KIBALE NATIONAL PARK


One of the most varied tracks and good tropical forests in Uganda are found in Kibale national park. Thick forest cover with patches of grassland and swamp dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau. This park harbors 70 different mammals and the 13 most famous primate species including the chimpanzees with over 375 bird species. Kibaale Park joins Queen Elizabeth national park to the south and creates 180km length corridor for wildlife between Isasha, the remote southern sector of queen Elizabeth national park and sebitolo in the north of Kibale park.
 This park has tropical climate with two rainy periods, march to may and September to November. There is a pronounced dry season in December to February and rain falls more in the north part of the park than the south.


AREAS OF INTEREST
Kibaale forest national park offers numerous areas of interest to the visitors both within the park and outside. Within the park, we have the;
Sebitoli forest camp- This secondary tourism center of kibaale offers guided forest walks and chance to see the primates like red colobus, black and white colobus, blue monkeys and vervet monkeys. Visitors may also see various savanna birds, forests and enjoy views of the mpanga  river.
Kanyanchu River Camp- This river camp is the main trail head for the famous forest walks, the most most popular of which is the daily primate walk. To look out for in this forest are the 13 species of primate like the habituated chimpanzees. Birding and nature walks for both kids and adults are also present here.
Outside the park we have the bigodi wetlands. these are rich in bio diversity and beautiful scenery. The wetland is a birders pride with about 138 species. Just outside the park in magombe swamp, it also hosts eight species of primates including the black and white colobus, blue monkeys, olive baboons and grey cheeked mangabey. Mongooses as well as bushbucks are also present here.


Kihingami Wetland- This wetland located near sebitoli in the north of Kabaale offers excellent birding and visitors can also enjoy a tour in the local tea estate factory. Nature walks here bring you close to some primates like the red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus. Other animals like otters, mongooses and bushbucks can be observed in the wetlands.


WILDLIFE
In Africa,  Kibaale has the highest diversity and density of primates. The most famous of the 13 species is the chimpanzee. This park 1450 chimpanzees represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered species. This is also a home for the largest population of the threatened red colobus and the rare I’hosest’s monkey in east Africa. Other primates species include the black-and-white colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto.
Though ground dwelling mammals are hard to see in this thick forest, at least 70 of them are present. Approximately 500 elephants are present in the park, together with buffalos, warthogs, leopards, golden cats, duijers and bush pigs. With keen observation, one may spot amphibians, reptiles and over 250 colorful species of butterflies.

BIRD WATCHING
More than 375 bird species found in this park include the green breasted pitta, afep pigeon, white napped pigeon, black bee eater, little green bull, crowned eagle, African grey parrot and purple breasted sun bird.

ACTIVITIES
Nature walks and hiking- Night walks in the darkened forest help spot nocturnal animals that are always a slip and very rare during the day. This is after the chimpanzees and other forest resident falls a slip. Powerful torches are used to search for creatures like the bush baby, potto, night jar and hyrax with the chilling shriek as well as the rare civet or serval cat. These walks take about one to one and a half hours and usually start atb7pm.


BIRDING- In cases of bird watching in This Park, its advised that the visitors book in advance rare. Species like the White-winged Warbler, White-collared Olive back and Papyrus Canary and papyrus Gonolek are also present. Located just outside the park is the Bigodi wetland sanctuary, the home of 138 bird species like the Yellow-spotted Barbet, hairy breasted barbet, black and white shrike fly catcher and superb sunbird. These are seen during the guided walks along the boardwalk.


Chimpanzee tracking- The Kanyanchu primate walk is the most popular activity in Kibaale national park. A good variety of diurnal monkeys and 13 primate species can be viewed here though the major of this trail are the chimpanzees. Guided walks start at 8am and 2pm and last about three hours depending on various factors and the chances of locating the Kanyanchus chimps is very high as they have been tracked since 1993.


ACCOMODATION IN KIBALE
Just like all parks in Uganda, Kibale Park also offers various camping sites, lodges and hotels to the tourist. These include the primate lodge Kabale, Kanyanchu river camp, Sebitoli camping ground in the park, in the south is the Kibale safari lodge, Kibale forest camp, Matana tented camp, safari hotel Bigodi and the chimps nest. In the northern park are accommodation sites like crater valley Kibale, lake Nkuruba nature reserve and Nyilabutilwa resort and safari camp.

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