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Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park, Kibale National Park accommodates one of the loveliest primates “Chimpanzees” in additions to holding the lion’s share of the varied tracts of Uganda’s tropical forest cover interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp.

The approximately 795-sq-km national Park is a lush tropical rainforest, believed to have the highest density of primates in Africa. It’s most famous for being one of the best places in the world to track wild chimpanzees. It’s home to 13 primate species, with the rare red colobus and L’Hoest monkeys the other highlights. If you can’t afford the lavish cost of mountain-gorilla tracking, then visiting one of the habituated groups of chimpanzees here is a worthy substitute, not to mention a far less financially draining one.

Kibale Forest National Park

The park accommodates a total of 70 Larger but rarely seen mammal species residents including bushbucks, sitatungas, buffaloes, leopards and quite a few forest elephants. There are also an incredible 250 species of butterflies and 372 species of bird here. The park visitor centre is at Kanyanchu in Kibale district, 35km southeast of Fort Portal.

Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180km-long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park. The Kibale-Fort Portal area is one of Uganda’s most rewarding destinations to explore. The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and within half a day’s drive of the Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks, as well as the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.

Activities – Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest is the best premier Primate Destination in all of East Africa habituating 13 Primate Species including almost 1,500 Chimpanzees. Offering the best primate experience in East Africa.

Kibale Forest national park offers beyond just Chimpanzee trekking with activities including; hiking, biking, Crater Lake Hikes, Caving, Cultural visits, not forget the prominent Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary-one of the few Jungle Swamps in East Africa harboring Primates, Birds, and Mammals living together in harmony. Some of these activities have detailed explanations below in the next slides.

Chimpanzee Trekking / Habituation

Kibale’s most popular activity is the Kanyanchu Primate Walk. Thirteen species can be sought, and a good variety of diurnal monkeys invariably encountered, but the stars of this twice-daily show are chimpanzees with Morning and Afternoon sessions tracked as far as since 1993 and the chances of locating them are excellent. Kanyanchu’s groups are accustomed to human presence as some have been observed for over 25 years. Walks depart Kanyanchu Visitor Centre at 08.00, 11.00 and 14.00 and last between 2-5 hours.

1 hour is spent with the Chimps after meeting them during chimp trekking from 8-11 Am and from 2 Pm whereas you can spend the whole day with chimps during the habituation activity from 6 Am – 7 Pm. The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience avails visitors with the opportunity to accompany researchers and habituators into the forest. The chimpanzee groups involved are less accustomed to human presence than those visited on the Primate Walk while following and viewing them is both exciting and challenging. Early visitors can watch chimps leaving their overnight nests between 6:00 – 6:30am before feeding, copulating, hunting, breastfeeding, resting, patrolling and displaying until it is time to build new nests around 7pm.


Bird watching tours start at 7am at Kanyanchu; Rare species include the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, White-collared Oliveback and Papyrus Canary. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located just outside the park, is home to 138 bird species which may be seen during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms. These could include the White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Superb Sunbird, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black Bishop, White-breasted Negrofinch and Black-crowned Waxbill among others.

Hikes and Nature walks – Kibale Forest National Park

As chimpanzees and other forest residents rest up at dusk, a nighttime shift of rarely seen creatures becomes active. Night walks though the darkened forest use powerful torches to seek nocturnal creatures such as the potto, bush baby, nightjar, cricket and tree hyrax, with its chilling shriek, as well as the occasional civet or serval cat. Night walks leave the camp at 7.30pm and last between one and a half and two hours.

Cultural Encounters

Join a local guide on a walk through the Bigodi wetland to enjoy the local wildlife, birds and vegetation. The daily life of the Batooro can be discovered during village walks, including stops at the village’s primary school, church and traditional healer. During the nature walk, a local guide will take you along the boardwalk through the Magombe swamp wetlands. You are likely to see wildlife at close-hand, including several of the 200 species of birds, eight varieties of primates and numerous butterflies, along with unusual swamp vegetation.

The daily life of the Batooro can be discovered during the village walks. The tour stops by the village’s primary school, church, and traditional healer. You will learn about the role of women in the village and traditional ceremonies, and the history of Bigodi is told through the story of the “Village of Two Tribes”, describing when the indigenous Batooro were joined by migrating Bakiga from southwestern Uganda in the 1950s. Income from this activity is invested in education, health, sanitation and improving the livelihood of local residents. It is also used to help raise awareness of the value of biodiversity through music, dance, and drama performances at local schools. In 2010, KAFRED they won the prestigious UNDP’s Equator Initiative Award.

Amabere Caves – Kibale Forest National Park

The Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru Caves and the three surrounding Explosion Crater Lakes make it a most interesting day adventure and can be done while staying in Fort Portal or Kibale Forest. A side-trip to the Amabere Caves and the three nearby Crater Lakes will be a time of hiking, learning about the local culture and legends, plus a hike around three crater lakes.

Getting There – Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale National Park lies 32km southeast of Fort Portal town in western Uganda. Kanyanchu River Camp, the visitor center for tourism activities, can be reached either from the north of Kampala via Mubende and Fort Portal which is the is shortest and quickest, with a 290km tarmac road running to Fort Portal followed by 32km on gravel to Kanyanchu, or the south through Mbarara and Kamwenge.Sebitoli Forest Camp, a secondary tourism center, is even easier to reach. This stands directly on the Kampala road, 12km before Fort Portal. A stop at the Ndali-Kasenda crater area offers a panoramic view of the tea estates and Kibale Forest in the eastern direction, the Rwenzori in the western direction and Lake George as well as the Rift Valley plains in the southern.

Accommodation – Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale national park enjoys a variety of lodging choices ranging from Luxury, Midrange to budget plans. Some of these include; Kyaninga Lodge, Ndali Lodge, Crater Safari Lodge Primate lodge (Luxury), Turaco treetops lodge, Isunga lodge, Chimpanzee guest house, Kibale guest house, Rwetera safari camp, Kibale safari lodge (Midrange) Kyaninga royal cottages, Kibale Forest Camp, Kibale Guest Cottages, Ecolodge Uganda (Budget plan).