Kibale Forest National Park is the best safari destination for chimpanzee tracking in Africa. The 795km2 Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. This is home to a host of forest wildlife, most famously 13 species of primate including chimpanzees. The Forest cover predominates in the northern and central parts of the park on the elevated Fort Portal plateau. Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip which stands 1590m above sea level. Northern Kibale is also the wettest area, receiving a mean annual rainfall of up to 1700mm, mostly during March-May and September-November. The climate is generally pleasant with a mean annual temperature range of 14-27oC. Temperatures are highest (and rainfall lower) in the south where the terrain drops down onto the hot rift valley floor and forest gives way to open grassland.
Southern Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park and together these protected areas maintain a 180km-long migration corridor for wildlife which extends from Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth NP, to the Sebitoli forest in the north of Kibale. The Kibale – Fort Portal area is one of Uganda’s most rewarding areas to explore. The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali Kasenda crater area and within a half day’s drive of the Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks and the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.
Flora and fauna in Kibale Forest
Kibale’s varied altitude supports different types of habitat, ranging from wet tropical forest (moist evergreen forest) on the Fort Portal plateau, through dry tropical forest (moist semi deciduous), to woodland and savanna on the rift valley floor.
Around Kanyanchu, in the central part of the park, the high forest contains a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees with the evergreen species dominant. Trees rise to over 55m and exhibit a semi-closed canopy of stratified tree crowns. The undergrowth is sparse with shade tolerant herbs, shrubs, a variety of ferns and broad leaved forest grasses. 351 tree species have been recorded in the park.
The diversity and density of primates in Kibale is the highest in Africa. The most famous of its 13 species is the chimpanzee, our closest relative. Kibale’s 1450 chimpanzee represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. Kibale is also home to the rare I’Hoest’s monkey and East Africa’s largest population of the threatened red colobus monkey. Other primates include the black and white colobus, blue monkey, grey cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto.
Other mammals are present, though rarely seen. These include forest elephant, buffalo, leopard, bush pig and duiker. A keen observer may also spot reptiles and amphibians as well as a colourful variety of butterflies.
The park boasts 325 species of birds, including 6 that are endemic to the Albertine Rift region, namely black-capped apalis, blue-headed sunbird, collared apalis, dusky crimsonwing, purple-breasted sunbird and red-faced woodland warbler. Other Kibale specials include the African pitta, green breasted pitta, black bee-eater, yellow spotted nicator, yellow rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, black-eared ground thrush, brownchested alethe, blue-breasted kingfisher, Abyssinian groundthrush, and the crowned eagle.
The people living around the park are mainly Batoro and Bakiga. The Batoro are indigenous to the area while the Bakiga are immigrants from the densely populated southwestern part of Uganda. The Batoro take pride in the cultural heritage of the Toro Kingdom, a scion of the ancient kingdoms of Africa’s Great Lakes region. The Omukama (king) and the kingdom embody the traditional and cultural values of the Batoro. The Bakiga immigrants still maintain their tradition and culture as expressed in their folklore, dance, and language.
Safari Activities in Kibale
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, a lifetime experience that allows accompany Kibale’s researchers and habituators as t chimpanzee during their daily activities, thereby get used to human presence without altering their natural. On the tour, expect seeing the chimps de-nesting (com their nocturnal nests) between 05.30-06.30, before them during the day until they create new nests anc the night around 19.00. The Habituation Experience rL tourist low season month s (March, April, May and NOI
Primate walks (Chimpanzee tracking): The most popular activity in the park. Chimpazee tracking safaris starts from the Kanyanchu Visitor Centre at 08.00 and 15.00 and lasts 2-3 hours. Primates are sought after by visitors during the walk. These include black and white co lobus, red tailed m( grey cheeked mangabey. Your guides will point out pittas and other bird species and will explain the tradit of plant species within the forest. This walk is for six persons per tour group. Advance booking is essential during peak sea:
Other activities in the park include forest hikes, birding in Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, Children’s Activities etc