Going on a safari to Kibale National Park is among the most rewarding destinations in western Uganda. Famed for its primates you will have a long list of items to tick off. Covering an area of 766 square kilometres with an elevation of 1100-1600 meters, Kibale National Park is listed among the last few places in Eastern Africa containing both montane and lowland forest. Although it was formally established a large area of previously managed as logged forest reserve, records indicate that the park has over 70 mammal species, 375 species of birds and 351 tree species some aged 200+ years and rising to over 55m. The park is also listed among Africa’s pioneer research stations with focus on primates and ecosystem.
Access to Kibale National Park
The can be accessed by road or air. Driving from Entebbe is approximately 5hours, 3hours to 4hours drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as well 8hour drive from Murchison Falls National Park.
By air; infrastructure has greatly improved across the region. You can fly to Kibale on light aircraft from any safari destination across East Africa arriving at your lodge before sunset. From Entebbe, the flight is approximately 1hour
If you are travelling within the region, you can plan to avoid another return trip to East and Southern Africa by adding Kibale National Park as extension of your trip in Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Attractions in Kibale Forest National Park
The most popular activity is the primate walk at Kanyanchu with 13 species of primates to be sought – famous among them is the Chimpanzees earning itself the name- The primate capital of the World. Daily guided nature walks start from the visitors centre 0800am, 1100am and 1400hrs last an average of 4hours or even less depending on various factors.
While on the walk, these apes have been tracked for the last 25 years and chances of locating them in their natural habitat is 90%. Contact time with chimpanzee is one hour and each group size is limited to only 8 trackers; participants must be aged 16 and above.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
Chimpanzees share at least 94% of its DNA with humans. They are sociable, intelligent and communicative. They live in loose communities of 15 to 100 individuals and small sub groups have also been recorded. On the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, you will accompany a local team of researchers and habituators in the forest. Unlike the chimpanzee groups visited on the primate walk, the groups involved in the habituation experience are less accustomed to human presence. This excursion is available on full or half day basis lasts from 0600am- 1900hrs. You will watch them leaving their overnight nests as they breastfeed, grooming and feeding on ground and can be approached in a distance of 8-10 metres.
Though chimpanzees spend a lot of time on the ground, feeding and observed, it was observed that different troops specialise in different tasks, depending on their habitat and diet. They can also be aggressive and unfriendly, especially when they encounter unrelated individuals.
Although the park is famous for chimpanzee trekking, when chimpanzees are resting at dusk, some forest residents become active. Nocturnal walks are very rare encounters and start at 19.30hrs lasting between 1hour to two hours. With powerful touches at your disposal, your guides will help you spot nocturnal creatures such bushbaby, nightjar, potto, cricket, tree hyrax as well as civet and serval cats. If you choose to take a night walk, for convenience it is always advisable to book accommodation close to the starting point of your walk at Kanyanchu park office.
Bird Watching in Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
The swamp walk through Bigodi wetland is rich in biodiversity and offers beautiful scenery. The main activity done is birdwatching with about 138 species. On a guided nature walk, you will lucky to identify more than 40 species of birds in one walk. The wetland is managed by the local community and has set an admirable example of conservation with proceeds paid benefit the community projects.
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