Kibale Forest is an evergreen rainforest that was created in 1993 and is found in the western part of Uganda lying 35km south of Fort Portal. The reason the park was created was the need for protecting a large area of forest previously managed as a logged Forest Reserve and was gazetted in 1932. It is one of the important eco-tourism and safaris destinations in Uganda and it also adjoins with Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kibale Forest National Park is well known as a habitat for the highest concentration of 500 chimpanzees that are habituated to human visitors and 12 other species of prmate. Both this park and Kasenda Crater Lakes are blessed with easy accessibility, wonderful scenery, nice accommodation and a variety of activities.
The equatorial rainforest which is lowland tropical rainforest, moist evergreen, semi-deciduous forest and montane forest shows the predominant ecosystem in Kibale and also has spanning altitudes of 1,100-1,590m. During the time that the park was a forest reserve, much of the forest was logged and some exotic tree species for example pines and eucalyptus were planted. When the park was gazetted, the introduced trees were removed and the logging process ended.
There is a lot of wildlife in Kibale but it’s mainly dominated by primates whereby there are 13 species of which live in the forest and these include: red-tailed monkey, the l'hoest's monkey, diademed monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, white cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, Central African Red Colobus, black, white and red colobus. This park also protects the habituated population of Chimpanzee. Besides that, there are also other mammals which include: bushbuck, buffalo, Harvey's red duiker, otter, blue duiker, Uganda kob, genet, bush pig, African civet, waterbuck, warthog, and giant forest hog. Over 335 bird species are identified in this park and some of these include: Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Chestnut- winged starling, Green-breasted Pitta, Grey throated flycatcher, Grey-headed olive-back, Grey-winged Ribon, Joy Greenbul, Masked and Black capped Apalises, Orange-tufted and tiny sunbirds, red-chested Fluftail , Red-winged Francolin, Uganda woodland warbler, white -bellied crested flycatcher and white -napped pigeon. There are also over 144 species of butterfly in the park and a diverse population of moths.
Recommended accommodations in Kibale Forest:
Our chimp tracking excursions start from Kanyanchu from 08.00 hours and 14.00 hours daily. In the forest you can see different types of primates, you hear different birdsongs, and with the help of the experienced guides you will also see various medicinal plants, hear many birdcalls and observe animal spoor. For the case of researchers seeking chimpanzee habituation experience that involves staying with the chimps and taking note of their various behaviors.
It is run by Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED) and this small sanctuary protects the Magombe Swamp and an example of conservation and tourism having a direct benefit at grass-root level. The trail starts from the KAFRED Office, this trail will give a wonderful opportunity to the bird watchers to view different species of birds. The afternoon walk starts at 15.00 hours and usually takes 3 hours. It is usually better for the birdwatchers to go for a morning walk and those interested in mammals like monkeys can go in the afternoon. This swamp is also a habitat of butterflies, sitatunga antelope, serval, mongoose and other primates.
Sebitoli lies inside the northern part of Kibale National Park and offers similar activities and facilities to Kanyanchu but does not have chimpanzee tracking. There are over 236 bird species, butterflies and primates but the chimpanzees here are not habituated. Cycling tours and guided walking to the nearby Kihingami Wetlands outside the park offer excellent bird watching and a visit to local tea estates departs daily at 07.30 hours and 15.00 hours.
These crater lakes are more accessible and was formed over 10,000 years ago and consists of about 60 permanent and seasonal freshwater lakes centred on Kasenda, Rweetera, Rwaihamba and Kabata trading centers, some 20-30km south of Fort Portal. The Kasenda lakes are all different in character and most are very beautiful, while the lush surrounding countryside, rattling with birds, monkeys and butterflies.