Kibale National Park in Uganda is situated along the East African Rift Valley next to the Ndali Kasenda crater at an elevation of 1,590 and 1,100 meters above sea level. Due to its rich biodiversity, Kibale National Park was first designated as a forest reserve in 1932, and only became a game park in the 1990s. The park has taken on the role of being East Africa’s and Uganda’s primates’ capital. Pre-montane forest, which is absent from everywhere else in East Africa, is among the numerous tree species (more than 350) that cover the broad plains and plateaus.
Attractions in Kibale Forest National Park
Chimpanzee Trekking and spotting other primates: Possibly the best location for a tour of primates is Kibale National Park. There may not be gorillas in the park, but there are more other primate species than in any other park in East Africa. Given that they have a DNA similarity to humans of over 95%, chimpanzees are a special and endangered species. Around 5,000 chimpanzees have been counted in Kibale, which is home to the largest chimpanzee clans in all of East Africa. Other East African national parks may have chimpanzee sightings, but the likelihood is much lower than in Kibale Forest.
Birding: One of the top three locations in Africa to go birding is Uganda. With more than 374 different bird species, Kibale’s 180 km rain forest is a birder’s paradise. Birders can see the African Grey Parrot, Abyssinian Ground Thrust, Black Bee Eater, Black capped Apalis, Black eared Ground Thrust, Blue Breasted Kingfisher, Blue headed sunbird, Brown Chested Alethe, Brown Illadopis, Collared Apalis, Crowned Eagle, Dusky Crimsonwing, Little Green Bul, Purple Breasted Sunbird, Red Chested Owlet, Red Faced Woodland Warbler,
Other wildlife: In addition to monkeys and birds, Kibale National Park is home to 14 different species of snakes, 200 different kinds of butterflies, 27 different kinds of frogs, and more than 20 different kinds of reptiles. Nearly 70 different species of mammals can be found in Kibale National Park, including bats, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, hippopotamuses, red-and-blue duikers, semi-aquatic sitatunga antelopes, bushbuck antelopes, warthogs, African golden cats, mongooses, and occasionally spotted hyenas.
Local people: There are numerous activities worth participating in for individuals who want to learn about the local culture. The Batoro are the main tribe in the area and should be the first stop for anyone seeking a cultural experience. The Batoro are a proud people with a storied past, vibrant culture, and monarchy known as Omukama. The Bakiga are another tribe that you might wish to go see. The Bakiga are recognized for being diligent workers who rely on subsistence farming of various native fruits, including the well-known Matoke (banana). The Batoro welcomed them when they arrived as migrants, and their population has since grown. Visits to a local family or a formally organized cultural center, where you may discover the regional dances, language, cuisine, and folklore, are among the greatest methods to explore an African culture. The tourism industry in the area has greatly helped the Bakiga and Batoro. Prior to the emergence of tourism-related activities in the region, their only sources of sustenance were the forest and their farms.
Nature walks and Hikes: The tremendous biodiversity in the park and the surrounding landscapes, which include a visit to the Amabere caverns, can be discovered and marveled at while taking a stroll through the vast woodland. Either Sebitoli or Kanyanchu can serve as the beginning point. You will be treated to the complete spectacle of tropical woods, meadows, wetlands, and rivers no matter where you start your tour in the park. A trip through the villages of Nyaibanda, Nyakalongo, and Kikoni would be ideal for anyone interested in seeing how the locals go about their everyday lives and work in the gardens. To see nocturnal creatures like pottos, bush babies, and other uncommon birds that are only active at night, night walks can also be organized.
Bigodi wetlands and bird sanctuary: To see the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary inside the park, a special nature walk can be organised. This is one of the best locations in East Africa for observing monkeys and birds, drawing thousands of tourists each year. Over 310 different bird species can be seen on a three-hour walk through the Bigodi marsh. Expect to encounter at least five different types of primates as you stroll among the various vegetation and palm trees.
Accessing Kibale National Park
Compared to the South Western Ugandan national parks of Bwindi and Mgahinga, Kibale National Park is much easier to reach. There is a direct route that departs from Kampala and travels past Mubende and Fort Portal in 5 to 6 hours. The Kamwenge or Mbarara road can be used to enter the park from the south. A chartered aircraft along the Entebbe-Kampala route from Kajjansi to Ndali or Fort Portal, followed by a drive to the park, is a far more practical and quick way to get to the area.
Accommodation in Kibale National Park
A wide range of lodging options are available in Kibale National Park. The lodging options for a safari in Uganda include luxury, mid-range, and low-cost options. The majority of the lodges and hotels are located in the park’s Kanyanchu, Ndali, Nkingo, and Bigodi regions. Let’s examine a few of them in greater detail:
Primate Lodge Kibale Uganda: This luxury lodge in Kibale forest is ideally situated for convenient animal watching. It is called the primate lodge. Its eco-friendly design and stylish, cozy accommodations are both highlights. Eight opulent, wooden platform-supported, grass-thatched safari tents have an African feel to them. The area is home to elephants, chimpanzees, and other primates, and there are 7 opulent huts or tree homes that are great for seeing them. The lodge has nicely decorated, roomy rooms with plush beds. Bathrooms, a toilet, and a sitting area are located in each suite. Additionally, there is a tasteful restaurant serving both local and foreign cuisine, as well as a well-appointed lounge space and on-site bar.
Chimps’ Nest Uganda: This eco-friendly lodge is situated in Nyabubale, close to the communities of Bigodi and Nkingo. The lodge uses solar lights and was constructed with local materials. In addition to having self-contained tree houses and cottages, Chimps’ Nest is bordered by sizable farms of pineapple, ginger, peanuts, and coffee. Observing creatures including chimpanzees, elephants, monkeys, and birds is a frequent visitor activity around the lodge. The resort offers guests the chance to go on nature hikes and admire the breathtaking Rwenzori Mountain ranges.
Nyinabulitwa Country Resort: is a low-cost and mid-range motel that provides tastefully decorated, independent cottages with single and double bedrooms. It is situated 20 kilometers from Fort Portal town. There is an on-site restaurant that offers both local and foreign cuisines, as well as an African craft shop. Visitors have access to a wide range of recreational opportunities, including forest and village walks, primate tracking, birding, fishing, canoeing, mountain hikes, and wildlife viewing, including elephant, buffalo, and bush pig sightings.
Kibale Forest Camp: The Luxurious Forest Camp is situated close to the park and off the Kamwenge – Fort Portal Road. The lodge offers 7 luxurious tents, each of which has a double bed and a bathroom or toilet on the premises. The room verandahs offer breathtaking views of the park, woodlands, and birds to the tourists. Walks through the villages, hiking up the Rwenzori Mountain slopes, chimpanzee hunting, and general wildlife viewing are all options for tourists.