Kibale Forest National Park ( Kibale National Park ) protects one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forests in Uganda on an area of 795 km2. Established in 1993, Kibale is home to a host of the forest wildlife and 13 primate species, among which include man’s closest relative, the chimpanzees. The forest is predominantly covered by thick canopies in the northern and central parts of the park on the elevated Fort Portal plateau.
Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip which stands 1590 m above sea level. Northern Kibale is also the wettest area covered in swamps and receives a mean annual rainfall of up to 1700 mm, mostly during March-May and September – November. The climate is generally pleasant with a mean annual temperature range of 14 -270 C.
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. The park covers 795 km2, and forms a continuous block with Queen Elizabeth National Park, at an altitude of 1.100 – 1.590 m above sea level. The vegetation is dominated by the tropical rainforest.
Species in Kibale National Park
Kibale Forest National Park is home to 70 species of mammals, including forest elephants, warthogs, bush pigs, and duikers. Kibale is well known for sighting primates. Counting 13 different primate species. Kibale particularly hosts a large population of chimpanzees and other primates include, including Vervet monkeys, red-tailed, L’hoest’s and Blue Monkeys, red Colobus, black and white Colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey, and olive baboons. Thelist records 335 species and some of which can only be found in Kibale alone, these include Nathan’s francolin, Cassin’s Spinetail, blue – headed bee – eater and masked Apalis. Furthermore, more than 250 tree species have been recorded in Kibale national park.
Activities in Kibale Forest National Park
The main attraction in Kibale Forest National Park is chimpanzee trekking, habituation and filming from Kanyankyu gate. The second main activity is bird watching at Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary”. Kibale has around 375 bird species, guided nature walks through the Magombe swamp or through the forest amidst 351 tree species that the local people get local herbs from to cure various sicknesses, and one can also visit with the local people and experience their way of life and one can also hike up Lake Nkuruba and experience the great view of the crater lakes.
Accessibility to Kibale National Park
Kibale Forest National Park is located in western Uganda, 26km southeast of Fort Portal town and the most epic of them all of most of the animals of the danger and the ending to Kanyankyu River Camp, the primary centre of tourism activities that are also the briefing centre before the chimpanzee tracking activity. This centre can be reached from Kampala either from the north, via Mubende and Fort Portal or from the south through Mbarara and Kamwenge.
The northern approach is shorter and quicker, with a 300km tarmac road running to Fort Portal followed by 36 km on murram to Kanyankyu. Sebitosi Forest Camp, which is the secondary tourism center, is even much easier to reach because public transportation runs between Kampala and Fort Portal throughout the day passing right by Sebitosi.
Accommodation facilities in the national park
Kibale Forest National Park does provide a variety of lodges both luxury and budget which include Ndali lodge, Kibale primate lodge, Kibale safari lodge, Kananga lodge, Mountain of the moon (luxury), chimp nest, Chimpanzee Guest House, Kibale Forest Camp, (mid-range) Nyinabulitwa resort, Crater valley resort (Budget).