With lush tropical rain forest and a fascinating diversity of animals, Kibale Forest National Park is home to one of the most beautiful and stunning natural forests in Uganda. Being home to vast species of primates, Kibale Forest National Park is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Uganda and especially popular for Chimpanzee tracking tours, where tourists get to encounter large numbers of chimpanzees in there natural habitat.

Kibale Forest National Park
Chimpanzee Tracking is the main tourist activity in Kibale Forest National Park.

Kibale Forest National Park Tour Activities

The Kanyanchu Tourist Center is where all activities begin. The friendly and experienced ranger guides will share their knowledge on forest species with you. Some 12 primate species, elephants, butterflies, reptiles, amphibians, trees, medicinal plants, and of course, habituated chimpanzee’s are to be found here.

Primate Walk

This activity starts from the camp at 8.00a.m and last for 2-4 hours. The activity is very popular with visitors highlighting the diversity of primates within the forest. Although it is not guaranteed, the chances of viewing the Chimps are in your favor (over 90%). This walk is restricted to four groups of four individuals. Both morning and afternoon sessions are conducted.

Forest Hike

This is a seasonal 12 km hike that is restricted to the dry season (mid-Nov to Feb ad June to Sept). It highlights the diverse habitats of the park including tropical rain forest, riverine forest, swamp and grassland.

You will have the chance to see a variety of birds and monkeys and perhaps duikers and bush pigs. The walk begins at 8.00am from Kanyanchu finishing at the elephant wallow around 2.00pm. Bring snacks and book lunch at the Community canteen on your return.

Black and White Colobus Monkey in Kibale Forest National Park.
Black and White Colobus Monkey spotted in Kibale Forest National Park.

Kibale Forest National Park lies on 795 Km2 in Western Uganda making it the third largest forest national park in Uganda. It is certainly worth protecting as it is home to the largest number (in Uganda) of our closest living relative, the endangered Chimpanzee. It is part of the wider Kibale conservation Area, which consists of Kibale National Park, the Semliki National Park and the Tooro – Semliki and Kazinga Wildlife Reserves.

Kibale Forest National Park is 24 Km east of the Rwenzori Mountains Foothills and 20Km south-east of Fort Portal town in Western Uganda. The park occupies 795Km2 in four districts: Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kamwenge & Kasese. From Kampala, Visitors to Kibale must Pass via Fort Portal on either the Mubende or the Kasese highways. A little used, alternative route passes through Ibamda and Kamwenge from Mbarara.

About 351 forest tree species (28% of the country’s total) have been recorded in the park. The Northern, Central and southern parts of KNP vary in dominant tree species.
The Fauna included threatened and near threatened species such as elephants, leopard, Chimpanzee, red colobus monkey and L’hoest’s monkey.

Bird Watching in Kibale Forest National Park

In addition to large numbers of primates, Kibale Forest National Park is also home to about 138 bird species at the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, including the rare ones such as the White-collared Oliveback, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary White-winged Warbler among many others. Bird watching tours start at 7 am at Kanyanchu. Other bird species to marvel at include; the White-tailed Ant-thrush, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Western Nicator, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Superb Sunbird, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black Bishop, Grey-winged Robin-chat,  Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, White-breasted Negrofinch among others.

Birding in Kibale Forest National Park
Birding in Kibale Forest National Park.

Kibale has 13 species of non-human primates (67% of the country’s total species) and highest diversity of primates in Africa. As well as Chimpanzees, Kibale is home to red colobus monkeys, in what is probably their last viable population in Uganda. The Forest also boasts of at least 372 species of birds. The noteworthy due to their limited distribution or threatened status include; olive long-tailed cuckoo, red-faced woodland warbler, white – naped pigeon, papyrus gonolek.

Reptiles and Amphibians are also abundant but relatively little is known about them. The invertebrates include 45 species of forest swallowtail and Charaxes butterflies.

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