Best time to visit Kibale forest National park – Chimpanzee tracking and Guided Nature walks
Best time to Visit Kibale forest National park – Kibale National Park can be visited at any time of the year. Most significantly, take note of which season you wish to pay a visit because this park experiences 2 seasons. They include the dry and wet season with dry season starts is usually the most preferable and it starts from June to September and December to February. The wet/rainy season on the other hand kick starts from March to May and from October to November. The rainy or wet season is usually characterized by heavy rainfall but incredible for bird watching.
Activities and attractions in Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale forest Chimpanzee tracking -Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip, which stands 1,590m above sea level. The lowest point is 1,100m on the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley to the south. 351 tree species have been recorded in the park, some rise to over 55m and are over 200 years old. Kibale’s varied altitude supports different types of habitat, ranging from wet tropical forest on the Fort Portal plateau to woodland and savanna on the rift valley floor.
Kibale is one of Africa’s foremost research sites. While many researchers focus on the chimpanzee, others are investigating Kibale’s ecosystems, wild pigs and fish species, among other topics.
Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau. Kibale is famously known for chimpanzee tracking
- Guided Forest Walks
A highlight of any activity to Kibale Forest will be the chimp-tracking excursions that leave from Kanyanchu at 8:00 and 14:00 daily. Chimp sightings are not guaranteed on these walks, but the odds of encountering them have improved greatly in recent years, and now stand around 90%. The chimpanzee community, whose territory centres on Kanyanchu, is well habituated, with the result that visitors can often approach to within a few metres of them. Whilst in the forest you can expect to see at least two or three other types of primate, most probably grey-cheeked mangabey and red-tailed monkey. You will hear plenty of birdsong, but it’s very difficult to see any birds in the heart of the forest. You are better off looking for them in the rest camp and along the road. The guides are knowledgeable and will identify various medical plants, bird calls and animal spoor.
For dedicated chimp enthusiasts or aspiring researchers seeking field experience, which involves staying with the chimps all day with habituators and taking notes on their behavior. Another novelty is a guided night walk with spotlights, which runs from 19.30 to 22.00 daily and offers a good chance of sighting nocturnal primates such as the bushbaby and potto.
- Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
This small sanctuary which protects the Magombe Swamp, adjacent to Bigodi trading centre and immediately outside the national park boundary, is and admirable example of conservation and tourism having a direct benefit at grassroots level.
- guided walks:
Best time to Visit Kibale Forest National park – Tourists are forbidden to walk along forest paths or in Magombe swamp without a guide, but they are free to walk unguided elsewhere. Kanyanchu itself is worth a couple of hours’ exploration. A colony of Viellot’s black weaver nests in the camp, while flowering trees attract a variety of forest sunbirds. You can also expect to see or hear several types of robin and greenbul, often difficult to tell apart unless you get a good look at them. A specialty of the camp is the localized red-chested paradise flycatcher, a stunning bird that’s very easy to find once you know its call. Other interesting birds seen there regularly at Kanyanchu are the great blue turaco, hairy-breasted barbet, black-necked weaver and black-and-white casqued hornbill. The short, self-guided grassland trail which circles the camp is good for monkeys. It is permitted to walk unguided along the stretch of the main road between Fort portal and Kamwenge as it runs through the forest. The most interesting section on this road is the first few kilometres running north towards Fort portal from Kanyanchu, where you are almost certain to see a variety of monkeys, genuine forest birds such as Sabine’s spinetail, blue-breasted kingfisher and Afep pigeon, as well as butterflies in their hundreds gathered around puddles and streams. The road south from Kanyanchu to Bigodi passes through a variety of habitats, forest patches, swamp and grassland and is also productive for birds and monkeys.
- Sebitoli and the Kihingami Wetlands
Sebitoli lies inside the northern part of Kibale forest national park. It is little visited, which is a shame, since it is conveniently located just metres off the main Fort portal-Kampala road and is far easier to reach than Kanyanchu. Sebitoli development opened in 2002 to help ease tourist’s pressure on the Kanyanchu sector of the park. It offers similar activities and facilities to Kanyanchu, with the exception of chimpanzee tracking, and is far more accessible for day trippers from Fort portal. Guided forest walks offer a good chance of seeing red and black-and-white colobus and blue and vervet monkey, as well as a varied selection of the (rapidly expanding ) local checklist of 236 bird species, chimpanzees are present in the area but not habituated. Guided walking or cycling tours to the nearby Kihingami wetlands outside the park offer excellent bird watching and a visit to local tea estates, and leave daily.
Popular safaris to Kibale Forest National park in Uganda
All these safari itineraries can be customized to suit your travel dates and budget.