Tourist Activities in Kibale Forest National park
Tourist Activities in Kibale Forest National park : Kibale National park is Uganda’s most fascinating primate capital located on a 766 square kilometre area near Fort Portal and Kasese towns in the Western part of Uganda. The forest is one of the lush and beautiful forests in Uganda, surrounded by Batoro and Balinga. Kibale National park is about 325 km (6-7 hours’ drive) from Kampala capital city and 2-3 hours’ drive from Kasese. By air, the park can only be accessed at Kasese airstrip since the area close to the park do not have airstrips. For example, Aerolink Uganda operates daily flights from Entebbe international airport to Kasese airstrip. By road, the park can easily be accessed through 2 routes enabling visitors combine different tourist destinations while on their Uganda safari experience. Semliki national park, Mount Rwenzori national pa, Queen Elizabeth national park and Bwindi impenetrable national parks are the closest destination to visit.
Kibale National park is home to about 13 different primate’s species including the Chimpanzees among other primate species. Chimpanzees are the main tourist attractions for visitors to Kibale national park. The chimpanzees here are in the family of Hominidae with gorillas, orangutans and humans although they separated from humans about 6 million years ago. Just like the gorillas, the chimpanzees share 98.8% DNA with man making them man’s closest cousins being members of the Homini along with extinct species of the sub tribe Hominina. Male chimps are bigger than female chimps. They can stand up to 5.6 ft high and weighs about 150lbs. Chimpanzees also live 40 years in the wild and about 60 years in captivity. Chimpanzee’s arms are longer than the legs and they can walk with knuckles, or walk on all the legs and arms. They can also walk on two and hold things in their hands.
Kibale national park is popular for chimpanzees trekking although chimpanzee tracking can also be done Budongo forest, Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park, and Kalinzu forest which is managed by the National Forestry Authority (NFA). The park can be visited all year round and is one of the last remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests and forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is a bird watcher’s paradise and the Green-breasted pitta which is one of the highly thought after birds, is here.
Apart from chimpanzees, there are about other 12 primate species which include the black and white colobus monkeys, red colobus monkeys, red tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkeys among others. Colobus is a greek word which means ‘missing’. The colobus monkeys miss the 5th finger. Instead of chimpanzee tracking, a traveller may opt for chimpanzee habituation. With habituation, you spend the whole day with chimpanzees. The full day chimpanzee habituation is worth the money and the effort; you will feel like Jane Goodall. You only spend one hour with the chimps for the normal chimpanzee trek. You can combine the chimpanzee trek with a guided nature walk to Bigodi swamp, a community run activity. Below are detailed tourist activities in Kibale national park.
Chimpanzee tracking is one of the highlights that make a Uganda safari unique. What makes Uganda safaris more special is that you can go for chimpanzee and gorilla tracking in the same country. Kibale Forest National Park is with no doubt the best place in Uganda and in the world to see chimpanzees in their wild nature. The chimpanzee tracking starts at 8am from the park headquarters where visitors are briefed first. Then they are led to the forest by 2 ranger guides from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Many chimpanzee families call this forest home but there are also other primates that include the red colobus monkeys, the grey checked mangabey, blue monkey, L’Hoest monkey among others. There are also olive baboons and the nocturnal bush babies and pottos which may be seen on a night walk in the forest.
Chimpanzee habituation in Kibale Forest National park, a tropical forest is now popular and it is an experience like no other. Because chimpanzee trekking is very popular, another group is being habituated and visitors have an opportunity to participate in the chimpanzee habituation process at $220 per person. The price includes park entry fees; ranger guides fees and habituation fees. For a long time now, since the 1960s, a team of scientists have been habituating chimpanzees so visitors are able to go chimpanzee tracking. Chimpanzees are found in 19 African countries but they are endangered since their habitant is being destroyed by man. You will spend a whole day with chimps contributing to the habituation process with rangers and habituation experts from UWA.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Bigodi Wetland swamp sanctuary is about 6 km south of Kibale National park and is run by the community surrounding the park. 200 bird species that include the great blue turaco, about eight different primates that include the grey checked mangabey, the blue monkey, the red tailed, the black and white colobus monkey among others, beautiful butterflies call this swamp home. The guided swamp walk takes bout 2 to 3 hours walking through beautiful grasslands and communities with children waving at you warmly. The scenery too is beautiful to thrill as one of the Tourist Activities in Kibale Forest National park.
Kibale national park is about 370 bird species have been recorded in Kibale National park and surrounding area. What more can a bird watcher ask for? The breasted pitta is one of the highly thought after birds, and our bird watching itinerary includes birding in Kibale national park. Bird watching in Kibale National park can be done thought the year. The other best bird spot is the Bigodi wetland sanctuary that is home to the great blue turaco, black and white cascade hornbill among others.
Crater walk lakes
With over 70 crater lakes found are the area, a visitor can go for a 2 to 3 hour crater walk or more and hike to the top of the world for stunning views. Some of the crater lakes that are due to volcanic activities and explosions ages ago are Lake Nyabikyere, Ndali and Kyaninga.
Cultural home stays
It is also possible to visitors to do a home stay at one of the homes in the communities and experience first-hand how the local people go by their lives. You will also participate in going to the farms with them, preparing and enjoying traditional Ugandan food.
Night nature walk
If booked early through the national park, one can go for a guided night walk to look out for bush babies, golden cats and pottos. Before the night walk, forest elephants that call Kibale Forest National park have to be monitored first for peaceful night nature walks.
On your way to Queen Elizabeth National park, one can decide to visit Toro palace to learn more about Toro kingdom which is one the 5 traditional kingdoms in Uganda and King Omukama Oyo Rukidi IV became the youngest king in the world in 1995 at the age of 3.