ABOUT KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
Kibale National Park is located in Kabarole District in western Uganda, a land blessed with a strong cultural heritage. It was gazetted in 1932. Two major tribes, the Batooro and Bakiga inhabit the area around the park. They use the park for food, fuel and other resources with the help of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The park spans 766 square kilometers in size and ranges between 1,100 meters and 1,600 meters in elevation. Kibale National Park, formerly known as Kibale Forest National Park is the best place for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda. It is home to a large number of endangered chimpanzees as well as the red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey. Kibale is one of the last remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests. In eastern Africa, it sustains the last significant expanse of pre-montane forest.
Kibale supports a range of habitats over different altitude zones. The tropical forest on the Fort Portal plateau changes to savannah in the Albertine Valley floor in the south. The forest has suffered less from logging in the past compared to some other forests in Uganda and is therefore still relatively pristine and home to some very big mahoganies, figs and other hardwoods. There are approximately 229 species of trees found within the moist tropical forests of the park. Some endangered timber species of trees include Cordia millenii, Entandrophragma angolense, and Lovoa swynnertonnii.
CLIMATE IN KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
The climate is usually pleasant with an average annual temperature range of 14C to 27C. The southern part of the park experiences the maximum temperatures and lower amounts of rains where the terrain drops onto the hot rift valley floor and forest provides way to open grassland. The Park is accessible throughout the year.
WILDLIFE AND BIRDS OF KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
There are 13 species of primates in Kibale National Park. The park protects several well-studied habituated communities of common chimpanzees as well as several species of Central African monkey including the Uganda Mangabey, the Ugandan red colobus and the L’Hoest’s monkey. Other primates that live in the park include the black-and-white colobus Monkeys and the blue monkey. The park’s population of elephants travels between the park and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Other terrestrial mammals that are found within Kibale National Park include red and blue duikers, Bushbucks, sitatungas, Bushpig, giant forest hogs, common Warthogs, and African Buffalo. The carnivores that are present include Leopards, African golden cats, Servals, different Mongooses and two species of Otter. In addition, Lions visit the park occasionally.
Bird life in Kibale national park is also prolific. It boasts 325 species of birds, including the Olive long-tailed Cuckoo, Western Tinkerbird, two species of Pittas (African and green-breasted), the Grey parrot and Ground thrush which is endemic to Kibale National Park.
ACTIVITIES IN KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
- Hiking – Nature Walks and Hiking in Kibale Park are a part of the activities that a traveler can engage in while on Safari. Hiking tours offers you an opportunity to discover the park’s assorted habitats such as river line forest, swamp, grassland and tropical rainforest.
- Bird Watching – Birding in Kibale is one of the top activities that travelers love to do when they visit the park. The park boasts 325 species of birds including Ground thrush which is endemic to Kibale National Park.
- Chimpanzee Tracking – The Park is arguably the best place for tracking chimpanzees in the world. Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale starts at 8am with a briefing from the rangers at the visitor’s center in Kanyanchu. The briefing covers important aspects of the activity like what to expect, length of the activity and how to act around the primates.
- Primates walk – Apart from chimpanzees, Kibale is home to 12 other smaller primates. The park is often referred to as the primate’s capital of the world because of the sheer variety and concentration of primates.
- Chimpanzee habituation – This is more like Chimpanzee Trekking but in this case, tourists get to spend more. They spend up to more than 6 hours unlike the normal one hour of Chimpanzee tracking. The chimpanzee permits for habituation are more expensive compared to the trekking permits.
- Cultural Encounters – The area in which Kibale national park is located is mainly inhabited by majorly two tribes which are the Batooro and Bakiga. The Batooro and Bakiga are two different tribes with diverse cultures with unique ways, beliefs, and other cultural aspects. You will be able to engage with them and learn their ways of life.
- Primates – Primates are very common in Kibale National Forest. The forest has some of the highest abundances of species of primates in the area. These species persist in the less disturbed areas of the forest in their natural habitats.
- Wildlife species – Kibale national park is not only a home to primates, the park is also home to other wildlife species which habit in the thick forests featured around the park. They include elephants, golden cats, leopards, lions, serval cat, buffaloes, peter’s and Harvey’s duiker. You will occasionally see Lions migrating from Queen Elizabeth national park which is adjacent to Kibale national park.
- Birds – The park is home to about 375 attractive colorful species including Ground Thrush bird species which are endemic to Kibale national park. The park generally harbors forested bird species and migratory bird species which occasionally migrate from Queen Elizabeth national park and other neighboring areas.
- Culture – Kibale national park is surrounded by settlements of two local groups i.e. Bakiga and Batooro. These communities offer numerous authentic African cultural activities like local dances and songs, local hand-made crafts through their association in the names of Kibale association of rural environment development.
- Spectacular vegetation – Kibale is one of the last remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests. In eastern Africa, it sustains the last significant expanse of pre-montane forest.
- Butterflies – The park is a home to approximately 250 colorful butterfly species.
ACCOMMODATION IN KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
The park features a wide range of accommodation facilities both inside and outside park. The accommodation ranges from Budget to luxury. They include primate lodge Kibale, Kanyanchu river camp, and Sebitoli camping ground. Also crater valley Kibale lakeside resort, Lake Nkuruba nature reserve, Kibale forest camp and Mantana tented camp among others.