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Kibale National Park: A Guide to Uganda’s Most Underrated Attraction

Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park

Summary: Kibale National Park is home to 13 different primate species, making it the primate
capital of East Africa.It’s one of the most environmentally diverse parks in Africa and it’s also home to a large population of endangered chimps.


Kibale National Park is a vital habitat for endangered species such as the black and white colobus monkey.

Although it is not one of Uganda’s most popular tourist destinations, it is certainly worth a visit for its stunning scenery and rich culture.

Here is a quick guide to this underrated gem;


What is Kibale National Park?


Kibale National Park is a Ugandan national park that protects lush evergreen rainforest. It covers 766 square kilometers (296 square miles) and has an elevation range of 1,100 meters (3,600 feet) to 1,600 meters (5,200 feet).

Despite the fact that it is mostly damp evergreen forest, it has a varied range of landscapes. Kibale is one of the last places on the planet where both lowland and montane forests coexist.

It protects the remaining substantial area of pre-montane woodland in eastern Africa.

Kibale National Park


The park was formally formed in 1993 after being gazetted in 1932 to safeguard a significant area of forest that had previously been administered as a logged forest reserve.

With Queen Elizabeth National Park, the park forms a continuous forest. The parks’ proximity produces a 180-kilometer (110-mile) wildlife corridor.

It is a popular ecotourism and safari site, with a population of habituated chimpanzees and twelve other primate species. The Makerere University Biological Field Station is also located there.

How do I get to Kibale National Park?


The accessible route of Kampala – Fort Portal via Mubende town can be used to reach Kibale National Park. Mbarara road or Kamwenge road will also lead you to the southern part of Fort Portal, where Kibale National Park is located.


Fort Portal

What to do in Kibale National Park


Kibale Forest National Park boasts the highest quantity and diversity of primates in East Africa, making it one of the best safari places in Africa for chimpanzee trekking safaris. Here are some things to do in this park:


Hikes in the Kibale Forest | Walking Trail


The Kibale Forest Walk Trail is 12 kilometers long and takes between 5 and 6 hours to complete during the dry season, which runs from June to September and mid-November to February.

Hiking tours allow you to explore the park’s various habitats, which include river line forest, marsh, grassland, and tropical rainforest.

Birding in Kibale National Park


The park is home to 325 different bird species, including the dusky crimsonwing, black-capped apalis, blue-headed sunbird, collared apalis, red-faced woodland warbler, and purple-breasted sunbird, which are all native to the Albertine Rift.

Green breasted pitta, African pitta, black bee-eater, Abyssinian ground thrush, and yellow spotted nicator, small greenbul, black-eared ground thrush, brown chested alethe, yellow rumped tinker bird, blue-breasted kingfisher, and crowned eagle are some of the other Kibale specialties.

Because the swamp alone has over 138 bird species, the Bigodi nature path provides the best bird watching chances in the park.

Chimpanzees, red colobus, black and white colobus, red tailed monkey, bushbuck, and mongoose are among the animals found there.


Cultural Tours around Kibale National Park


You will have the opportunity to meet the native Batooro people as well as the Bakiga immigrants (from Uganda’s highly populated southwestern region) who live around this park, led by a local guide.

During the Kibale Cultural Tours, you will visit a traditional hamlet to learn about the Batoro’s traditional way of life, as well as the local church, primary school, and traditional healer.

The Bakiga will also perform exciting traditional dances and melodies for you.

Crater Lakes Tour


More than 50 different crater lakes may be discovered in the Kasenda area of Fort Portal, which is surrounded by steep-sided volcanoes. A visit to this gorgeous location will allow you to appreciate the area’s unique landscape.

Crater Lake

Cultural Trails


The nature walk starts in Kanyanchu or Sebitoli and lasts between 2 and 6 days. The path will guide you through the forest and provide opportunities for late respite in community-run campsites near the settlements of Kikoni, Nyakalongo, and Nyaibanda.

Where to stay in Kibale National Park


Primate Lodge


In the midst of Kibale National Park, this small lodge is a hidden gem. The lodge, which has 16 rooms and is located in the lush green jungle, is an ideal starting point for your chimp trek because it is only a 5-minute drive from the park headquarters.

The lodge is part of the Uganda Lodges portfolio, which provides simple and comfortable lodging at a low cost!

Primate Lodge


Kyanginga Lodge


Kyanginga Lodge is located on the rim of an extinct volcanic crater lake, with views of the Rwenzori Mountains in western Uganda.

The lodge is situated high up, with stunning views from the main area and your own veranda in your bedroom. Expect a lot of stairs due to the high altitude though!

The lodge is self-contained and has a warm and cozy atmosphere, especially at night when the roaring fire in the parlor is lit.


Kyanginga Lodge

Papaya Lake Lodge


This self-contained lodge is located in the Great Crater Lakes region of Uganda.

Papaya Lodge is a tranquil retreat with only nine modest cottages with breathtaking views from the rooms, the main area, and the swimming pool.

The swimming pool, while not as beautiful as the main area décor, surpasses all expectations and is, in our opinion, the best in Uganda!

Papaya Lake Lodge

Ndali Lodge


The lodge and its estate were part of a large-scale tea plantation in the 1920s.

Ndali Lodge now occupies a vast expanse of property with breathtaking views, banana plantations, coffee terraces, and, of course, tea estates.

The lodge is an excellent location for visitors visiting Kibale Forest (for the chimps), as well as those searching for a few days of authentic, relaxed, and homey lodging.



When is the best time of year to visit Kibale Forest?


Although Kibale National Park is open all year, the best time to come is during the dry season, when the paths are dry and easy to navigate.

This occurs from December to February, and then again from June to September. Rainfall is heaviest in the northern half of Kibale, with an average annual rainfall of roughly 1700mm, falling largely between March and May and September and November.

With typical annual temperatures ranging from 14 to 27 degrees Celsius, the climate is often pleasant.

The southern portion of the park experiences the highest temperatures and lowest rainfall as the earth falls onto the scorching rift valley bottom and woodland gives way to open grassland.


To Wrap Things Up


Kibale National Park is a top destination in Uganda for anyone interested in seeing some of the best wildlife the country has to offer. Its beautiful landscapes and diverse animal population make it a must-see for any visitor to Uganda.

If you’re planning a trip to Uganda, be sure to add Kibale National Park to your list of places to see. For more information about the park, please contact us at +256-(755)-180551. Thanks for reading!

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