Kibale National Park
East of the Rwenzori mountain, the landscape is dotted with volcanic crater lakes and carpeted with tea plantations and tropical forest. The largest tract of forest is protected within the 795km2 Kibale National Park.
Established as a forest reserve in the 1940s, Kibale was upgraded to national park status to recognise biodiversity that includes 350 tree species, 71 species of mammal and 370 bird species. The park is best known for its primates, including Uganda’s most giant chimpanzees – an estimated 1450 -the localised red colobus and L’Hoest’s monkey. Other large mammals, such as elephants, buffalo, and big forest hogs, are rarely seen.
The park’s bird list includes six endemic species to the Albertine Rift region, namely black-capped Apalis, collared Apalis, blue-headed sunbird, dusky Crimsonwing, purple-breasted sunbird and red-faced woodland warbler. Other ‘‘Kibale specials’ include the African pitta, green breasted pitta, black bee-eater, eastern nicator, yellow-rumped tinkerbird, Kibale ground thrush, brown-breasted alethe, blue breasted kingfisher, Abyssinian ground-thrush and the crowned eagle.
There are two tourism sites in Kibale NP. The central hub is at Kanyanchu, 35km southeast of Fort Portal, on a newly tarmacked road leading to Kamwenge and Ibanda. A secondary site is found at Sebitoli, 16km east of Fort Portal on the Kampala road.
What to Do:
- Chimp Tracking
- Chimp Habituation Experience
- Forest Walking safaris (village and forest walks)
- Bird watching
- Exploration of the Crater Lakes
- Cultural Heritage and Nature Trail
- Hike at the slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains
- Access to two airstrips: Nyakisharara, near Mbarara (100km on tarmac) and Kasese (60km on surfaced and dirt roads).
- It can be reached from Kampala by several routes, all on surfaced roads. The most direct (335km) is via Fort Portal, 35km to the north.
Best Time to Visit:
All-year-round. Thanks to the location on the equator, Uganda has a tropical climate. Rainfall occurs regularly, with a peak in the months of April-May and November.