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Kibale National Park

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Gaze into the gentle and intelligent eyes of one of mankind’s closest relatives and be immediately captivated.  Here in the middle of one of the world’s most beautiful equatorial rain forests, you are privileged to come face to face with Chimpanzees in their natural habitat.  These enchanting animals, with their very human behaviour will steal your heart!  This is both an exciting and humbling experience.  Welcome to Kibale National Park.


Best Time to Visit:

The best time to come is December to Feb and June to August, which are the driest months.

Average Visitor Rating:

5 out of 5 'Pawprints' Based on 0 Review(s)
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Primate Playground in Kibale

A visit to Kibale Forest National Park in southern Uganda is one of the highlights of any trip to East Africa.  You have probably already been to see the Big Five, now it is your chance to spend some time getting to know the smaller and extremely entertaining animals that live here in the Kibale tropical rain forest.  Not only is the forest remarkably beautiful in its own right, but it is also home to the greatest diversity of primates anywhere in Uganda, and the largest population of highly endangered Chimpanzees.  Besides primates, the Park is also home to hundreds of species of birds, many small reptiles and mammals and even some Forest Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard and Lion. It is a wonderful place to go to commune with nature...


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Chimpanzee Trekking and other Highlights

The Chimpanzees

Kibale Forest is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important primate sanctuaries in Africa, and is home to approximately 1,500 Chimpanzees, which means that your chances of an excellent Chimp encounter are about 95%.  When you spend a few hours tracking them, you will be treated to the rare opportunity of seeing these very close cousins of ours (humans and Chimps share 98% DNA) behaving in a completely natural way.  One group of Chimps have been habituated to humans over many years, and are completely at ease in their company.  You can get as close as 8mt to them, (any closer than that could potentially cause stress to the animals, as you would be invading their personal “space”) which means you can get incredible photos.


The other Primates of Kibale

There are 12 species of Primates in the Forest besides the Chimps.  These include several very rare and endangered species like the L’Hoest’s Monkey, Red Colobus, Grey-cheeked Mangabey and the Red-tailed Monkey.


Nature Walks in Kibale

Just walking in this pristine tropical rain forest is an incredible experience for anyone. In some parts of the forest your walk will take you under a canopy of trees up to 50mt high! You will have the opportunity of catching a glimpse of the other 12 species of Primates, 350 species of birds and untold interesting plants, butterflies and other assorted small animals.



Safaris in Kibale Forest National Park

Safari activities in Kibale Forest Park all centre round the Kanyanchu River Camp and all activities are on foot, as there are no driving routes open to tourists.  The big emphasis in this Park is the Chimpanzee Tracking walks which take about 2 – 3 hours and operate twice a day.  It is also possible to do a 2-6 day Cultural Heritage and Nature Trail through the forest, sleeping in community-run campsites each night; this is a great opportunity for the adventurous visitor who would like to learn more about the local people.


Ardent primate enthusiasts should consider a combined Ugandan Primate Safari, which includes primate experiences in several Parks in the country and includes Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale, Primate Watching on Ngamba Island and the incredible Gorilla Trekking Experience in Bwindi Forest.  There are also several other options for combined Safari’s which include Kibale, Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Park.  



Other Activities in and around Kibale National Park

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

If you visit outside the main tourist season, (March, April, May and November) you can take part in this incredible activity, where you spend an entire day with the Kibale researchers and habituators as they follow the Chimps observing their  normal daily behaviour and getting them used to the presence of humans. This is an incredible experience!  A very early wake-up call is required so that you will be on site at 5.30 am to get to see the Chimps “de-nesting” – (that basically means getting up in the morning!!).  You will then follow them around all day long until they make up a new “bed” for the night and settle down to rest at about 7pm.


Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is situated just outside the Park and is a great place to enjoy a guided Wetland walk along a boardwalk trail with excellent bird-watching from the viewing platforms along the way.


Tea Estate Visit

Kibale Forest is surrounded by Tea Plantations which welcome visitors.  It is a great change from intensive animal and bird viewing and you can even help with the picking of the fresh green leaves before you visit the factory to see the processing of the leaves and taste the final product.


Rwenzori Mountain Hiking / Guided Walk

Kibale is situated very close to the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, where you can go on guided nature walks and even meet one of the local traditional healers at their home.  It is a great way of combining nature with a little dose of local culture.



Accommodation in Kibale National Park

The Primate Lodge inside the Park has a variety of accommodation options which range from 8 luxury Safari Tents and 7 very privately situated Forest Cottages to a delightful Tree House and a campsite for the more adventurous.  On the outskirts of the Park there are several more accommodation options including a few really unique and secluded eco-lodges and a couple of resorts on the Crater Lakes, all of which have quick and easy access to the Park.



How to Get There

Kibale is about 5 hours by road from Kampala, but most visitors make use of a quick chartered flight from Entebbe Airport.



Best Time to Visit

March to May or November is the time to come if you plan to do the Chimp Habituation Experience, which only operates outside the peak tourist season.  December to February and June to August are the months with the least rainfall, although the Chimp tracking continues throughout the year.


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