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Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is located in Western Uganda in Kabarole district and it was established in 1993, the park is known for being “The primate capital of the World” having various Chimpanzees with a population of over 1500 individuals including habituated ones which are about 120 making it the park with the highest primate population. Among the primates such as  the black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, L’Hoest’s monkey, olive baboons, Mantled guereza, Potto, Vervet monkey, White-eyelid mangabey, Galago among others.

About the park

Due to its location between the wet rain forests of the Congo Basin and the drier West African forest, Kibale supports an unusual array of Tropical plants and animals from both areas most famously the 13 Primate species. The park has one of the greatest concentrations of monkeys and apes in the World and the highest in Uganda for instance  the endangered Chimpanzees and rare sub-species of the red colobus monkeys.

The park is also home to about 120 mammal species consisting of over 500 elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, warthogs, leopards, golden cats, giant forest hogs, blue and red duiker, rare sitatunga, among others and also more than 300 species of birds including olive long tailed cuckoo, western tinker bird, grey parrot, blue breasted king fisher, blue headed sunbird, red faced woodland, yellow spotted nicator, little greenbul among other bird species.

Kibale’s varied vegetation offers different varieties of wildlife habitat, ranging from the moist evergreen forest along the Fort Portal plateau then through the dry tropical forest and then to the woodland and savanna along the rift valley floor. Meanwhile, the vegetation rises to over 55m and establishes a semi-closed canopy of massive stratified tree crowns. With shade tolerant herbs, a variety of ferns, shrubs and broad leaved forest grasses, the undergrowth is sparse. 351 tree species have been registered in the park, Kibale’s scenic appeal, Chimpanzee tracking cost and the rising number of safari accommodation choices makes it one of Uganda’s top Tourist destination and a great alternative to the southern touch Gorilla Trekking Adventure in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

The evergreen protected tropical rainforest and the nearby Ndali-Kasenda Crater region are close to being an independent traveler’s dream. The  mysteriously attractive to nature lovers. Who are attracted to its wide range of forest birds and primates species.


Activities in Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park offers various Safari activities that one can engage in and they include;

Chimpanzee Tracking

Chimpanzee Tracking the highlight of any visit to Kibale Forest National Park and Chimp sightings not guaranteed on chimp treks. Still, the chances of encountering a chimpanzee troop in Kibale Forest now stands at around 96%. While in the forest, you can expect to see at least two or three other types of primates mostly the grey cheeked mangabey and the red-tailed monkeys. You will hear sounds of the birds singing but it’s challenging to see any birds in the heart of the forest, but rather in the rest camps and along the road.


Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Chimpanzee Habituation only done in Kibale Forest National Park and usually done by Chimpanzee enthusiasts and aspiring researchers who join this full day activity seeking field experience. It involves staying with the chimps all day with habituators and observing their behaviors.


Nature Walk

Nature Walk is a great opportunity to enjoy one of East Africa’s most beautiful and varied forests, Kibale without pressure to locate chimpanzees or tick off a dozen on the forest’s bird list. This is also an ideal activity for young visitors unable to accompany relatives on the Primate Walk.


Night Walks

During this activity, you get to enter the forest after dark to search for nocturnal mammals like galagos, pottos and also bush babies and they are conducted daily from 19:30 to 22:00.



A bird list of 372 forest, grassland and swamp species including the local endemics and Central Africa ‘specials’ make Kibale Forest National Park a popular destination for bird lovers. Forest birds  sought on the forest trails at Kanyachu and Sebitoli tourism sites. This experience combined with a visit to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary to add forest edge and swamp specials to the list.


When to Visit

The best time to visit Kibale Forest National Park is during the dry season from December through January to February and also June to July. This is because it finds all the park trails dry and passable making chimpanzee trekking thrilling and easier to do.


How to Get to Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park accessed by both Road and Air Transport means.

By Road, the most direct route to the park is through Kampala – Fort Portal road and it is about 335km.

By Air, its reached from two airstrips; Nyakisharara airstrip which is near Mbarara, 100km on tarmac and Kasese, 60km on surfaced and dirt roads.


Kibale Forest Entry Gates

Kanyachu gate, this gate gives access to Kibale Forest National Park and it is the starting point for Chimpanzee Tracking sessions.


Accommodations in Kibale Forest National Park
Luxury Accommodations

Chimpundu Forest Lodge

Primate Lodge Kibale

Rubalika Safari Lodge and Farm