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With an estimated 5,000 chimpanzees, Kibale National Park has the largest chimpanzee clan in East Africa. PHOTO/UWA

Kibale National Park is home to 325 bird species, including all six native birds of the Albertine Rift. Here are a few that might spark your interest and get you thinking about your next visit.

Kibale National Park in Uganda is situated between 1,590 and 1,100 metres above sea level in the western section of the country, near the Ndali Kasenda crater, along the East African Rift Valley. 

Due to its great biodiversity, Kibale National Park was classified as a forest reserve in 1932 before being designated as a game park in the 1990s. The park has become Uganda’s and, to a large extent, East Africa’s biggest primate capital. 

Pre-montane forest, which is found nowhere else in East Africa, is among the various tree species (over 350) that spread throughout the broad plains and plateaus.

The park is also filled with montane and lowland woods that are home to endangered species including Entandrophragma and Cordia millenii.

The tall trees, which stand at an average height of 55 metres, provide over 1700mm of yearly rainfall, allowing the dense ferns, herbs, and grasses to thrive.

visit to Kibale National Park will give you the opportunity to see 325 bird species, which include all six native birds to the Albertine Rift. Here are a few that might pique your interest.

Chimpanzee trekking and primate spotting

visit kibale national park
It is estimated there are 5,000 chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, making it one of the largest in East Africa. PHOTO/UWA

Kibale National Park is undoubtedly the greatest area to go primate-watching. Although the park lacks gorillas, it boasts more primate species than any other park in East Africa. 

Chimpanzees are a threatened species that are unique in that they share over 95% of their DNA with humans. Kibale National Park boasts the largest chimpanzee clans in East Africa, with an estimated 5,000 individuals. 

Chimpanzees can be found in other East African parks, but the odds of spotting one in Kibale Forest are small.

The magnificent collection of monkeys in Kibale Forest National Park makes a primate safari even more special. 

L’Hoest Monkeys, the endangered Red Colobus, Grey Cheeked Mangabeys, Red-tailed Monkeys, Bush Baby, Blue Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Black and White Colobus may all be found in Kibale Forest. 

Primate fans can expect a complete African safari without travelling a long distance because the park is near to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Kibale National Park’s Vegetation Areas

Kibale’s diverse vegetation provides a variety of wildlife habitats, ranging from the wet tropical forest along the Fort Portal plateau to dry tropical forest, woodland, and savanna along with the rift valley level. 

The vegetation reaches a height of more than 55 metres, forming a semi-closed canopy of gigantic layered tree crowns. Ferns, shrubs, and broad-leaved forest grasses make up the undergrowth.

People and culture

Those interested in learning about the culture of the area can participate in a variety of local events. 

You can meet the native Batooro people as well as the Bakiga immigrants (from Uganda’s highly populated southwestern region) who live around this area if you go with a local guide. 

The Batoro are a proud people who have a long history, culture, and history, as well as a King known as the Omukama. 

The Bakiga are recognised for being hardworking people who rely on subsistence cultivation of a variety of local delicacies, including the famed Matoke (bananas). 

Visiting a local family or an established cultural centre to learn about the local dances, language, food, and ancient stories is one of the greatest ways to experience African culture.

Birding

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In the park, you will find 325 species of birds, including all six of the native birds found in the Albertine Rift. PHOTO/UWA

The park is home to 325 different bird species, including all the six native birds to the Albertine Rift. 

Other bird species in this sanctuary include Green-breasted pitta, African pitta, Blue Breasted Kingfisher, black-eared ground thrush, brown chested alethe, black bee-eater, Abyssinian ground thrush, yellow spotted nicator and small greenbul.

Besides birds and primates, Kibale National Park is home to 14 snake species, 27 frog species, more than 200 butterfly species, and over 20 species of reptiles. 

Leopards, hippopotamus, bushbuck antelopes, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, elephants, forest buffaloes, red/blue duikers, sitatungas semi-aquatic antelopes, warthogs, and occasionally spotted hyenas are among the nearly 70 mammal species found in Kibale National Park. 

Amphibians, reptiles, and a variety of colourful butterflies may also be seen by observant observers.

Tours of Kibale’s Cultural Sites

During the Kibale Cultural Tours, there is an opportunity to visit a traditional hamlet to learn about the Batoro’s traditional way of life, as well as the local church, primary school, and traditional healer. 

The Bakiga also perform exciting traditional dances and melodies for you.

Nature walks & hikes

Taking a stroll through the enormous forest is a fantastic way to discover and marvel at the park’s and neighbouring landscapes’ incredible biodiversity, which includes a visit to the Amabere caves. 

Sebitoli or Kanyanchu can be used as beginning sites. Regardless of where you begin your walk in the park, you will be greeted by a spectacular display of tropical woods, grasslands, wetlands, and rivers. 

A trip through Nyaibanda, Nyakalongo, and Kikoni villages would be ideal for those interested in seeing how the locals go about their everyday lives and work in the gardens. 

Night hikes are also available to witness nocturnal wildlife such as bushbabies and other unique birds that only fly at night.

Tour of the Crater Lakes

More than 50 different crater lakes may be discovered in the Kasenda area of Fort Portal, which is surrounded by steep-sided volcanoes. 

A visit to this gorgeous location will allow you to appreciate the area’s unique landscape.

Bigodi wetlands and bird sanctuary

The park’s Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary can be visited through a dedicated nature route. 

This is one of the best spots in East Africa for bird watching and primate viewing, bringing hundreds of people each year. 

Over 310 bird species can be seen on a three-hour walk through the Bigodi wetland. Expect to observe at least 5 different primates as you travel through the palm palms and various vegetation.

Children’s Activities 

Professionally qualified rangers, guides, and drivers guarantee that both children and adults have a good time while on safari in Kibale National Park. 

Children under the age of 13 are not permitted to go chimp trekking, and their parents frequently leave them at home while on a monkey safari in Kibale National Park. 

Batik making, photography, and pond dipping are among the various activities available to children.

Accommodation at Kibale National Park

The park’s Kanyanchu, Ndali, Nkingo, and Bigodi regions contain the majority of the lodges and motels. Some are low-cost, some are mid-range, and yet others are high-end.

Luxurious accommodation facilities include Primate Lodge Kibale and Kibale Forest Camp. Mid-range lodges include Chimps’ Nest Uganda and Nyinabulitwa Country Resort.

Last but not least, for an all-inclusive tour experience in Uganda, view our guide to Murchison Falls National ParkLake Mburo National Park and Semuliki National Park.