Kibale national park is a primate haven and a remarkable destination for Uganda chimpanzee tracking safaris located in the western region of Uganda, the park is situated in about 348 kilometers which is about 5 hours from Kampala the capital of Uganda and approximately 26 kilometers south-east of Fort Portal town which is the nearest town.

The park is located close to many other breathtaking Uganda safari destinations such as such as the beautiful Serene Kasenda crater area, Queen Elizabeth national park which is in a half hour’s drive, Rwenzori Mountains and Rwenzori Mountains national park, Semuliki national park and Toro-semliki wildlife reserve. The park borders Queen Elizabeth national park in the south region forming a migration corridor of 180 kilometers, this corridor is used many various animals as they migrate from the Ishasha southern sector of Queen Elizabeth national park to Sebitoli in the northern region of Kibale national park.


Kibale national park covers an area of 776 square kilometers protecting moist evergreen rainforest, the park is one of the last remaining expanses on the African continent containing both lowland and montane forests and in the eastern Africa region the park sustains the last significant expanse of pre-montane forest.

It was gazetted in 1932 and in 1993 it was established as a national park so as to protect the ecosystem found in the area.

Kibale national park protects a range of moist evergreen forest (wet tropical forest) along the Fort Portal Plateau, the dry tropical forest (Moist semi deciduous) and the woodland and savannah along the rift valley floor. In the central region of Kibale national park around the Kanyanchu is dominated by a high forest consisting of a mixture of dominant evergreen species, the vegetation in the park rises to over 55 meters consisting of semi-closed canopy of massive tree crowns, tolerant herbs, variety of ferns, shrubs and forest grasses. There are also about 351 trees species recorded to be found in the park.

The park is a primate haven hosting 13 species of primates with a large population of chimpanzee, the park is a popular habitat for a huge population of chimpanzees recorded to be over 1450 individuals which is the biggest chimpanzee population in the world and on the African continent. Other primates living in the park include L’hoest’s monkeys, endangered red colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, grey cheeked mangabeys, bush babies and pottos. Kibale national park is also a home to animals like buffaloes, leopards, bushpigs, elephants and duikers. There are also amphibians, reptiles and a variety of colorful butterflies.

kibale national park

Kibale national park is a birder’s paradise and one of the best destinations for Uganda birdwatching safaris, the park and its forests are a home to 325 bird species including 6 species native to the Albertine Rift area. Birds found in Kibale national park include dusky crimsonwing, black-capped apalis, blue-headed sunbird, collared apalis, red-faced woodland warbler and purple-breasted sunbird, green breasted pitta, African pitta, black bee-eater, Abyssinian ground thrush, yellow spotted nicator, little greenbul, black-eared ground thrush, brown chested alethe, yellow rumped tinker bird, blue-breasted kingfisher, crowned eagle among others.

Uganda safaris to do in Kibale national park

Chimpanzee tracking

Kibale national park is a famously known Uganda safari destination for chimpanzee tracking safari offering an encounter with the amazing chimpanzees, chimpanzee tracking in Kibale national park starts as early as 08:00 am from the Kanyanchu Visitor Center with briefing about the experience.

Chimpanzee tracking lasts for about 2-4 hours of hiking through the thick forests of Kibale using various trails, as you hike through the forests you get an opportunity to watch many primates such as black and white colobus monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey and many birds. When you meet the chimpanzee you are given only one hour to stay in their presence while observing their behavior and taking amazing pictures.

Chimpanzee habituation

Chimpanzee habituated in an amazing Uganda primate safari offering more time in the presence of the chimpanzee and is offered in Kibale national park, chimpanzee habituation safari experience is similar to the chimpanzee tracking but the difference is it offers a full day in chimpanzee presence. The park is a home to over 1500 chimpanzees which is the largest chimpanzee population in Uganda to be found in one place, chimapznee tracking starts as early as 08:00 am in the morning with a briefing session in which rules and regulations to follow are red to you.

After the briefing you head into the forests of Kibale in search for the chimpanzees and when you find them you are to stay a full day in their presence together with researchers. While in presence of the chimpanzees, you can feed them, take pictures and learn more about them.

Bird watching

Kibale national park is one of the most important birding areas (IBA) areas in Uganda ideal for Uganda birding safaris, Kibale national park is a very perfect destination for bird lover and while in the park you will get an opportunity to watch many beautiful colored birds such as  dusky crimsonwing, black-capped apalis, blue-headed sunbird, collared apalis, red-faced woodland warbler and purple-breasted sunbird, green breasted pitta, African pitta, black bee-eater, Abyssinian ground thrush, yellow spotted nicator, little greenbul, black-eared ground thrush, brown chested alethe among others.

Cultural tours

Cultural tours in Kibale national park are done in the communities neighboring the park, in the local communities you get to visit schools, local communities and numerous homesteads where you will enjoy a variety of cultures of the locals including the local way of dressing, taste local dishes, be entertained by the locals and buy souvenirs.

Bigodi swamp walk

Bigodi swamp walk in Kibale national park is done on the Bigodi wetland sanctuary which is a community based site established for the economic benefit of the local residents. Bigodi wetland sanctuary is a birders paradise inhabiting over 138 bird species such as the spotted barbet, Flycatchers, crowned eagle, the African Pitta, White spotted fluff tail, western nictor, Blue breasted kingfisher, Collared Apalis, Abyssinian ground thrush, Green breasted Pitta, Brown chested Alethe and many more which you will enjoy watching during your walk in the swamp. On the bigodi swap walk expect to watch Black and White Colobus, Red Colobus, Red Tailed Monkey, Grey Cheeked Mangabey, Olive Baboon, L’hoest Monkey, Vervet Monkey and the Blue Monkey

How to get to Kibale national park

The park is situated in the western region of Uganda approximately 26 kilometers south-East of Fort portal a grand tourist city in the region, the park is accessed from Kampala the capital of Uganda where most safaris to the park start from. From Kampala the park is accessed by either road or air means of transport,

By road

By road transport the park lies in a distance of 300 kilometers to fort portal and from fortportal it is a drive of 36 kilometers on a murram road to Kanyanchu. By road you can use either public or private vehicle.

By air

There are domestic flights from Entebbe International airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Kasese airstrip, Kihihi airstrip or Mweya airstrip, these flights are offered by Aero link.

Where to stay in Kibale national park

Kibale national park has excellent internationally credited accommodation facilities situated inside and outside the park, the accommodations range from budget, midrange and luxury. Kibale national park accommodation include Kibale Forest camp, Kanyanchu River camp, Chimp’s Nest, Nyinabulitwa country Resort, primate lodge Kibale , kyanginga lodge, papaya lake lodge among others.

When to visit Kibale national park

The park can be visited all year round though the best time to visit the park for amazing Uganda safaris activities such as chimpanzee tracking is in the dry season. In the dry season experienced from December to February and June to September the trails used while in the park are dry an easy to navigate through.

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