A Primate Safari In Kibale Forest National Park-Uganda

a primate safari in kibale forest national park-uganda


Kibale Forest National Park of  Uganda stands at an altitude of between 1,590m and 1,100m above sea level and is situated in the Western part of Uganda within the East African Rift Valley. Kibale Forest National Park was created as a forest reserve in 1932 due to its rich bio-diversity and it was a game park in the 1990s. Kibale Forest national park is Uganda’s top primates’ capital and it offers numerous tree species with more than 350 tree species scattered along the vast plateaus and plains including the pre-montane forest that can’t be seen anywhere else in East Africa.

Kibale forest national park also offers montane and lowland forests with unique endangered species such as lovoa swynnertonnii, entandropragma, and Cordia millennia. Kibale forest national park has tall trees that are standing at an average of 55m above sea level and offer over 1700mm of rainfall annually that facilitates the group of dense ferns, grasses, and herbs within Kibale.


 Kibale Forest National Park top attraction.

Chimpanzee Trekking and seeing other primates: Kibale forest national park is the best place in East Africa to view primate species. Kibale forest national park doesn’t have mountain gorillas but it has over 13 primate species than any other National park in East Africa. Chimpanzees are categorized among the endangered species and are considered special because chimpanzees share over 95% of the human DNA. Kibale forest national park offers the largest chimpanzee clans in East Africa with over 5,000 individuals recorded. Chimpanzees trekking can also be done in other parks in East Africa such as in Nyungwe forest national park of Rwanda, Kyambura gorge of Queen Elizabeth National Park of Uganda, Budongo forest of Murchison falls National Park of Uganda, Kalinzu forest, Tooro Semliki game Reserve, but the chances of viewing chimpanzees are slim compared to Kibale Forest National Park.


What makes Kibale forest national park's primate safari more special is the beautiful collection of monkeys. While on your primate safari to Kibale Forest national park expect to view animals such as L’Hoest Monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, blue monkey, the endangered Red Colobus, Red-tailed Monkeys, Bush Baby, black and white colobus monkeys, Vervet Monkeys, and Olive Baboons. Since Kibale forest national park is near Queen Elizabeth National park, Mgahinga gorilla national park, and Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park primate lovers should expect a complete African Safari experience without moving for long distances.


Bird watching: Uganda is recognized among the best three places where bird lovers can go for bird watching in Africa.  Kibale forest covers over 180km which is a birders paradise offering more than 374 bird species. While on your bird watching tour in Kibale Forest, you should expect to spot different bird species such as Abyssinian Ground thrust, Black-capped Apalis, African Grey Parrot, Blue Breasted Kingfisher  Black Bee-eater, Black-eared Ground Thrust, Blue-headed Sunbird, Brown Chested Alethe, Brown Illadopis, Collared Apalis, Purple breasted Sunbird Crowned Eagle, Dusky Crimson wing, Little Green Bul, Red Chested Owlet, Red-Faced Woodland Warbler, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Yellow Rumpled Tinkerbird, the African Pitta, Western Nicator, yellow spotted Nicator, and White napped Pigeon.


Other wildlife species: Besides primate specie and bird species, Kibale forest National Park protects over 14 snake species, 27 frog species,200 butterfly species, over 20 reptile types, and nearly 70 mammal species which include bats, giant forest hogs, bush pig, forest elephants, forest leopards, forest buffaloes, hippopotamus, African cats, bushbuck antelopes, red/blue duikers, sitatungas semi-aquatic antelopes, mongooses, warthogs, and the seasonally spotted hyenas.

Local people: For travelers interested in experiencing Uganda’s local culture, Kibale has a lot of local activities worth taking part in. The Batoro are the majority tribe surviving near Kibale forest national park and visiting the local communities should be on your top list for those interested in the cultural experience. The Batoro people have a rich heritage, history, and culture, and their King is called the Omukama. Another tribe around Kibale is called the Bakiga tribe. The Bakiga people are known as the most hardworking people who normally rely on subsistence farming which produces various local foods such as the famous Matoke (bananas). 


Nature Walks and Hikes around Kibale forest national park: Talking about a walk within the vast tropical rainforest is another great way to explore the rich biodiversity in Kibale forest national park and the surrounding landscapes such as visiting the Amabere caves. Nature walks’ starting points are from Sebitoli or Kanyanchu the parks’ headquarters. Regardless of which sector of the park where you have chosen to start your walk, Kibale forest treats travelers to the full spectacle of tropical forests, swamps, grasslands, and rivers. Travelers interested in viewing how the local people do their daily lives and work in the gardens can engage themselves in a walk through Nyaibanda, Kikoni, and Nyakalongo villages offer the perfect nature walk trails. Night walks can be organized to see nocturnal animals such as bush babies, potato's, and rare bird species that can only be active at night.


Bigodi wetlands walk and bird sanctuary: A special nature walks within the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary within Kibale Forest National park. Bigodi wetlands walk is considered one of the best places to go for bird watching and primates spotting in East Africa attracts thousands of tourists annually. A three hours nature walk via the Bigodi swamp allows you to see more than310 bird species. As you walk near the palm trees you expect to view different plants and at least see 5 primate species.


Activities for Children: fully experienced park rangers, professional guides, and drivers are available to make sure that both adults and children enjoy their primate safari while in Kibale Forest National Park. Children below 13 years of age are not allowed to take part in chimpanzee trekking so they are often left at the lodge under a good caretaker while their parents are on the primate safari in Kibale Forest national park. 


How to access Kibale Forest National Park?

 Kibale Forest National Park is much easier compared to Bwindi impenetrable forest or Mgahinga Gorilla national park all situated in the South Western corner of Uganda. Kibale forest national park can be accessed through a direct route from Entebbe or Kampala which may take between 5 to 6 hours driving via Mubende and Fort Portal. Those accessing Kibale forest national park from the southern sector can take the Kamwenge or Mbarara road.  Although, domestic chartered flights are much more convenient and faster. Domestic flights are operated from Kajjansi along the Entebbe-Kampala highway or from Entebbe International Airport to Fort Portal or Ndali then take a short drive to the park.


The best time to visit Kibale Forest National Park?

Kibale forest national park experiences the tropical climatic type and its location along the equator makes tourism activities take place all year round. However, Uganda has two seasons due to the effect of the equator – the rainy season (low) and dry standing for the (peak) season which takes place twice a year. These seasons sometimes affect the quality of the primate safari in Kibale National Park. The peak season happens in the dry months of December, January, and February and from June, July, August, and September. These dry months are categorized with little or no rainfall. There is less mud which makes it so easy to drive along the trekking trails or take walks within the park. During the peak season, vegetation cover is less and thick bushes which make travelers easily sight animals that boost their holidays in the Kibale forest. The months of March, April, and May and September, October, and November are characterized as low seasons with more rainfall. This may not favor some clients but it’s the best season for bird watching since it is the breeding season for many birds, especially the migratory bird species.


Accommodation facilities in Kibale Forest National Park

A safari holiday is worth the experience if it is spent in a wonderworld at the end of each tourist activity, enjoy your comfortable room surrounded by endless beautiful sceneries and fresh air. Kibale Forest National Park is lucky to have a variety of accommodation facilities to be chosen from. Kibale forest national park accommodation types during your primate’s safari range from budget accommodation, to mid-range, and luxury.  Most of these lodges and hotels are located within the Kanyanchu, Nkingo, Ndali, and Bigodi areas of Kibale forest national park. Kibale forest national park's most recognized lodges include Primate Lodge Kibale Uganda, Chimps’ Nest Uganda, Nyinabulitwa Country Resort, and Kibale Forest Camp