Kibale National park covers an area of about 795km and it’s acknowledged to have one of Uganda’s most gorgeous tropical forests. It’s a habitat to much forest wildlife and among these includes the primates along with chimpanzees. The forest occupies the northern as well as the central part of the park. Kibale in the northern part has a peak of about 1590m above sea level. The northern part is also well known as the wettest area with an annual rainfall of about 1700mm.The rainy months include March-May as well as September-November. It has an average temperature of about 14-27oc and temperatures are high in the south because of the landscape falls into the scorching rift valley floor
Kibale Forest National Park is one of the best safari destinations in Africa for chimpanzee tracking. Kibale’s 795km2 National Park contains one of the most beautiful and with the most varying tracts of tropical forest in the whole of Uganda. This is a place to a number of forest wildlife, most especially 13 species of primate coupled with chimpanzees. The Forest covering predominates in the central and northern part of the park on the raised Fort Portal plateau. At the park’s northern tip, Kibale is highest and stands 1590m above sea level.
The southern Kibale connects to the heart of Queen Elizabeth National park. These parks are acknowledged to have an area of about 180km relocation corridor for wildlife. This tends to extend from Ishasha to the distant southern part of Queen Elizabeth National park along with the Sebitoli forest located in the northern part of Kibale.
One of Uganda’s most gratifying parks to discover a lot of attraction is Kibale. The park is suited near to the peaceful Ndali-Kasenda crater and it’s a 30 minutes’ drive to Queen Elizabeth, Semuliki National park, Toro Semuliki wildlife Reserve along with Rwenzori
Flora and Fauna in Kibale Forest
Kibale’s varied altitude holds up different varieties of habitat, ranging from moist evergreen forest (wet tropical forest) along the Fort Portal plateau, then through the dry tropical forest (moist semi deciduous), and then to the woodland & savanna along the rift valley floor.
In the central part of the park, around Kanyanchu, the high forest consist of a mixture of evergreen trees and deciduous with the evergreen species being dominant. Vegetation rise to over 55m and establish a semi closed canopy of massive stratified tree crowns. With shade tolerant herbs, a variety of ferns, shrubs and broad leaved forest grasses, the undergrowth is sparse. 351 tree species have been registered in the park.
ACTIVITIES TO DO AT KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
Chimpanzee Habituation and Chimp Tracking
The average weight of an adult well grown male chimpanzee is between 35 and 70 kilograms, with a height of approximately 3 meters whereas an adult female chimpanzee weighs between 26 and 50 kilograms and a height between 2 and 4 feet. A chimpanzee’s life expectancy is at 40 years whereas that for those living in captivity can extend up to 60 years. In Uganda today, Efforts to actually conserve the chimpanzees are extensively acknowledged and well supported. Actually The Jane Good all Foundation has played a major role in the overall conservation of not only these Chimpanzees but the Gorillas as well found in Uganda.
Chimpanzees are the closest relatives to humans sharing about 98% of their DNA composition with humans. They are Sociable, intelligent as well as communicative and among their very fascinating traits are the ability to utilize tools like rocks for crushing nuts, empty pods for hollowing out water plus sticks for capturing termites from their holes. These skills are for long been passed on from generation to another and researchers say that different troops have specialist tasks, basing on their habitat as well as diet. Chimps stay in groups of 10 – 100 members. They can babysit each other’s young, kiss, groom one another and even hold hands. The young chimps become independent at the age of 4 year. Nonetheless, chimps can be aggressive and unsociable, mainly if disturbed. Although they spend some time on ground, they normally feed and do make their sleeping nests up in the trees. Their diet varies comprising of leaves, seeds, fruit plus flowers.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
This is a lifetime experience that allows accompany Kibale’s researchers and habituation at chimpanzee during their daily activities, thereby getting used to human presence without changing their nature state. During your tour, expect coming across the chimps de-nesting (in their nocturnal nests) between 05:30 to 06:30 before them throughout the day till they make new nests and the night around 19.00. The Habituation Experience by tourist for low season months of March, April, May and November
Primates walk (Chimpanzee tracking)
The most favorite of Kibale’s walks embarks on from the Kanyanchu Visitor center at 08.00am & 15.00 and lasts 2 to 3 hours. Chimpanzee are the most sought after primate by visitors, but you should look out for the black & white Colobus, red tailed monkey or the grey cheeked mangabey. Your guides will be able to show you pittas & different bird species and will give details of the tradition of the plant species within the forest. This walk is for 6 people in a group. Advance booking is all-important especially during Peak Sea.
Rules and regulation of Chimpanzee tracking
- A distance of just about 8m is very important between you and the chimps.
- People with diseases such as flue or diarrhea may not allow in the park.
- Avoid eating near the chimps.
- Children below the age of 12 are prohibited from entering the park.
- Guide is the only one to help get access to the forest.
- Chimps need freedom therefore no provoking them once you enter the park.
- Flash photography is not allowed in the park.
What to carry along
- Wear shoes that have a good grip, suitable for climbing steep moist muddy slopes
- A number of people actually feel more at ease when wearing clothes that are long sleeved as this will protect them from the pricking thickets as they move through the verdant jungle
- Do not forget a rain gear, since the weather here is highly unpredictable
- Bring enough drinking water plus snacks to bite on
- Carry a pair of binoculars
It’s a 12km hike and usually done in the dry seasons. The months are mid-November-February, June and September. Hiking helps discover the park’s assorted habitats such as river line forest, swamp, grassland and tropical rainforest. You will get an opportunity to see the different species of birds like duiker and primates bushbuck. The nature walks usually start at 08.00 and the focal point is at Kanyanchu Visitor Centre and final touches are at the elephant wallow at 14.00.Booking in advance will be to your advantage.
Sebitoli is situated 12km away from Fort portal town on the Kampala-Fort portal main road. This portion of the forest provides excellent bird along with primate viewing in the moist evergreen forest with stratified tree crowns of a semi closed canopy.
Guided walks, just like those at Magombe, are carried out in the Kihingani wetland, simply outside the national park close to Sebitoli
The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a fascinating area, located in Magombe swamp. this area is recognized for an extensive array of biodiversity among which are several primates species like the red Colobus monkey, baboon, black & white Colobus monkey, blue monkey grey cheeked, mangabey, vervet monkey, red tailed monkey and the L’Hoest monkey. Additional Mammals such as chimpanzees, Sitatunga, mongooses, bush pigs, otters plus bush bucks, also visit this swamp coming from the adjacent Kibale National Park.
The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a great example of a community-based approach to the natural resources management which can be of good economic benefit to the different local residents living within this area plus the tourism industry as well.
The Bigodi is a paradise for bird watchers. Actually skilled birders can spot up to fifty new species on a bird list. Today, 138 species of bird have been recognized within the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. Among the major bird species within the sanctuary is the grand Blue Turaco.
The swamp is administered by the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (Kafred), and it actually benefits greatly from the adjacent Kibale National Park, since there are a number of primates such as the chimpanzees that occasionally visit the swamp, adding on the diversity of wild animals that tourists see within the Bigodi.
Its name “Bigodi” was derived from a local Rutooro word, “kugodya”, that means ‘to walk tiredly / wearily’. It is supposed that when visitors reached the Bigodi swamp on foot, they actually were at all times too tired to go on and visit the jungle; and for this reason they decided to rest there.
Conservation of this swamp has its real benefits, since it receives more than $150 000 got from tourists each year. A fraction of this earning was used to build Bigodi Secondary School as well as a nursery school, in addition to pay salaries of the school teachers; furthermore bridges have also been constructed over swamps plus streams within the village.
Additional benefits include:
The Tips plus sales from fruits plus vegetables earned by farmers;
Some tourists have over a number of years been sponsoring a number of children living within this village for advance studies;
A number of local people have transformed their homes into African-homesteads for tourists to visit. This actually offers tourists a closer encounter of the day to day lifestyle of the local resident people;
The women in here have created the Bigodi Women Group that consists of 40 members presently, who make good-looking beads using re-cycled paper plus additional materials got from this swamp like raffia plus phoenix-palm leaves used in weaving baskets and making bags respectively. A number of their local products are also exported to as far as Europe;
Fortunately Poaching within this region has tremendously reduced, nearly to stoppage, since the poachers themselves are today serving as tour guides, that take tourists through the impressive swamp as well as guide during the community walks in the villages;
In addition the road that runs through this village was also constructed by the funds earned by the Bigodi swamp project.
CULTURAL HERITAGE/NATURE WALKS
The nature walk begins from Kanyanchu or Sebitoli and it takes about 2-6 days. The en route will help discover the forest and late rest in the community-run campsites close to the villages of Kikoni, Nyakalongo and Nyaibanda. You will get to know the different cultures that are found in this area like the Batooro and Bakiga culture. Only 6 people are allowed to take on the nature walk and booking in advance is very important.
Best-known as the former Long Distance Walk, an adventurous visitor can follow a 2 to 6 days trail through the forest. The entire walk begins or ends at either at Kanyanchu or Sebitoli. The path explores the forest throughout the day, coming out in the evening to relax in the community-run campsites close to the villages of Nyaibanda, Kikoni and Nayakalongo.
This offers you an opportunity to link up with the local people & gain insights into their cultures (Batoro and Bakiga). Porters can be employed at the trailheads to carry your equipment’s. Groups of up to six people can take on the walk. But Pre-booking is necessary for efficient organization of the walk.
Kibale National Park is suited in the western part of Uganda and covers an area of about 26km south-east of Fort Port. Kanyanchu river camp is well known to be the heart of tourism activities and this is easily accessible from Kampala from the North through Mubende as well as Fort Portal. In the southern part, you can use Mbarara or Kamwenge road to get to the park.
Travelers say that the northern route is shorter and faster and has a distance is about 300km with a tarmac road going to Fort Portal and also a distance of 36km on murram to Kanyanchu. The Sebitoli forest camp is accessible and it’s second in the tourism sector.
It’s a direct route from Kampala with about 16km prior to Fort Port. In case you want to use a bus, it will be easy because it runs daily from Kampala to Fort port via Sebitoli then Fort Portal along with Kamwenge via Kanyanchu.
WHERE TO STAY
The park has excellent accommodation with Kibale primate lodge that is located in Kanyanchu. Others include up-market accommodation, tree houses and undemanding cottages are discovered at Sebitoli. Every accommodation has a campsite with a restaurant serving both local and international cuisine. Budget accommodation is also found at Bigodi, Nkingo and Ndali crater area. Ndali is well known for its up-market accommodation and other budget alternative such as Chimpanzee guesthouse along with Lake Nkuruba Fort Portal town also has high standard accommodation.
Primate lodge Kibale
Primate Lodge in Kibale is a fashionable Eco-lodge located within Kibale National park. It’s enclosed by a flourishing tropical forest that is a habitat to many different species of primates for instance the chimpanzees. It’s secretly sheltered in the rainforest, it’s one of the lodges that give a really dependable jungle familiarity and it’s the most favorable place for tracking the primates in Uganda. Primate lodge Kibale has accommodation for all visitors ranging from luxury, cottages as well as tents. This lodge gives a chance to take your time in the morning and first have breakfast and later on plan for the day and how you are going to track the chimpanzees without much trouble.
Luxury Safari Tents
The lodge has about 8 lavish safari tents, wooden platform with a thatched roof that tends to match well with the environment. The verandahs on each tent offer a beautiful view of the enclosed forest. The inside of the lodge is designed with an African style with beautiful beds. The bathrooms and toilets have a natural touch of the environment made out of local stones, wall paintings as well as bamboo.
The lodge has about 7 friendly cottages are secretly located in the forest. The rooms are big with double beds, a sitting room with an African design and standard en suite bathrooms and toilets.
Sky Tree House
Another exciting adventure is the sky tree house, it has a bedroom with other facilities that can enable you enjoy a nigh there. It’s suited at a 10 minutes’ walk from the major lodge. Giving you a perfect view of the Elephant lurch, at night, all elephants gather at this point
Restaurant and Bar
The restaurant serves both international and local foods with hospital waitresses. Next to the restaurant is a fully stocked bar with a beautiful scenic view of the forest.
The lounge has well designed chairs; soft cushions along with sofas that will make you enjoy the red-tailed monkeys in the forest.
Cultural dancing Fire place
The evenings are usually enjoyed around the camp fire to give you all the warmth you need. Late in the night, you will experience the great sounds of the forest as well as the winding forest elephants.
Among the activities include chimp tracking, Forest walk, bird watching, Bigodi village walk discovery of the crater Lakes, Cultural heritage, Hike at the slopes of Rwenzori along with the Nature trail. Enjoy a tour To Uganda’s national parks.
- Chimps nest
- Chimpanzee forest guest house
- Kibale safari lodge
- Ruboni community camp
- Cvk resort
- Kyaninga lodge
- Fort motel
- Nyanabulitwa country resort and safari camp