KIBALE NATIONAL PARK:
This is a chimpanzee safari in Uganda’s favorite destination. The Kibale National Park is at an altitude of about 1,590 metres above sea level and is composed of montane adapted species of plants that grow in a unique semi deciduous forests that is characterized by moist conditions owing to the higher levels of rainfall in this area. The Kibale National park is home to over 13 species of monkeys, as well as one of the great apes of Africa, the chimpanzee which has been habituated for daily eco tourism visits. The varied vegetation cover of Kibale forest is based on swamp forests from which the red colubus and other monkeys drink water in soaring temperatures, the regenerating and old forests as well as the grasslands which break into papyrus swamps.
The following species can be observed in the Kibale forest on controlled visits along designated trails on day or night walking tours with a guide: red colubus which is an endangered species of monkey endemic to this part of East Africa, Blue monkey, black and white colubus, grey-cheeked mangabeys, L’hoest’s monkey, red-tailed monkeys, baboons, Vervets monkeys and the chimpanzees which is the number one attraction for trekkers on a trip to Uganda.
Kibale forest also hosts some of the old-world primates that are usually seen on night walk safaris. These are some of the smallest primates and they are usually observed using flashlights or spot lights in the forest canopies. They include: needle-clawed bushbabies, pottos and the Demidoff’s dwarf Galago. The nocturnal cats seen include the golden cats as well as the African Civet, a striking bulky animal.
Forest Elephants may be observed if staying at one of the tree houses deep in the forest when they come for a drink at the natural salt licks and the waterholes.
Other animals of the Kibale forest include the blue and red duiker a shy antelope which is sometimes hunted by the chimpanzees to supplement their diets on protein. Cape buffalo as well as the forest hogs may be encountered.
Chimpanzee trekking safaris at Kibale are conducted twice daily with tour groups departing from the headquarters on a 3-6 hour trek along the marked trails following a troop of chimpanzees in the forest. There is a morning session and an afternoon session starting and ending at Kanyanchu visitor centre.
The other activity at Kibale, is the Chimpanzee habituation experience where chimpanzee are followed through their day’s activity. These great Apes that share 98% DNA with human beings are very intelligent animals which can be followed from dawn to dusk. The chimpanzees have long arms and shorter legs and usually move on their fours. At times however, they may cover short distances standing upright. Chimpanzees have fur all over their body save for the feet, hands, fingers, faces and armpits. During the chimpanzee habituation experience, the chimps will be followed at close quarters as they forage through the forest canopy and the ground looking for seeds, fruiting trees, tree back as well as ants and bugs which make up their diet. Chimpanzees at Kibale have also been encountered hunting other species of monkeys and duikers. The chimpanzees take to the water hole in the abundant swamps to drink water in the afternoon heat. They use folded leaves as a water scooping technique which they eventually suck on to drink the water after dipping the same in the water sources. The chimpanzees would then take time off to rest in their troops or communities in a shade to groom and play. They make their overnight nests in the evening by twisting branches and leaves to form the bed in the trees which would never be used again.
They usually communicate depending on the mood and availability of food in the forests. They get very loud when a fruiting tree is found and their noises can be heard over 2 miles during the vocal pant hooting.
The bird count for Kibale National park is over 335 species of forest birds which include special bird species like the Red malimbe, squacco Heron, Nahan’s Francolin, African Finfoot, White-naped Pigeon, Blue-spotted wood Dove, Emerald Cuckoo, Red-winged Francolin, Red-chested Cuckoo, Sabine’s Spine tail, Speckled Mouse bird, Chestnut-bellied Kingfisher, Blue-throated Roller and many more.
Safari Lodges and camps of Kibale Forest.
Kibale Forest Lodge
Rwenzori View Guest House.
Kibale Forest Safari Lodge.