Kibale National Park Uganda

6 Days Budget Uganda Primate Safari

The primate capital of the World

About Kibale National Park Uganda

Kibale National Park Uganda most popular activity is the Kanyanchu Primate Walk. Thirteen species can be sought, and a good variety of diurnal monkeys invariably encountered, but the stars of this twice-daily show are chimpanzees.

Kanyanchu’s chimps have been tracked since 1993 and the chances of locating them are excellent. Guided walks start at 8am and 2pm and last an average of three hours, depending on various factors.

The perennially popular primate walk provides the chance to observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Kanyanchu’s groups are accustomed to human presence – some have been observed for over 25 years – and the chance of locating them is over 90%. Walks leave Kanyanchu Visitor Centre at 08.00, 11.00 and 14.00 and last between 2-5 hours. Early arrival to allow for registration and briefing is recommended. Contact time with chimpanzees is limited to one hour; group size is limited to six visitors; participants must be aged 16 or over. Advance booking is essential.

This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 370 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.The Nahan’s francolin,cassin’s spinetail,blue headed bee-eater and low-land masked apalis.

Most prominent among Kibale’s primates  is the chimpanzee population surge of about 1,500 individuals, divided into atleast a dozen different communities, four of which are habituated to humans. The Kanyantale community has been subject to daily tourist tracking since 1993.

Activities to do in Kibale National Park

1. Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Kibale National Park

Chimpanzee habituation involves joining our habituation research team as they carry out their daily assignment of making a community of chimpanzees accustomed to human visits. This is a great experience for researchers as well as photographers who would love to spend a bit more time with the chimps. For half-a-day tourists participating in the CHEX activity will need to secure a chimpanzee habituation permit. Like chimpanzee tracking, this activity starts with a briefing at the park headquarters, however, this is much earlier at around 6:30 AM. Read more about our booking guidelines and chimpanzee habituation rules.

2. Birding

Kibale National Park

There are over 375 recorded bird species in Kibale National Park including one of Uganda’s most sought-after birds, the Green-breasted pitta. Birding in Kibale happens all year round and like all other park activities, tourists will be accompanied by one of our expert ranger guides.

3. Nature Walks

Kibale National Park

Aside from chimpanzees and the park’s many primate species, tourists can pick some interest in the park’s nature walks to discover some of its residents including mammals like the duikers, forest hogs, butterflies, and the rich vegetation. There are also several amphibian and reptile species as well. The park has a resident population of African forest elephants as well, although these can be aggressive and is partly why a ranger guide must accompany tourists at all times. Night nature walks will offer chances to see some of the nocturnal animals like bushbabies, tree hyraxes, and civets.

4. Chimpanzee Tracking

Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale National Park is most popular for its population of chimpanzees and is considered the best place to track wild chimpanzees on earth. Chimpanzee tracking is the ultimate highlight for visitors to this park. Over several years of conservation and habituation, the chance of seeing them has risen to over 95%. Tourists can choose from either a morning or afternoon trek both beginning with a necessary briefing and led by an expert ranger guide. Treks can typically last anywhere from 2 to 5 hours depending on where the animals are on a particular day. A maximum of 6 tourists per group is permitted to spend a full hour with a community of chimpanzees. All tourists on chimpanzee tracking safaris to Bwindi will need a chimpanzee permit. Read more about our booking guidelines and chimpanzee tracking rules.

5. Community Visits

Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park is located in one of the most culturally unique spots in Uganda. Tourists can easily combine a chimpanzee tracking safari with a visit to the Bigodi community, a cycling adventure or community walk through one of the tree plantations, coffee tours, a visit to the mysterious caves at Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru as well as exploring some of Toro kingdom’s other cultural sites including the king’s own palace.

Accomodation options in and near Kibale National Park

  1. Primate Lodge Kibale: This lodge is located within the park and offers both luxury cottages and forest cottages. It provides easy access to chimpanzee tracking and other activities in the park.
  2. Kyaninga Lodge: Situated near Fort Portal, this lodge offers stunning views of Lake Kyaninga and the Rwenzori Mountains. It’s a bit of a drive from Kibale National Park, but it provides a luxurious stay.
  3. Ndali Lodge: Located near Kibale National Park, Ndali Lodge offers a beautiful setting overlooking a crater lake. The lodge is known for its comfortable accommodations and friendly staff.
  4. Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse: This guesthouse is located in the town of Kibale and offers budget-friendly accommodation options. It’s a good choice for those looking for more economical options.
  5. Isunga Lodge: Situated on the edge of Kibale National Park, Isunga Lodge offers comfortable cottages with views of the forest. It’s a good base for exploring the park and its primate inhabitants.
  6. Crater Safari Lodge: While a bit farther away in Kibale’s neighboring district, this lodge offers a luxurious stay with stunning views of the Crater Lake.

How to Get to Kibale National Park?

By Road

The quickest route to Kibale National Park from Kampala city is through the Kampala-Fort Portal highway. The park can be reached over a fully-tarmacked road for a distance of 326 kilometers (approximately 6 hours). For tourists overnighting in Fort portal city, the park is only an hour’s drive away.

There is also the alternative but longer option of going through Mbarara city with an optional stopover at Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

By Air

Whereas there aren’t any direct flights into the park, tourists can either schedule or charter flights from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kasese Airstrip through one of the domestic carriers. The flight lasts about 1 hour. From here tourists will transfer by road for about 2 hours to the park headquarters. There is also the option of chartered flights to Fort Portal for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Read more about Kibale National Park

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