Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park is an attractive park in Western Uganda with varying tracts of tropical rain forest and a multiplicity of animals located in western Uganda slightly off the Equator, the annual temperature ranges between 14-27C and is generally cool.

It is known as the “primate capital of East Africa” with 13 different primate species. Kibale forest is home to more than 1,450 chimpanzee protected within its borders of 795kmarea covered.  It is by far the best place to see Chimps in East Africa.

The chimpanzees have been habituated for over 26 years giving you a chance to see the great apes in their natural environment. The forest’s varied altitude supports different habitats; woodland, Savannah, wet tropical forest and semi-deciduous dry tropical forest which gives the park opportunity to host different wildlife that reside in the different habitats. The chimpanzees have made Kibale Forest National Park one of Uganda’s most famous wildlife destinations. Kibale National park is situated in the districts of Kabarole and Kibale approximately 320km by road, west of Kampala City the capital of Uganda which is 6 hours of drive away along Kampala to Fort portal road, Fort portal to Kibale road.

Brief notice about Kibale national park

Kibale Forest National Park is in the Fort Portal region of western Uganda. Kibale Forest, located along the Albertine Rift valley in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains, is the habitat of a wide range of wildlife, the most noticeable among which are chimps. The park is 795 square kilometers in size. Temperatures range from 14 to 27 degrees Celsius and are generally cool, but warm up as you head south, in which the altitude is lower as you get closer towards the hot rift valley bed. Kibale Forest, Uganda’s largest forested national park and home to over 60 different mammal species, may have the world’s highest concentration of primates, including over 13 different monkey species, including chimps, our closest living relative. The park, which is also known for having the most chimps in the world, is one of five parks in Uganda that appear to be conducting a chimp habituation project. Other ape species, in addition to chimps

This national park is bordered towards the south by Queen Elizabeth National Park, forming a wildlife corridor in between Ishasha sector and Sebitoli in Kibale. The most thrilling Kibale-Fort Portal region, which is the most adventurous location in Uganda worth exploring, is where Kibale National Park is situated. This location benefits from favorable climatic conditions that are good for both ecological development and tourist activity.

History of the Kibale Forest National park

The British first declared Kibale forest as a crown forestland in 1932. The British were able to preserve Kibale’s exquisite natural authenticity but also extract hardwood from this magnificent forest. Moreover, they once harvested wild coffee from the jungle.

Kibale Forest was classified a forest reserve in 1948 under British administration, where trees were still being felled. In places where they took down trees, they could grow exotic tree species. To preserve the rich biodiversity of this forest, Kibale Forest Reserve was upgraded into Kibale National Park in 1993.

Location and how to get there

Kibale Forest National Park is located in western Uganda, approximately 326 kilometers about 5 to 6 hour drive from Kampala. Kibale is about 26 kilometers about an hour’s drive south-east of Fort Portal City and nearer to the peaceful Ndali-Kasenda crater area.

Kibale Forest National park can be accessed by both air and transport, by road the park can be accessed using two routes; the northern route is 326 km drive from Kampala via Mubende then to Fort Portal and southern route is 525 km drive from Kampala via Mbarara, Kasese then to Fort Portal. By air; Kibale can also be reached via the Kasese airstrip, which is 68 kilometers (2 hours) away via surfaced and dirt roads. This airstrip is accessible by chartered plane from Entebbe International Airport as well as Kajjansi airfield.

Best time to visit Kibale National Park for tourist activities

The park hosts tourism activities all year long thanks to its tropical climate and proximity to the equator, the majority of equatorial nations experience two distinct seasons twice a year, the wet (low) and the dry (peak). The quality of a safari in Kibale National Park is impacted by these seasons. The drier months of December to February and June to September are when the year’s peak season takes place. There isn’t much rainfall throughout these dry months. Because there is less dirt, it is simple to drive or stroll through the park. Because there is less foliage and more dense shrubs during the dry season, it is easier to see animals and have a pleasant vacation.

The low seasons, with comparatively more rain, are from March to May and from late September to early November. Although some customers may not find this to their liking, birders will enjoy this time of year because it is the reproductive season for birds and many migratory species emerge, filling the forest with lovely sounds and a gorgeous green hue.

Attractions in Kibale Forest National Park

The wildlife and mammals

The best chimpanzee tracking safaris can be found at Kibale National Park, among the best tourist places in both East Africa and Africa. Although the region is habitat to many creatures, 13 primates, predominantly chimpanzees, are the most notable ones. More than 1500 chimpanzees dwell in the park, along with Vervet, Red-tailed, L’hoests, Blue, and Gray-cheeked Mangabey monkeys, Red Colobus, Black and White Colobus, and Olive Baboons. Forest Elephants, Forest Buffaloes, Hippos, Warthogs, Giant Forest Hogs, Bush Pigs, Bushbuck Antelopes, Golden Cats, Leopards, Sitatunga, red and blue Duikers, and many other mammals can also be found in Kibale National Park. These creatures include nocturnal species like pottos and bush babies, which are typically seen on night game drives.

Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National park

The biggest protected population of the eastern species of chimpanzees, totaling approximately to 1500, is found in Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda. Kibale chimpanzees don’t live in troops like with the majority of other primates do, rather, they dwell in large communities. Chimpanzee societies in Kibale typically have 60 to 200 members, and they move around the forest in compact, socially transitory groups of a hundred.

Human contact has been established in four communities, two for science research and two for tourist activities. The Kanyantale Chimpanzee Community has been tracked since 1993 but also has over 120 members. The Braiga Community is currently becoming familiarized to Uganda chimp trekking excursions. Other two communities that have been habituated for research are the Ngogo Chimpanzee Community, and has over 200 chimps making it the world’s largest community of wild chimps, and the Kanyawara Community, which has around 60 chimps.

The birds in Kibale Forest

Kibale National Park is an ultimate spot for bird enthusiasts, because it’s habitat to over 375 documented bird species, including African Pitta, Blue-headed Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Yellow Spotted Nicator, Little Green Bul, Black-eared Ground Thrush, Abyssinian Ground-thrush, green-breasted Pitta, Pigeon, White-n Kibale National Park also has over 250 different butterfly species, primates, and amphibians that can be seen.

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a remarkable wetland that is situated in the Magombe Swamp besides Kibale National Park, 6 kilometers from the park’s park entrance. It is known as a place with a wide variety of biodiversity, including the primate species. A community-based eco-project run by the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development is the Bigodi Swamp/Wetland (KAFRED). This organization is in charge of supporting eco-tourism entrepreneurs in achieving their goals so that the nearby communities can profit from tourism in the Kibale National Park area. Bigodi Swamp is referred to as “the paradise of birds” since it is one of the top birding locations in Uganda. A total of 138 bird species have been identified in the marsh, and bird experts claim to see up to 50 distinct species each day. At the swamp, it’s also possible to see other types of primates, such as chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus, red colobus, blue grey-cheeked, vervet, red-tailed, and L’hoest monkeys, to name a few. Tourists are also able to see creatures such the mongoose, bushbucks, warthogs, and otters in this area.

Crater Lakes near Kibale National Park

Because to its location within the Albertine Rift, Kibale Forest National Park is bordered by numerous crater lakes that attract tourists on Uganda safaris with their stunning natural beauty. Visitors can reserve a room at safari lodges that have been constructed on the crater rims of some lakes. On your nature walks, hikes, or bike adventures, you can witness a vast variety of birds and other creatures drawn to the lakeside locations.

Lake Nyinambuga, arguably the most well-known lake towards the west of Kibale Park, is featured on the Uganda 20,000 banknote. Visitors love Lake Nkuruba because it has some of the most beautiful scenery and is a terrific site to see red and black and white colobus monkeys. One could also consider visiting the following craters, Lake Nyinabulitwa, Nkuruba Lake, Nyabikere Lake (Lake of Frogs), Lake Nyamirima and Lake Kigere.

The Amabere Caves

The Amabere caves are 32 kilometres from Fort Portal and close to Kibale National Park. In addition to the highly regarded homeland of the famed Bachwezi people’s first King, one can learn a lot about local Ugandan tradition here. The caves were named after the live stalactite structure Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru, also known as the “Breasts of Nyinamwiru,” which is thought to represent a woman’s double breasts. This same woman in question is Nyinamwiru, a fabled princess who did live in the fourteenth century and is assumed to have been so beautiful that no man would leave her alone.

Since Nyinamwiru’s father King Bukuku got tired of getting marriage proposals from undesirable suitors, he went to the severe extent to remove his daughter’s breasts in order to lessen her appeal. Nevertheless, even this was unable to stop Nyinamwiru’s numerous suitors, so the king stashed her away in the cave that is now known as Amabere.

The Batembuzi King Isaza found her here, and afterwards, she got pregnant with a son. Nyinamwiru, who lacked breasts herself, continued to nurse her child within the cave using the murky limestone “milk” that drips from the stalactites. The stalactite creation raised the kid, who eventually became king Ndahura, the first of the Bachwezi dynasty who oversaw the Bunyoro Kitara Empire centuries before.

Culture and communities around Kibale National park

Kibale National Park is situated inside the Toro Kingdom, Uganda’s newest kingdom. Tooro had the same origins as Bunyoro-Kitara until about the 1820s, when one rebellious prince of Bunyoro founded the new Kingdom of Tooro. It is an incredible cultural destination with many opportunities to learn about the culture of the kingdom, such as the customary royal palace and tombs. Furthermore, villages such as Bigodi provide excellent opportunities to learn more about the Batooro lifestyle through community strolls.

Accommodation in and around Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park has a variety of Uganda safari lodges where you can stay all through your Uganda safari. Kibale National Park lodging options include budget, mid-range, and luxury safari lodges, camps, bandas, cottages, and campsites. During your tour to Kibale National Park, visitors have a variety of lodging options to pick from. All of the accommodations are situated in breathtaking settings with breathtaking views of the forest, the Ruwenzori Mountain, and the nearby features. Below are some of the best accommodation facilities in and around Kibale National park

Ndali Kasenda Lodge

Ndali Kasenda is one of the more upscale accommodation options in Kibale National Park. The Ndali kasenda lodge is only a 5-hour drive from Kampala, Uganda’s capital, over a 300-kilometer range to Fort Portal. The kibale national park is approximately 11 kilometres away from Fort Portal. The stunning ndali kasenda crater sector in Kibale National Park is home to the ndali lodge, as even the name suggests. It is located near the peaceful Crater Lake known as Nyinambuga.

There are 8 family-friendly stone and thatch cottages with bathrooms available at Ndali Lodge. The interiors are creatively and cozily decorated, with a focus on utilizing local resources. Each cottage has an own verandah as well as a bath, shower, WC, and hand basin. The Rwenzori Mountains, with their snow-capped peaks plainly visible on a clear day, are indeed the ideal backdrop for viewing the sun set, and the verandahs are the ideal place to do so. The reception room, lounge, dining room, bar, and balcony are all located in the main lodge. Polished floors, white walls, exposed rafters, light seating, and carefully chosen regional antiquities set these apart. The main lodge’s interiors are made to feel warm, cozy, and peaceful at night when the space is lit by candles or cyclone lamps.

Primate Safari Lodge

Primate Safari Lodge is situated 100 meters from the Kanyanchu tourist information center, right in the middle of Kibale National Park. Fort Portal is 36 km far, while Kampala is a 5-hour journey away. From the lodge peninsular, it is simple to hear the chimpanzees, Kibale’s gentle giants. The lodge is a moderately priced establishment with rooms, bandas, and tents available.

For optimum privacy, each of the nine luxurious cottages are spacious and equipped with an en-suite bathroom. Also, they offer a setting that feels natural and are furnished with either two double beds or one king bed. In addition, these rooms offer a sitting space with two plush armchairs, a reading table, and an adjacent, sizable veranda with a great view of the forest. The seven private, en-suite semi forest cabins each include two Twin-size beds or a king size bed and huge bathroom. They additionally have a big balcony overlooking the rain-forest featuring lounge seats.

A large dining terrace, a well-stocked bar, free room service, and a quiet lounge space with a library are additional lodge amenities. Also, there is a campfire every evening, laundry service available for a modest price, and free WiFi is available throughout the property.

Chimpanzee Forest Guest House

The chimp forest guest house is one of the park’s lodging options. Fort Portal City is only a 25-minute drive away from the camp. It does have 7 spacious cottages with views of Kibale forest and the Isunga tea estate. The guest house does have a dining room where meals is presented beautifully by well-trained chefs, a well-stocked bar, a lounge area, and a lovely garden. The Chimpanzee Forest Guest House provides security, free Wi-Fi, plenty of parking space, and laundry services. Bird watching, Crater Lake exploration, hiking Mahoma Falls, community walks, chimp trekking, and chimp habituation experience are all available at the guest house.

Crater Safari Lodge

The eco-friendly Crater Safari Lodge is located near Fort Portal, in the center of the tropical rainforest of Kibale Forest National Park in Western Uganda, on a hilltop with a panoramic view of Nyinabulitwa Crater Lake. Since the lodge is perched on a hill, guests can enjoy unobstructed views of the magnificent Crater Lake, Kibale National Park, and the picturesque view of the neighborhood, which is home to over 9 crater lakes and numerous tea and coffee farms. About 21 luxurious rooms (deluxe chalets and basic cabanas) with outdoor eating areas, outdoor furnishings, and private balconies are available at Crater Safari Lodge. Every room comes equipped with a side table with a light, a bathrobe, a mosquito net, a bath or shower, a towel, linens, and much more.

The Lodge offers its visitors free Wi-Fi, free parking, free breakfast, free laundry services, and free childcare services. Its cafeteria is quite wonderful, with delectable African and English delicacies made by the nation’s best chefs. With both full and partial views of the Sublime Crater Lake, Crater Safari Lodge features a dazzling pool, a well-stocked bar/lounge, a campfire, and many more amenities.

Accommodation at Kibale National Park

Luxury facilities where almost a traveler may be need of are best found in these facilities that is;

  • Kibale Forest camp
  • Nyabulitwa Country resort and safari camp
  • Kibale Primate Lodge
  • Mountains of the moon Hotel
  • Kyaninga Lodge
  • Crater safari lodge

Other accommodation facilities include;

  • Ndali Lodge
  • Fort motel
  • Kyambura Lodge