Travel guide for Kibale Forest National Park – Chimpanzee tracking and nature walks – Guaranteed Chimpanzee trekking permits
Travel guide for Kibale Forest National Park, together with the nearby Ngdali-Kasende Crater Lakes, are close to being an independent traveler’s dream, blessed with the tantalizing combination of inexpensive accommodation, easy access, wonderful scenery and a remarkable variety of activities. The park is highly alluring to nature lovers for the opportunity to view a wide range of forest birds and track chimpanzees (as well as viewing a wide range of other primates). Though the scenic appeal of the region remains undiminished, the rising cost of chimp tracking, and the conversion of the old budget Kanyanchu River Camp to an upmarket tented camp, mean that the national park is no longer the mandatory backpacker destination it was a few years ago.
Gazetted in October 1993, the 766km squared Kibale Forest National Park extends southwards from Fort portal to form a contiguous block with the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, the dominant vegetation type is rainforest, spanning altitudes of 1,100-1,590m and with a floral composition transitional to typical eastern Afro-montane and western lowland forest.
At least 60 mammal species are present in Kibale Forest. It is particularly rich in primates, with 13 species recorded, the highest total for any Ugandan national park. The nine diurnal primates found at kibale are vervet, red-tailed, L; Hoest’s and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red colobus, black-and-white colobus, olive baboon, and chimpanzee. The Kibale forest area is the last Ugandan stronghold of the red colobus, although small numbers still survive in Semliki National Park. Visitors who both the forest and the swamp walks can typically expect to see around five or six primate species.
Travel guide fore Kibale Forest offers superlative primate viewing, but it is not otherwise an easy place to see large mammals, this despite an impressive checklist which includes: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, hippo, warthog, giant forest hog, bushings, bushbuck, sitatunga, and peter’s,red and blue duikers. The elephants found in Kibale Forest are classified as belongings to the forest race, which is smaller and hairier than the more familiar savanna elephant. Elephants frequently move into the Kanyanchu area during the wet season, but they are not often seen by tourists. Roughly 335 bird species have been recorded in any other national park: Nahan’s francolin, Cassin’s spine tail, blue-headed bee-eater and masked apalis. Otherwise, the checklist for Kibale includes a similar range of forest birds to Semliki National Park, with the exclusion of the 40-odd Semliki ‘specials’ and the inclusion of a greater variety of water and grassland species. A recent first sighting of a green-breasted pitta caused some excitement in Uganda ornithological circles, while the truly optimistic might want to look out for prigogine’s ground thrush, a presumably endemic species or race collected once in the 1960’s and yet to be seen again. The best bird watching spot is the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, where a four-hour trail has been laid out and experienced guides will be able to show you several localized species which you might otherwise overlook. The cost of the visitation fee is more than any other park, a consideration when planning your itinerary, given the additional attractions just outside the park. It obviously doesn’t make sense to pay for park entrance and check into park accommodation then, with the 24-hour clock ticking, head off for out-of-park bird watching in the Kihingami and Magombe swamps near Sebitoli and Kanyanchu respectively. No park fee is charged for passing through the park on the Fort portal-Kamwenge road, for staying at the guesthouses in and around Bigodi, or for visiting the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary.
Wildlife of Kibale forest national park.
Other terrestrial mammals that are found within Kibale National Park include red and blue duikers, bushbucks, sitatungas, bushpigs, 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. Kibale forest national park is regarded as the primate capital of the world some of those include Olive Baboons
- Bush babies / Demidoff Galago
- Black and White colobus
- Vervet monkeys
- Blue monkeys
- Grey Cheeked Mangabeys
- Ugandan red colobus
- L’Hoest’s monkey
- Red tailed monkey
- Uganda Mangabeys
Birds of kibale forest national park.
Bird watching tours start at 7am at Kanyanchu. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located just outside the park, is home to 138 bird species which may be seen during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms.
Bird watching tours start at 7am at Kanyanchu; you are advised to book in advance. Rare species include the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, White-collared Oliveback and Papyrus Canary.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located just outside the park, is home to 138 bird species which may be seen during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms. These could include the White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Superb Sunbird, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black Bishop, White-breasted Negrofinch and Black-crowned Waxbill among others.
Activities in Kibale Forest National Park
Travel guide for Kibale forest – The most popular activity in the national park is the guided chimp-tracking excursion out of Kanyanchu. Almost as popular is the guided walking trail through the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, which is probably better for general monkey viewing and one of the finest birding trails in the country. There is also plenty of potential for unguided exploration in the area, both along the main road through the forest, and around Bigodi Trading Centre and Kanyanchu Camp. If time is limited, it’s advisable to do the activity that most interests you in the morning, this is not only the best time to see chimpanzees, but also when birds are most active.