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Kibale Forest National Park: Why is it Referred to as the Primates Capital of the world?
Kibale Forest National Park is situated in western in Uganda and surrounded by districts of Kamwenge, Kabarole and Kibale. It covers an area of 795sq.kms and its establishment in 1993 was to inhabit about 13 distinct primate species including over 1500 chimpanzees, L’Hoest monkeys, blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, grey cheeked mangabeys, black and white colobus monkeys.
The forest also has several other natural wonders including buffaloes, forest elephants, bush pigs; 350 bird species including the African green breasted pitta the most looked for bird in Kibale National Park, bee-eaters, black eared ground thrush, little greenbuls, yellow rumped tinkerbird, red faced woodland warbler to mention but a few.
Kibale National Park is largely a tropical rainforest but also consists of some patches of grassland, swamps and others. It boasts of its diverse ecosystem and in addition to diverse primate species, this park also prides itself as a home to over 14 snake species, 27 frog species, 20 reptiles, 200 butterfly species most of which have not been explored.
Activities to do in Kibale Forest National Park
Chimpanzee tracking also known as Chimp Trekkin
Chimpanzee tracking is a prime safari experience offered in Kibale Forest National Park. Treks to see chimpanzees in Kibale National Park start at Kanyanchu Visitor Center with briefing on the set guidelines for chimpanzee tracking and you will be put in a group of 6 visitors and assigned to a park ranger guide.
With over 5000 chimpanzees that still thrive in Uganda, over 1500 of them are all confined in the jungles of Kibale National Park making it a home to highest number of chimpanzees.
While on chimpanzee trek, you also have a chance to come across other primate species including the black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, L’Hoest monkeys, olive baboons, vervet monkeys as well as several forest bird species.
To track chimpanzees at Kibale National Park, you need $150 to secure a permit. However, from 1st July, 2020, the rates for chimpanzee permits in Kibale National Park will cost $200 per person.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is by far an exceptional primate experience you shouldn’t miss to take part while on safari in Kibale National Park. It involves a whole day of following chimpanzees in order to make them get used to human presence before they are finally set for chimpanzee tracking. Usually, it is conducted by scientists, researchers, conservationists and trackers.
Bird Watching (Birding)
With over 350 bird species, Kibale Forest National Park features among a few significant bird watching sites in Uganda. A bird watching safari tour in this park rewards birders with astonishing bird sights at the African green breasted pitta, and papyrus Gonolek.
Kibale forest also has other bird species such as the western green ticker bird, African grey parrot and endemic ground thrush, the white winged warbler, white collared Olive back, papyrus canary, black bee-eater, yellow spotted nicator, yellow romped tinkerbird, Abyssinian ground thrush, crowned eagle, brown chested alethe, purple breasted sunbird, red faced woodland warbler, black capped apalis, blue headed sunbird and others.
You as well take part in guided nature walks while on safari in Kibale National Park. A guided nature walk in Kibale Forest National Park takes you through its distinct habitats with a chance to spot out several of the bird species, tree species and plants.
Where to stay in Kibale Forest National Park? Accommodations in Kibale forest
Visitors on safari in Kibale National Park can spend a night in Kibale forest camp, primate lodge, Kyaninga lodge, Ndali lodge, Kibale Guest Cottages, Chimps Nest, Kibale Safari Lodge and others.
Best time to visit Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park is best to visit during the dry months of the year that is from June to September and December to February.
This is ideal for chimpanzee tracking and in case you are interested in bird watching, the wet/rainy season is ideal and starts from March to May and from October to November.
Getting to Kibale Forest National Park
You can reach Kibale Forest National Park either by road or by air. By road, you need 5 hours to drive to Kibale National Park from Kampala via Mityana-Mubende-Fort Portal route.
Alternatively, you can drive from Entebbe or Kampala-Mbarara-Kamwenge with a chance to make a stopover at the Equator in Mpigi. Or fly from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi and land into Nyakisharara airstrip in Mbarara or Kasese airstrip drive to Kibale National Park which is about 3-4 hours’ drive.