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Kibale forest national park is one of the most popular destinations in Uganda for primate safaris, it was founded in 1993 covering an area of 795 square kilometers along the floor of the Albertine rift valley to the south, the parks altitude supports distinctive types of habitats ranging from wet tropical forest on the fort portal plateau to the savannah woodlands, grasses along the floor of the forest and swamps dominated in the central and northern parts of the park. It stands on an elevation of 1590m above sea level best known for its highest population of chimpanzee in the whole of Africa, it features 13 species including over 1500 chimpanzees.

The park consists of 351 species of trees recorded to date rising up 55m high forming a very beautiful upper canopy, it in habits animals like elephants, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, antelopes, forest duikers although they are rarely seen, these tend to be so shy and not used to human presences other primate species include the l’hoest monkey, black and white colobus monkey, grey checked managabey, red tailed monkey and over 350 species of beautiful birds for example the African green breasted pitas, African grey parrots, pin-tailed whydah, slender weaver, great blue turaco among other species. Kibale forest national park straddles between the districts of Kawenge and Kabarole approximately 320 kilometers by road it is one of the few remaining tropical rain forests in Uganda.

The forest is famous for chimpanzee tracking chimpanzees are restricted to tropical rain forests living in groups of 2-100individual’s closets living relatives of man sharing up to 98% of the human DNA, they weigh up to 40 and 50 kilograms having a shaggy black coat on their skins walking with hind legs and knuckles of their fore limb, they are social and intelligent often seen using tools to extract food items from holes , they sleep in nests and often heard at a distance before meeting them due to their chatter loud sound, tracking chimpanzee is a life time experience that one shouldn’t miss on a safari go Africa, it’s an incredible adventure done at the Kanyanchu visitor center in the national park beginning from 8 am for the morning shift and 2pm for the afternoon shift.

Kibale Forest National Park

The national park consists of three large communities of chimpanzees, each numbering up to 100 members prohibiting different behavior and a complicated social life.The big adult males of up to1.7m in height defend their communal territories from other primates and the female ones keep shifting from one group to another, visitors are given chance to participate in the chimpanzee habituation process in the national park it can take half a day or full day depending on the amount paid and interest of time, the tracking take 2-3 hours in search for the chimpanzees however along the way one can look out for more primates and bird species. Tracking is conducted by very knowledgeable guides who will tell you more about the forest.

Kibale forest national park is part of the kibale conservation area including the semiliki and Toro game reserves managed under the Uganda wildlife authority, there are several activities participated in besides the chimpanzee tracking like birding in kibale, the Bigodi community walk, nature walks to the forest among others. the forest connects to the southern ishasha corridor of queen Elizabeth national park best known for tree climbing lions.

The park receives an annual rainfall of up to 1700m wettest in the northern sector mostly in the months of march- April and September to November,it can be visited all year round but best in the dry months of June- early September it’s the best time to tour the national park and do chimpanzee tracking, and also the trails are less slippery. It is advisable to carry warm clothes, long sleeved shirts and trousers, insect repellants and boots for safety measures and any other kind of personal material used while on safari. It should be noted that the park is a tropical rainforest so it rains any time even during the dry season and the wet season too has some days that are dry.

The park lies approximately 6 hour’s drive from Entebbe and roughly 36 kilometers south of fort portal town, there is available accommodation around and within the national park ranging from luxury to best budget.

TOURISM ATTRACTIONS IN KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

Kibale forest national park is located in western Uganda approximately 5 hours’ drive from Entebbe, it is a popular destination for primate safaris with the largest forest cover straddling in Kamwenge and Kabarole district, the 795 kilometers is home to 13 primate species, other mammals like elephants, forest duikers, giant forest hogs, buffaloes are present although they are rarely seen and over 300 species of birds, kibale lies at an altitude of 1590 m high above sea level supporting distinctive vegetation  right from the forest on the fort portal plateau to the savannah woodlands, swamps and lakes in the central and northern parts of the park.

Kibale’s major attraction are its primates, it has the highest population the whole of Africa, thirteen kinds of primates, hosting about 1500 chimpanzees which it is best known for, the chimpanzee is a robust and powerful primate its man’s closest living relative, sharing up to 98% of the human DNA, they are have well developed shoulders and arms, a small face with deep eyes, chimpanzee are social intelligent species seen using tools at various times,  the black and white colobus monkeys are active during the day however they rise up during the midday when it gets hot, black faced vervet monkeys, patas monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, red tailed monkey, grey checked managabey, some of the primates are nocturnal and can be tracked during the night like the pottos and bush babies. Primate walks start at the kanyanchu visitor center however some of the them can be found in the sebitoli forest and the Bigodi swamp area, Tracking is done in the morning times beginning from 8 am.

The forest trees are a big attraction in the national park it is rich in tree species up to 250 species have been recorded to date in the national park, they rise to 55m high forming a very beautiful canopy within which lie the birds, the forest contains some of the loveliest tracts of tropical rain forests in Uganda interposed with angelic grassesthe ever green forest attracts researchers from different destinations , the forest faced a lot of logging in the past years some of the old ancient species were lost, some replanted and artificial breeds brought in on some parts of the forest especially in the areas near human settlements. These forest are habitats to the primates and birds of the forest for example the chimpanzee actually nests up in the trees.

Kibale forest national park has a colorful collection of birds, it attracts birders to the destination researchers have listed up to 375 birds and more in the destination, for example the yellow rumped tinker bird, black- bee eater, king fisher, African pied wag tail, slender billed weaver, pin tailed whydah, the great blue turaco among other species, the park is not only having lovely birds but accompanied with beautiful butterflies that color up the whole place seen mostly deep within the forest and around swamp areas.

The Ndali- Kasienda crater lakes are a big attraction around kibale forest conservation area, they are very beautiful and enticing to look at with perfect views together with the surrounding primates, birds and butterflies, the craters are believed to have been formed ten thousand million years ago having sixty permanent and seasonal fresh water lakes. This is toppled with other wetland areas like the Bigodi swamp where tourist can be able to take a community walk.

Kibale forest national park is part of the kibale conservation area including the semiliki and Toro game reserves managed under the Uganda wildlife authority, there are several activities participated in besides the chimpanzee tracking like birding in kibale, the Bigodi community walk, nature walks to the forest among others. the forest connects to the southern ishasha corridor of queen Elizabeth national park best known for tree climbing lions.

chimpanzees in kibale forest

Trips to kibale forest national park can be combined to queen Elizabeth national park and Bwindi impenetrable as it is an inter cone ting route, the park is approximately 320 km from Kampala Uganda’s capital and 36 kilometers south of fort portal town. There is available accommodation around and within the national park ranging from luxury to best budget for example, crater lodge, Kyaninga lodge, kibale forest camp, kibale guest house among other accommodation facilities.

TOURISM ACTIVITIES IN KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

Kibale forest national park is one of the diverse parks in Uganda well known for chimpanzee tracking, it lies in the western part of Uganda approximately 6 hours’ drive from Entebbe it is has the highest population of primatespecies totaling to 13 species, it covers the largest forest cover in the districts of kamwenge and Kabarole with 250 species of tree recorded up to date, they rise up to 55m high forming a very beautiful upper canopy. The park is one of the country’s number one destination with a number of several activities to be done, these include chimpanzee tracking, hikes and nature walks, nocturnal walks, Bigodi swamp walk, crater lakes hike, chimpanzee habituation, community walks.

Chimpanzee tracking is kibale forests primary attraction, it takes place beginning from the kanyanchu visitor center at 8am, there are two sessions of doing the chimpanzee tracking, in the morning and in the afternoon, chimpanzee is so loud they can be heard at a distance before you actually meet them, they are very social primates habituated to sustain human presence, they nest up in the tress and have the ability to use tools due to their intelligence, chimpanzee share up to 98% of the human DNA, more primates are spotted while on the hunt for chimpanzee  for example the l’hoest monkey, black and white colobus monkeys, red checked monkeys.

Hikes and nature walks in the forest enable to enjoy the forest passing through several habitats of the tropical rain forest, swamps, lakes, forest and rivers, there are plenty of hikes and walks within and outside the national park, the walks begin from the Kanyanchu visitor center guided by an experienced ranger of the Uganda wildlife authority, it is done mostly in the dry seasons while on the hike you will be able to a number of primate species, birds and colorful butterflies. Night walks are conducted as well in search of nocturnal species such as pottos and bush babies its done for one or two hours.

Chimpanzee habituation is a similar activity to the chimpanzee tracking, however one is given a chance to take part in the habituation process, it’s an all-day experience with your guide, researchers, and trackers in the presence of the chimpanzee undergoing the training, this is done to get them used to human process you will not only see chimpanzee but other primate and mammal species on a lucky day.

The Bigodi swamp walk was created to protect the Magombe swamp that is home to more than 200 species of birds rendering it a very important bird area 6km south of kibale forest national park, it is a good place to see butter flies and primates for example the black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys are easily spotted, the guided swamp walk takes to three hours, best experienced with binoculars, boots, long sleeved shirts and trousers, insect repellants as safety measures, water proof covers for phones and cameras.

Community walks to the neighboring people, village walks, basket weaving demonstrations and participation, entertainment from cultural dances, performances, they teach you their local and traditional ways, norms and customs, arts and crafts. These walks can be organized to pay a visit to the people of kibale forest national park.

Crater lakes hikes are breath taking in kibale forest national park as you get to enjoy the splendid views of the concentration of lakes formed over 1000 million years ago, they attract a number of tourists who like to hike up to the top of the world offering excellent views of the lakes,beneath is lovely tea and coffee plantations. A number of luxurious accommodation facilities have been constructed here for example the craters safari lodge, papaya safari lodge.

The 795 square kilometer park is situated in western Uganda, 320 kilometers from Kampala and 36 kilometers south of fort portal town, it connects to the southern animal corridor of queen Elizabeth national park well known for tree climbing lions the ishasha sector, it can be visited all throughout the year but best during the dry seasons of December-January and June- mid- september. This period is a peak season for tourists and therefore it is advisable to book chimpanzee permits prior to the time of tracking.

WHERE TO STAY IN KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

Kibale forest national park is a prime destination for Uganda primate safaris, it is home to the highest number of primates in Africa 13 kinds live in the national park, its elevated on an altitude of 1590m above sea level, covering an area of 795 square kilometers. Kibale boots with over 300 species of birds and 250 trees recorded in the national park, they rise up to 55m high forming a closed angelic canopy, its home to 1500 chimpanzees a primary attraction of the national park. The parks vegetative cover ranges from tropical forests interposed with grasses, swamps, lakes and rivers.

For every traveler’s question is where shall we stay while at the national park? the park is filled with a number of accommodation facilities ranging fromluxury to best budget so there is always where someone can stay best fit to their budgets here are some of the accommodation facilities found and around kibale forest national park

Kyaninga lodge is a luxury facility set against a beautiful back drop of lake Kyaninga the lodge is an exceptional design offering a comfortable stay for clients in its eight spacious rooms, the main lodge is beautifully placed to have great views of the environment, it features a swimming pool, spa, wellness and fitness center, each cottage comes with a choice of double or twin bed. They serve food based of the European classical cuisine, local ingredients are gotten from the neighboring markets of the local people.

Ndali kasienda lodge is an upmarket facility located in the crater region, a very beautiful part of the national park, it offers a luxurious stay north of the national park, with striking views of the wonderful crater lakes that are believed to have been formed about ten million years ago, around the lodge is the beautiful forest, primate’s lakes and rivers it is located approximately 11 kilometers from kibale forest national park.

Kibale forest camp offers midrange and best budget accommodation, its located at the edge of the national park to the south, offering a variety of comfortable accommodation to suite your budget, it’s near the Magombe swamp known for the Bigodi wetland sanctuary and 10 minutes’ drive to the kanyanchu visitor center where the chimpanzee tracking starts from.

Chimpanzee guest house located along the Kawenge road, the guest house is run by a Ugandan family amidst beautiful tea plantations of Isunga, its placed on a raised altitude with excellent views of the forest, the lodge has spacious rooms, gardens and tea plantations, they serve very delicious meals both local and international cuisines.

Isunga lodge exists on a raised platform, the magnificent views of the lodge create an ease to the kibale forest national park, they go an extra mile to ensure guest satisfaction, while at the lodge there are splendid views of the tea and coffee plantations of the neighboring communities the seven cottages of the wonderful isunga are dotted uphill enabling views of the crater lakes as well, it takes 20 minutes’ drive from Isunga to the chimpanzee tracking point kanyanchu.

Primate lodge is a luxury facility in kibale forest national park its unique set up is tucked inside the forest near the starting point of the chimpanzee tracking and habituation process, its nine spacious rooms are fitted well with an en-suite bathroom, the main lodge is lovely with a best restaurant serving delicious foods for guest that come to the national park.

Kibale forest national park has several many more accommodation facilities this implies that there is a place to stay in the forest outside home to the best of standard, the 795 square kilometer national park is located 320 kilometers approximately 5 hours’ drive from Kampala the capital of Uganda , the accommodation facilities are best situated ranginging from luxury to best budget, the park can be  visited all year round and it is possible to do some tourism activities in fort portal 36 kilometers from the park while staying in the park, it is best to visit in the dry months of December to February, June –mid-september in this time the forest is a little dry it’s a tropical rain forests so it can rain anytime.

BEST TIME TO VISIT KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

Kibale forest national park is a number one destination of primates in Uganda, it is popularly known as a capital of primates in Uganda and the whole of Africa, 13 species live within the national park, many chimpanzees live in the national park they are a primary attraction alongside other species like the l’hoest monkey, red tailed monkey, patas monkey, black and white colobus monkey, olive baboons, nocturnal like pottos and bush babies. The parks varied altitude supports different kinds of habitats ranging from forests, seasonal and permanent swamps, grasses, savannah woodlands and craters. Mammals for example elephants, buffaloes, forest hogs, antelopes do exist in the national park although they are rarely seen and shy.

The national park is open for wildlife viewing all throughout the year but best during the dry months of December – January, June- mid september, these are the driest months of the year and activities like chimpanzee tracking are best done during this season because tracks are less slippery and easier to climb, hikes and nature walks are excellent in the months mentioned. They are a peak time for people coming into the park and therefore if intention is to travel in the months it’s advisable to buy chimpanzee permits before your arrival time to avoid missing out. Kibale forest national park is one of the last remaining patches of the tropical rain forest, the dry season may not be dry all throughout it could rain on some days.

The wet seasons a little tricky but best times when the park is at blossom, it’s a season of many birds and butterflies the park depicts its perfect name the tropical rain forest and the ever green color, these months lie in march- May, October –November it is possible to experience some sunny days during the time, the park best time to go birding is during this time however chimpanzee tracking is difficult due to the wet and slippery ground. The national park lies at an altitude of 1590m high above sea level and 1100m lowest to the south along the Albertine floor.

Kibale forest national park receives an about 1700mm wettest in the northern part, temperatures a high and low rain fall in the south, during the wet season, many roads are slippery and challenging to use, it is advisable to use a 4*4-wheel car, carry warm clothes, boots for hikes, insect repellants, sunscreen, long sleeved shirts and trousers for safety measures and any other personal material needed for travel. It should also be noted that to access Uganda as a country one must be Vaccinated against yellow fever, to avoid unnecessary disturbances please come along with the card.

The forest inter connects with the southern animal corridor of queen Elizabeth national park the Ishasha sector well known for the tree climbing lions, there are several activities to do while in Kibale these include, crater hikes, hiking and nature walks, nocturnal walks, chimpanzee tracking, chimpanzee habituation, Bigodi swamp walk in Magombe, bird watching among many activities.

The park covers 795 square kilometers lying in the districts of Kabarole and Kawenge with the largest forest cover, it is approximately 5 hours’ drive from Kampala the capital city off Uganda, it is among the oldest remaining patches of tropical rain forest interposed with grasses forming a high forest canopy with trees rising up to 55m high. There is available accommodation lodges within and outside the park ranging from luxury to best budget.

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