Kibale forest National Park
About Kibale National Park
It is found in Western Uganda protecting moist evergreen rainforest and covers 766square kilometres, located between 3600-5200ft in elevation. Kibale national park contain a diverse arrays of landscapes that has both lowland and montane forests. In East Africa its sustains the last significant expanse of pre-montane forest.
The park was gazetted in 1932 and formally established in 1993 to protect a large area of forest previously managed as a logged forest reserve. It forms also a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park and this adjoining of the Parks creates a 180km wildlife corridor.
Kibale national park is important for eco-tourism and safari destination, popular for its population of habituated chimpanzees and other 12 other species of primates. It is also a location of the Makerere University Biological Field Station.
There are two major tribes who inhabit around the park, the Batooro and Bakiga, they use this park for food, fuel and other resources with the help of the UWA but also over the last century, the population around the park has increased because the park directly brings in revenue for those living around it and job creation for them.
The soils are fertile for growing crops year in and year out and therefore, this increase in population has caused a problem of high demand of firewood hence people encroach on the parks wildlife habitat. This has brought organisations like New Nature Foundation aimed at restoring people – Park relationship by empowering local citizens meet their needs in a sustainable way.
Kibale national park is a home of the large number of endangered chimpanzees as well as the Red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey, it has the highest diversity and concentration of primates in Africa.
There are 13 species of primates in this park, and the park protects several well studied habituated communities of common chimpanzee and several species of central African monkey like the Uganda mangabey, the Uganda red colobus and the L’Hoest’s monkey. The other primates that are found in the park include the black and white colobus and the blue monkey.
The parks population of elephants travels between queen Elizabeth National Park and Kibale national park. Other terrestrial mammals that are found within Kibale national park are red and blue duikers, bushbucks, sitatungas, bushbigs, common warthogs, African Buffalo and Giant forest hogs.
The carnivores include leopards, servals, African Golden cats and different mongoose plus otter and the lions that visit the park occasionally.
Bird life is also prolific since the park has 325 species of birds including the olive long tailed cuckoo, western tinker bird and the two species of pittas plus the grey parrot. While the ground thrush is endemic to Kabale national park.
There are about 229 species of trees found within the moist tropical forest of the park. Some endangered timber species of trees include cordia millenii, entandrophragma angolense and lovoa swynnertonnii though the forest is dominated by shade tolerant shrubs and herbs the likes of palisota schweinfurthii and pollia condensate in addition to broad leaf grasses.
Activities in Kibale National Park
Chimpanzee trekking and habituation
At present, Kibale National Park has 1450 chimpanzees that are seen whenever tourist visit the park. The tourists are assigned a chimp community which is undergoing habituation, chimpanzee tracking sets off at 8:00am and 2:00pm and takes 2 to 3 hrs. but there is also chance of those people who wake up early in the morning, to see Chimpanzees breastfeeding their young ones, feeding, hunting, patrolling copulating and resting.
There are many species of birds that tourists enjoy in a Uganda Birding safaris. Bird tour starts at 7:00 am at Kanyanchu up to the Bigodi wetland Sanctuary just outside the park. The sanctuary has 138 species that may be explored in a Guided walk. The birds include olive long tailed cuckoo, western tinker bird and the two species of pittas plus the grey parrot.
Night Nature walks and hiking in Kibale national Park
Night nature walks gives tourists a chance to see some nocturnal species after many of the primates and other day residents have left to hiding after a long day. This starts at 7:30pm and takes 2hrs, you must be armed with torches and an Armed Guard and you see creatures like potto, night jar, cricket and tree chilling hyrax.
Cultural encounter in Kibale National Park
Here the tourists make excursions to the local people who surround Kibale National Park and tourist can expect to be served to traditional arts of these people like traditional healing, local African crafts, music and dance. This is where you find an organised group called the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED) which has benefited direct and indirectly the people in the group.
ccommodation in Kibale National Park
Kibale Safari Lodge
Its located on the way to Bigodi in Kanyanchu. The cottages have private toilets and showers with both cold and warm water and meals plus drinks are served in the site restaurant. The meals here include breakfast, lunch and Dinner plus juice, Tea and coffee as possible.
This lodge got its name due to the many chimpanzee visitors that flock it. It is located in the Nyabubale village just 15min drive from Kanyanchu. All the self – contained cottages and budget rooms are powered by solar energy in respect to the fragility of the area in which the lodge is situated.
Kibale Forest camp
It is south of Kibale National Park, the accommodation unit boarders the Magombe swamp which forms part of the Bigodi Wetland sanctuary also 10mins from the Kanyanchu visitor centre. This accommodation is affordable and gives tourist a taste of basic African architecture and ten safari tents. Meals are served here in a comfortable restaurant which is also built in African style.
Mantana Tented Camp
Mantana lodging is offered in seven tents which are well furnished with features like 2 bedrooms, en-suite washrooms including showers and flush toilets, a dressing area, ample space and a private verandah where guests can stand and gaze beyond the Horizon. There are different drinks and African meals.
Safari Hotel Bigodi
This offers many budget options for guests hence frequented by campers and other tourists. It is located along the Bigodi – Kamwenge road in beautiful vegetation. Single and double rooms, four bandas and a secure camping ground and an area for camp fire. Drinks and delicious foods are served on orders.
Kanyanchu River Camp
This is located in the central part of Kibale National Park, it also has the main trailhead of the park’s famous forest walks and the most popular of which is the daily primate walk like habituated Chimpanzees, bird watching and night treks.
Sebitoli Forest Camp
Kibale’s secondary tourism centre located in the North of the Forest that always offers tourists encounter with the primates. It is a guided forest walk, and visitors spot a variety of aquatic, savannahand forest birds.
Lake Nkuruba Nature Reserve
It was established in 1991 to protect the ancient forest habitant which surrounds the volcanic crater lake and is one of the few crater lakes in the region which has retained its lush forest habitant. The reserve is rich in biodiversity and supports a variety of birds and primates.
Lake Nkuruba Nature reserve provides the perfect base for chimp trekking/ tracking in the nearby Kibale National park or hiking in Rwenzori mountains. The reserve is also rich with many species of birds including the Great Blue Turaco and the Black and white casgued hornbill.
The community campsite is situated within the Nature Reserve and offers a variety of accommodation ranging from camping in trees frequented by monkeys or spending your nights in lakeside cottages.
Visiting this Nature reserve provides the perfect base to explore one of the world’s concentrations of volcanic lakes and the largest population of chimpanzees in Uganda and trek with them in the nearby Kibale National Park.
Eco Tourism at Lake Nkurubo Nature Reserve
This combines the nature conservation and community wellbeing, this volcanic crater lake has maintained and retained its biodiversity rich forest. It was once part of Kibale forest. The founding principle is therefore, to ensure community protects this ancient forest and its beautiful wildlife.
The majority of food and drink you order while visiting this nature reserve is purchased locally. It also supports training in income generating activities like bee keeping and hand craft production. The hand crafts are available for sale within the Nature reserve.
To make the place more attractive, in 2018 there has been tree planting to provide more habitant for primates and in particular to increase the population of Colobus monkeys.
Activities at lake Nkurubo Nature Reserve
This is an exciting Guided walk through Lake Nkurubo forest due to the interesting activities like learning about the monkeys, birds, and trees found in Nature reserves. This takes an hour to complete the forest.
This takes a full day of the adventure; the Guides take you on a hike in the stunning lower ranges of the Rwenzori mountains with a visit to the Rwangimba hot springs.
This trek goes via the villages, here the tourist meets and interacts with the local people where you get to the culture of the region; how people cook, use local medicine, weaving, eating habits and so many things.
Top of the world
View the stunning scenery at the top of the world view points. Overlooking 3 crater lakes and the nearby Kibale National park and learn about crater lake formation, bird viewing, trees and beautiful scenery plus visiting the Mahoma waterfalls.