Kibale Forest National Park has a surface of 766 square kilometers, and it provides great protection for the moist evergreen rainforest, pre-montane forest, and montane forest. These represent the habitat of 13 species of primates, including chimpanzees. This fact makes the Kibale Forest National Park a paradise for primates’ lovers. Chimpanzees represent one of the main attractions in this National Park, but they’re not the only one. The variety of forests creates impressive landscapes, and you can enjoy an amazing walking through the woods, admiring the various species of trees and plants. This park is also the home of two African tribes, Batooro and Bakiga, and it may be a great experience to encounter their cultures and habits.
- +Meeting and learning about the Batooro and Bakiga people
- +Visiting the tropical forest
- +Hiking through the pre-montane and montane forest
- +Meeting the largest population of chimpanzees in Africa
About Bwindi Kibale Forest National Park
The wonderful Kibale Forest National Park is one of the most beautiful protected areas of tropical forest in Uganda. Providing home for many species of mammals, insects, and birds, the forest has all the rights to be a protected park. Moreover, the tropical forest is endangered because of the humans, so its status offers protection for all the trees and plants from Kibale Forest. You can also encounter swamp and patches of grassland. This unique combination results in astonishing landscapes and perfect frames for wildlife photography.
What is amazing about this place is the way in which the forest is settled. The park is situated between 1,100 – 1,600 meters altitude. This allows the development of moist evergreen rainforest, montane forest, and pre-montane forest. It is interesting to know that pre-montane forest is not so common in Africa nowadays. In fact, the largest area of pre-montane forest in East Africa can be found in the Kibale Forest National Park.
Besides admiring the views and taking advantage of them by taking a lot of photos, there are other opportunities that Kibale Forest National Park offers. One of these is chimpanzee tracking. The primates are the main attraction in the National Park, and the large number of chimpanzees guarantees a successful tracking. In the park, there are around 1450 chimpanzees; this means that the Kibale Forest National Park hosts the highest population of chimpanzees in the entire Uganda.
A unique opportunity that Kibale provides is seeing the daily life of the local population, mainly formed from two tribes, Batooro and Bakiga. Batoroo are the natives while the Bakiga are immigrants. However, now they live together peacefully, and you can take advantage of their hospitality, encounter a new culture and learn their history as told by themselves. This is a rare opportunity you don’t want to miss!
A village walk offers the opportunity to visit their church, to learn how they use traditional medicine, to hear the history of the tribes known as the story of “The Village of Two Tribes”, to learn about the role of women in the village, and to observe or participate in some traditional ceremonies.
In order to get to Kibale Forest National Park, you can choose to travel by plane to Entebbe International Airport, which is close to Kampala, the capital of Uganda. From Kampala, you can go by car or public transport to the park. If you plan to arrive at the National Park without using a plane, it is important to know that Fort Portal is the largest city near the park, so you have to reach this city first.
When to Go & Weather
The climate is a tropical one so that there are two rainy periods and a dry season from December to February. This is the peak period for visiting Kibale Forest National Park because the trails are dry, and tracking the chimpanzees and the other primates can be done easily. From June to August is another good period for tracking, sightseeing, and hiking.
On the other side, it is not recommended to visit Kibale Forest National Park in April, September, October, and November due to the rain. This makes tracking and even walking in the forest quite dangerous. Moreover, some of the lodges are even closed during this period.
Make sure you know the weather forecast when you are planning to visit Kibale Forest National Park.
With a tropical climate, the humidity level in Kibale Forest National Park is very high almost the entire year. The lower level of humidity is July while April is the wettest month. The annual maximum temperature is 26 – 27°C and the annual minimum temperature is around 14 – 15 °C.
Make sure you check the weather forecast prior to your visit to the Kibale Forest National Park:
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Kibale Forest was first acknowledged as a Forest Reserve in 1932. The main purpose was to provide a sustained production of hardwood timber. In 1993, the Kibale Forest was recognized as a National Park, and it is now under the protection of Uganda Wildlife Authority and beneficiates of the law applicable to National Parks. Even though some activities are forbidden in National Parks, Uganda Wildlife Authority allows the locals to provide themselves food and fuel from the Kibale Forest National Park.
Kibale Forest National Park provides a fascinating variety when it comes to wildlife and flora. The National Park holds in its forests a large number of chimpanzees and red colobus monkeys, both of them being endangered species of primates. In fact, the number of chimpanzees present in the National Park is around 1450, making Kibale the area with the highest concentration of chimpanzees in Africa.
Other species of primates which can be found in Kibale Forest National Park are blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, black-and-white colobus, olive baboons, potto, grey-cheeked mangabey, and the L’Hoest’s monkey.
The number of other species of mammals is also impressive. There are at least 70 mammals species registered in Kibale, besides primates. Here are some examples: elephants, buffaloes, sitatungas, giant forest hogs, golden cats, mongooses, leopards, lions, swamp otters, and hippopotamus.
The variety of birds is also attractive, the park being home for 325 species, such as the crowned eagle, blue-headed sunbird, purple-breasted sunbird, Dusky Crimsonwing, red-faced woodland warbler, black-eared ground thrush, and black bee-eater.
When it comes to flora, we cannot omit the fact that Kibale features no less than 351 species of trees. Some of them are endangered timber species, such as Lovao swynnertonnii, Cordia millenii, and Entandrophragma angolense.
- Kibale Forest National Park has the biggest number of chimpanzees in Uganda, namely 1450 specimens.
- The National Park is the home of 13 species of primates, such as chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, and red colobus monkeys.
- Kibale Forest National Park has the largest surface of pre-montane forest in East Africa.
- You can choose to encounter the culture of Batooro and Bakiga tribes from Kibale Forest National Park – you have the opportunity to watch some of the ceremonies, to listen to the history of the tribes, to meet a traditional healer, and to learn about the role of the women in the tribe.