Kibale Forest National Park
Approximately 1000 mountain gorillas remaining in the world and only found in East African mountain rain forests in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in DR Congo and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest protects a little more than half of the total number of mountain gorillas in the world.
To see the mountain gorillas, it’s mandatory that you acquire a gorilla permit which will cost you US$600 in Uganda and US$1500 in Rwanda from the governments.
The Primate Capital of the World
Kibale National Park is the most magnificent of Uganda’s tropical rain forest and one of the most rewarding areas to explore. Established at the end of the 18th Century, Kibale boasts of 13 species of primate including the localized Red Colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys and the endemic Uganda Mangabey.
The 795sq park can be accessed from Uganda’s capital Kampala, along a newly surfaced road via Kasese (near Queen Elizabeth National Park). The park can also be reached from Kampala via Mubende and Fortportal or through Mbarara and Kamwenge. There is public transport between Kampala and Fortportal by bus.
Kibale National Park has access to two Airstrips; Nyakisharara Airstrip in Mbarara (about 98km through Kamwenge from Kanyanchu) and Kasese airstrip, 75km from Fortportal town. It can also be reached from the airstrip in Toro/ Semiiliki Wildlife Reserve, only 86km from Kanyanchu
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) allows you to accompany Kibale’s researchers and habituates as they follow chimpanzees during their daily activity, thereby getting them used to human presence without altering their natural behaviour. This is an all day and early visitors may be able to see the spectacular scenery of chimps de-nesting, feeding, copulating, hunting, breastfeeding, resting, patrolling and displaying until they build a new nest and retire for the night around 7:00 pm. (Note: Advance booking is essential).
Primate Walk (Chimpanzee Tracking)
Also, you can experience and participate in the chimpanzee tracking walks which starts from the kanyanchu Visitor Center at 08:00 am 2:00 pm and lasts 2-3 hours. Park guides are readily available to take tourists through this ritual. This walk is for six persons per group and advance booking is essential.
Day Hikes/ Nature Walks
This is an exploration of the park’s diverse habitual providing very close contact with nature. The walks begin at 08:00 am, 10:00 am and 2:00 pm from Kanyanchu Tourist Center and take about 2-3 hours. Remind your guide to show you the naked Adam and Eve tree, one of Kibale’s unique wonders.
Bird Watching & Night Nature Walk
Kibale National Park boasts of 372 bird species of which 60 percent are recorded Uganda’s Forest Birds. Bird watchers can spot various species in the park. Also, there is night nature walk which allows visitors to track the unique species of birds, animals and insects such as Bat, Owl, Pottos, bush babies, Civets, genet cats and Eastern needle nailed, that are most active at night.
Only children above 12 years are allowed to go into the forest to view the chimps. Kibale has a variety of activities for children under 12 years including educational forest walks of 1-2 hours followed by creative activities like pond dipping, cyanotype photography and batik-making. Through these educational forest walks, the children can learn about the ecosystem and its inhabitants. Parents can enjoy their forest walk with the Knowledge that their children are occupied in worthwhile activity with trained ranger guides.
Cultural Heritage and Nature Trail
Follow a 2-6 days heritage and nature trail through the tropical forest and meet local people and gain insights into their cultures. The full walk can start or end at either Kanyanchu or Sebitoli. Explore the forest during the day, end or rest at the community – run campsites near the villages of Kinoni, Nyaibanda and Nyakalongo. Porters can be hired to carry equipment. The walk is most exciting in a group of up to 6 people. (Note: Pre-booking is essential).