Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale national park is one of the best safari destination for chimpanzee trekking in Africa. The stunning rainforest park protects over 1450 chimpanzees as well as 13 primates like the Acrobatic red colobus, black and white colobus, and handsome L’Hoest’s monkey, grey cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, bush baby and potty. There are over 372 bird species, 27 species of frogs and toads, 14 species of snakes and 200 species of butterflies.

Some of the bird species in Kibale national park include Red-winged Francolin, Red-chested Flufftail, White-napped pigeon, Green brested Pitta, Grey-throated Flycatcher, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Joyful Green, Grey-headed Olive back, Masked and Black-capped Apalises and Orange-tufted and tiny sunbirds, Little greenbul, the African pitta, Yellow rumped tinkerbird and Yellow spotted nicator as well as 23 localized Albertine Rift endemic species.

The park inhabits numerous numbers of wild animals like forest Buffalos and Elephants, Hippos, Bush pigs, Duikers, leopards, Antelopes and Hyenas.

Chimpanzee trekking is the most preferred activity in Kibale. The walk embarks on from the Kanyanchu visitor center at 8:00 am and 15:00 pm after a briefing and it can take 2-4 hours before spotting the chimps. Six visitors per group are allowed to visit a particular chimpanzee party. You will be able to spot the black and white colobus, grey cheeked mangabey and red tailed monkey, bird and plant species.

Note: A chimp trekking permit costs USD 200 and booking should be done earlier before travelling to Uganda so as to avoid inconveniences.

Chimpanzee Trekking rules are given to visitors during the briefing which include;

  • Avoid eating near the chimpanzees.
  • Only one hour will be given to visitors to interact with our closest relatives and take their pictures. These primates are friendly and playful especially the young ones.
  • A maximum of 6 people per group is assigned to a particular chimp party.
  • Children below the age of 12 are not allowed to trek the chimpanzees
  • Flash photographs are prohibited.
  • Sick visitors for example those suffering from flu and cough are not allowed to trek these primates.
  • The chimps need freedom and therefore make sure not to disturb them when you enter the park.
  • A distance of about 8m away from the chimps is required to give them freedom and security.
  • Only an experienced guide will aid you in to the forest.

Kibale national park Travel Guide

Are you a primate lover? Kibale national park has got 13 species of primates including chimpanzees that you could meet in the wonderful tracts of the tropical rainforest. It is 308.1km far from Kampala and takes approximately 5 hours driving on road via Mubende and through fort portal to reach the destination. Once one is at kibale national park, they can easily access any of the the nearest parks: Queen Elizabeth national park,Semuliki national park and Mt.Rwenzori national park in less than half a day’s drive. Entrance fee to the park is US$40 for the non foreign residents, US$30 for the foreign residents and UGX20,000 per individual.

Things to do in Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale

Since 1993, the Kanyanchu primate walk has maintained its popularity. It is called kanyancu primate walk because it starts at Kanyanchu Tourist centre to trek through kibale forest for the various primates. The trek aims most at the habituated chimpanzees and the forest provides chances of over 90% to encounter them. Different convenient schedules take place at 8:00, 11:00 and 14:00 and each lasts for 2-5 hours. Other primate species that are likely to be seen are grey-cheeked  mangabey, the red colobus monkey, red-tailed mokey,  olive baboon, blue monkey, black and white colobus, bush babies among others. The activity is led by an expert ranger who is very familiar with the trails in the forest. Foreign non residents pay US$200, forign residents pay US$150 and East African citizens UGX150,000 including guiding and entrance fee for each person to participate in this activity.

A group of only six people is allowed to contact the chimpanzees for not more than an hour and all individuals must be above 16 years of age.

Birding and Nature walk in Kibale national Park

Birding as well starts at Kanyanchu at 7am through the forest. A birders day would be made extremely worthwhile if the rare bird species like papyrus gonolek, white winged warbler, white collared olivebark, and papyrus canary are spotted.

Many other bird species are always expected at the Bigodi wetland sanctuary which is located just outside the park. It is a home to 138 bird species including  the grey winged robin-chat, white-tailed ant-thrush, yellow-billed barbet, superb sunbird.

On the trails through the forest, one should consider themselves lucky when they come across elephants, buffalo and bush pig. Guided night walks are also arranged and start at 7:30 to last between one and a half to two hours and it provides high chances of sighting spectacled demidoffs, night jar, serval cat,African civet, thomas’ galagos, potto and common genet.

Chimpanzee habituation experience

Visitors are offered a chance to move with researchers and habituators to the forest and closely view and follow the chimpanzees as they study about them.this experience is more thrilling but challenging. A foreign non resident, foreign resident and east African citizen are charged US$250, US$250 and UGX200,000 with park entrance and guiding fee inclusive. The activity is done for half or full day. It makes the most exciting experience to watch chimpanzees leaving their nests early morning between 6:00 and 6:30 before feeding, copulating, breastfeeding, resting, making patrols around the forest until they start to build new nests at 7pm.

How to get there.

Kibale is situated in the western part of uganda and can be easily accessed from Kampala through Mubende to Fort portal or from Kampala through Mbarara or Kamwenge to the park.

You can hire a car or board a public daily bus from kampala to Fort portal (16km) via Sebitoli then Fort portal along with kamwenge to Kanyanchu.

Where to stay.

Kibale has accommodation ranging from luxury, mid range, budget to tented camps. Every accommodation provides the best service to the visitors for example both local and international cuisine. The commonest lodges include, Primate lodge Kibale, Chimps’ Nest, Nyinabulitwa Country Resort, Kibale forest camp, Isunga Lodge, Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse, Crater Safari Lodge.