We here at Nature Travel Africa love Kibale National Park in western Uganda, not just for the chimps, but for so much more! Let’s learn more about this fantastic park!
The park was gazetted in 1932 and formally established as a National Park in 1993 to protect a large area of forest previously managed as a logging reserve. The park forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park to the southwest. This adjoining of the parks creates a 180 kilometres (110 mi) wildlife corridor, in which African Elephants move freely.
Simply put, Kibale National Park is one of the best safari destinations in Africa for chimpanzee trekking. Kibale’s 766 square kilometres (296 sq mi) contain one of the most beautiful and most varied tracts of tropical forest in the whole of Africa. The varied altitude (1,100 metres (3,600 ft) to 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level) holds up different varieties of habitat, ranging from moist evergreen forest (wet tropical forest) along the Fort Portal plateau, then through the dry tropical forest (moist semi-deciduous), and then to the woodland & savanna along the rift valley floor. Over 35o species of trees have been registered in Kibale.
However, the reason most people come here is for the primates! The density and diversity of primates in Kibale National Park are the highest in the whole of Africa. The most well known of its 13 species are the Chimpanzee, our closest living relative. Kibale’s 1450 Chimpanzee is by far Uganda’s biggest population of this threatened primate.
Additionally, Kibale is home to the uncommon L’Hoest’s Monkey as well as East Africa’s biggest population of the endangered Eastern Red Colobus. The Guereza, Red-tailed Monkey, Blue Monkey, Olive Baboon, Grey-cheeked Mangabey and Potto are among the other primates. Other mammals are also present, though they are hardly seen. These consist of African Buffalo, Leopard, Bushpig, African Elephant, and even Lion. A sharp observer will also see many species of amphibians and reptiles and a colourful variety of butterflies.
The park is also home to 325 variety of bird species, including 6 that are endemic to the Albertine Rift valley. These are Dusky Crimsonwing, Black-capped and Black-collared Apalis, Blue-headed and Purple-breasted Sunbird and Red-faced Woodland Warbler. Other Kibale specials are the Green-breasted and African Pitta, Black Bee-eater, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Crowned Eagle, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Western Nicator, Abyssinian Thrush, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Brown-chested Alethe, Grey Parrot, Brown Illadopsis, and many others.
Kibale lies 310km (193mi) west of the capital, Kampala, and is a superb addition to any of our Ugandan itineraries. Visitors can venture into the forest and go chimpanzee tracking, hiking, birdwatching, or meander along cultural trails that culminate with stops at the Batooro and Bakiga villages that surround the park. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info about a visit to Kibale National Park.