Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park is the collection of thick rain tropical forests. That accommodate a greatest number of primate species naming the park “World’s capital of primates.” The park is the biggest rain tropical forest park in Uganda covering an area of 795sq/km. It harbors a great number of species with the chimpanzees being the prime.
Rightly, Kibale Forest National Park is disposed in the western from Kampala capital about 308km. It’s close to the beautiful and Pearl’s cleanest city of Fort Portal.
Kibale Forest National Park is the overall best destination to trek chimpanzees in Africa. The park houses about 1500 chimpanzees. Chimpanzees here for trekking are fully habituated. To ensure that trackers have an unlimited close-up encounter while in the jungle. Chimpanzees undergo the habituation process which is aimed at training them to get used to human presence. The primates are known to be shy and at human appearance may shy away.
Kibale Forest National Park besides Chimpanzees is home several primates. Among which include; red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys black and white colobus, baboons, L’Hoest monkeys, bush babies among others. It’s a birder’s haven with about 350 bird species. Larger mammals like the forest elephants, buffalos, sitatungas, bushbucks and leopards among many animals are residents in this dense natural forest. It’s also a center point for flora researchers with variety of plant species.
Things to do at Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park is an adorable tourist destination to track chimpanzees in Uganda, East Africa and Africa at large. Chimpanzee here are fully habituated and should always expect a close up encounter. Whenever tracking. Uganda is estimated to have about 3000 chimpanzee population. And Kibale National Park shares almost a half of the population to about 1500 chimpanzees that are counted here.
Your Chimpanzee tracking day starts at 7:30am EAST at Kanyacu starting point where trackers are first briefed through the tracking etiquettes. The armed ranger guide takes a leads into the jungle to start searching for the apes. Which can last between 30 minutes to 3 hours before finding them and on fining the species. Then you have an hour in their presence.
At Kibale, every day there are two tracking sessions, the first one starts at 8am i.e. the morning session and the afternoon session comes at 2pm. There also two tracking experience one being the ordinary chimpanzee tracking which is also done to other forests like Bugondo forest, Kyambura gorge and Toro Semuliki game reserve. And Chimpanzee habituation, this experience is only available in Uganda and only at Kibale Forest National Park. Where a group of 4 trackers can meet the chimpanzees and stay with them for almost four hours.
Chimpanzee tracking is a bit cheaper compared to gorilla tracking. The ordinary chimpanzee tracking costs $200, and habituation costs $250 according on the working tariff 2022-2023.
Kibale Forest National Park harbors the highest number of primate species in the world. With about 13 species that names it the world’s primate capital. Mainly a nature walk to Bigodi wetland sanctuary is capitalized to ensure that rewards with the view of almost all the primate here.
Among the primate encounter in the forest include the rare L’Hoest monkey and the red colobus monkey, the olive baboons, grey cheeked mangebay, bush babies, white and black tailed colobus, pottos, patas monkeys among others. On a single track may be able to encounter more than five species.
The wetland is just 6km from kanyacu park headquarters and a visit to the wetland cost USD $40. Though the park has about 1500 chimpanzee. But it’s a big luck to encounter chimpanzees on the nature walk. However it’s wider opening of viewing several of the primate residents of this forest.
Kibale Forest national park one of the very rewarding bird watching destinations. Finding more than 100 bird species on a single track with an experience birders guide. The forest inhabits about 470 bird species. Nature walk in the Bigodi sanctuary visit rewards the best bird watching view in Kbale national park. Some of the bird species for instance African Pitta, Green-breasted Pitta, Afep Pigeon, White-naped Pigeon, Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, Black Bee-eater, Western Nicator, Yellow-rumped Tinker bird, Little Greenbul, Brown-chested Alethe, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, African Grey Parrot, Brown Illadopsis, Black-capped Apalis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Yellow Spotted Nicator, Little Green Bul, Black-eared Ground Thrush and the Abyssinian.
Nature walks comes along with variety of sights, it’s done along the Makerere research center, in Kanyacu or even at Bigodi swamp. Nature walk in Kibale National Park take several walking trails for various eye catching selection among which are several bird species, forest mammals, primates, barter flies several interesting plants. Along a nature walk eyes and ears are kept open for any encounters.
Meanwhile, Bigodi community has statured a demonstration village for sustainable conservation, the bigodi women’s center helps women to use some of the materials from the swamp and make crafts which they sale and earn a living. At the center there is almost local community demonstrations through local foods which are served to visitors. Can visit some schools and also do some donation and charity activities are some of the engagements on a visit to Bigodi community.