There contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. This is home to a host of forest wildlife, most famously 13 species of primate including chimpanzee. Forest cover predominates 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 1590m above sea level. Northern Kibale is also the wettest area, receiving a mean annual rainfall of up to 1700mm, mostly during March-May and September-November. The climate is generally pleasant with a mean annual temperature range of 14-27oC. 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 795km2, forms a contiguous block with Queen Elizabeth National Park, on an altitude of 1.100-1.590m above sea level. The vegetation is dominated by the tropical rainforest.
Species in the Park
The park habits 60 mammal species are present, including elephants, buffaloes, hippos, warthog, bush pigs, duikers. Kibale is well known for sighting primates, counting 13 species. Particularly, it hosts a large population of chimpanzees; also there are vervet, red-tailed, Hoest’s and blue monkeys, red Columbus, black and white Columbus, grey – cheeked mangabey, olive baboons. The bird list records 335 species, of which four are only found here (Nathan’s francolin, Cassin’s spine tail, blue-headed bee-eater and masked apalis). Furthermore, more than 250 species of tree have been recorded.
Tourist Activities in the National Park
The main attraction of the park is the chimpanzee trekking, habituation and filming from Kanyankyu gate. The second main activity is bird watching at Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, at Bigodi, a trading centre just outside the Park’s boundary; the activity consists of a guided walk through the Magombe swamp, with the possibility to see among others the great blue Turaco and the papyrus gonolek. Nature walks are open in the Park, to see primates, birds, reptiles, medicinal plants.
Accessibility of the Park
Kibale National Park is located in western Uganda, 26km south-east of Fort Portal town. Kanyankyu River Camp, the primary centre for tourism activities, can be reached from Kampala either from the north, via Mubende and Fort Portal, or the south through Mbarara and Kamwenge. The northern approach is shorter and quicker, with a 300km tarmac road running to Fort Portal followed by 36km on murram to Kanyankyu.
Sebitoli Forest Camp, a secondary tourism centre, is even easier to reach. This stands directly on the Kampala road, 16km before Fort Portal. Public transport runs throughout the day between Kampala and Fort Portal (passing Sebitoli) and Fort Portal and Kamwenge (passing Kanyankyu).
Kibale National Park do provide variety of lodges both luxury and budget which include Ndali lodge, Kibale primate lodge, Kyaninga lodge, Mountain of the moon (Luxury), Chimp nest, Nyinabulitwa resort, Crater valley resort (Mid-range accommodation). Book a memorable gorilla tracking safari with Gorilla expeditions Ltd.