Kibale National Park (The World’s Primate Capital): One of the remaining intact tropics that formulate an equatorial nature of the region, Kibale National Park is unswervingly positioned in the western Uganda just overlooking the foothills of the Rwenzori ranges. In the outdates, the tropical Kibale rainforest was a continuation of the Major Virunga forests which still directly connects to Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Rwenzori Mountains.
Kibale National Park is largely known for hosting a larger number of chimpanzees in Uganda and as well named to be the world’s primate capital with over 13 primate species noted in the park. This forest has stature to be world’s perfect center to watch the chimpanzees in their natural setting. If learning anything about the chimpanzees in their natural habitants then Kibale proposes the best offer ever. As Kibale forest is a hub for various wild species among which include over 260 bird species, several antelope species, forest elephants, snakes, insects and many herbal species.
Accessing Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park is located in western Uganda, Kabarole district along Kabarole – Kamwenge road off Fort Portal city. The park can be accessed mainly on road about from Kampala covering a distance of about 320km which can be roughly 4hours drive. The road condition reaching in the park are in healthy conditions and should not worry of the weather condition to drive into the park. However, for the high-end travelers can access the park as well with a chartered plane from either Kajjansi or Entebbe to Kasese airstrip which can take around 30 minutes and drive to the park in a distance of about rough 45km.
What to do at Kibale National park?
Kibale National Park forest boosts for hosting the highest number of chimpanzees among the tropic in the east African region. Chimpanzees at the forest fully habituated to guarantee a perfect encounter by chimpanzee trackers making Uganda scoring the slot for finest chimpanzees tracking in the world. In the world it’s estimated to be remaining only about 150,000 to 250,000 chimpanzees in the wild, sanctuaries and Zoos, and Uganda alone hosts over 5,000 of which 1500 chimpanzees are believed to consider Kibale forest their home. Chimp trekking costs $150/person
Among the primates and apes, chimpanzees are considered to be the closest cousins to human possessing over 98% of human DNA. Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest is prime adventure activity done where greater portion of visitors to the park aim at an eye glance of the forest giants.
Though their giant nature and aggressive culture, Chimpanzees are also shy mammals that can shy and hide away when come across human and to ensure that they get used to human presences, chimpanzees are habituated a process which can last for not less than 2 years until they are used to human presence.
In consideration of the gorilla tracking, chimpanzee tracking carry the same tracking etiquettes and rules. Eight trackers are allowed to track a single family daily and have an hour encounter with the chimps or have more four hour for habituation process.
Before tracking, one must have a tracking permit, which is procure prior to tracking date, it’s advisable to reserve/book your permit at least 2 month before the tracking date. Tracking exercise starts at 7:30am with a briefing on tracking etiquettes, assigned to an habituated chimpanzee family to track and with a lead of an armed park ranger and embark into the forest to search for the closest human relatives.
Tracking exercise can last for about 30 minutes to 4 hours when searching for the assigned family which is an hectic undertaking of passing through moist forest, slippery grounds, thorny bushes, the activity requires a lot of preparations and before enroll into the forest one should carry some necessities which may include; Jungle boots, gloves, light warm cloth, pairs of trouser both ladies and gents, at least 2 litters of drinking water, water proof cloth, binocular and other tracking useful thing you may need to carry.
Primate tracking (Monkey Tracking)
Kibale National Park hosts highest number of monkeys in the world with 13 primate species black and white colobus, red tailed monkeys, Mangebay, baboons, bush babies, L’Hoest, Vevert monkeys, pattas, pottos among others.
A walk through the Bigodi wetland sanctuary is a perfect monkey view point the wet land is just 6km from kanyacu park headquarters and a visit to the wetland cost USD $40. A walk through the wetland is an immense windfall to encounter chimpanzees, but here notice to find several of the primate residents of this forest.
The tropics of Kibale forest hosts about 350 bird species, great encounter with birder park rangers who are well versed with knowledge about birds in the forest. A nature walk in the forest is an opening to watch reasonable number of birds, it’s a good idea to have your binoculars in place to enable have that great viewing of wider range to bird species.
The bird species nesting in Kabale national park include; African Pitta, Green-breasted Pitta, Afep Pigeon, White-naped Pigeon, Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, Black Bee-eater, Western Nicator, Yellow-rumped Tinker bird, Little Greenbul, Brown-chested Alethe, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, African Grey Parrot, Brown Illadopsis, Black-capped Apalis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red-faced Woodland Warbler among others.
Nature walks/ Community visit
Right from the Kanyacu information center, to the Makerere University research center, and the Bigodi Wetland are all perfect nature walking sites. This is a combination of great encounter including birds, studying of tree species, all nature and as well visiting the community and appreciate the life setting of the people around the park.
The Bigodi village proposes the best community visit which takes to spend a moment with the local, know how they earn a living with the crafts, taste the local dishes and get to know how the local have come to appreciate nature and attained to nature sustainability development scheme.