Kibale is an extensive National Park, protecting a large block of rainforest that offers some excellent forest for bird watching. It harbours the greatest variety and concentration of primates found anywhere in East Africa. Superb birds and primates combined with easy access, a good infrastructure and a variety of interesting activities make this forest a worthwhile Uganda safaris destination. Many of the facilities are community based, thus providing the local community with the necessary revenue to keep their interest focused on the long-term protection of the area.
The area is mainly occupied by two tribes ie Batooro and Bakiga traditionally both tribes utilised the forest for food, fuel, building materials and medicines.
Key Species of Birds
Red-winged Francolin, Red-chested Flufftail, White-naped Pigeon, Green-brested Pitta, African Pitta, Joyful Greenbul, Grey-winged Robin, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Grey-throated Flycatcher, White-bellied Crested Flycather, Masked and Black-capped Apalises, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Chestnut-winged Starling, Orange-tufted and Tiny Sunbirds, Grey-headed Olive-back.
Kibale has a well-established Chimpanzee-tracking program with a high success rate. Other primates that may be found on these guided walks include Guereza Colobus, Olive Baboon, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, L’Hoest’s Gentle ( Blue) and Red-tailed Monkeys is more likely to be found in open areas adjacent to the forest. You may find evidence of Elephant, Bush Pig and Bufallo along the trails, whilst Bushbuck, Blue, Harvey’s and Peter’s Duickers are other shy inhabitants of the forest interior. The guided night walks are also rewarding: Potto, Spectacled Demidoff’s and Thomas’s Galagos, Lord Derby’s Anomalure, African Civet and Common Genet are all possible.
Other interesting mammals from the list of over 60 species include Ichneumon, Banded and Marsh Mongooses, Alexander’s Cusimanse, Swamp Otter, Ratel ( Honey Badger ) and African Palm Civet. Although Golden Cat, Serval, Lion, Leopard, Warthog, Giant Hog and Hippopotamus are recorded from the park, they are unlikely to be encountered in the Kanyanchu area. Sitatungas are known from Bigodi Swamp but are infrequently seen. The spectacular and beautiful Rhinoceros Viper is fairly common here but is, unfortunately, less often found alive than as a road-kill.
The best place to spend the night is in Primate Lodge Kibale. Within a short period different types of accommodation will be available, including modern bandas, luxury tents and a comfortable Sky Tree House. The lodge is located in the middle of the forest, exactly where you start the chimp tracking from. A charming restaurant, bar and fire place will make sure you will spend the evenings pleasantly.
Mantana Luxury Tented Camp located in the middle of the forest.Bush type accommodation and quite comfortable.
Ndali Lodge a luxury accomodation with thatched cottages overlooking a crater lake.
The Rwenzori View Guesthouse located in Fort Portal approximately 30 kms from the forest. Comfortable, middle class rooms with or without private bathrooms are available.
The park offers very affordable chimp tracking. Groups ( limited to 6 people ) leave daily at 8:00 am and 3:00pm; the walks last about 3 hours. The highly recommended night walks depart from Kanyanchu Visitor Centre at 7:30 pm (book in advance) . Bring your torch!
Facilities at Bigodi include; an observation tower and a boardwalk that traverses the papyrus beds. The path and boardwalk may be flooded and muddy after heavy rain and gumboots are recommended. They can be hired at the visitor centre. The walk is about 4 km in length, taking 3-4 hours at birding pace. With all proceeds from eco-tourism going back into the community, this is a conservation project well worth supporting.
Take the road from Fort Portal to Kamwenge, which commences near the bridge over the Mpanga River in Fort Portal and is well signposted. Turn left at the junction 12 km from Fort Portal and follow signpost for a further 24 km to Kanyanchu Tourist Centre.
- Please note that his is not a Zoo so it is a tropical rainforest and sightings depend on factors such as time of the day fruit availability, weather and how quite the primate group is.
- The maximum number of people in a group is 4 visitors per guided walk
- The maximum time allowed with the chimps is one hour, however, the time might be shortened under the guides discretion to eliminate stressful situations for the chimps
- When trekking you are advised to remain in a tight group and follow the guides directions at all times.
- Please remain at a distance of 8 meters from the chimps or the distance that your guide recommends
- Under no circumstance shall you chase while they descend or to or walk on higher ground.
- You are advised not to enter the forest if you are sick as this can put the animals at serious risk
- Please refrain from eating near the chimps and other primates
- Please do not shout in the forest
- Its advisable to wear long boots that cover your toes and long trousers as there are red ants and slippery trails, also carry along water proof clothing in the rainy season.
- Children under 15 years are not allowed to view the chimps for safety reasons.
- If you need to urinate please do so off the trail system.
- If you need to defecate, please do so off the trail system and bury all in a hole all waste.