into their Batoro and Bakiga cultures. Porters can be hired at trail heads to carry equipment.
Map of Kibale national Park