Kibale National Park is among the best rewarding destinations in Uganda to explore. Endowed with varied and rich landscapes of rainforest, swamp, and patches of savanna interposed beautifully to create an amazing tourism destination. The park is found in western Uganda close to the Fort portal the tourism city of Uganda which hints at the great potential this area possesses.
Kibale national park protects one of the few surviving places to both montane and lowland forests. This has blessed the park with varied biodiversity and its 766 square kilometers is a refuge to over 70 mammal species with 13 primate species headed by the chimpanzees. This feat has earned the park to be named "the primate capital of East Africa".
The park has a lot of exciting activities but none is more popular than the celebrated chimpanzee trekking. This activity has gained popularity since it was started in 1993. The exciting event takes you through the heart of the forest to track man's closest relatives the chimps. These share over 98% of our DNA and can be witnessed in their social setting, caring for each other, playing, and using signs plus vocals to communicate.
Some chimps have learned to use tools like humans for example cracking nuts between stones, sticking twigs into anthills to draw the termites among others. An encounter with these curious, playful, and loud apes will draw permanent memories to remember for a long time. Several other primate species can be met while on the Kanyanchu Primate Walk. These are but not limited to Uganda mangabeys, red colobus monkey, L'Hoest's monkey and black-and-white colobus monkeys.
Chimpanzee trekking experience usually starts at 08:00am, 11:00am and the last one at 2:00pm. It starts with a briefing at the Kanyanchu Visitor Centre about the guidelines to follow while tracking from; not littering the forest, not feeding any park animals, nonoise among others. Chimp walk lasts forabout 2 to 5 hours depending on how far into the forest these chimpanzees have roamed from yesterday's nest. Guests are guaranteed over 90 percent of meeting these amazing creatures and once you meet them you are granted one exciting hour with them. After you return to your lodge for either lunch or rest based on what time you started your experience.
The habituation experience offers visitors closer experience with the chimpanzees by joining researchers on their daily mission to learn more about these fascinating creatures in the forest. Chimpanzee groups encountered are not fully used to human presence unlike their peers spotted during the primate walk.
Chimpanzee habituation is a challenging but rewarding experience, knowing you helped the process of future guests meeting these chimps easier and exciting by accustoming them with human presence.
The park on top of being the primate capital of East Africa is a great birding site with more than 10 popular individuals of the 326 species that call Kibale forest home. These range from the western tinker bird, African and Green-breasted pittas, olive long-tailed cuckoo and grey parrot.
Kibale national park is a proud haven for the endemic ground thrush in the region. Most birding activities are done early in the morning hours or late evening when birds are more active and can easily be spotted flying around the forest.
There are two cultures that are found at the edge of Kibale national park and these include the Batooro and Bakiga. You can experience traditional dances, taste the meals, visit super natural traditional healer, and engage in story telling sessions while in Kibale national park and these are done during Isunga community tour - a community tourism initiative at the edge of Kibale national park.
Kibale national park harbors a number of other mammals including African buffalo, blue duikers, Sitatunga, common warthogs, bushpigs, giant forest hogs, and bushbucks. A handful of carnivores roam the park with leopards leading the list, in addition to serval and African golden cats. In addition, elephants and lions come to the park through the corridor that joins Kibale and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Visitors can freely visit the park throughout the whole year though it's advisable to plan a trip in the peak season or dry season in the months of June to October. These offer better safari experiences by offering easier trekking on the trails, fewer chances of rain while in the forest and thinner vegetation allows guests to have better views of other wildlife in the park, such as theSitatunga.
Bird lovers are better suited for the rainy season of March to May when there are abundant migratory birds roaming the park from their original homes for different reasons like running from colder conditions.
Kibale national park is an incredible tourism destination worth visiting. From the evergreen rainforest to fascinating chimps, rare bird species, and wildlife, leaves one in awe. Visit the primate capital of East Africa to create your own personal experiences in this amazing park.