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Kibale Forest National Park

Chimps Delight

Kibale Forest National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. The 795sqkm National Park was gazetted in 1993. The highest point of the Park is the northern tip standing at 1590m above sea level and also the wettest area with mean annual rainfall of up to 1700mm, received mostly during March-May and September-November. The climate is generally pleasant with a mean annual temperature range of 14-27°C. The south where the terrain drops down onto the hot rift valley floor and forest gives way to open grassland. The climate is characterized with temperatures are higher and rainfall lower than that of the northern part.

Southern Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park and together these protected areas maintain a 180km long migration corridor for-wildlife which extends from Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth NP, to the Sebitoli forest in the north of Kibale. The Kibale-Fort Portal region is one of Uganda’s most rewarding scenic areas to explore. The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and within a half-day’s visits to Queen Elizabeth, the Rwenzori Mountains, Semliki National Parks and the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.

Getting there:

Kibale National Park is located in western Uganda, 26km southeast 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.

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.

See:

Kibale Forest National Park vegetation is interspersed with patches of grassland and swamps. The dominant vegetation is rainforest predominates in the northern and central parts of the park on the elevated Fort Portal plateau. All the vegetation types are rich with flora and faun composition transitional to typical eastern Afro-montane and western lowland forest. Kibale, with ancient trees up to 55m in height, is a wonderful place to experience the extraordinary diversity of live in a tropical rainforest.

The forested park hosts forest wildlife including the most famously 13 species of primate including Chimpanzee, red, Black and White colobus monkey, red tail monkey, blue monkey, Mangabey and Olive baboons, at least 70 mammal species but it is not an easy place to large mammal despite the checklist that includes forest Elephant, Buffalo, Uganda kob, Hippos, Warthogs, Giant forest hog, Bushpigs, Genet, Civet, Waterbuck and Bushbuck. Grey parrot, Ant thrush, Negro finch are among the 375 species of birds including four species of them not recorded in any other park and 144 species of butterfly.

Activities:

  • Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Habituation is a process whereby wild animals get used to human presence without altering their natural behaviour. Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) allows you to search for a community of chimpanzee which is under-going habituation.  This takes a whole day and early visitors may be able to see the spectacular scene of chimps de-nesting between 6:00 -6:30 am, feeding, copulating, hunting, breast feeding, resting, patrolling and displaying until they build new nests and retire for the night around 7.00 pm.  To enjoy this activity, you will need packed lunch, enough water and raingear.  
Advance booking is essential.

  • Chimpanzee tracking

This is Kibale’s most popular activity starting from the Kanyanchu Visitor Centre at 08:00 am and 02: 00 pm and lasts 2-3 hours on average. This walk is for six persons per group and advance booking is essential. Besides Chimpanzees, you could also look out for the black and white colobus, red tailed monkey and grey cheeked mangabey, carryout some birding and your guide explain the traditional uses of some identified plant species within the forest.

  • Forest Hike

This is a seasonal 12km hike restricted to the dry seasons of mid November-February and June-September. The walk begins at 08.00 from Kanyanchu Visitor Centre and ends at the elephant wallow around 14.00. It explores the National park’s diverse habitats including tropical rainforest, river line forest, swamp and grassland and. You will have the chance to see a wide variety of birds and primates and perhaps also duiker and bushbuck. Pre-booking is recommended.

  • Cultural Heritage and Nature trail

The adventurous 2-6 days trail through the forest starts or finishes at either Kanyanchu or Sebitoli. The route explores the forest during the day, emerging in the evening to sleep in community-run campsites near the villages of Kikoni, Nyaibanda and Nyakalongo. These provide the opportunity to meet local people and gain insights into their Batoro and Bakiga cultures. Porters can be hired at the trailheads to carry equipment. Groups of up to 6 people can undertake the walk. Pre-booking is essential.

  • Birding walks

The park boasts 325 species of birds, including 6 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 specials 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 ground-thrush, and the crowned eagle.

  • Children’s activities

Children of 12 years and below who are not allowed to view the chimps or go into the forest can instead enjoy educational forest walks of 1-2 hours duration followed by creative activities. Parents can enjoy their forest walks in the knowledge that their children are occupied in a worthwhile activity with trained ranger guides. The children visit the forest and learn about the ecosystem and its inhabitants through short interesting walks. Games and creative activities include pond dipping, cyanotype, photography and batik making.

Attractions Around the Park

Bigodi Wetland sanctuary

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary situated in the Magombe swamp is known for a wide range of wildlife that include primates like the red colobus monkey, black and white colobus monkey, red tailed monkey and other mammals such as sitatunga, bushbucks, otter and mongoose.  The wetland is also home to 138 bird species. These can be seen during guided walks from viewing platforms and a board walk trail. 
The sanctuary is a community –run initiative aimed at conserving the unique biodiversity and environment values of the wetland.

Kihingami wetland

Kihingami Wetland is located just outside the park near Sebitoli Visitor Centre.  It is known for a wide range of wildlife including primates such as the black and white colobus monkeys, red colobus and red tailed monkeys.  Other animals like otters, sitatunga, mangoose, elusive forest elephants and bushbucks can be seen in the wetland.  Over 130 birds species have been recorded and trails have been developed for nature walks.  They have trained Guides to take you for the different activities.

Exploring the crater Lakes

Kasenda cluster and the Fort Portal cluster crater lakes give a vivid relics of the immense volcanic and geological forces that molded this area. Visitors interested in exploring these crater lakes have to visit to Ndali-Kasenda crater lakes, around CVK and crater lakes south of Kabata.

Trail Accommodation:

Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park boasts a wide range of accommodation facilities. Upmarket accommodation is provided at Kibale Primate Lodge, moderate accommodation from Kibale Forest Camp and Chimp’s Nest, while budget accommodation is offered at Safari Hotel, Chimpanzee Valley Resort and Sebitoli camp.

Fort Portal and the nearby areas

Delightfully Fort Portal and the nearby areas provide upmarket accommodation from Kyaniga Lodge, Mountains of the Moon Hotel and Mitandi mountain Huts, moderate accommodation from Kluges guest Farm, Rwenzori View Guesthouse, Sunrise apartments and Fort Motel, while Budget accommodation is offered at Cornerstone Hotel, Rwenzori Travellers Inn, Rujuna Hilltop Guesthouse, Kenneth Inn and Soka Hotel.

Ndali-Kasenda Crater Lakes

Upmarket accommodation is offered at Ndali Lodge, moderate accommodation from Lake Nyinabulitwa Resort, chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse, and Kitojo Tourist Home, while Budget accommodation is offered at CVK Resort.

Weather

Kampala
May 26, 2017, 11:43 pm
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
18°C
current pressure: 1020 mb
humidity: 95%
wind speed: 1 m/s SSW
sunrise: 6:43 am
sunset: 6:51 pm
 

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