Kibale Forest National Park is located in Southern Uganda. The great eco-tourism and safari destination is one of the gems in the Pearl of Africa – Uganda. The park is one of the few remaining expanses protecting the montane and lowland forests. The park also supports Savannah, woodlands and wet tropical forests.
Besides it’s magnificent plant life, Kibale Forest National Park is a habitat to 13 primate species among which is the endangered chimpanzees. The other species include; the Red colobus monkey, mangabey, blue monkey, black-and-white colobus, and L’hoest’s monkey. The park also harbours a numerous number of bushbucks, red and blue duikers, sitatungas, warthogs, bushpigs, African buffalos, leopards, servals and golden cats.
The Kibale's Attraction
Queen Elizabeth National Park has a number of unique features that make it outstanding and echo it’s royalty.
Lowland and Montana forests 'Some of the critically endangered plant life'
Kibale Forest National Park is one of the last expanses containing montane and lowland forests. The park contains the last significant expanse of pre-montane forest. Within the park, lowland forests are found at elevations of about 1000 metres, their constant temperatures and high rainfalls provide a conducive environment for an extensive variety of plant and animal life. The lowland forests contain the tallest trees as compared with all the other rainforests.
The montane forests are found in the park’s mountainous areas at altitudes of 1000-2500 meters for the lower montane and altitudes of 2500-3000 metres for higher montane. The montane forests are usually cooler and have more moisture as compared to the lowland forests. The trees in these forests do not grow as high as those in lowland forests due to the cooler temperatures but the montane forests abound with more epiphytic plants and ferns.
13 primate species 'Including the endangered chimpanzees'
Kibale National Park is renowned for harbouring a large population of primates and most of all the prized chimpanzees. The park has the highest population of chimpanzees in Uganda with about 1450 individual, making chimpanzee trekking one of the park’s highlights.
The other primate species include; the black and white Colobus monkeys, olive baboons, grey-cheeked mangabey, pottos, bush babies and Vervet monkey. A safari trip to Kibale Forest National Park will give you a great time encountering these primates.
Over 339 species of birds 'Including the rare African Pitta'
Kibale Forest National Park is the ideal safari tour destination for the avid bird watcher. The park offers an extensive variety of birds to see, ranging from common to rare species. These bird species include; the green-breasted pitta, black-capped waxbill, African dusky flycatcher, brown-capped weaver, blue-throated roller, bronze sunbird, black-throated apalis, black-billed turaco, African wood owl, black bee-eater, black cuckoo shrike, alpine swift, zebra waxbill, yellow-billed barbet, barn swallow, bronze mannikin and afeb pigeon.
Bigodi wetland sanctuary 'Nature’s hub'
Bigodi wetland sanctuary is not just another ordinary swamp located in Kibale National Park but an extensive display of biodiversity. The swamp harbours a large number of mammal, primate and Bird species. The swamp is a home to the red colobus monkey, the Vervet monkey, the rare L’Hoest monkey, the mangabey and a number of baboons.
The mammal species that reside in Bigodi include; chimpanzees, sitatungas, otters, bushbucks, Bush pigs, and mongooses. Over 138 bird species have been recorded in the wetland, among which is the grand blue turaco, green-breasted Pita, crowned eagle, Abyssinian ground thrush, yellow spooted nicator and the purple-breasted sunbird.
Adventure & Activities
Chimpanzee trekking and habituation
An encounter with the prized chimpanzees is a thrilling one and a safari tour to Kibale Forest National Park will have you hitting the trails in pursuit of these endangered species. Over the years a number of chimpanzee families have been habituated, making trekking and encountering them possible. With the aid of experienced guides, you are able to track the chimpanzees and spend time with them. You get a chance to see mothers nursing their infants, the little ones learning to swing in the tree branches and the proud males making deliberate rounds and keeping a watchful eye on their families.
Kibale Forest National Park is a habitat to over 370 bird species found in various suitable spots, and there are over 138 species to discovered in Bigodi wetland located at the edge of the park. The rare bird species to see in the park include; the white-winged warbler, papyrus gonolek, papyrus canary and white-collared oliveback.
The other species to see include; the western nicator, yellow-billed barbet, grey-winged robin chat, black-and-white shrike flycatcher, brown-throated wattle-eye, black bishop, black-crowned waxbill, white-breasted negrofinch, superb sunbird, hairy-breasted barbet, and Brown-backed scrub robin.
Kibale Forest harbours a remarkable number of nocturnal creatures; when chimpanzees and other forest dwellers retire at dusk, some peculiar creatures begin to leave their hideouts. Deliberate night walks through the forest will make you discover creatures like; the nightjar, pottos, bush babies, the noisy crickets, tree hyrax, leopards, civets and serval cats.
A safari tour to Kibale Forest National Park offers you the opportunity to encounter the Kibale Association for Rural Environment Development (KAFRED). The community-based organization is aimed at improving livelihood and promoting biodiversity conservation through eco-tourism. You can choose to contribute to this cause at your will. You can also visit the local people and see how life runs in a typical rural African setting.