Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park in Uganda is one of the loveliest national parks in the East African country. The national park is situated in the western region of the country, in the Kabarole district. It is home to over 375 bird species, 70 species of mammals and 13 species of primates, including chimpanzees for which the park is famous.

Kibale National Park
Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale National Park

This Uganda national park is one of Africa’s bioresearch destinations, all thanks to its rich bio-diversity. Kibale national park was first established in 1993 as a forest reserve and later gazetted as a national park in 1932. The national park is mostly comprised of a large, tropical rain forest, woodland, and savanna on the rift valley floor.

Kibale forest is 766km² in size and is situated at an altitude between 1,100 meters to 1,600 meters above sea level. The highest part of the national park stands at 1,590 meters above sea level, and the lowest part of the park stands at 1,100 metres on the Albertine Rift Valley leading to the southern part of the national park.

The park lies within close proximity to the Ndali-Kasenda crater region and within half a day’s drive from or to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks in Uganda. This national park has one of the largest concentrations of primates, including the endangered species of chimpanzees. 

Attractions within and outside Kibale

  • Wildlife Species: Kibale national park is home to a wide variety of wildlife animals such as; forest elephants, bushbucks, Sitatunga, buffaloes, duikers and primate species like chimpanzees, olive baboons, L’Hoest monkeys, Colobus monkeys, and vervet monkeys among others.
  • Bird species: There are over 375 species of birds living with the forests in Kibale National Park. This makes the national park a great destination for birding activities. tourists visiting the national park can sight a couple of bird species like; the blue-headed sunbird, black bee eater, purple breasted sunbird, African pitta and the yellow-billed barbet to mention but a few. 
  • Crater lakes: Kibale has over 15 crater lakes that tourists can visit. The crater lakes offer visitors wonderful sights and they mark on of the highlights of any hiking activity in the national park.
  • Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru: This a popular site visited by tourist heading to Kibale. It consists of rocks and caves which are attached to local folk tales. A visit to Amabere ga Nyina Mwiru offers visitors with stunning and dazzling sights of waterfalls, caves and tea plantations among others.
  • Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary: This sanctuary is located close to Kibale National Park and is managed by KAFRED (Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development), an NGO which started operating in the area in 1992. A sanctuary is a good place for visitors to carry out bird watching activities; with visitors having high chances of spotting the rare Shoebill Stork.
  • Kihingami Wetland: Tourists visiting Kibale National Park can also pay a short visit to the Kihingami Wetland located near Sebitoli, in the northern part of the national park. Here, visitors can embark on birding expeditions in its swamp and also see tea plantations, bushbucks, monkey species like the black and white colobus monkeys, red colobus monkeys and the red-tailed monkeys among others.

Activities Done in Kibale National Park.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience: One of the highlights of any visit to Kibale National Park is the Chimpanzee habituation Experience. Tourists visiting the national park can track its habituated chimpanzees, and the activity can take about 6 hours. All chimpanzee habituation/ tracking activities in the park begin from Kanyanchu Visitor Center.

Visitors can opt to do either a half-day or full-day of chimpanzee habituation. Chimpanzee habituation experience commences at 6 am every morning and end at 7pm in the evening, when the chimps have are returning to their nests.

Permits for chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale costs USD 200 dollars for a full day and USD 100 dollars for half-day habituation activities. This price cuts across for both foreign residents and foreign non-residents in Uganda.

Bird Watching: Birding activities in Kibale national park begin at 7am every day at Kanyanchu visitor Centre. Bird species that tourists can see in the park include; White-winged Warbler, White-collared Olive back, the Yellow-spotted Barbet and the Black-crowned Waxbill among others. Bird watching activities in the national park cost USD 30 dollars per person.

Hiking and Nature Walk: Kibale National Park makes an ideal spot for hiking activities and guided nature walks. Visitors can explore the beauty of the park as well as its diverse species of wildlife, flora, and fauna. Tourists who wish to go on a guided nature walk at night, stand the chance to see nocturnal animals like; the nightjar, crickets, tree hyrax and bushbaby among others. Guided night walks in the park begin at 7:30pm and take between 1-2 hours. Night nature walks cost USD 40 per person, and day nature walks cost USD30 dollars.

Cultural/ Community Visits: there are two ethnic tribes that dominate in Kibale National Park, and these are the Batooro and the Bakiga. Tourists visiting the national park can embark on a cultural tour to explore the rich cultural and historical heritage of these two tribes. Visitors can travel to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, where you can have the opportunity to visit KAFRED; a community based organization that promotes eco-tourism in the Bigodi swamp area. While here, visitors can embark on birding activities and visit some of the villages in the area, as well as tour tea plantations nearby.

Kibale National Park
Chimpanzee in Kibale National Park

Accommodation in Kibale National Park.

Visitors looking for accommodation in Kibale National Park need not to worry. There are quite a number of lodging facilities available, and these include; Primate Lodge, Kibale Forest Lodge, Crater Safari Lodge, Kanyanchu River Camp, Sebitoli Camping Ground, Chimps’ Nest, Kibale Forest Camp, and Mantana Tented Camp among others.

How to get to Kibale National Park in Uganda.

Tourist will have to travel about 308km from Kampala City to get to the Park. This journey will take you about 4-5 hours of driving on the road.

Kibale National Park is a MUST visit destination in Uganda and the top destination for Chimpanzee tracking and habituation activities in the country. Do contact us for any inquiries you may have and book a chimpanzee trekking safari with us, and get to experience the best that this primate capital has to offer.

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