Kibale National Park is located in western Uganda, 26km south-east of Fort Portal town, it covers an area of 795km2, it contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. This is home to a host of forest wildlife, most famously 13 species of primate including chimpanzee. The climate is generally pleasant with a mean annual temperature range of 14-27oC. Temperatures are highest (and rainfall lower) in the south where the terrain drops down onto the hot rift valley floor and forest gives way to open grassland. Southern Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park and together these protected areas maintain a 180km long migration corridor for-wildlife which extends from Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, to the Sebitoli forest in the north of Kibale. The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and within a half day’s drive of the Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks and the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.
Kibale is most noted for its primate population. Some of these are red-tailed monkey, diademed monkey, blue monkey, white cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, chimpanzee, black, white and red colobus. Other mammals you might see are bushbuck, Harvey’s red duiker, blue duiker, genet, bush pig, and African civet. More difficult to spot are buffalo, waterbuck, hippo, warthog, and giant forest hog. Forest Elephant have become more and more rare, and now are seldom seen, although the sign of these elephants’ presence is abundant.
The forest walks: This covers 12 kms and is restricted to the dry seasons (mid-November to February & June to September). It covers the diverse habitats of Kibale national park including tropical rainforest, riverine forest, swamp and grassland. The walk begins at 8.00 am and ends at the elephant wallow at 2.00 pm.
Chimpanzee tracking: The chimpanzee tracking commences from Kanyankyu River Camp at 8.00 am or 3.00 pm. It lasts between 2 to 4 hours and is the most popular walk offering an opportunity to see a variety of animal and plant species within the forest.
Nature walk: The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is situated some 5 kms from the visitors center at Kanyankyu outside the Kibale Forest National Park on the road to Kamwenge. This is an eco-tourism project run by a community based environmental organization established in 1992. The project revolves around activities in the Magombe Swamp a 3 sqkm area fed by the Magombe River. The swamp is home to wide range of primates which includes Red Colobus and Black and White Colobus monkeys, Grey Checked Mangabey, Red-tailed monkey, LHoest, Vervet and Blue monkeys and Baboon. Birding is a major activity around the swamp with paths cut and areas of the swamp board walked to give access to areas of the swamp that would be otherwise inaccessible. Several tree houses have also been constructed to give vantage over the swamp. Specialties for Bigodi include Great Blue Turaco, Black Billed Turaco and White Spotted Crake.
Getting to the park:
Kanyankyu River Camp, the primary centre for tourism activities in Kibale forest national park, can be reached from Kampala either from the north, via Mubende and Fort Portal, or the south through Mbarara and Kamwenge. The northern approach is shorter and quicker, with a 300km tarmac road running to Fort Portal followed by 36km on murram to Kanyankyu. Sebitoli Forest Camp, a secondary tourism centre, is even easier to reach. This stands directly on the Kampala road, 16km before Fort Portal. Public transport runs throughout the day between Kampala and Fort Portal (passing Sebitoli) and Fort Portal and Kamwenge (passing Kanyankyu).