KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Kibale Forest National Park is widely known as the primate capital of the world. It’s well endowed with primates among which are the chimpanzees with a strikingly large population of about 1500 individuals.
Visitors engage in several activities that range from trekking habituated chimpanzees to the exiting habituation experience. The park has an area of 795 sq kms most of which is covered with the tropical forest and patches of savannah grassland.
Annual temperatures range between 14-27c and the park is located between 1100 meters to 1600 meters elevation. Generally cool unless you visit the south where attitudes lower tending to the hot rift valley belt.
The park harbours 250 animal species, 300 bird species and 200 species of butterflies. Amongst primates are the chimpanzee, the handsome L’Hoest monkey, Red-tailed Colobus monkey, Black and White monkey, Olive baboon, bush baby and Potto.
The charters, screams of these monkeys enable tour guides to trace them. For chimpanzees the visitors on trekking experience are allowed to spend with them only one hour and then continue with search for other primates.
Children have to be aged 15 years and above to track the chimpanzees
From Kampala via Mubende is 5-6 hour drive
You are sure to see the beautiful tea plantations outside Fortportal town that form a fascinating landscape. The crater lakes along Kamwenge road that include Lake Nyabikere are fine for brief stopover, taking photos due to the mesmerising view.
In close proximity to the park is Queen Elizabeth National Park which can be accessed in 2hours.
The Rwenzori Mountain is prominent creating an amazing scenery that leaves one in owe. This maintain has the third highest peak in Africa and this peak is covered in snow. The Rwenzori Mountain is popularly known as Mountains of the Moon and it boarders Uganda with Democratic Republic of Congo.
The park can as well be accessed by domestic flight from Kajjansi to Fortportal/ Ndali.
As you drive into the tropical forested area of Kibale National Park, the stares from baboons sitting by the road side welcome you. Primates are the greatest attraction that accounts for majority of the park visits. The park has 13 species of primates of which 9 are diurnal.
Amongst these the chimpanzee is the most sought for by visitors who visit this park. The special attributes of chimpanzee make it outstanding as it has been proven to have the closest DNA to that of humans with a remarkable closeness of 95-98%. Also baby chimpanzees are irresistibly cute thus adding spunk to the whole trekking experience. The habituation experience cannot be over looked as the visitor has the whole day to spend with chimpanzee watch them do their routine activities right from when they leave their nests to when they make others to spend the night.
These great apes inhabit the forest and Savannah vegetation of tropical Africa. Unlike other types of great apes that include gorillas and Burnooses, chimpanzees ably survive on less specific diet. With its extended arms the chimpanzee can branchiate through the forest and pick fruits, blossoms, seeds in narrow spaces with ease. The chants made by these chimpanzees enable tour guides to trace them.
Chimpanzees in this park live in habituated communities of 50-150 individuals that split into smaller groups of 10-20 individuals. Visitors taking on the early morning chimpanzee trek have high chances of sighting the chimpanzees live their nests and embarking on the daily activities which are comprised of hunting, picking fruits, copulating, bonding to mention but a few. In the evening the groups re-join to make their nests where they spend the night. The enchanting feeling one gets as they trek through the thick forests with the chimpanzees starring on with their big eyes is unforgettable. The habitation experience enables the visitor to fully explore the lifestyle of man’s ancestors as it allows for a day long contact with the chimpanzee unlike the chimpanzee treks that limits close proximity of visitors with these apes to 1 hour.
As visitors trek through the forests, sighting other primates is sure. These primates add a great deal to the entire experience. They include the Black and white monkey, Red tailed monkey, Blue monkey, Olive baboon, Potto, Bush baby, the endangered Red Colobus monkey and the L’Hoest monkey. The specialized tour guide will ably explain why the Red Colobus monkey was given this conservation status one main reason being that these monkeys are preyed upon by chimpanzees. These monkeys are literally all over the forest and they swing from branch to branch while chartering, screaming creating an exciting experience of the wild. To visitors mesmerized by primates or those intrigued with research on primates, look no further than Kibale National Park for a worthwhile encounter.
Other mammals also inhabit this forest although encountering these is rare. They include elephants and leopards.
For birders the park harbours about 335 listed bird species. The Prirogrine’s is endemic to this park, however there are several other bird species that include; Yellow spotted nicator, Yellow rumped tinker bird, Little greenbul, Green breasted pitta, the African pitta, the crowned eagle and Black Bee eater.
Within close proximity to the park is Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary situated along Kamwenge road. It’s well endowed with numerous bird species and is home to at least 5 primate species making it irresistible for birders who visit Kibale National Park.
Within this Wetland sanctuary is the Magombe swamp where one could take a swamp walk. Home stays, community walk and local food experience is also available in Bigodi Village.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a typical example of community participation in tourism as it is managed by community associations and the proceedings are used for community development.
WHAT TO BRING
- The weather is generally cool
- Carry long sleeved shirts especially for evening treks to avoid insect bites.
- Binoculars for viewing birds, butterflies and small mammals.
- Rain coat in case of down pour.