Forming a continuous forest with the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda occupies more than 760 square kilometers while rising to an elevation of almost 1 600 meters. This piece of land is one of the last remaining habitats to include both lowland and montane forests.
The park counts as one of the country’s most sought-after wilderness areas. It is close to the Ndali-Kasenda crater area with the Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks not too far off.
The raised Fort Portal plateau towers over the central and northern parts of the park. Kibale is the highest point, standing at 1 590 meters above sea level.
The natural corridor that is created with the neighbouring Queen Elizabeth park is a favourite destination for safari-goers seeking more than just another wildlife excursion. A handful of primate species offer spectacular encounters amid the evergreen forest areas.
Various eco-tourism ventures provide the financial sustenance to ensure the future of the park. The biological field station of the Makerere University can also be found inside the park.
Kibale National Park is situated a mere 22 kilometers southeast of the town of Fort Portal. The town is 290 kilometer from the Ugandan capital of Kampala from where a short drive of 32 kilometers will lead visitors to Kanyanchu River Camp, the entrance to the park.
Other mammal species that can be spotted in the Kibale Forest National Park include elephants, buffalos, leopards, golden cats and a variety of reptile and amphibian species.
Kibale Forest National Park is home to the highest density of primates in Africa. There are 13 chimpanzee species that total 1 450 individual animals. The threatened red colobus and I’Hoest’s monkeys as well as black-and-white colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys and olive baboons can also be spotted.
Other mammal species that can be spotted in the park include elephants, buffalos, leopards, golden cats and a variety of reptile and amphibian species. Close to 250 species of butterflies adds a special touch.
It is a birders delight with more than 375 species fluttering about. From the African and Green-breasted pitta, crowned eagle, eed-chested owlet to the black bee-eater, blue-breasted kingfisher, African grey parrot and the purple-breasted sunbird.
To observe animals congregating near water holes, plan to visit Kibale National Park in the dry season between June and September when the average day time temperatures average 25 degrees Celsius. The hot and dry period between January and February is also a good time to travel to the park.
Chimpanzee tracking and getting close to other habituated primates is the most popular safari activity in Kibale Forest National Park. Daytime hiking and night time walks are unique experiences while bird watching tours in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary just outside the park are also available. For the more culturally inclined, there is the opportunity to learn more about the Batooro tribe during a village walk.
A variety accommodation options is available for visitors to Kibale National Park. These include several lodges for all budgets, from those seeking a little bit more luxury to safari-goers that don’t mind to rough it a little.