Attractions in Kibale forest : Kibale National Park in Uganda is located in the Western part of the country along the East African Rift Valley near the Ndali Kasenda crater. Kibale National Park was first identified as a forest reserve in 1932 because of its great bio-diversity before finally being made a game park in the 1990’s. The park has become the primates’ capital of Uganda and to a great extent East Africa. The numerous tree species (over 350) that spread along the vast plains and plateaus include pre-Montanez forest that are found nowhere in East Africa. due to its different species it has attracted its self-fame from different kinds of tourists, in this article we bring you some of its major attractions.
Chimpanzee Trekking and spotting other primates
Kibale national park is arguably the best place to go for a primate’s tour. The park might not have the gorillas but has more of the other primate species than any park in East Africa, Attractions in Kibale Forest . Chimpanzees are an endangered species and are special because they share over 95% of their DNA with humans. Kibale has the largest chimpanzee clans in East Africa and about 5,000 individuals have been recorded. Chimpanzees can be spotted in other parks in East Africa but the chances of seeing them are slim compared to Kibale Forest.
What makes a primate safari in Kibale Forest National Park even more special is its amazing collection of monkeys. While in Kibale Forest expect to see L’Hoest Monkeys, the endangered Red Colobus, Grey Cheeked Mangabey, the Red tailed Monkeys, Bush Baby, Blue Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Black and White Colobus. Since the park is close to Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Queen Elizabeth National Park, primate lovers can expect a complete African Safari without travelling for long a distance.
Uganda is considered to be one of the best place three places to go birding in Africa. The 180km rain forest in Kibale is a birders paradise with over 374 bird species. While on tour of Kibale Forest, birders can spot the Abyssinian Ground thrust, African Grey Parrot, Black Bee eater, Black capped Apalis, Black eared Ground Thrust, Blue Breasted Kingfisher, Blue headed sunbird, Brown Chested Alethe, Brown Illadopis, Collared Apalis, Crowned Eagle, Dusky Crimsonwing, Little Green Bul, Purple breasted Sunbird, Red Chested Owlet, Red Faced Woodland Warbler, Scaly breasted Illadopsis, the African Pitta, Western Nicator, White naped Pigeon, Yellow Rumped Tinkerbird and yellow spotted Nicator.
Other wildlife Apart from the primates and birds, Kibale National Park is home to 14 snake species, over 200 butterfly species, 27 frog species and over 20 types of reptile. Kibale National Park has nearly 70 species of mammal among which include bats, bush pig, giant forest hogs, elephants, forest buffaloes, leopards, hippopotamus, bushbuck antelopes, red/blue duikers, sitatungas semi aquatic antelopes, warthogs, African golden cats, mongooses and the occasionally spotted hyenas, Attractions in Kibale Forest
For those interested in experiencing the local culture, there are a lot of activities worth taking. The Batoro are the dominant tribe living near the park and visiting them should be top on the list for anyone interested in a cultural experience. The Batoro are a proud people with a rich heritage, culture, history and a King called the Omukama. Another tribe you might want to visit are the Bakiga. The Bakiga are known as hardworking people who rely on subsistence farming of various local foods and particularly the famous Matoke (bananas). They were welcomed to the area by the Batoro as migrants and their population has since increased. One of the best ways to experience an African culture is to visit a local family or an organized cultural center where you get to learn about the local dances, language, food and ancient stories. The Bakiga and Batoro have benefited a lot from tourism activities in the region. Before tourism activities became prominent in the area, they relied solely on the forest and their farmland for food.
Nature walks and Hikes
Talking a walk through the vast forest is a great way to discover and marvel at the great biodiversity in the park and surrounding landscapes that include visiting the Amabere caves. Kibale National Park safaris the starting points can be from Sebitoli or Kanyanchu. Regardless of which section of the park you choose to start your walk, you will be treated to the full spectacle of tropical forests, grasslands, swamps and rivers. For those interested in observing how the local people go about their daily lives and work in the gardens a walk through Nyaibanda, Nyakalongo and Kikoni villages would be perfect. Night walks can also be arranged to see nocturnal animals like pottos, bush babies and other rare birds that are only active at night.
Bigodi wetlands and bird sanctuary
A special nature walk can be arranged to visit the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary within the park. This is one of the best places for bird watching and primates viewing in East Africa and attracting thousands of visitors annually. A three hours walk through the Bigodi swamp allows you to spot over 310 bird species. As you walk through the palm trees and different plants expect to see at least 5 species of primates.
Professionally trained rangers, guides and drivers are available to ensure that both children and adults enjoy their time while on a safari in Kibale National Park. Children below 13 years are not allowed to go for chimpanzee trekking and are often left at home by their parents while on a primate safari in Kibale national park. This shouldn’t be the case. This shouldn’t be the case because children unable to take part in some activities can be taken for walks around the forest to see forest animals, birds and the different varieties of plants. The other activities for children include batik making, photography and pond dipping, Attractions in Kibale Forest
Accessing Kibale National Park
Accessing Kibale National Park is much easier than Bwindi or Mgahinga which are located in the South Western corner of Uganda. There is a direct route from Kampala that takes between 5 to 6 hours driving past Mubende and Fort Portal. Those approaching the park from the southern section can use the Kamwenge or Mbarara road. A much more convenient and faster way of accessing the park is by using a chartered flight from Kajjansi along the Entebbe-Kampala highway to either Ndali or Fort Portal and then taking a car to the park, Attractions in Kibale Forest .
The best time to visit Kibale National Park
The tropical climate and location around the equator ensures that tourism activities take place throughout the year in the park. However there are two seasons in most countries of the equator – the rainy (low) and dry (peak) season with each season occurring twice a year. These seasons affect the quality of a safari in Kibale National Park. The peak season of the year occurs during the dry months of December to February and June to September. These dry months are characterized by little or no rainfall, Attractions in Kibale Forest . There is less mud making it easy to drive or take walks within the park. During the dry season, there is less vegetation cover and thick bushes which allows for easy sighting of animals making for an enjoyable holiday. The months of March to May and late September to November are the low seasons with a Uganda wildlife safari in Kibale National Park relatively more rain. This may not be favorable to some clients but birders will find this season appealing as it is the breeding season for birds and several migratory species appear filling the forest with beautiful sounds in perfect green. Most tourists prefer visiting the park during the dry seasons as they are considered the best time to go for a Uganda safari. Our recommendation is that visitors come two to three weeks after the rainy season is over for the best experience. During this time the mud has disappeared and the country as a whole is still very green offering amazing scenery. Check out this 6 Days safari in Kibale National Park, Bwindi and Murchison Falls.