Wildlife In Kibale Forest National Park
Wildlife In Kibale Forest National Park- Kibale forest may be a beautiful slice of nature, quite literally a modern-day garden of Eden. Preserved as Uganda’s premier chimpanzee tracking destination, Kibale park protects 766 sq. km of predominantly forested habitat that extends quite 50km south from the most Fort Portal-Kampala Road to the northeast border of queen Elizabeth national park.
Kibale forest national park was originally gazetted as a forest reserve in 1932 but was later upgraded to a national park and extended southward to form a contiguous block with queen Elizabeth national park in 1993. This bond creates a huge 180km corridor for wildlife migration of lions, leopards, buffaloes, etc. the corridor connects Ishasha in the south of Queen Elizabeth national park and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale forest national park. This massive spread of national parkland allows you to view large numbers of different wild animals.
The Park headquarters is where briefing for chimpanzee tracking takes place, the starting point of chimpanzee trekking, and the main center for tourist activity within the park is the Kanyanchu Visitors’ Centre.
How to get to Kibale Forest National Park?
Kibale forest national park is situated on the western side of the country in Kabarole district and can be accessed by road transport from Kampala via Mubende – fort portal or Kampala via Masaka – Mbarara to Kamwengwe to Kibale which takes you about 5-6 hours’ drive in a comfortable 4×4 safari vehicle.
Vegetation Of Kibale Forest
Kibale forest national park is occupied by rainforest, large-buttresses mahoganies, swamps, and tall fruiting figs whose canopy is 60m above the ground. Spreading over 1,100-1,590 meters above sea level, Kibale forest has more than 229 different tree species.
Unlike Budongo forest located in the north of the park, Kibale forest wasn’t cut down until the 1950s when it became an important source of timber for the Kilembe copper mine that was being constructed in Kasese district. The cutting down of timber was reduced during the civil wars. Because the controlled deforestation, most of the forest areas have large-buttressed mahoganies, tall fruiting figs, and other hardwood trees
Animals in Kibale forest national park
Kibale forest national park hosts the highest number of primates in Africa. The park has 13 primates including the chimpanzees which are over 1500. The forest is also home to the last population of Uganda red colobus and the beautiful L’Hoest’s monkey.
The forest is also home to other primates such as black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys, Demidoff Galago, grey checked mangabeys, patas monkeys, Uganda red colobus, and pottos.
Apart from mammals, Kibale forest national park is home to over 70 mammal species such as African buffalo, bushbucks, duikers, lions, giant forest hogs, sitatungas, bush pigs, leopards, mongooses, African elephants, and other creatures can be found here.
The park also has over 250 butterfly species, 70 reptiles with the largest being the Nile crocodile, and over 375 species of birds are finding their home in this forest. the bird species in Kibale forest national park include the blue-headed bee-eater, masked appalis, nahan’s francolin, little greenbul, black headed oriole, African jacana, brown chested alethe, black-billed turaco, black and white shrike flycatcher, barn swallow, collared appalis, black bee eater, African pitta, Abyssinian ground thrush, crowned eagle, and African emerald cuckoo among others.
Within Kibale forest national park lies the last remaining significant area of pre-montane forest on the continent of Africa, with over 229 tree species. Yet, remarkably 23% of this park, famed for its forests, is open savannah vegetation where even lions, African elephants, and other animals can be found.
Birding in Kibale forest national park
Kibale forests have more than 375 bird species that have been so far recorded including six endemics to the Albertine rift area. Bird lovers can spot these beautiful birds during guided nature walks in the forest. You can spot different bird species on these walks including the four that are endemic to the region- the cassin’s spinetail, nahan’s francolin, blue-headed bee-eater, and masked apalis.
Other bird species in Kibale forest national park include brown chested alethe, black-billed turaco, black and white shrike flycatcher, barn swallow, dusky crimsoning, collared appalis, black bee eater, Abyssinian ground thrush, crowned eagle, yellow spotted nicator, little greenbul, ash flycatcher, chubb’s cisticola, black capped waxbill, Africa shrike flycatcher, yellow rumped tinker bird, African dusky flycatcher, blue breasted kingfisher, African black headed oriole, African- pied wagtail, brown eared woodpecker, African emerald cuckoo, blue-throated roller, black billed weaver, zebra waxbill, blue-throated roller, African green pigeon, black headed oriole, African jacana, African pitta, somber greenbul, and white collared olive among others.
What is the best time to do birding in Kibale national park?
Birding in Kibale forest national park can be done at any time of the year but some months are better than others. The best months are March to May and September to November when migratory birds from Europe are coming into the country. During these months there is plenty of fruits, so food is abundant and most of the birds are breeding plumage.
Tourist activities in the Kibale forest national park
One of the national parks to visit while on your safari to Uganda is Kibale forest national park. Below are some of the activities you can do while in the park.
Chimpanzee trekking is the most done activity in Kibale forest national park by tourists. Visitors who visit this park get an opportunity to trek chimpanzees or habituate them for a half-day or a full day. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park begins in the morning at 8:30 am at Kanyacu visitor’s center with a short briefing about rules and regulations of chimpanzee trekking before an armed ranger guide leads you into the forest to search for these primates. chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park takes 2-4 hours depending on the location of these primates.
Price of chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park
Kibale trekking permits for Kibale forest national park cost $200 for foreign nonresidents, $150 for foreign residents, and shs150,000 for East African citizens. These rates include nature walk fee, guide fee, and park entrance fee. Chimpanzee habituation experience is also done in Kibale forest national park and it costs $250 for foreign nonresidents and foreign residents while citizens of east Africa pay UGX150,000. The rates include a guide fee and park entrance fees for 4 hours.
What is the best time to go chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park?
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park can be done at any time of the year but the best time to have the fun of this activity is during the dry season which happens from December to February and June to September. During the dry season, the roads leading to the park are passable, there is little or no rainfall, the forest is less dense making chimpanzees be easier seen, and the trails are not muddy.
Primate walking is another excellent African safari activity that you can engage in on a safari in the Kibale forest national park located in the western part of the country. Primate tracking first session starts at the Kanyanchu visitor center early in the morning at 8:00 am, and the afternoon walk starts at 2:00 am both with a briefing. Each primate walk lasts between 2-3 hours depending on various factors such as the speed of the trekkers, nature of the terrain, and time of the year.
During the primate walk in Kibale forest national park, you have an opportunity of spotting different animals such as chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys, L’hoest’s monkeys, Demidoff Galago, grey checked mangabeys, Uganda mangabey, patas monkeys, pottos, African buffalo, African elephants, bushbucks, duikers, lions, giant forest hogs, sitatungas, bush pigs, leopards, and mongooses
Where to stay in Kibale forest national park
Kibale forest national park has a wide range of accommodation facilities where you can stay during tour safari depending on your travel budget. These accommodation facilities range from budget, mid-range to luxury including Chimps Nest, Primate Lodge Kibale, Kibale forest camp, Nyinabulitwa Country Resort, and Safari Camp, Kanyanchu River Camp, Mountains of the Moon Hotel, Chimpanzee Forest Guest House, Ndali Kasenda Lodge, Papaya Lake Lodge, Amarada Rift Valley Lodge, Kyanika Lodge, Isunga Lodge, Kibale Safari Lodge, and Kibale Forest Cottages among others.