Kibale National Park
At 1,590m in the North with its lowest point in the south at 1,100m on the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley, Kibale forest National park covers 795km2, and was protected as a very important large area of forest to the eco-tourism and as a safari destination. This park is famous for its population of habituated chimpanzees and 12 other species of primates, over 351 tree species dated over 200 years and some rising to over 55m. Kibale forest is one of the loveliest forest in Uganda with so much to offer from different bird species, 13 species of primates, other species of mammals, numerous indigenous and exotic tree species.
Apart from the forest, this park also covers a wetland sanctuary known as Bigodi wetland sanctuary, a nesting place for many different bird species and primates.
This is a beautiful wetland located in Magombe swamp, with an extensive collection of biodiversity including primate species; mangabey, vervet monkey, white & black colobus monkey, red colobus monkey, red tailed monkey baboon, blue monkey grey cheeked, and the L’Hoest monkey. This wetland is a great example of a community-based project in an effort to protect the forest and areas around it.
Despite the fact that so much is found in this wetland, its famously known as a birders paradise and a must visit for all birders visiting Kibale. Numerous bird species including the rare ones can be spotted up to fifty new species on a bird list. With the major being the Great Blue Turaco. A percentage fee got from visitors to this place goes to building the Bigodi Secondary School as well as a nursery school, school running and management, in addition to the women weaving projects.
Activities in the Park;
Chimpanzee tracking; This is the most popular activity in Kibale starting at Kanyanchu visitors centre. Chimps trekking can be done either half day or full day.
- Half day chimpanzee trekking; This activity starts at either 8am or 2pm and last an average of three hours, depending on various factors. The tracking permits are sold for either morning or afternoon tracking. With Escape To Africa, we look at the full safari details before advising you on which permit to book.
- The full-day Chimpanzee Tracking (Chimpanzee Habituation Experience); Unlike half day chimps tracking, full day also starts at 8am till 6pm. This activity works with chimp community which is undergoing habituation. Visitors can watch chimps leaving their overnight nests between 6:00 – 6:30am before breastfeeding, resting, patrolling, feeding, copulating, hunting and playing, at around 7pm the chimps build a new nest.
Birding ; Kibale is the place to visit for all birders. One can enjoy birding in the forest with the rangers or go to the Bigodi wetland Sanctuary. But if time permits, we recommend visiting of both places. With your birding book and other gadgets, be on the lookout for the endemic to this section of the Albertine Rift Valley. You will be accompanied by an experienced birder and rangers at all times.
Tip: Birding is highly recommended in the long dry season especially when the migrants are around.
Visiting Community Projects; The locals around the park have embraced conservation and have formed different development projects in support of Tourism. These projects include; craft making, women weaving groups, schools and other projects which have highly contributed to Kibale Tourism Sustainability and development. A percentage of the visitor’s fee to Kibale goes to the local community around the park.
Forest walks; With an experienced and knowledgeable guide, after paying park entrance and ranger guide fee, enjoy a 3 – 4 hours nature walk in the forest, home to indigenous and exotic tree species. At the end of your walk, you will look at Kibale forest with fresh eyes. This walk is best done in the mornings.
Top of the world / Hiking to craters; With Escape To Africa guide and a community guide, enjoy the walk with a rewarding view of over 10 craters with a break of visiting the local brewery.
Kibale forest has so much to offer apart from chimps!