Kibale National Park

Kibale National park dubbed the world’s primate Capital is located in the two districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge in western part of Uganda. The park covers an approximated area of about 795km and it’s acknowledged to have one of Uganda’s most gorgeous tropical forests.

Spanning on 795 square kilometers of land, Kibale National Park was established in 1993 to help protect and conserve the vast area of natural forest that was earlier on managed and protected as a logged Forest Reserve. The park is the only one in east Africa that has both montane and lowland forests.

Kibale national park was established to help protect and conserve the extensive area of natural forest that was earlier on managed and protected as a logged Forest Reserve. The park is the only one Left Park in the whole of east Africa that has both montane and lowland forests. It’s also considered to the only park in Uganda the pearl of Africa that has the loveliest as well most varied tracts of tropical forest in the whole country. Kibale Forest is covered with vast interspersed of the patches of grassland and the swamps which mainly cover the largest parts of the northern and central parts of the Kibale national park on a raised plateau.

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The alluring and exotic natural environment of  Kibale  forest national park houses about  375 birds species, 4 wild felids as well as 13 famous species of primates, a total of at least 70 individual species of mammals and a total of 351 tree species. The most common species of the 13 primates include the charming endangered Chimpanzees and the most common but precious ecosystem in the park is moist evergreen as well as the semi-deciduous forest which characterize Kibale forests. The new exotic tree species that were reintroduced to the forest include the eucalyptus and pines species. Due to the park’s being eco-diversified and location of Makerere University Biological Field Station, its research site for all the researchers in the African continent

Kibale forest national park is located in an area inhabited by mainly two tribes identified as the Batooro who occupy the largest area and Bakiga who are the minority. The two tribes mainly depend on the park to extract some useful resources and among these include timber for construction purposes, some plant life as source of food, local herbs for curing diseases, among other resources and this done with permission from Uganda Wild life authority the bode responsible for protecting and managing national parks in the country Uganda.


  • Flora as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park
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    Kibale’s diverse altitude supports distinctive forms of natural habitat, ranging from moist evergreen forest (wet tropical forest) on the Fort Portal plateau, through moist semi deciduous (dry tropical forest) to woodland and savanna on the rift valley floor.

    In the central part of the park in Kanyanchu area, the high forest contains a combination of evergreen and deciduous trees with the evergreen plant life species occupying the largest area. Trees rise to over 55m and display a semi-closed canopy of arranged tree crowns. The undergrowth is scarce with shade tolerant shrubs, herbs, a variety of broad leaved forest grasses and ferns, 351 tree species have been recorded in the park.

    Fauna as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park
    The diversity and density of primates in Kibale is the highest in Africa. The most famous of its 13 species is the chimpanzee, our closest relative, Kibale’s 1450 chimpanzee represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. Kibale is also home to the rare I’Hoest’s monkey and East Africa’s largest population of the threatened red colobus monkey. Other primates include the black and white colobus, blue monkey, grey cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto.

    Other Wildlife as a tourist attractions in Kibale National park–
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    Though Kibale is famous for its varied  primate species, the natural habitat in the park also house an estimated  70 mammal species and these are thriving in the highly endowed perimeters of the park .The park has the  ground-dwelling animals but these are rarely seen in the dense ever green  forests of Kibale national park. Among the other species which can be easily encountered in the park include the approximated number of 500elephants that are reported to be living in the forest park, other mammal species involve the buffalos, bush pigs species, warthogs, leopards, duikers and golden cat .The rare species that may be only sighted by keen observers include the reptiles, amphibians and also the colorful variety of 250 individual species of butterflies.

    Bird species as a tourist attractions in Kibale National park
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    The park boasts of more than 375 birds species and these include the 6 birds species  that are endemic to the Albertine Rift region, namely black-capped apalis, blue-headed sunbird, collared apalis, dusky crimson-wing, purple-breasted sunbird, and red-faced woodland warbler. Other Kibale species include the African pitta, green breasted pitta, black bee-eater, yellow spotted nicator, yellow rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, black-eared ground thrush, brown-chested alethe, blue-breasted kingfisher, Abyssinian gound-thrush, and the crowned eagle.

    Kanyanchu River Camp as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park

    Kanyanchu area is located in the central part of bio-diversified Kibale national park and it’s the main trailhead for the park’s popular interesting forest walks. The major attraction in this area is the habituated chimpanzees which can be trekked in the dense rainforest. Chimpanzee populations have been habituated in this area since 1991 and the opportunities of setting eyes to the Chimpanzees in the Kanyanchu area are high almost 95%.

    Local people as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park
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    The people living around the park are mainly Batoro and Bakiga. The Batoro are indigenous to the area while the Bakiga are immigrants from the densily populated southwestern part of Uganda. The Batoro take pride in the cultural heritage of the Toro Kingdom, a scion of the ancient kingdoms of Africa’s Great Lakes region. The Omukama (King) and the kingdom embody the traditional and cultural values of the Batoro. The Bakiga immigrants still maintain their tradition and culture as expressed in their folklore, dance, and language.

    The park plays an important role in the lives of the local people who enjoy a variety of benefits from the forest. The forest provides them with many traditional forest products such as wild

    Sebitoli Forest Camp as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park

    This is described as Kibale’s secondary tourism Centre. It’s found in the north of the forest and it offers opportunities for visitors to encounter primate’s species like the red colobus, blue monkeys, white-and-black colobus and vervet monkeys. It’s the best place to view a variety of aquatic species as well as the forest and savannah birds’ .Above all is the opportunity to enjoy views and sights of the Mpanga River.

    Areas of Interest outside the Park
    Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
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    Bigodi is the only Sanctuary in the park that is diversified with variety of beautiful scenery and of eco-system; the impressive wetland is safe haven for bird loves. It houses an approximated number of 138 bird species. Situated outside the park in Magombe Swamp, Bidogo wetland is home  to around eight individual species of primates and these include the white-and-black colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey  ,the  red-tailed and East African’s threaten species of the L’Hoest’s and blue monkeys and the olive baboons. Bushbucks and mongooses can also be sighted in the sanctuary. The sanctuary was gazzatted to help of preserve the threatened environmental features and the wetland resources. The wetland Sanctuary is managed and preserved with the local community around the park and the revenue generated from tourists is used to fund community development projects.

    Being birding destination in Kibale, the wetland has nature guided walks and the viewing platforms that allow bird watchers to enjoy the elusive sights and views of the unique bird species housed in the park.

     Kihingami Wetland
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    This is situated near Sebitoli in the northern part of Kibale and it’s a community-run project that offers the best bird watching point in kibble national park. The wetland offers visitors chance to visit the local tea estates and the factory. A nature walk that originates from this wetland leads tourists to watch the primates’ species such as the white-and black colobus , the red colobus and red-tailed monkeys. The other animals which can be spotted in this wet land include the otters, bushbucks and mongooses.

  • Primate Walk and Chimpanzee Tracking

    Kibale Forest is habitat to 13 primate species and a guided forest trek can be taken in search of one of the most popular primate species in the world’s primate Capital.  This highly rewarding activities in Kibale start from the Kanyanchu Visitor Centre at 08.00 and 15.00 and lasts 2-3 hours. Out of 9 diurnal primates namely L’Hoest’s , vervet, red-tailed, greycheeked manabey,  blue monkeys, red colobus, black and white colobus, olive baboon, Chimpanzees are the most sought after by visitors, Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, the odds are good with the chance of encountering them standing at  .Whilst trekking in the depths of the lush green forest, you will be entertained by the bird song and can expect to see at least 5 or 6 other types of primate, most probably the grey-cheeked managebey and the red-tailed monkey.

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    Chimpanzee tracking process

    This involves travelling to National Park Headquarters to meet your guides for early morning briefing about the do’s and don’ts when trekking the Chimps.

    Experienced guides and trackers will accompany group of eight trekkers on an early morning trek into the forest to trek the wild chimpanzees as well as several other species of primates in their natural habitat.

    You be allocated one hour to be with these charming and very social apes, sharing in their daily lives and experiencing their day-to-day activities. Chimpanzees, our closest cousins, are extremely endangered with only an estimated 5000 remaining in Uganda.

    After the one hour, trekkers will return to the starting point and hence the end of the activity.

    Please note: tracking may be fairly strenuous as the chimpanzees are highly mobile as they search for food throughout the forest. Also, chimpanzees are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However viewing success rates are over 80%.

    Chimpanzee tracking regulations

    For visitor’s safety and the protection of Kibale’s chimpanzees, Visitors are requested to observe the following points:

    Visitor should keep a distance of 8 metres between him or her with the chimps.

    Visitors who are sick are requested not to enter the forest because when one is sick and he or she enters the forests, it puts the chimps at risk of contracting disease.

    Tourists are not allowed to eat near the chimps.

    Children of 12 years and below are not permitted to view the chimps for safety reasons.

    Do not enter the forest without a park guide.

    If you need to defecate, do so off the trail and bury waste and toilet paper in a hole 30 cm deep.

    Do not scare or attempt to provoke the chimps.

    Flash photography is strictly forbidden.

    Follow the instructions of your guide.

    Please remember that Kibale is not a zoo but a natural tropical rainforest. Sightings of chimpanzee and other primates depend on several factors, such as time of the day, fruit availability, weather, and how quiet your group is.

    What to bring

    Carry warm clothing and rain gear as the mornings and evenings can be cold and wet, especially during the peak rainy seasons. Wear enclosed shoes and remember to bring a camera, binoculars, wildlife guidebooks, hat, and mosquito/insect repellent.

    Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

    This is a life time and almost incredible experience for aspiring researchers and chimp lovers. The activity involves staying with the chimps all day. Having the time to really connect with the group and learn about their different characters and habits. This experience offers a real chance to develop fieldwork skills and learn about behavioral research about Chimpanzees.

    Birding in Kibale forest

    Kibale national park is birding destination in Uganda and the park boast of an estimated number of more than 375 Bird species which can be watched in the various parts of the park. Bird watching tours in the park mainly starts at 7am at Kanyanchu which is located in the Centre of the park but visitors interested in bird watching are requested to book in advance.

    The rare species of birds which can be viewed in the park include the Papyrus Gonolek that can be easily found in the wetlands of the park, White-winged Warbler as well as the White-collared Olive back and Papyrus Canary.

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    One of the recommendable bird watching areas in the park include the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is situated just small distance outside the park, .The wetland is home to roughly 138 bird species and these can be easily seen by the visitors participating in guided walks along the trails developed in the wetland and also other visitors can use the viewing plat forms set in the broad walking trails to enjoy the sights and sounds of the various bird species found this area. The various bird species which bird lovers can have chance to enjoy their sounds and watch their bright shining colours include the  White-spotted Fluff tail, Brown-backed Scrub-robin ,Yellow-spotted Barbet, Black Bishop as well as  Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet plus the rare White-breasted Negrofinch , unique Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Superb Sunbird, Black-crowned Waxbill, Bocage’s and Bush-shrike among other interesting bird species..

    Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

    This small, but impressive wetland sanctuary protects the Magombe swamp and is an important contribution to Ugandan conservation. It is run by Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED) and all the money raised from tourism is used in community projects in Bigodi. The trail developed in the Sanctuary offers one of the best guided bird trails in East Africa and gives walkers the attractive prospect of seeing various different primate species in just a few hours. The swamps are a haven for a huge number of bird and butterfly species and so ornithologists will be in great delight as they trek through the rich swamplands accompanied by the great diversity of sights and sounds of the beaked and tuneful residents. Visitors can also expect to see at least 5 to 6 of the different primate species which reside in Kibale Forest National Park.

    Cultural Encounters in Kibale

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    Kibale Association for Rural Environment Development (KAFRED) is a community-based organization which promotes local livelihoods and biodiversity conservation through ecotourism. This famous association in Kibale National Park offers visitors unique cultural encounters and this starts in form of nature walks.

    During the nature walk, a local guide will takes you along the boardwalk through the Magombe swamp wetlands. You are likely to see wildlife at close-hand, including several of the 200 species of birds, eight varieties of primates and numerous butterflies, along with unusual swamp vegetation.

    The daily life of the Batooro can be discovered during the village walks. The tour stops by the village’s primary school, church, and traditional healer. You will learn about the role of women in the village and traditional ceremonies, and the history of Bigodi is told through the story of the “Village of Two Tribes”, describing when the indigenous Batooro were joined by migrating Bakiga from southwestern Uganda in the 1950s.

    Income from this activity is invested in education, health, sanitation and improving the livelihood of local residents. It is also used to help raise awareness of the value of biodiversity through music, dance, and drama performances at local schools. In 2010, KAFRED they won the prestigious UNDP’s Equator Initiative Award.

    Hiking/Nature Walks in Kibale

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    When chimpanzees and other forest residents rest up at dusk, a nighttime shift of rarely seen creatures becomes active. Night walks though the darkened forest use powerful torches to seek nocturnal creatures such as the potto, bushbaby, nightjar, cricket and tree hyrax, with its chilling shriek, as well as the occasional civet or serval cat. Night walks leave the camp at 7.30pm and last between one and a half and two hours.

  • Kibale National Park is located in western Uganda, 26km south-east of Fort Portal town. Kanyanchu River Camp, the primary centre for tourism activities, can be reached from Kampala either from the north, via Mubende and Fort Portal, or the south through Mbarara and Kamwenge.

    Kampala via Mubende to Fort portal (300km) link to Kanyanchu (36km). The northern approach is shorter and quicker, with a 300km tarmac road running to Fort Portal followed by 36km on murram to Kanyanchu. Sebitoli Forest Camp, a secondary tourism centre, is even easier to reach. This stands directly on the Kampala road, 16km before Fort Portal. Public transport runs throughout the day between Kampala and Fort Portal (passing Sebitoli) and Fort Portal and Kamwenge (passing Kanyanchu).

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  • Primate Lodge-Luxury
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    Primate Lodge in Kibale is a fashionable Eco-lodge located within Kibale National park. It’s enclosed by a flourishing tropical forest that is a habitat to many different species of primates for instance the chimpanzees. It’s secretly sheltered in the rainforest and forms one of the lodges that offer a really dependable jungle familiarity.

    Primate lodge Kibale has accommodation for all visitors ranging from luxury, cottages as well as tents. This lodge gives a chance to take your time in the morning and first have breakfast and later on plan for the day and how you are going to track the chimpanzees without much trouble.

    The lodge has about 8 lavish safari tents, wooden platform with a thatched roof that tends to match well with the environment. The verandahs on each tent offer a beautiful view of the enclosed forest. The inside of the lodge is designed with an African style with beautiful beds. The bathrooms and toilets have a natural touch of the environment made out of local stones, wall paintings as well as bamboo.

    It has about 7 friendly cottages which are secretly located in the forest. The rooms are big with double beds, a sitting room with an African design and standard en suite bathrooms and toilets.

    Another exciting adventure is the sky tree house, it has a bedroom with other facilities that can enable you enjoy a night there. It’s suited at a 10 minutes’ walk from the major lodge and hence making it a perfect viewing point for Elephant especially at night.

    The restaurant at the lodge serves both Local and International foods with hospital waitresses. Next to the restaurant is a fully stocked bar with a beautiful scenic view of the forest.

    Lounge area at the lounge has well designed chairs; soft cushions along with sofas that will make you enjoy the red-tailed monkeys in the forest.

    Cultural dancing is usually enjoyed around the camp fire and late in the night, you will experience the great sounds of the forest as well as the winding forest elephants.

    Tourist Activities include chimp tracking, Forest walk, bird watching, Bigodi village walk discovery of the crater Lakes, Cultural heritage, Hike at the slopes of Rwenzori along with the Nature trail. Enjoy a tour To Uganda’s national parks.

    Chimps’ Nest –Mid-Range
    chimps-nest-accommodation-in-kibale-np
    Chimps’ Nest is located at Kanyanchu one of the best viewing points of Kibale Forest .Its positioned on the  way to Bigondi Village, the site of the lodge was carefully chosen, as it commands the view of Kibale National park forest and Rwenzori Mountains, the portal peaks,

    It’s located just a 15 minutes’ drive from Kanyanchu the focal point of UWA for chimp tracking as well as other activities in the park. The accommodation is up to standard with beautiful self-contained cottages, tree house in addition to family cottages. The restaurants serves local food sourced from the local markets. From the lodge’s cozy restaurant on top of the hill, everybody will have a splendid view of Chimp’s Nest

    All the cottages of the lodge are situated on a hill, with a private and splendid view of Kibale Forest and the Rwenzori Mountains. From your private balcony you can enjoy the wildlife, with the surrounding sounds of birds, monkeys, chimps, and elephants.

    The bathroom is outside. It is completely closed off but has an open roof. Your privacy is guaranteed so you can have the ultimate experience of freedom in the middle of nature.

    The family cottage is built near the restaurant, on a hill. This place is ideal for people with children or for people who want to be near the restaurant.  Just like all the other cottages, this cottage has a lot of privacy and is in the bush, surrounded by various colourful birds and wildlife.The cottage holds two bedrooms with flexible beds which can be either twins or doubles. There is space for one extra bed each bedroom. There is a lockable door in between the two rooms.

    Tourist Activities which are organized in the lodge include, Chimp tracking, Cultural heritage, Natural trail, Forest walk, Hikes at the slopes of Mount Rwenzori and Bigodi Village walk along with the discovery of the crater Lakes.

    Accommodation rates:

    Room Type High Season (B$B) Low Season(B/B)
    Double cottages $96 $77
    Twin cottages $96 $77
    Single cottage $72 $58
    Double tree house $152 $122
    Twin tree house $152 $122
    Single tree house BB $120 $96
    Family cottage max. 4 $172 $138
    Extra person  Bed only $16 $13
    Budget room  Bed only $20 $16

    Kibale Forest Camp-Mid-Range
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    Kibale Forest Camp is situated in a patch of indigenous forest, just outside Kibale Forest National Park. It borders Bigodi swamp and is located on a mere 4 km from the starting point of chimpanzee tracking. The camp is a renowned birding paradise, not only frequented by our human visitors, but also by the black and white colobus, the red colobus, the red tailed monkey, the bleu monkey and the grey cheeked mangabey.

    The complex is beautiful wooden with a grass thatched roof which blends perfectly in the forest surroundings. The open construction permits our visitors to fully enjoy the beauty of this magical place.

    Due to the remote location of the camp, they work with set menus: delicious 2 course lunches and fine 4 course dinners. If you have any dietary requirements or allergies, it is wise to inform them at your earliest convenience. The well maintained campsite of Kibale Forest Camp is a little green gem. Bordering the swamp and set in lush surroundings. It is the place to unwind and come one with Nature. The sanitary facilities consist of 2 hot showers and 2 flushing

    Kibale Forest Camp consists of 10 African safari style tents, comfortably furnished with twin or double beds. Each unit has its own private ensuite bathroom with a flush toilet, a dressing room and a hot water shower. Seated from your own verandah, the red or black and white colobus can often be observed in the dense camp surrounding.

    Kibale Forest Camp offers a more budget option in the form of non-self-contained tents. The lazy camping product offered by the lodge consists of a basic camping tent furnished with 2 single beds and a solar lantern. No need to bring your own linen as all bedding and towels are provided. The tents share a communal ablution blocks with hot showers and flushing toilets.

    The campsite bar and restaurant are situated in a beautiful wooden grass-thatched building. The open structure blends perfectly in the surroundings and overlooks a lush colourful garden. It is in this cozy restaurant that your breakfast, delicious 2 course lunches and 4 course dinners will be served. Due to logistic reasons (quality products are difficult to het in the area and come from Kampala)

    Accommodation rates:

    Room Type B&B HB FB
    Single(Safari tent) $75 $90 $100
    Double(Safari tent) $95 $125 $145
    Extra Bed $25 $40 $50
    Single (Lazy camping) $25 $40 $50
    Double(Lazy camping) $40 $70 $90
    Camping $15 $30 $40

    Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse and campsite-Budget

    Located inside Kibale National Park and only 23 Km from Fort Portal town, Chimpanzee Forest Guest house is basic accommodation facility in Kibale. The Guesthouse sits on 100 acres of manicured lawns, beautiful gardens, tea plantations, pasture and indigenous forest and hence offers the point sit for scenery viwing.

    Owned and operated by a Ugandan family, Chimpanzee Forest Guest house was originally established in the 1950s, during Uganda’s colonial period, by the British District Commissioner and has been wonderfully cared for and maintained ever since. Guests can relax in a comfortably furnished lounge which features an excellent collection of colonial African literature dating back to the 1800’s.

    Accommodation outside of the main house is offered in either a large twin bedded self-contained banda over-looking Lake Nyabikere or in a choice of three self-contained cottages with views of Kibale Forest National Park. You may also camp on flat grassy sites away from the house with shade. The eats served in the lodge ranges from delicious hot meals; cold drinks; freshly baked bread to seasonal home grown fruits and vegetables; pancake breakfasts and percolated coffee.

    Accommodation in the Guest house Rates (VAT Exclusive)

    Room type B$B F/B
    Cottage double Ushs260,000/= Ushs360,000/=
    Cottage single Ushs160,000/= Ushs220,000/=
    additional Person Ushs120,000/= Ushs160,000/=
    Children 4 – 8 y Ushs 80,000/= Ushs110,000/=

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