Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest
Kibale Forest National Park is located in western central part of Uganda just to the east of the Rwenzori Mountains, near the town of Fort Portal. The 766 km² park predominantly covers evergreen tropical rain forest and ranges between 1100 and 1600m in elevation.
Kibale Forest is one of the last remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests and forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kibale National park was established in 1995 primarily to protect the forest, however over the years, the leading tourist activity in Kibale National Park has remained Tracking of the chimpanzees. If you love primate safaris, your trip in Uganda should not end without visiting this forested park in western Uganda. Other than chimpanzee watching you can see any of the other 12 primate species within the park.
Chimpanzee Tracking is not as challenging as gorilla tracking. In fact, these chimpanzees enjoy spending most of the time in tall trees since they eat fruits. Tracking of these chimpanzees is conducted in the early morning and for that reason tourists are advised to prepare in advance of their journey. Those interested in chimpanzee tracking are recommended to make their booking early enough to avoid any disappointment of failing to get a chance. Besides the primates, there are approximately 60 species of mammals recorded inside Kibale National Park. In addition, Hiking in Kibale forest is conducted in the dry season from the start of the month of November up to February. The park can be reached by road transport through the scenic Fort Portal town.
Chimpanzee tracking experiences in Kibale are excellent and credit goes to the several well maintained walking trails and a large number of resident chimpanzee families in the forest. Although some of the trails are very difficult to traverse during the rainy season, the park is open all year round and you can still track chimpanzees. You can also view other wild animals although it is hard to see them due to the thick vegetation. There is also a wonderfully diverse concentration of other primates including: red colobus, red-tailed guenon, white-nosed monkey, gray-cheeked mangabey, blue monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, and the black and white colobus monkey. In addition, you may see olive baboons, bush babies and nocturnal pottos.
The chimpanzee habituation experience gives you an opportunity to accompany Kibale’s researchers and habituators as they follow chimpanzees throughout their daily activities. This has been proven to get the chimpanzees used to human presence without interrupting their daily activities. Visitors get a chance to follow a chimpanzees day from about 6am in the morning till 7pm in the evening. Tracking chimpanzees in Kibale is definitely an experience all on its own and one of the best things to do on you safari tour in Uganda.
Because of the altitude difference, the vegetation in Kibale ranges from the evergreen rainforest, to the arid tropical forest, the savanna to the woodland that supports a diversity of habitats. Kibale Park is connected to Queen Elizabeth National Park in the South, hence allowing wildlife to freely move. This park has a total population of approximately 1450 chimpanzee, rendering it a wildlife sanctuary with the highest population of primates. Additional primate species here are; the olive monkeys, grey checked Mangabey, red-tailed monkey, baboons, black & white colobus and the blue monkeys.
Among the other animals living inside the park are: elephants, buffaloes, leopards, bush pigs, Duikers, warthogs, hippos among many others. You will as well see numerous butterfly species, some reptiles and even amphibians. The park is as well a paradise for bird watchers. Approximately 325 species of birds have been documented in this park. Among the bird species you are likely to see are the black-bee eater, the little Greenbul, the crowned eagle, the African Pitta, the yellow spotted Nicator, the black-eared ground thrush, the woodland warbler, the tiny sun birds among many others.
Kibale National Park could easily be called the primate capital of the world. It is a home to a host of wildlife although mostly famous for it is the 13 species of primates including chimpanzees. Park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and is a half a day’s drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori mountains, and Semiliki National Park and the Toro-Semiliki national Reserve.