Fairend Safaris

Kibale National Park

The Primate Capital of the World

Kibale National Park is the primate capital of the world, it is located in the western part of Uganda. The park is largely forested with more than 300 tree species covering an area of 795 square Kilometers. It is the best destination for chimpanzee tracking though other primates can be found in forest / park. Kibale is well known for its large population of chimpanzees, over 1500 chimps live this area. In addition some chimps are habituated for tourism which is a process of making chimpanzees get used to human presence.

Other primate species to look out for are; L’Hoest’s monkeys, Red Colobus monkeys, and the black and white colobus. Blue monkeys, Pattos, Olive baboons, and grey-cheeked mangabeys among others can be seen during treks. More than 370 bird species can be found in Kibale forest making it one great destination for birding in Uganda.

How to get to Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park can be accessed by either road or air means, tourists have different route options. When using the road, travelers may opt for Kampala- Mityana – Mubende to Fort Portal Town then proceed to Kibale park.Another route is Kampala – Hoima- Fortportal-Kibale which gives you a chance to visit Murchison Falls Park . However, it is distant and takes about 8 hours to arrive at the park.

Travelers can as well use Kampala- Mbarara – Kasese – Fortportal which is the longest but route you a chance to visit L. Mburo and Queen Elizabeth National Parks.The other option of accessing this park is by air using domestic flights to 2 airstrips. Nyakishara in Mbarara and the other in Kasese then a driver picks you up from the airstrip to Kibale.

Activities to do in Kibale National Park

Chimpanzee Habituation

Chimpanzee Habituation is a process of training chimps to get used to being around humans. The process helps to prepare chimps to be tracked and it can take about 2 -3 years. Visitors are always given about 6 hours to a day to spend time with the chimpanzees. Only a group of 4(maximum) inclusive of the guide are permitted to visit at a given period of time.

The best time for chimpanzee habituation is March, April, May, and November. It is done at the Kanyachu information center which is also famous for the chimpanzee trekking and nature walks. Tourists are required to have a permit if they are interested in participating in this activity. The permits should be acquired 3 months prior for easy planning and they are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The cost of permits is $250 for foreigners, $200 for foreign residents, and Ugx. 200,000 for East African residents.

Chimpanzee Trekking in kibale National park

Chimpanzee Trekking is the ultimate highlight and the main activity that attracts many travelers to this park. It involves walking through the forest in search of the chimps with the help of trained guides who locate trails. When found visitors are given 1 hour to be in their presence taking pictures and observing their behavior.

Travelers have high chances of seeing chimpanzees on any day and chimpanzee trekking starts at the Kanyachu information center.  It found at the center of the park and trekking starts early at 8:00 am and afternoon at 2:00 pm. The activity takes about 2-3 hours to find and spend time with the chimps. Other primates like blue monkeys, red colobus, L-hoest monkeys and some baboons can be found in this forest

Bird watching in kibale national park

Bird watching is one of the top activities that travelers love to do when they visit Kibale National Park. The park is home to over 370 bird species including the white-winged warbler, African pitta, and African pied wagtail. Common fiscal, slender-billed weaver, blue heads bee-eater among others including papyrus Gonolek live in this park.

Birding can be done throughout the year and usually starts very early in the morning at around 7:00 am. Kanyachu Information Center is where birding begins, it usually lasts the whole day or it can take a short time. The best time for bird watching in Kibale National Park is from March to May and from September to November. The migratory birds are best found from November to April.

Nature Walks & Hiking

Nature Walks & Hiking are part of the activities that a traveler can engage in while on a Safari. There are extended hikes which take about 2-6 days though the park also offers shorter nature walks. A guided nature walk allows travelers enjoy the sight of diverse primate species, birds, flora, butterflies, plus other mammals. Only 6 people are allowed on nature walks and there are night walks as well. They can be organized for travelers to be able to view the nocturnal animal species.

Nocturnal forest walks start at 7:30 pm from the park headquarters and take 1-2 hours. They are led by park guides and rangers who accompany the visitors as they follow the trails. The rangers are always equipped with battery spotlights for better viewing at night. Various animals are spotted including the bush babies, pottos, night birds, tree hyrax, nightjar, forest cats, and other nocturnal animals.

Visiting the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Bigodi wetland sanctuary is home to more than 150 Bird species thus a perfect site for bird-watching. It is located 6 km south of Kanyanchu at the main center of the park. The main reason for its establishment was to protect the 4 square km Magombe swamp. Bird watching is done with help of a guide who knows a lot about the species and their characteristics.

In addition some primates, butterflies, trees, plants and reptiles can be seen as you look out for the birds. Primates to look out for include Red Colobus, Blue Monkeys, Gray Cheeked Mangabey, L’Hoest Monkeys and many more. Tours to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary are done in two shifts, one starts as early as 7:30 am and the other is at 3 pm. Once the swamp tour is done, travelers are led to the surrounding communities to support the locals who create artistic souvenirs.

Visiting Amabere ga Nyina mwiru

 

Visiting Amabere ga Nyina mwiru are natural features that are a result of the formation of stalagmites and stalactites, these are rocks located in a cave. They are located in Fort portal-Kabarole district just 10km off town. These rocks have amazing waterfalls and the Batoro tribe who live in this area have a strong cultural attachment to these rocks. They have a belief that these are the breasts of a young girl called Nyina Mwiru which were cut off by her father the King for refusing to marry a spouse he had chosen for her.

When to Visit Kibale National Park

The best time to visit Kibale national park is sometimes defined by the type of activity of your choice. The best season for many activities is the dry season which is the peak tourism season in Uganda that is from December through January to February and then resumes again from June to July though you expect a drastic change in the weather any time of the day

 

June through September is the actual peak of tourism in Kibale national park and other national parks in Uganda. However, the wet season in Kibale national park is the best season for birding in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. During November, you can have a chance to spot the migratory birds in Kibale national park.  Also, the wet season is the best season for chimpanzee habituation research since the park is not too busy with many visitors.

Where to stay in kibale national park

There are several lodging facilities ranging from luxury to budget facilities. It all depends on your budget, some of the luxury lodging facilities are; Chimpundu Lodge, Kyaninga Lodge, Crater Safari Lodge, and Ndali Lodge.

Midrange accommodation facilities include; Isungu Lodge, Kibale Forest Camp, Kibale guest cottages, Chimp Nest, Mountain of the moon hotel, and Kibale Safari Lodge.

Budget accommodation facilities include; Rwenzori View Guest House, Kitojo guest cottages, and Lake Nkuruba nature reserve.